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Premier League 2018-19: A tale of two Manchester clubs

Kishore Kumar
CONTRIBUTOR
Feature
433   //    26 Dec 2018, 23:09 IST

The crests of Manchester United and Manchester City
The crests of Manchester United and Manchester City

In the last five years, the two Manchester clubs have had contrasting tales and fortunes. Manchester City have gone on to win two Premier League titles, and on the other hand Manchester United have struggled for Champions League qualification barring last season's second place finish.

Manchester United, the most successful English club of all time, have been down in the dumps ever since the end of the Ferguson era.

Ferguson's successor David Moyes was a total failure. Then Louis Van Gaal was expected to change the fortunes of United, which didn't quite happen. Finally, they placed their trust in the Special One, Jose Mourinho. But he too was sacked last week.

Mourinho seemed to have been taking United in the right direction by winning UEFA Europa League, the EFL Cup, the FA Community Shield and finishing second in the league last season. But he fell out with his own players, and this season's poor start paved his way out.

Manchester City, the defending champions, have been completely transformed by Pep Guardiola. City's attack is a threat to any defense. They have won two doubles this decade - one during Manuel Pellegrini's era and the other with Guardiola.

Before today's loss, City were widely expected to win a treble this season, with the only hurdle in their path being Liverpool. City were knocked out of last season's Champions League by Liverpool, and at the moment Klopp's Reds are leading the points table in the Premier League.

United's failure is not just due to the managers, but also because of the players. Some of their top signings have poorly performed such as Angel di Maria, Memphis Depay, Radamel Falcao, Schweinsteiger and Schneiderlin.

Their latest signing Alexis Sanchez has had a quiet campaign too; his performance in United so far has been only a shadow of what it was at Arsenal. Paul Pogba's moments of brilliance are often overshadowed by his blunders.

The Red Devils have spent a whopping 630 million euros on new signings post the Ferguson era.

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City have been smarter in the transfer market, and their 2015 signing Kevin de Bruyne has won the team's Player of the Year award twice. Last season City bolstered their defense by signing Walker, Mendy, Laporte and even their goalkeeper Ederson, who has performed exceptionally well. This season their signing Mahrez has made their attack even more formidable.

But the story has been a little different the last couple of weeks. United won 5-1 against Cardiff, the first time they scored five goals post the Ferguson era. The Red Devils played with freedom and were attacking throughout the match.

The negativity during Mourinho's period seemed to have been replaced by a much more positive approach. Solskjaer's effect was starkly evident.

Guardiola's City, meanwhile, had a shocking result, as Crystal Palace surprised them. Their bad run of form has continued this week, as they were upset 2-1 by Leicester City.

Will Manchester United's resurgence last, or can Manchester City return to the top? Only time will tell.

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Kishore Kumar
CONTRIBUTOR
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