Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany has admitted that cross-town rivals United are the team to beat in the race for the 2013-14 Premier League title.
The Belgium international has seem his side and Chelsea both strengthen, while United have failed in efforts in the transfer market, but the defender does not feel that the champions should be overlooked.
“I think you have to keep it in the order of last season’s ranking,” Kompany was quoted as saying in the Manchester Evening News.
“United won last season so they will be the favourites, then it will be us, Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool.
“That’s how it goes but every season it changes so we’ll see how it goes. For the neutrals, it will be such an interesting season.”
The comments may simply be mind games from Kompany, but it is hard to see United as the favourites for the title at the moment, for a number of reasons.
Firstly the transfer market has not favoured United to date, but has helped City and Chelsea to improve. The Etihad Stadium outfit have spent a whopping £97 million to date on Alvaro Negredo, Stevan Jovetic, Fernandinho and Jesus Navas, while Chelsea have Romelu Lukaku returning from loan as a better player, and added Andre Schurrle and Marco van Ginkel.
United on the other hand seem to be dragging their feet slightly, as they see efforts to sign Thiago Alcantara, Cesc Fabregas and Leighton Baines fail to come to fruition. With the other sides around them strengthening, one feels that United must do likewise if they are to be in the title running come May.
With rumblings that Wayne Rooney could be ready to force a move away from United, the champions could find themselves weakened soon. Should the wantaway forward move to Chelsea, it would see a rival significantly strengthened also.
Finally, all three teams have new managers, and how the respective bosses deal with the stresses of title-chasing will dictate the teams’ fates. Jose Mourinho has been there and done it before with Chelsea, and will add a bit of fire and steel to the west London side. Pellegrini is a master technician who has led Real Madrid to domestic glory. David Moyes to date has been frustrated in the transfer market and may have played a role in ostracising one of the club’s most prominent players.
United won’t be favourites in many people’s eyes currently, with City and Chelsea strengthening – however the race for the title is set to be a lot closer this season.
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