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SPORTING SURMISE: CITY OR UNITED? WHAT AM I SAYING NOW!?

City V United

Has the Premier League ever been better than this? Maybe the drama that became the movie Fever Pitch when Arsenal beat Liverpool in the last few minutes of the season will be hard to beat (though not Premier League!) but here we are with three games left and the two Manchester giants both have the title in their own hands. Of course even then that “in their own hands” has a caveat because if it goes to goal difference, as it just might, then what the other team scores or their opponents concede is not actually “in their own hands!” It is exciting though, very exciting. Sir Alex’s bum has never made so many squeaks; he thought the noisy neighbours had been shut up. Mancini on the other hand has a little glint in his eye but continues to concede the title.

Of course avid readers (there must be 3 or 4 of you) of Soul Surmise will know that I conceded the title to United back at the beginning of March. Have I changed my mind? Well, if you have followed results, since I laid out that argument, City have done everything to prove me right; losing to Swansea, almost losing to Sunderland at home and that late, late goal conceded against Arsenal should have finished us off. United though, as I have said all season, are not the old United and they have faltered too. Yesterday’s 4-4 draw at Everton revealed the truth of United’s season. They have more than enough up front to score at will but behind that there are huge weaknesses particularly in midfield where, whatever anybody says, bringing a player even of Paul Scholes genius out of retirement did show a weakness. Fellaini and Pienaar exposed that weakness to full effect yesterday. City have shown a few weaknesses too. With all the Tevez controversy, few realised that City had therefore only three strikers and when one is manic Mario then a lack of options for the manager isn’t helpful. Losing Ya Ya Toure to the African Cup Of Nations interrupted the system but there has been only a flicker of the bright lights of early season form since January.

So, should I change my opinion? Have City still a hope? Well, our position is better than it was last week. However, United are 3pts ahead and will only need a draw at City to hold a huge upper hand with two games left. City need to beat United and then if that wasn’t hard enough go away from home and beat Newcastle United, the Premiership team in real form. Those two games were high in my evaluation of the situation two months back. The other side of that is that City will be disappointed that they are not in at least one Cup Final at this stage of the season. So let us imagine that United is for the Champions League, Newcastle is the FA Cup Final and we need to beat QPR to win the League! My belief is that that is too high an order. Few win trebles like our opponents have. The saddest part is that this was City’s best chance. United will be so much stronger next season. They’ve been in transition this year and will buy strong midfield players in the summer. I think Arsenal and Chelsea will also be stronger next season. Of course so will City.

Three Cup Finals. Could we? It would be amazing of we did. Tevez has had a habit of changing the outcomes of seasons. City did have to beat Newcastle 4-3 at St James Park to win their last title. It would be lovely! Just as long as United don’t beat Sunderland 11-0 to sneak it on goal difference with a defence of O’Shea and Brown! I do have to say it is more exciting than mid table!

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