If you would’ve told me ten years ago that Manchester City would be positioned above Arsenal and Manchester United seven weeks into the season, I would’ve probably stopped valuing your opinion regarding football or any other aspect of life. But that is actually happening. In the past ten years, City have gone from being a lowly second division team to serious contenders for at least 2nd or 3rd position in the Premiership.
With all the money that City have had invested in them during the past couple of years, they can be glad that the entire operation hasn’t blown up in their faces. Money doesn’t always guarantee success, but to their credit, they seem to have proper management staff and coaches, not to mention a very sturdy looking squad of players; Kolo Touré, Nigel De Jong, Gareth Barry and captain Carlos Tévez to name a few. Then they’ve recently acquired even more high-profile signings like David Silva, Italian sensation Mario Balotelli and Kolo’s brother Yaya Touré. It seems that Roberto Mancini has fine tuned this vast array of talent into a footballing powerhouse.
I realise that there is still a long way to go before the season is up. But you can’t help but wonder whether City will be able to maintain this momentum. Seven weeks into the season, and their rivals Manchester United seem to be dropping points against “lesser” teams left, right and centre, while City have managed to defeat reigning champion’s Chelsea and they’re currently sitting second on the log, 4 points behind Chelsea. Chelsea incidentally, have won all their games so far, except for the one that they lost to City.
If we turn our attention to Arsenal, one can clearly see that they are not the side that they used to be. Might it be the end of an era for them? Were they relying on their star players too much instead of focussing on developing some younger players? Arsenal have had some great names playing for them in the past couple of years: Dennis Bergkamp, Ian Wright, Nicolas Anelka (currently performing very well at Chelsea), Sol Campbell and former captains Tony Adams and Patrick Vieira. Don’t get me wrong, Arsenal do have very talented players, but this squad is pretty young, and Arsene Wenger needs to work out the kinks if his side have any hopes of challenging for the title.
Then lastly, we turn our attention to Manchester United. My team…
The start to the season hasn’t been a perfect one for them. Maybe because they’ve been stricken with injury problems for the past season and some players are still recovering. But I feel as if they might also be in a transitional phase. Raw talents like Javier Hernandez has started to show a lot of promise. The same can be said of the Brazilians Rafael, Fabio and Anderson. An even younger talent, Portuguese youngster Bebé, is keen to make his mark on the side while reserve team coach Olé Gunnar Solskjaer has been keeping a watchful eye on the French winger Gabriel Obertan. So there is a lot of potential, but I think the injury woes and “consistent inconsistency” might be their downfall this year. They are known for their ability to peak towards the end of the season, but with Chelsea and Manchester City having such great squads, it might be too little too late for Sir Alex Ferguson’s men.
Like I said, for the neutral this season has all the makings to be the best season ever. Liverpool are actually in the relegation zone, premier league newcomers Blackpool managed to defeat them at Anfield over the weekend. Tottenham Hotspur are looking pretty steady with a win over the weekend courtesy of two goals from Rafael Van der Vaart. Yes, indeed, I think I’ll be watching this space very closely, despite my team’s inconsistent performance. It’s just way too entertaining.