Sunday, 23 December 2012

Is The Premier League Already a 2 Horse Race?

With the 2 Manchester clubs already sitting pretty at the top of the league over Christmas and at the time of writing, the closest teams being 9 points behind, it begs the question - Is it already set up to be a two horse race between the Manchester clubs for the title this year?

In terms of quality of squad then it doesn't get much better than the stars of the Etihad. Their team is full of world class players week in week out, they're rarely affected by injuries as they have such incredible strength in depth. Players like James Milner, Javi Garcia and Scott Sinclair often find themselves left of that long Manchester City bench and this is a testament to how much quality Man City have to choose from. In my opinion, this is their biggest asset by far and they owe it to their billionaire owners. 

If you look at the squad of Manchester United you would be no where near as impressed. Admittedly it still eclipses many in the league but not a patch on City's, they're definitely punching above their weight and I believe they owe that to their manager. Sir Alex Ferguson is excellent at getting the best out of his players. When Jonny Evans began to break into the Untied first team, he was nothing special but since then he has got better and better every season and is now easily one of their strongest centre backs. Young Rafael is still a bit erratic at times but he can have these games were he is just unplayable, another who is improving year on year. 

If you compare the squads of the two Manchester clubs to that of their chasing pack then I think they have it better than all but Chelsea and Tottenham. Chelsea have class throughout their team after spending big in the Summer and Tottenham have a strong, quick side who love to attack but can't defend well. I think that Chelsea will be the nearest competitors of the the Manc clubs with Tottenham having a massive defensive problem and being almost wholly reliant on Gareth Bale at times and Arsenal being far too inconsistent. 

I would say that what gives the two Northern side the advantage is their ability to come out of games with points when they don't play well. Many have said that this is the hallmark of a good team for years now and I fully agree with it. When United were dominant and won the title numerous times in a row a few years ago, many picked out their ability to nick a result and this is what gave them their dominance. You can't play well every game but if you can limit your damages then you will do better than those who don't and United were brilliant at this. Manchester United have earned 11 points from goals scored in the last 10 minutes of matches this season, showing just how good they are at playing until the end.

For years now United have been known for scoring goals late on and also coming from behind to win games. Now it seems to be City who are doing this and with their last gasp victory against a resilient Reading side, United will be worried. City have managed to start doing what United have been doing for years. They have an even better record for this season with them earning 12 points from goals scored after 80 minutes this season. Sir Alex Ferguson will not enjoy reading this stat!

Personally I think what has set the Manc clubs apart from their chasers is how well their players know how to grind out a result and they have both shown this time and time again this season. However United managed to show City how it was done recently in the derby with an RVP free kick in injury time. City will have to wait until April 6th to try and get their revenge on United in what will be a crucial derby in deciding what colour the ribbons on the trophy are this season.

In conclusion, I feel that it is already a two horse race and clubs may come close to the Manc clubs at times but not close enough to worry or trouble them. History maybe suggests that the title will go to the Manchester club who can score the most late goals, who knows?

Do you think it will be a 2 horse race for the title and if so who will win? Tell us in the comments section below!

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed it!

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