When last season Manchester United claimed the English Premier League eleven points above their neighbours and rivals of Manchester City, no one could have surely imagined how miserable the new season would be for the Red Devils, even considering the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson.
Contrary to Manchester City, United took an immense risk when the team appointed David Moyes as their head coach for the season. After a long stint with Everton, the Scottish manager embarked on what proved to be the most disastrous journey of his career, since he drove Manchester United straight into an abyss that might have severe consequences for them in the seasons to come. It is certainly hard to imagine an UEFA Champions League without the Red Devils, but the scenario is, in fact, even worse: United will be absent from all European competitions for the first time in twenty-five years.
The poor transfer choices made by the team’s board combined with the probably precipitated choice of Sir Alex Ferguson’s “heir” sentenced United to their worst season in years, with the Red Devils ending in the seventh place of the table, right behind Tottenham and Everton (who interestingly enough had a fantastic reaction to David Moyes’ departure).
On the other hand and, as for Manchester City, this season will certainly be on the supporters’ minds for quite a long time. After the mediatic departure of Roberto Mancini, the Citizens’ owners decided to bring in a manager of undeniable quality, who was looking for a major trophy on European football after winning the UEFA Intertoto Cup with Villarreal back in 2004. Manuel Pellegrini, kindly known as “the Engineer” back in Spain and at his home country, was in fact, the architect that projected a new Manchester City, a team that together with Liverpool became, by far, the most impressive teams of the English Premier League this season.
Pellegrini’s Manchester City combined moments of absolute brilliancy with some inconsistency here and there throughout the season but they managed to delight football fans with attractive attacking football based on solid 4-4-2 tactical scheme that some pundits labelled as “old fashioned” earlier on the season. Besides the Premier League’s title, the Chilean manager drove the Citizens to the winning of the Capital One Cup back in March by beating Sunderland 3-1 in the Wembley final.
Manuel Pellegrini has started a new chapter in the history of Manchester City, as he initiated their transformation/transition from a top English team into a respectable European football giant. United, on the other hand, took two (or more) steps back on their development as a team, especially since their owners were not able to “erase” the shadow of Sir Alex Ferguson hanging over David Moyes’ head and ended up sacking the former Everton manager when they ran out of ideas on what to do with the team.
One season after the Red Devils’ last title, the gap between both Manchester sides is enormous and United will need to build up something very special if they want to close it during the upcoming season.