Manchester City’s 2-1 victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford last week will have no bearing on the future of the title race this season but it has given City an advantage over their arch rivals for next season’s battle.
The manner of City’s victory was such that the result very rarely looked in doubt. They managed to nullify a free scoring United side and made players look as ordinary as any side has done before this season.
By achieving victory on United territory City have sent out a message to say that they mean business for next season and will not allow this season’s failure to defend their title affect them.
City also put to bed the notion that their 6-1 victory the previous season was a one-off achievement. Clearly City are confident that they have the game plan to beat United anytime they play.
Some might point to the fact that United had all but won the title this season and may have been lacking motivation but any team selected by Sir Alex Ferguson will not have been complacent particularly when every game against your rival is so important.
One thing we can be assured of is that City will look to spend big this summer in order to wrestle back the title they have handed to United. Former City player Niall Quinn was certain that the vast finances of City would be put to good use.
He told BBC Sport: "I would imagine Manchester City's scouting network, regardless of who the manager is next season, is eyeing up the best of the best that may become available. You will also see them trade, and there might be one or two that go that might surprise some people."
Despite the huge finances at their disposal City will need to learn that having huge resources will not win league titles on it’s own. Most importantly City will need to become aware that being Champions brings with it the added incentive for opposition sides to beat you week in week out.
City, this season, underestimated the fact that every game is a cup final and should be played as such. Manchester United have played every game like a cup final for the past twenty years so they have the added advantage in this respect. Perhaps last year’s achievement has left City less hungry and United hungrier because of the disappointment they suffered.
City no doubt have the advantage going into next season. They will have the desire to prove that they were not just a one-season wonder.
They will certainly be rejuvenated by more world-class signings and will almost certainly improve individually on this season’s performances where very few, if any, performed like they did in their title-winning season.
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