|photo by kamshots||via PhotoRee|
And it was bitter, the United vs. City scrap. It seems that City's resources have in a few short years eclipsed the efforts of United. I didn't like the line-up Sir Alex put on the pitch to start the game. Park simply wasn't ready, and Giggs looked his age a bit. Like many, I thought Welbeck and Valencia deserved the start. That said, United simply didn't have the means to purchase a big named midfielder, as their debt has caught up with them. City, on the other hand, were two deep at every position, and Ya Ya Toure dominated the center of the pitch.
The question is whether this turning point is permanent, or whether this battle will rage on. I suspect that it's a bit of both. City will probably have the upper hand in the years to come, with United pushing through from time to time. Sir Alex's anger -- though justified -- appeared the final scratching and clawing against the unstoppable force that is now City.Will City hold on to win the league? Probably, although not certainly. But I'm not sure it will matter much over the long haul. City dominated United at Old Trafford and held United without even a chance on goal at the Emirates. They're the better team, this City, and that in and of itself is amazing. Welcome to the new era of the BPL.
Turning to Spurs, it was nice to seem them dominate a poor team, and somehow with that single victory they look like the favorite to finish in fourth. Sir Harry is out as England manager, and the next three games are what it's all about. Win at Bolton and Villa, and then at home at Fulham, and they've done it. Not easy, really, but it now seems possible. The biggest threat, I think, is not Newcastle, but a re-energized Chelsea.
****Wow has Chelsea come around. Sometimes it's easy to disregard a manager in favor of his players, but it seems Roberto DiMatteo has completely changed the attitude and ability of this team. ABV made the classic mistake of putting his system before the personnel. With the right system, the team starts to win, confidence is restored, and now Chelsea look among the best in the world. It would be strange if DiMatteo doesn't get the job at this point. That said, I still believe Bayern is the favorite in the Champions League finals. But I wouldn't put Chelsea out of the top four yet. It's possible if not likely that they will win out and take the fourth spot over Spurs, a somewhat ironic result.
And what about Roy Hodgson as England manager? Well, he's as good a choice as any. A wealth of international experience and success, a knowledge of all the England players, and a simple system of play -- who isn't familiar with the 4/4/2? The only question is whether Hodgson will be able to handle the big name players better than he did in Liverpool. But I think this question is unfair; judging him from his brief days at Liverpool would be absurd. Look to Hodgson to have a successful European campaign. England come in with low expectations, and with more speed than I've seen in some time with players like Welbeck and Sturridge.
This is farlieonfootie for May 2.