Manchester United and Manchester City are in almost identical situations, but it is Sir Alex Ferguson’s side that are better off.

 

Just two points are separating the pair in the league and both won their opening away legs in Europe’s secondary competition.

 

It may seem, on the face of it, that Manchester City are in the more comfortable place, what with their advantage in the league and a team full of expensive superstars playing winning football.

 

However, this flies in the face if common convention, which states that if it is getting close coming into the end of the season Manchester United are generally the ones who will come out on top – 12 Premier League titles of varying degrees of convincingness are the evidence of this claim.

 

While it would be foolish to dismiss the suggestion that City have a huge chance for a successful season end, GMF would challenge anybody to deny they have had that familiar feeling one gets when United look like they are going to pull it off, again.

 

Last season was the same; a number of teams were still in with a shout going into the last third of the year and it seemed like most of them were falling over each other to allow someone else to take it.

 

In the end it was the side from Old Trafford who had the deciding run of consistency to bring home the bacon.

 

City will have the Toure brothers returning, Vincent Kompany will have found his groove once more after suspension and injury, Mario Balotelli will have served his ban and it looks like the Etihad Stadium side should waltz to the title.

 

It is not that simple though, as they have the Europa League to worry about and in Europe they have so much more to prove than Ferguson’s side – surely they will naturally put greater stock into success on the competition?

Not necessarily consciously, but the lack of European pedigree may, one could argue, spark the City players' professional pride after a disappointing Champions League campaign.

 

United on the other hand, will have no such complex about making the grade in European competition, as they have been there and done it in the arena where all modern teams in search of greatness are ultimately crowned.

 

“You can't ignore the money and the quality they've got, and their strength in depth,” said Ryan Giggs in a recent interview with the club’s official website.

 

“They're obviously trying to lay the foundations for 10, 20, 30 years. Whether it happens or not we'll have to wait and see. It's just down to which team handles it (pressure) best.

 

“They've got a lot of experience, they've got players who've won things, but we like to think we've got a good mix of experience and hunger. I think the experience of doing it before with the manager (is key).

“We've got older players who've been there, and younger players who haven't and really want to win things, so hopefully that's in our favour.”

 

The United legend’s words are telling and they may ultimately prove to be prophetic.

 

City’s quest for a league and Europa League double is unprecedented in the club’s history and, in a time when constant news coverage demands a new ‘angle’ so often, they are likely to be made aware of it on numerous occasions.

 

Many United fans will have knowing smiles on their faces at the prospect of a title run in that looks to have relieved them of much of the pressure that is usually associated with a chase for league glory, such is the attention being heaped on City.

 

Some may put forward the re-introduction of Carlos Tevez to the Citizens squad as something that could give them a timely boost for the run in, but there is nothing to suggest Tevez’s influence will be anything other harmful.

 

The atmosphere in the dressing room will be tense when he and Roberto Mancini share it, not to mention the possibility that some of his team-mates may take a dim view of his self-enforced exile.

 

When it comes to the crunch, it is crucial to have the nous to deal with inevitable tricky situations and doing just enough to win – Ferguson’s United are all about nous.

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#Manchester City
#Carlos Tevez
#Premier League
#Manchester United