I can't help think this is a punditry cliche which has become accepted wisdom when the facts don't really back it up. They finished level on points with a poor United squad managed by LvG in full retreat from his senses. After winning their first 5 games they took 51 points from their next 33 games with a load of gutless performances along the way and an ageing squad (more of this to follow) seemingly picking and choosing their games.forestfan wrote:Well, it's a "three-way coin flip" for me... United have improved most in the transfer market, but had the most ground to make up. City had perhaps the strongest existing squad, they should have the man to make it the sum of its parts as a team now, but need a couple more major signings to freshen things up.thebillfella wrote:You may see a lot of faith in Paul Pogba (leading to an edit from me at least) if that deal ever goes through...Darbyand wrote:There's a lot of faith in Pep Guardiola out there.
That squad, to my eyes looks like a classic case of a successful team from 4/5 years ago allowed to grow old together with poor replacements. Main weaknesses as follows:
Keeper who's been exposed as poor to his left - watch how many shots are placed there against him this season
All four full backs are now over 30
Kompany is still the central defensive lynchpin despite the fact he seems physically unable to play more than 20 games a season
Generally loads of players who are either just past their peak or in some cases well past it - just look at how many other players in the attachment are 30+ or close to it..all the aforementioned defenders, Fernandinho, Silva, Toure, Navas. You could make a case to include Nasri and Aguero in there especially with the latter's injury issues.
To my mind a perfect squad would be roughly a third 18-23 a third 23-28 and a third experienced pros. City seem very keen to bolster the first category with the likes of Sane, Gabriel Jesus and Stones which is good future planning but I think they're a bit short in the middle category. Only really the superb de Bruyne and Gundogan (if he can stay fit) are there. Maybe Mangala if he comes good.
So in summary, a lot of the City faith seems to be riding on Guardiola. He's obviously a great manager of great teams...... but in a new country when his team are just one in a pack rather than the standout team. Time will tell.