A rare Manchester double at the weekend - defeats for both teams - saw Manchester City slide to defeat at Villa Park 3-2 and Manchester United humbled 2-1 by West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford.
The other title contenders will have been watching on with glee as these results proved that neither team have hit top form this season and both look vulnerable at times.
In my opinion though United and David Moyes will have been hurt the most by their defeat. Losing one game of football is never a disaster for any club but the manner of the defeat, coupled with an inconsistent start under Moyes, adds further pressure to the new regime at the club. They are not in crisis yet but Moyes will need to start stringing consistent results together if they are to mount a decent defence of their title.
Moyes knows that he will be given time by United's hierarchy to get things right but United
supporters will become increasingly agitated with every passing defeat - they are too used to winning matches and trophies to be happy with defeats of any kind. However, I do know that United supporters trust their club and will give Moyes time before venting their frustration.
United face a very tough tie this week in the Champions League, away to Shakhtar Donetsk, a trip that will not be made easy with the amount of travelling for the players. The games come thick and fast for Moyes and that is one think he must be thankful for, he doesn’t have time to dwell on defeats as preparation will need to start immediately for his next game in charge.
Against WBA Moyes decided to reward Hernandez for his goal in the midweek victory against Liverpool by giving him a starting place, but this proved fruitless as the Mexican failed to find the net and did little to suggest he is nothing other than an impact player from the bench. I don’t think Moyes underestimated West Brom because he is far too experienced to treat opposition teams lightly.
However, I do feel that Moyes needs to look at how he rotates his squad, sometimes this in itself can be a fine art and if it goes wrong it leaves a manager open to intense criticism. Leaving the likes of Fellaini and Van Persie on the bench, albeit the Dutchman is recovering from injury, looked to be a poor decision as they slumped to defeat. If they had won there would have been no criticism, such is the fine margins between victory and defeat.
One thing Moyes can be grateful for is the resurgence of Wayne Rooney who keeps proving game after game how important he is for the club. Without him this season United may well be lower than the 12th place they currently reside in the Premier League table - just seven points from their first six league games.
In the blue half of Manchester Manchester City appear to be able to deal with setbacks much better this season. Despite their Villa defeat, and their early season shock at Cardiff, City have played with a lot of confidence under Pellegrini. They have plenty of options, particularly in attacking areas, possess pace in abundance, score freely and look invincible at home. They will certainly be in the mix for the title at the end of the season. Their challenge now is to break into Europe's elite in the Champions League. They do have a strength in depth that can now cope with these demands.
Pellegrini needs to accept that every game in the Premier League is huge, no team can be
taken lightly and that is why it is the most competitive league in the world. Pellegrini does seem to have settled into his role far quicker, and seemingly better, than David Moyes, but the season is still young and there are many more games to be played before either club can claim to have the upper hand in Manchester.
Which Manchester club do you think will be the most successful this season? Please comment below.
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