Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. There are bound to be some seriously embarrassed supporters, players and managers in the capital today.
As a friend of mine noted; yesterday was ‘The day Manchester spanked North London’.
Ferguson has once again proved that he is the grandmaster of English football.
Mancini has proved once and for all that if you keep throwing money at a team, eventually it will be awesome.
Lets look at this chronologically. First the Spurs vs City.
Spurs started well. Then they got spanked. City looked depressingly superb. I watched the game and thought to myself; this team are definitely in with a shout for the league.
Nasri looks like an excellent signing. Dzeko was in imperious form, at last justifying his dizzying price-tag. Add to that Toure, Aguero and a whole host of equally accomplished international players and you’ve got yourself some serious title contenders.
They pulled Tottenham apart. It was like watching a cat toying with an injured mouse. It was, towards the end, embarrassing. Nobody likes getting a hiding, but to get one at home….. ouch. There must have been Arsenal fans watching, waiting for their big kick-off. Oh how they must have laughed.
I think the only consolation that Spurs will have taken from yesterday was that theirs wasn’t the most humiliating defeat. Which takes us nicely to the afternoons big game.
Yesterday, Manchester United look every bit like defending champions. Despite lacking their first choice centre-back pairing they looked confident in defence. What’s even more worrying for everyone else is that going forward, despite fielding a relatively young team, they were excellent.
With every attack they looked like they were going to score. Arsenal just didn’t turn up. in truth, it really could have been double figures for the Mancs.
In fact, Arsenal didn’t just not turn up, Arsenal were truly woeful. I have never seen such an inept defensive display from the Gunners. This was the opposite of Adam, Keown et al.
Sure, they can site an extensive injury list and tiredness from the midweek champions league qualifier, but nobody is going to believe that, are they?! If he does call on those tried and tested excuses, surely Arsene Wenger is now ‘the boy that cried wolf’. We’ve heard it all before. Arsenal need extensive surgery, and not merely a face lift.
I think the only consolation that Gooners will have taken from yesterday was that they are not bottom of the league, Spurs are.
The two Manchester clubs exposed some serious flaws in their rivals yesterday.
City showed the Spuds that whilst power and pace are all good, you’ve got to blend that with being clinical. However, I’m not prepared to write Spurs off on the basis of one bad match. They’ve got a quality manager in Harry ‘fuck off I’m a football manager, not a wheeler dealer’ Redknapp and I have no doubt that if he were given the same level of investment as Mancini has been given at City, then we’d be singing their praises instead.
Arsenal, on the other hand, need to be worried. Ferguson had to stick up for his opposite number after the match. Surely that’s got to hurt the most; your once fierce rival effectively giving you a sticker and a lollipop and congratulating you on being a brave boy. Ouch.
United have exposed some serious flaws at Le Arse. The Gunners have spent the last five years selling their best players and replacing them from the bargain bucket. Whilst nobody can argue that the football they play can be exquisite, it only works if you have players who are good enough to do it. There are far too many them there who haven’t got the skills, or the minerals, to compete at the top level, it would seem. The rest have just had too much thrust upon them at too young an age, the risk being that if Wenger isn’t careful, he’ll ruin that talent and they’ll end up being 22 year old has-beens.
Both London clubs need to recruit some new players. Wenger has a substantial war chest and he needs to spend it all on proven talent, not potential. If he doesn’t he’s, for want of a better expression, ‘up shit creek without a paddle’. Redknapp, on the other hand, needs to get rid of the unsettled Luca Modric and use the cash to buy a suitable replacement. He may also want to strengthen his defensive and striking options.
On the basis of yesterday I’d say that the title is almost certainly heading up to the North-West. Both Manchester clubs are looking like the real deal. There is also something in the back of my mind that refuses to rule out Liverpool. For me, they’re the dark horses in the race for the title and if they can get some momentum going who knows what they’re capable of.
Whatever happens, it’s certainly going to be an interesting season.