Last year we heard a lot about the “power shift” that was taking place in Manchester. Manchester City had become The Richest Club In The World (TM) and therefore it stood to reason that they would overtake Manchester United. The fact that they had signed Carlos Tevez, a United fans’ favourite, who went on to be their top scorer, was further evidence to this.
However, come the end of the season, the talk of the “power shift” was sidelined. United finished 1 point away from securing a record fourth consecutive title and record 19th title, whilst City finished three points away from that sacred 4th spot.
United beat them home and away in the league but City’s biggest opportunity to assert themselves was the League Cup. After beating United at Wastelands in the first leg of the semi-final, Tevez scoring both goals, it was all set up for City to win their first trophy in over three decades. Coincidentally, the final was set to be played on February 28th 2010, exactly 34 years to the day since City last won a trophy.
City fans could barely contain themselves. Fancy knocking United out in the semi-finals only to go on to secure a trophy on an anniversary of when they won the last. That would show those Rag bastards! Roberto Mancini promised that he would take down the OT banner, which reminds them of how many years it’s been since their last trophy, whilst Garrrrry Cook said it wasn’t a question of if, but when, City knocked United out to go to Wembley.
Of course, it wasn’t to be, much to the disappointment of the makers of Blue Moon Rising. United beat them again and on the 34th anniversary of City’s last trophy, the reds won the League Cup at Wembley.
When you look at the difference in money spent between the two clubs over the past few years, there really is no excuse for the gaping difference. But as this season’s derby proved, City are miles and years away from resembling anything like the best team in Manchester. To defend a 0-0 and be happy with that at home is the behaviour of a side fighting relegation, not a side fighting to be a top club. Talk of a “power shift” is now approached more timidly.
However, as Mark Ogden mentioned today, it’s odd that people don’t talk of the “power shift” in North London. Arsenal haven’t won a trophy since 2005, after the robbery in Cardiff which saw them beat us to the FA Cup. Only Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie remain from the side that played that day. Their best player, Thierry Henry, left them shortly after, despite promising he would stay forever, and their current best player, Cesc Fabregas, is desperate to copy his exit route.
Spurs have won a trophy more recently than their North London rivals, beating Chelsea 2-1 in the League Cup in 2008. Spurs beat Arsenal 5-1 in the semi-finals on their way to Wembley that season.
Last season, Spurs finished in the top 4, five points behind Arsenal. This season, Spurs top their group in the Champions League, having beaten European champions, Inter Milan, 3-1. Arsenal, in a much easier group, are currently on the same points as Shakhtar Donetsk at the top of their group.
This isn’t to say that Arsenal are a spent force and Spurs are on the march to take North London by storm, but they are certainly better equipped than City are to claim the bragging rights in Manchester.
City haven’t won a trophy for 34 years and in that time, United have won 11 league titles, 2 European Cups, 8 FA Cups, 4 League Cups, the UEFA Cup Winners Cup, the UEFA Super Cup, the Intercontinental Cup and Club World Cup.
Spurs don’t come close to competing with Arsenal where league titles are concerned, but when you look at league finishes, they have been closer than the Manchester teams in recent years.
09/10 – Arsenal 3rd, Spurs 4th. 06/07 – Arsenal 4th, Spurs 5th. 05-06 – Arsenal 4th, Spurs 5th. Spurs last won a trophy in 2008 and Arsenal in 2005.
Then looking most recently, to their game yesterday, for Arsenal to go 2-0 up at home, it should have been game over. For Spurs to come back and win 3-2 is inexplicable. One match doesn’t decide the power, but it is the latest piece of evidence to suggest Arsenal don’t have it all their own way down there.
In Manchester, it’s a very different story. Our city is red and there’s nothing to suggest that is about to change any time soon.