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29 Nov 2017 12:22:36
As GDS has pointed out below, we now have our "best goal difference at this stage in a season since 2000". AJH suggests that "in any other year. we would win the league", were it not for City's record-breaking start. Others complain about our pragmatic style of play, look around at other clubs' squads and see them as stronger than our own; they regret bitterly never having tried to snatch Pep Guardiola from Bayern ourselves. So far ahead are Manchester City according to some - not only in terms of manager, style, squad-strength, but in terms of youth development, general infrastructure also - that we should give up all hope of winning the league title in the near future. At the very least until Pep leaves town.

Manchester City under Guardiola are yet to win anything. Not a Charity Shield, not a League Cup, not a Johnstone's Paint Trophy. Not a bean. I, like most people, do not believe we will be able to say this much longer, but it is not nothing. Remaining trophyless is not insignificant.

Jose Mourinho arrived last summer, and in the final few weeks of his first season in charge forged what can only be described as a winning mentality in a team that, though not entirely his own, was beginning to exhibit some of his own characteristics. This old cliche is the only suitable way of explaining what occured between the slightly fortunate League Cup final win against Southampton and the steamroller-ing of Ajax in Stockholm. In retrospect that Europa League win can appear run-of-the-mill, easy as pie, only to be expected. But did any top team in europe play a single match last season under more pressure than United were under in the final stages of that tournament? Having won nothing of significance since Sir Alex Ferguson had left? Facing the prospect of a third campaign from four outside the Champions' League? Imagine the mood right now, in and around one of the three biggest clubs in the world, had we not won that evening. Imagine the fans' mood, the media scrutiny, Mourinho's sanity levels. Would Mourinho be here? Would Lukaku? Matic? De Gea?

Winning when it really really really matters is a skill that only the very best sportspeople ever learn. It is what is missing at Tottenham, where an exciting young team with an exciting young manager look set to have an Arsenal-like season of missed opportunity. It is what is missing at Liverpool, where an enviable front four play on occasion irresistable attacking football under animated sockpuppet Jurgen Klopp. Arsenal lost the same "it" some time last decade.

Manchester City may be different. I think they probably are. They certainly have all the necessary constituent parts: the proven winner on the sidelines; the Agueros, the Kompanys who have been there and done it before in light blue; the squad bristling with speed, menace, talent.

But. But, they haven't done it quite yet. They haven't quite tipped over the top. They haven't come up against a single, defining moment and won through.

Perhaps they won't need to. Perhaps that leap has been made in their minds already on the training ground. Perhaps we will look back and see that winning mentality had developed slowly, bit by bit, over the course of the season - away at Leicester, away at Huddersfield last Sunday, in their reaction to a first defeat. Perhaps this season will be one long victory parade.

That is a very rare thing however. Very rare that a team flies free of the pack at such an early stage and stays there, never gets dragged back down to earth; never has to fight its way back up. If it does come to that - to grappling in the dirt - I think I know which team I would back to come out on top. And I think I know which manager I would prefer to lead the fight.

Agree9 Disagree1

29 Nov 2017 12:43:14
Good post but in short? city look the
Real deal to me.

29 Nov 2017 13:35:58
Being a nattering nabob of negativity, I agree that we are well behind City at the moment as far as overall talent is concerned. That is to be expected. We are only now starting to restore the level of quality required to compete consistently at the top levels after a decade of squad deterioration in the height of the Glazer debt servicing years and the inadequacy of SAF's first two successors. December is a big month for us, starting this weekend at Arsenal followed by the first derby of the season, and then a potentially tricky away game at West Brom. One way or another statements will be made.

On a very positive note we are on pace to score more than 80 goals this season compared to 64,62,49,52 in the previous 4 seasons. We are on a good trend. As brilliant as City may be this year, no team is invincible. Other teams make adjustments. A couple more top players added to the squad could well see us competing with them on equal footing, even if sometimes it may seem the dominant factor is a battle between brain and brawn.

29 Nov 2017 14:24:10
I agree, Man City look like the real deal. But I'm not giving up hope just yet.

One advantage I think City have over us, which I didn't mention above, is the greater sense of positivity their fans seem have at the moment. I'm not blaming the more "negative" fans on here, obviously, and believe that there are many understandable reasons why our team are perhaps not being as well supported as City's right now (historical reasons related to playing style etc. ) I'm not even saying that it can't change quite quickly - that a couple of defeats couldn't dint City's sense of optimism. What I am saying, however, is that it might make a difference to whether we can overhaul them in the end, to whether we can take advantage of any small fragility of mindset that surfaces if they trip up at all. Over the years, I have seen the crowd at Old Trafford drag the team over the line in tight games countless times. More and more in the last few seasons, there is a sense that the crowd is capable of that only in very special circumstances - that more and more it is the fans that rely on the team to inspire them.

I admit that it is a bit of a chicken and egg thing, that team performance feeds into fan enthusiasm and vice versa, that there is a constant flux of positivity/ negativity/ optimism/ entitlement, but why not do everything you can, as a fan, to make your season a success?

29 Nov 2017 14:31:28
I should point out that there is a massive difference between grumbling on a forum, or to your mates before the game (I am as guilty of this as anyone - I think of myself as a realist when it comes to football, but those who go with me to matches would definitely call me a pessimist! ), and grumbling on the terraces, getting on the backs of individual players, groaning at a loose pass when the chips are down. I think you can criticise all you like if in the stadium you offer nothing but positivity and support.

29 Nov 2017 14:24:10
I agree, Man City look like the real deal. But I'm not giving up hope just yet.

One advantage I think City have over us, which I didn't mention above, is the greater sense of positivity their fans seem have at the moment. I'm not blaming the more "negative" fans on here, obviously, and believe that there are many understandable reasons why our team are perhaps not being as well supported as City's right now (historical reasons related to playing style etc. ) I'm not even saying that it can't change quite quickly - that a couple of defeats couldn't dint City's sense of optimism. What I am saying, however, is that it might make a difference to whether we can overhaul them in the end, to whether we can take advantage of any small fragility of mindset that surfaces if they trip up at all. Over the years, I have seen the crowd at Old Trafford drag the team over the line in tight games countless times. More and more in the last few seasons, there is a sense that the crowd is capable of that only in very special circumstances - that more and more it is the fans that rely on the team to inspire them.

I admit that it is a bit of a chicken and egg thing, that team performance feeds into fan enthusiasm and vice versa, that there is a constant flux of positivity/ negativity/ optimism/ entitlement, but why not do everything you can, as a fan, to make your season a success?

29 Nov 2017 15:06:05
I haven't given up hope either but not every team can be number one .
I can rember Ronaldo Rooney and co coming up against peps very very good Barcelona and coming of a poor second .09 and 11
Hats of to barce, great United team but it was a better barce one .

29 Nov 2017 21:39:08
No one is giving up Jeff. We are merely stating that city as a club, team and manager are much better run at present. I think Mourinho said as much in pre season with the debacle concerning transfers. He's also trying to change the youth set up and our scouting.
Jred made a very good point that we are now paying for the years of under investment when the glazers took over.
City will not suddenly roll over and collapse. It's not going to happen. In fact, if we lose against Arsenal and they win at the weekend, they could be 11 points ahead by 2nd of December. Something special is happening across the city and we need to understand this and act accordingly.
On the points regarding our fans, the atmosphere at OT has been dreadful recently and I stand in the singing stand! Scoreboard end are as quiet as a library, and the other stands apart from the Stretford End are not much better. We all need to up our game.







 

 

 
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