The Manchester War I


The new Premier League is now fully underway, with fans of both Manchester clubs feeling a lot more optimism after disappointing ends to the last campaign. Both Mourinho and Guardiola have tweaked their philosophies and bolstered their squads, splashing the cash on some huge signings and letting a few underperformers move on. With two of the strongest squads in the league and European football to look forward to, fans are now asking the huge question of who will have bragging rights in May next year.

Optimism on both sides

After a poor season that was only rescued by an emphatic Europe League win, United and Mourinho have drawn a lot of criticism for failing to dominate games. With quality players like Rooney and Shaw not gelling well at all with Mouurinho and spending a lot of time on bench, the team failed to achieve an automatic Champion’s League spot, just scraping through by beating Ajax to lift the Europe League. Guardiola’s first full season at City was no success story either, with the Spaniard failing to win a single trophy and managing a third place finish to secure a Champion’s League place.

Things are looking much brighter however, with some big money signings altering the outlook completely. Both clubs managed emphatic victories on the opening weekend of the Premier League, with United putting 4 past a dreadful West Ham side and City securing a 2 goal win over new boys Brighton, despite the seagulls putting up a decent fight. The Premier League betting odds at 888sport have City as the favourites, but United could still easily finish ahead and even see some cup success before their bitter rivals.

The new signings and leavers

Guardiola certainly hasn’t held back in the transfer market this summer, spending over £200 million on a selection of players to plug gaps that were obvious last term. England international Kyle Walker was drafted in at right back from Tottenham, with France left back Benjamin Mendy brought in a few weeks later to shore up what has been a dodgy defence. It looks like Joe Hart’s time as City number 1 is up too, with Brazilian keeper Ederson brought in from Benfica for £36 million and Hart sent to West Ham on loan. Nigerian starlet and now Leicester striker Kelechi Iheanacho joined a long list of established departing players too, with names like Willy Caballero, one-season player Nolito, Jesus Navas, Gael Clichy and Aleksandar Kolarov all finding themselves at new clubs. It seems that there is a full transformation underway, with the potential for more business before the window shuts in a few weeks’ time.

Mourinho has been equally busy on the other side of the city, bringing Premier League superstar Romelu Lukaku to Old Trafford in the biggest English deal of the summer which stands at an eye watering £76 million. Moruinho also raided former club Chelsea for Nemanja Matic, bringing the Serbian North for £40 million. Swede Victor Lindelöf will also provide another option at centre back.

The big transfer story of the summer however has been the departure of club legend and leading goalscorer Wayne Rooney, who returned to boyhood club Everton on a free transfer. Despite still being a superb footballer, Rooney spent a lot of time on the bench last year and seems to have lost his clinical edge, so it’s no surprise that Mourinho has streamlined a squad that can no longer afford to carry players.

Who will finish higher?

With £200 million worth of players and Guardiola’s philosophy now surely cemented at the club, many believe the multiple Champion’s League winning manager to finally find form and dominate the league this year. New signings Mendy, Silva and Danilo will bring a bit of European flair, supporting current superstars De Bruyne, David Silva and of course Aguero who will be looking to find form again this season. However, Pogba and Lukaku looked like a force to be reckoned with in the opening game, with the big Belgian, in particular, looking like he could give both Aguero and Kane a run for their money for the golden boot already.
Both teams could easily win the league and it looks like both managers have improved the squads they inherited tenfold and instilled their own tactics and mark on each team. There is a strong rivalry between both managers and there will certainly be fireworks when both sides meet for the first time this season on the 9th of December at Old Trafford.

Source: Man United Devils


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