Saturday, 6 August 2011

Are the noisy neighbours about to turn the volume up?

So, here i sit, less than 24hours before the 2011 Community Shield between Manchester United and Manchester City, bitter rivals, all the more bitter since City's billionaire owners decided to settle down in Manchester. Sir Alex Ferguson often refers to United's rivals as the "noisy neighbours", but with all this, you still got the feeling Sir Alex was not totally worried about City's ambition. If he was not this time last year, he would sure as hell want to be now.

Since the takeover, the noise City have created has gradually been building. Under Hughes, they were just seen as a student house that often had the odd house party, harmless enough and usually tired themselves out after a while, then the arrival of Roberto Mancini and the arrival of players such as Carlos Tevez, David Silva and Yaya Toure just turned the volume up some more, the volume was turned up so much that United would often have to go around and ask them to turn it down, City obliged, until the FA Cup Semi-Final where they would not give in, showed their class and won through and had their party. Ultimately, United won the league, so City's success in the Cup was dampened by this.

This Summer transfer window has been all about the two Manchester clubs so far, the next two weeks will surely see Arsenal have a face lift, along with Chelsea bringing in at least one player in highly rated Belgian Lukaku, Liverpool seem to be just interested in spending big on central midfielders and British born players while Arry has not done a lot at Spurs.....well nothing in fact. United burst into the market with the signings of Phil Jones and Ashley Young, two promising signings which add great depth to the squad and added competition. They were soon joined by highly rated Spanish U-21 goalkeeper David De Gea, this lad has the potential to be one of the best around, as long as he works on his set piece ability, he will live up to his potential. As far as replacing Paul Scholes, United have failed. Wesley Sneijder is continuously linked, but nothing as of yet, although we all know talks are taking place, but as of today, we also know talks are taking place with arch rivals Manchester City also. United have options in the center, more than widely thought. Rooney can and will drop deep, Anderson staying fit will be big for United, whilst Tom Cleverly looks as though he will be given a well deserved chance this year, a talent that need to be respected.

City were not to be out done in the market, after some shrude business with the signing of promising defender Savic, they also brought in Gael Clichy, this man splits opinion, personally i don't rate him as high as others have, but will do a job with City. In a week where it looked likely they would nab Samir Nasri, they came up with a quick and straight forward signing, and what a signing. Sergio "Kun" Aguero is a special footballer, he has got it all, even Maradona's daughter. I make no secret of the fact, i do not like Carlos Tevez, i can appreciate his talent, but in Aguero, they have a player who is not like for like replacement, he is better in most departments. Whether Tevez stays to partner Aguero is up in the air, but what a front 5/6 City will have.

Mario Balotelli, another amazing footballing talent, clearly loopy, but clearly gifted. The LA Galaxy scene was blown out of all proportion, it happened, people need to get over it. The game was a pre season friendly in which he thought he was offside, and even if he didn't, would people prefer he did this in an important game? Other options include David Silva, maybe the most technically gifted player in the Premier League, adds great vision and ability to the attacking line. Players such as Yaya Toure, James Milner, Adam Johnson and Edin Dzeko will surely be enough to get the goals needed for a proper run at the title?

The only area of concern would be defense, Vincent Kompany has a decent shout for being the best defender in the league, Joe Hart also just as good an argument for best keeper. This though is where the problem lies, Clichy will do a job, but a lot of the time needs help through a lack of concentration. Another central defender may be needed to add depth.

Verdict: This really could be City's year, they have the talent, the potential, all the infrastructure is there for them. Champions League football will dictate how close they come for the league this year in my opinion, the further they go in Europe, the less likely they are to mount a real challenge. For me anyway, they are United's main challengers, and the title is going to Manchester in 2012, but which part?