Why The Premier League Title Chase Is Going To Be A Two-horse Race Between The Manchester Clubs

Between The Manchester Clubs? – Why The Premier League Title Chase Is Going To Be A Two-horse Race

Premier League has witnessed a couple of surprise winners in two previous campaigns. Minnows Leicester City’s miraculous league triumph has to be one of the greatest Premier League moments, whereas Chelsea’s league win is also a huge achievement considering their 10th placed league finish the season before, who had a disappointing inception of the 2016-17 campaign under newly appointed gaffer Antonio Conte.

Premier League football, however, seems to have an anticipated champion this term and despite the presence of reigning champions Chelsea, last season’s runners-up Tottenham Hotspur, a rejuvenated Liverpool and North London giants Arsenal, the chase, as per early indications, is looking like a two-horse race between the Manchester Clubs.

Manchester City and United – two local rivals have spent hefty transfer fees this summer following an average league outing last term. City, under Pep Guardiola, had an impressive start but failed to keep up the momentum and eventually settled with a third-placed league finish despite being title favorites.

Manchester United, on the other hand, appointed former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho in order to restore their lost pride and brought in the likes of Paul Pogba, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Eric Bailly – some of the renowned names of world football. Although the Red Devils grabbed the League Cup as well as the UEFA Europa League trophies, they only managed a sixth-placed league finish and have made a few more top-notch recruitments this summer to challenge for the title once more, which they last won back in 2012-13 under the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson.

If the signings of Romelu Lukaku, Nemanja Matic, and Victor Lindelof have increased United’s title hopes, City, their ‘noisy neighbors’ are not far behind. Pep has concentrated mostly on his defensive reinforcements and recruited the likes of Kyle Walker, Benjamin Mendy and Danilo for the full-back slots, and custodian Ederson Moraes to find out a long-term solution for their defensive frailty.

The arrival of Bernardo Silva from Ligue1 champions AS Monaco has been apt to their attacking flair and the presence of Sergio Aguero, Gabriel Jesus, Kevin De Bruyne, Leroy Sane and David Silva has made Manchester City a free-scoring side similar to the Red Devils who already have young guns Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial along with the experienced Juan Mata, who have stepped up along with new arrivals and changed United’s approach to a game, from the attacking perspective.

Jose Mourinho (left) and Pep Guardiola (right)

Manchester United, however, have defensive constraints as they lack proper cover in full-back slots due to the injury concerns of Marcos Rojo and Luke Shaw, whereas Matteo Darmian has failed to win Portuguese tactician’s trust after a torrid 2016/17 campaign. Antonio Valencia and Daley Blind, meanwhile, have stepped up in the full-back slots and David De Gea is protecting the goal with his enormous quality and sheer class.

Both the rivals are having an identical profile at the top of the league table with 13 points from 5 games (4 wins and 1 draw) where both have scored 16 goals and have conceded only twice. City’s journey includes a thumping 5-0 triumph over heavyweights Liverpool whereas the Red Devils are yet to encounter any of the Premier League’s ‘top Six’ big guns.

Mourinho, nevertheless, is a master tactician who holds a great record against top outfits and his rivalry with Pep (from their Real Madrid – Barcelona days) will reignite in the coming weeks and months.

Written by Pratyay Maitra

A sports enthusiast and football fanatic.

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