Manchester is a major city in the northwest of England and it has two major football clubs, Manchester United and Manchester City. This city is likely to be the capital of English football after the arrival of Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola at Old Trafford and the Etihad respectively.
The arrival of big names like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Ilkay Gundogan shows the city is able to attract a lot of top quality players. United are still one of the biggest clubs in the world, despite their failure to challenge for the title since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement.
City, on the other hand, have been rising to the top as they look to compete in all fronts. They have appointed Guardiola, who has achieved success at Barcelona and Bayern Munich and the Spaniard will be looking to continue it with his new employers.
Mourinho started his managerial career at Benfica and then União de Leiria. After impressing at these two clubs, he landed the managerial job at Porto. Since then, he has won league titles at every club he has been and the list includes Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid.
He even won the league with the Blues in his second spell at the west London club. In addition to this, he has two Champions League winners medal to his name.
Mourinho won the La Liga title with the Spanish capital club, defeating Guardiola’s Barcelona. The two will see their sides join Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Leicester City in the Premier League title race next season.
Soccerlens looks why Mourinho is expected to rise to the occasion and beat Guardiola’s City to win the Battle of Manchester.
Mourinho has the experience of managing in the Premier League and that will be a massive advantage, especially when United travel to away matches. Guardiola might have had a hint of what the away games in England’s top flight club competition might be, but he is likely to face challenges in away matches, especially against teams like Stoke City and West Ham United.
Louis van Gaal struggled in his two seasons when he took his side away from Old Trafford. The Dutchman, who had vast experience of managing top clubs across Europe was unable to cope with the away matches and Guardiola would also take time to adjust.
In addition to this, Guardiola hardly had any tough competition at Bayern, while Real were the only club challenging Barcelona during his time at the Catalan club. Things will change in England as there will be tough competition from four to five clubs for the title, while seven to eight sides challenging for top four finish.
United have already bolstered their squad as they are making quality additions this summer. So are City, but making overhaul changes to the squad/starting lineup could see the new players struggle to adapt to the challenges of the Premier League.
However, a massive concern for the former Barcelona manager would be the fitness of his star players. The list includes the likes of Sergio Aguero, David Silva, Vincent Kompany and Samir Nasri, while Gundogan is still recovering from his injury. These players are injury prone and their absence could hurt City and Guardiola.
During Guardiola’s time at Barcelona and Bayern, the squad he inherited had several world class players. At City, things are different. The majority of these players are injury prone, while few of them are going through a rough patch.
At United, Mourinho’s key players are not struggling just like the way the players at City are struggling. Raheem Sterling and Yaya Toure, along with Joe Hart, who had a disappointing Euro 2016 with England are the best examples of the players struggling at the Etihad. His full-backs are in their 30s and that could be a matter of worry for Guardiola.
Guardiola’s prefers tiki-taka football and to understand his philosophy, players are likely to more time to adjust to the new techniques. If this goes on for months, City could potentially be out of the title race in the early stages of the season. In addition to this, his tough training regime could have an impact on the players, which could result in more injuries.
The Premier League fixtures come thick and fast, especially during the festive period. Louis van Gaal has complained about the fixture list during his time in England and so has Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.
Guardiola has enjoyed the winter break in his previous clubs. However, things are going to change with City as they will face more fixtures in December and January (all competitions). The same applies for Mourinho, but his Premier League experience could help United overcome this situation.