The battle lines will be drawn on the new 2012/13 Premier League season on the weekend, as the major powers set out to prove that they are the strongest in England. Manchester City won the title in dramatic fashion last season, with star striker Sergio Aguero netting a late goal in their final match of the season against QPR.
The Argentine’s strike gave City a 3-2 win. City’s two goals in stoppage time produced one of the most dramatic climaxes ever to a Premier League season,
with City winning from almost the final kick of the entire season. That strike ripped the title out of the hands of their bitter rivals Manchester United, giving the blue side of the city their first ever Premier League title, and their first league title in 44 years.
The question now, is whether City’s rise to power will create a shift in the axis of power in England. It is often said that the defence of a title is just as hard, if not harder to complete than winning it in the first place.
That is the challenge which lies in front of Manchester City this season. They have now placed a big target on their back because of their success. They started with a bang in opening their new season account over European Champions Chelsea in the curtain raiser that is the Community Shield. During the match, Manchester City produced a stunning period of attacking power and control, which bodes well for them for the rest of the season. Clinical, sharp and deadly was the football that City produced and with them flexing such muscles after the half time period
at which they were losing 1-0, City looked as if they would be able to steam-roll the rest of the opposition coming their way on the domestic front. Big spending City have also not been busy in the transfer market, suggesting that they are happy with their squad and will be stronger for the experiences last season.
But Manchester United, the 19 time Champions of England will be keen to regain their supremacy over their rivals. The Red Devils finished on the same points as City last season but were pushed into second place because of an inferior goal difference.
The experience of title winning that Manchester United and their boss Sir Alex Ferguson can bring to the table, means that they will be determined to get back on top. Beware the wounded beast is a popular turn of phrase in sport,and has probably never been used in a more fitting scenario than this. Manchester United will not lie down, they are a winning breed, there is no side better in European football better at grinding out results even when they aren’t playing well. Even though they did not play with the swagger and style of City last season, in their own indomitable way, they will again produce and be close to getting their hands on the title.
For all of the attacking power that is abundant at these two clubs alone, a supporters hat must be tipped towards the defences of the two giants. Manchester City finished with the best defensive and offensive records in the league last season, United the second best in both categories. No other club came close to match them last season, third placed Arsenal trailing a massive nineteen
points behind, and the fallen power of Chelsea a further six points back from that. Those two are expected to the best the best of the chasers to the two Manchester clubs, with Chelsea rebuilding and Arsenal with their slick passing style. Will it be enough, will either be robust enough to break the Manchester monopoly?
Photo Credit : prphotos.com