EPL 2012-13: Can Red Devils topple the Blues of Manchester?

Written by: William D'Souza

A new season of the English Premier League beckons and with that comes a new season of opportunities for the big guns of English football to showcase their talent. Well it's a known fact that the usual suspects are without a shadow of doubt the two Manchester giants City and United.

Previously, City were nowhere close to matching United's superiority but in recent history the Blues have emerged as a powerhouse of English football courtesy Sheik Mansur owner of Manchester City football club and his big money spending.

Can United silence the noisy neighbours?

Mansur meant business by sacking former boss Mark Hughes, currently managing Queens Park Rangers, and appointed Italian Roberto Mancini who had a successful spell with inter Milan helping them lift three Seria A titles. With City, he has won two cups in his honours including the FA Cup in 2011 and the Premier League title in 2012, but is that enough after spending nearly investing 300 million pounds on players.

All he could muster was a premiership title last season and the FA Cup in 2010. Man City hierarchy surely have a lot of faith in Mancini as well as the fans who call him 'Bob Manc'. Last season was a huge disappointment in terms of Champions League football for City and United, both clubs failed to get past the group stage of the competition which was such a huge disappointment not only for the players but also for their faithful supporters.

However, Ferguson has stated that reclaiming the Premier League title is their number one priority. The Red Devils have been in the transfer market after making two major signings in the form of Shinji Kagawa from Borussia Dortmund, 18-year-old Nick Powell and have also released striker Michael Owen, who was allowed to go on a free transfer. Talks have been doing the rounds surrounding the future of flop striker Dimitar Berbatov, but none of the clubs are interested in the 30-year-old Bulgarian. South Korea star Ji-Sung Park completed his move to Queens Park Rangers for a fee worth £3-4 million.

With the arrival of Arsenal's Robin van Persie, United can move a step ahead of rivals City to reclaim the crown of English football. Rooney-Van Persie upfront can be a lethal combination and can be termed as the best strike force in the League. Though United have a long list of attackers, the two strikers are favourites to start ahead of Danny Welbeck, Javier Hernandez, Fedrico Macheda and Berbatov.

However, rivals City too have their own deadly combo of strikers with Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez, Edin Dzeko and Mario Balotelli. Last season when City beat United 6-1 most critics and pundits said that the balance of power was shifting City's way and United's dominance of English football was drawing to a close but the Red Devils bounced back to challenge for the title till the last match day.

City emerged victorious with a better goal difference but can they dominate yet again or will United be crowned champions for a record 20th time, remains the big question.

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