Even though the new season has only seen two games, the Premier League standings are accurate. With two victories from two games and a goal differential of +6, Manchester City is in first place, while Manchester United is in last place with two losses and a goal differential of –5.
Despite the exaggerated responses from Manchester’s other side, United won’t be demoted this year, and there are still 36 games to play for. Similar to Liverpool’s poor start, City haven’t won the title, despite claims made by certain observers. The early six-point disparity between United and City, though, is not unexpected and emphasizes the teams’ ten-year journeys in separate directions.
Gary Neville, a sports commentator for Sky Sports and a former Red, categorized United’s key acquisitions since 2013 using a “Green, Amber, Red” scheme to show how poorly managed United has been over the past ten years. As many as 24 signings were labeled flops, with only two players making it into the green column.
If we used the same method for City’s key acquisitions—”Green” for a signing that was a success, “Amber” for a player who wasn’t perfect but also wasn’t a disaster, and “Red” for players who simply didn’t justify their acquisitions—how would City fare?
Unsurprisingly, the City list has an almost opposite appearance, with the bulk of transfers succeeding and only three failures. In contrast to Neville’s comparison of United’s transfers since 2013, we began with Pep Guardiola’s appointment in 2016.
As might be expected from a team that has won consecutive championships, the majority of the players who may be considered successes continue to play for the team. Working backwards from 2020, the defense is anchored by Ruben Dias, Joao Cancelo, and Rodri, who is among the finest in the world in his position and a true Fernandinho successor.
Despite a number of obstacles, Kyle Walker is still City’s first-choice right-back, and Riyad Mahrez has demonstrated why he was worth the £60 million transfer from Leicester. Ederson has reinvented what it means to be a goalkeeper, Bernardo Silva has been a revelation in midfield, John Stones has overcome the doubters to play a major role in City’s countless titles, and Aymeric Laporte has done the same.
Without Ilkay Gundogan, Guardiola’s first acquisition and current captain, City would not have won the title. Gabriel Jesus and Aleks Zinchenko, who just left the team, were both successful players for City and brought in a combined £45 million in revenue.
Dias, Cancelo, Rodri, Mahrez, Walker, Bernardo, Ederson, Stones, Laporte, Gundogan, Jesus, and Zinchenko are on the “green list.”
Players of “Amber”
It’s too soon to assess this season’s additions, Erling Haaland, Kalvin Phillips, and Julian Alvarez, despite the fact that all three appear to be good values, have so far made an impression, and appear to have the necessary attitude to flourish at City.
Although it would be inappropriate to put Jack Grealish on the same “red” list that Neville used to place Alexis Sanchez, Morgan Schneiderlin, and Matteo Darmian, he has yet to fully justify his £100 million price tag. Similar like before the beginning of the current campaign, Nathan Ake has just not been given enough opportunities to merit being a “Green” player, despite always playing well when given the chance.
Leroy Sane had a similar impact throughout his time at the Etihad before switching his focus to Bayern Munich, while Ferran Torres had a positive impact up until he decided he wanted to move to Barcelona. Claudio Bravo, Guardiola’s first goalkeeper, rounds off the list. He wasn’t perfect, but he did a good job.