Most of the football fans that follow the Barclay’s Premier League (BPL) would have strong beliefs that the 2012-13 season would have been one of the most competitive seasons of this decade. The likes of Tottenham, Everton, Newcastle, QPR and even Swansea were all looking set to cause some major upsets to some of the BPL giants such as both Manchester clubs, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool. However, with Arsenal’s complacency, Liverpool’s fight for form and Chelsea’s “trigger happy” owner the BPL is yet again shaping up to be a two horse battle between the both Manchester teams.
There are still 25 more games remaining in the league so some may agree that it would be too early to declare the title race as a two way street. Manchester City is in 2nd place behind by as much as 7 points is Chelsea on 3rd with Manchester United on top of the table, 3 points ahead of their city rivals. Both Manchester clubs would have something to prove in their exciting fixture on the 9th of December when they meet in the Etihad Stadium this weekend. United’s coach, Sir Alex Fergusson lost the league last season to his “noisy neighbours” on goal difference and he also failed to get a single point out of both BPL fixtures including one that saw his team got trashed 6-1 at home so he’ll be looking for some revenge this coming Sunday. On the other side, City were knocked out of the Champion’s League this season (again) which allows them to focus more on the BPL and with Roberto Mancini’s job at risk they’ll want to ensure that they retain their title and defeat their city rivals.
Both teams are in form but still not demonstrating the form that they should be demonstrating. United has been tremendous in the goal scoring side of their games scoring an impressive 37 goals in 15 games so far with goals coming from 15 different scorers. However, apart from their astounding goal scoring start, they have been atrocious in defending conceding 21 goals thus far this season. Sir Alex would see it important to mend his shattered defence before he arrives in the Etihad to play against a team which has quality in the abundance. City on the other hand is the only undefeated team for the season thus far and is only 3 points away from being on top of the table. Even though they have not been beaten of this season up to date, they have drawn too many games this season for the star studded team and defending champions at the start of the season. They have won only 9 games out of their 15 fixtures drawing the rest of games. So there’s a positive and negative aspect to both teams coming into this entertaining fixture and I believe that it will have a very important play in who would be going away with the title this year.
Chelsea is going through what could be classified as “internal problems”, Spurs seems to lack the consistency week after week, Arsenal has a lot to do to reach even in the top 4 and some may not see Everton having enough quality in their team to have an actual chance to contend for the title. With almost all of the options for the title virtually being eliminated from the contention, leaving only the 2 Manchester teams in the most realistic race that there currently is, these 2 teams would have to come out with their best game plans prepared for this weekend’s main fixture. A win for Sir Alex would see United pull away with a very important 6 point lead ahead of the other “only” contenders at this time. On the contrary, a win for City would see them level on points with United but on top of the table only on goal difference. At the beginning of the season Sir Alex declared with most confidence that he would never lose on goal difference again to any team in the BPL. Robin van Persie was bought to help decrease the chances of losing on goal difference for another year and his services has already helped United in their goal scoring aspect of the game scoring 10 goals and assisting 4 already so far for the season. Would he be able to help United gain their first point in the EPL against City for the past 2 games? This Sunday the truth shall prevail and we would be able to see who the Champions are and who are the noisy neighbours.
Written By Andre Cuffie (1948)