“]Let me begin by clarifying that I am a Manchester United supporter, so I obviously hate City. But to ignore them would be akin to sitting at home watching TV when the boy you hate next door is having a party for celebrating his selection to the national football team. They cannot be ignored any longer. Period. Training ground fights, temperamental players, wantaway stars, too much sulking talent on the bench and a defensive mindset, it’s all true but no one can now doubt the class of talent that they can put on the field.
For example, just look at a few of their players:
Joe Hart – Surely he has to be the best keeper in the league now that Edwin Van der Sar is now planting tea leaves or whatever it is that he does when he is not making world class saves. Reflexes, physical presence and even long distance running (if you remember him running from one box to another in a Manchester derby to save a goal bound Rooney teaser), he has it all. This combined with experience and surety of his position, Hart must be steaming with confidence.
David Silva – My contender for the player of the season is Silva. Pace, skill and finesse are in abundance. He favors his left foot. He adds creativity to a sometimes mundane and too defensive City midfield. De Jong and the overrated Barry start a lot of matches. You have got the running power and the pure physique of Yaya Toure. But someone has to pull the strings and Silva is as intricate a puller as they come. A definite 7-9 rating on every match.
Sergio Aguero – The next big thing? Not if you have seen him already. He is the current big thing. He along with new Liverpool star Luiz Suarez bring something different to the Premier League. This is a player to watch, no doubt.
Now Carloz Tevez is sure to stay another season at least. But I doubt if any club close to home is going to pay him so handsomely. Whatever his off-field musings may be, on the field he is a bull with dancing shoes. He can drive through the toughest defenses or dance through a watchful one.
Now couple all this with a defense of Kompany and Lescott, and you are watching a team that needs to be watched. Noisy neighbors no more, a raging volcano next door would be a better description.
City may symbolize everything bad for the purists, but they are a force to reckon with. City have bought and bought. They have inflated the transfer market so that other teams with lesser finances cannot look at a world class player now. They have brought the age old accusations of buying trophies again to the fore. But it is not all bad. Clubs would now stop looking at the marquee signings and look more at home. Youth could flourish, academies rebuilt, home grown players appreciated more and scouting strengthened. Now we are more likely to see a hitherto unknown talent plucked from the depths of Africa or South America.
The rise of the Citizens may ironically bring the rise of the youth, however different the principles of City may be. But youth or money, academy or big signing the argument may rage on but fact is City are no longer pretenders. They are contenders with a capital C.