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Climbing The Football Ladder: A Tale Of Two Cities

Friday 20th January 2012
First of all let me state that I am an Arsenal fan. Between 1993-2009, If you were asked who was the biggest club in Manchester and North London, most people would have said Manchester United and Arsenal. The 2011/2012 season has seen this flipped on it head with the current top two clubs from these regions going ahead as Manchester City face Tottenham Hotspur on a real ‘super Sunday' which sees both this game and a match between the aforementioned fallen giants of United and Arsenal.

Manchester United facing Arsene Wenger's side has given us some classic moments down the years, from fights, to penalty saves, from players being sent off to managers being sent off, unbeaten runs being ended to pizza's being thrown. In 2011 this was added to with an 8-2 demolition of Arsenal as Rooney lead a United romp. The worst defensive display of the 2011/12 season and one of the worst results in Arsenal's history, was witnessed by a sold out and some what delirious Old Trafford Crowd.
Prior to that game, in North London, Tottenham Hotspur were well beaten by Manchester City in their only home defeat of the season; 5-1. Edin Dzeko scored four as Manchester City looked to send a message to their bigger local rivals. Little were they to know United had a very strong and poignant reply the same day. Tottenham were to revive their season in style losing only one match following this defeat so far this season.

For the first time in many years, the Super Sunday match between Manchester United and Arsenal will not be the biggest game played. The teams in the earlier kick-off are collectively higher in the table than Arsenal and Manchester United combined. Whilst Tottenham and City have shown attacking flair and vigour, Manchester United and Arsenal ooze defensive frailties and mishaps. Arsenal are the worst defensive team away from home in the Premier League. Whilst the fact United can score 8 against Arsenal and concede 2 is telling.

Arguably Manchester United and Arsenal have become ‘selling' clubs whilst Tottenham and City have kept and bought key players. The sale of Cristiano Ronaldo signalled a slow decline in Manchester United, whilst the bowing down to Wayne Rooney's wage demands, the need to call a player out of retirement and struggle to hold on to young talent such as Pogba and Morrison, reflects the decline of Manchester United. Whilst Arsenal selling Fabregas and Nasri along with resigning the likes of Sol Campbell, Jens Lehmann and Thierry Henry reflects their downward spiral.

Tottenham meanwhile have signed the likes of Bale, Van Der Vaart, Friedel and Parker at little expense whilst keeping hold of Luka Modric. City meanwhile have spent multi-millions building a super squad of world talent, even loaning players to the rivals as they no longer need 25 million pounds worth of Emmanuel Adebayor.

Whatever happens on this massive Sunday of football, expect the shift in power, both in Manchester and London to keep going, Tottenham and Manchester City are on the rise, Arsenal and United appear to be fallen giants; Blue is the colour, football is the game.

Thomas lane

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