"Football is a funny game" someone said and its very hard not to agree with him. Barclays English Premier League, Europe's most televised, most physical and maybe the toughest has seen a lot of changes in terms of dominance by teams. The Merseyside teams - Liverpool and Everton were the teams to beat in the 80s with the former racking up many titles in the process.
The 90s saw the emergence of Manchester United under the reign of the greatest manager on earth - Sir Alex Ferguson. He was more than happy to take up the challenge of beating Liverpool's record of 18 titles and slowly and steadily his dream took the Manchester Club to great heights which included a Champion's League Crown. The club produced some footballing greats - David Beckham was one.
Just when everyone thought that United were untouchable, a Frenchman entered the fray - Arsene Wenger. So talented was his team that they Didn't Lose One Game in the 2003-04 season; the team famously dubbed " The Invincibles ". Arsenal's youth system was more than capable to rival United's who combined with the experience that Wenger got to dominate the league at the turn of the century.
2005-06 were the Mourinho years for Chelsea - a team whose fortunes changed with its takeover by Russian Billionaire Roman Abromovich. The influx of finances brought in World Class players who repaid their manger's faith with back to back titles after 55 years.
07-10 was a power struggle between United and Chelsea, the title going to United thrice in those years. However " the Big Four " of England - Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and United were going to face a worthy challenger and they were " the Noisy Neighbours of Manchester " - Manchester City.
City have always been in the fray only to become "also rans" towards the end of the season. HH Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan ( Ruling Family of Abu Dhabi ) bought the club and supporters knew fortunes were about to change. Signing players from all across Europe, notably Silva, Aguero, Toure from Spain, Dzeko from Germany, City were going all out for the crown in 2010. The English Clubs including the Big Four lost some players to City earning them the term " the club for Rebels ".
2010 saw them displace Arsenal and Liverpool for the third spot and the Big Four had now become the Big Five.
Manchester United's title in 2010 was their 19th, dethroning Liverpool to become England's most successful Club in Premiership History. This added fuel to City's fire who responded with more signings in the transfer season in their quest for the 2011 title.
Roberto Mancini had built a fantasy team and with the Owner's backing, one knew the Manchester faceoff would now be a very mouth-watering affair.
The season kicked off with a flying start for the reigning champions United who enthralled one and all with the quality of their youth. Arsenal bore the brunt with a 8-2 hammering at Old Trafford, the London club totally outclassed and struggling to catch up. Liverpool and Chelsea also had mediocre starts to the season. So the Manchester Clubs were dominating the Londoners into September - October. October featured the first faceoff of United vs City at Old Trafford but the home team failed to turn up and lost 6-1 to the horror of supporters. October, a miserable month for United saw them concede first position to City with the gap extending to 5 points. A series of injuries to important players didn't help United's cause either. City suddenly were the force to reckon with and after handing their next door neighbours a humiliating defeat went on an unbeaten run; a draw at Anfield against Liverpool their only blemish.
United, after their demoralizing loss struggled to score but amazingly didn't Lose ground to City maintaing the gap to 5 points into December. However both clubs were on the verge of a shocking exit from the UEFA Champion's League - Europe's most elite competition featuring the Best of Europe. United failed to draw at Basel and City's win at home against Bayern Munich went in vain as Napoli grabbed second spot in the group. The exit hurt United more, the team featuring twice in the last three finals with a title to their credit.
Chelsea's and Arsenal's progress into the knockout stages only rubbed salt into the wounds as United and City were left to contend in the Europa League. However United responded well winning comfortably even though they lost their captain Nemanja Vidic for the season.
City faced a tougher test as they travelled to Chelsea and lost at Stanford Bridge, their lead reduced to a meagre 2 points. Its a three horse race for the title with United, City and Chelsea capable of walking away with the accolades. The toughest league in the world just got more exciting. What lies ahead is very intriguing. I personally believe that the title will stay at Manchester but which club? Lets Watch!!