This weekend’s football basically showed us that Man United’s strike force is potentially the best Man United has ever seen, even eclipsing the great 1999 treble winning side. Although their defending hasn’t quite been up to title winning standards this year, neither has the rest of their contenders. Speaking of contenders, Man City’s title defence looks to be going out with a whimper – after their 3 – 1 defeat to Southampton at St. Mary’s they are now 12 points off top after Man United’s 2 – 0 victory over Everton earlier on today. But City can’t just blame Man United firing from all cylinders on them seemingly having to relinquish their short-lived crown, City’s team has lacked spirit and the quality which it boasted last year. A summer of lavish spending was expected and they only brought in a right-back at the twilight of his career in Maicon, a promising English youngster in Jack Rodwell who has shown he isn’t up to title-winning standards, a winger in Scott Sinclair who was a pivotal part in Swansea’s excellent showing last season – but it almost reeked of panic buying on Roberto Mancini’s part. The only decent purchase from City’s summer was Javi Garcia who has filled in well when needed in defensive midfield and could prove to be a key player in seasons to come.
Another problem at the Etihad is the under-performing of last terms key players – where Man United’s have stepped up, David Silva, Vincent Kompany, Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero have not. It also begs the question, if Mancini had pulled out all the stops in the summer to sign Robin Van Persie like Sir Alex Ferguson did, would City be at the pinnacle and reaping the benefits of the Dutchman’s prowess?
Speaking of Van Persie, his former club Arsenal aren’t bearing too well without his services. Yes the scoring burden isn’t on one player with all of their regular front three reaching double figures this season but none of them quite reaching the heights which Van Persie has this season for United – it shows the gulf in class which has developed between Arsenal and Man United in recent years that with Van Persie, Arsenal managed to scrape a third place spot, but with Man United it seems that the Dutchman will be firing United to a record 20th league title.
Onto another topic of spending, QPR’s acquisitions this season could have seen them field another team but it seems that their players haven’t gelled like fans, staff and members had hoped. The spending continued in January with Chris Samba replacing the departing Ryan Nelsen and Loic Remy bolstering the front-line along with Peter Odemwing-…. oh no wait sorry that didn’t happen. But QPR’s season seems destined to rely on beating others around them and ‘Arry needing to work his much publicized magic that they signed him up for.
The Champions League returns this week with Cristiano Ronaldo welcoming Man United to his Bernabeu domain with open arms in a mouthwatering tie being the major talking point and Jose Mourinho calling it ‘the game the world has been waiting for’, we sure hope you’re right Jose!
Also a massive congratulations to any Nigerians out there after your team just won the African Cup of Nations, well done!