Manchester City’s net result for its pride boosting win Monday over rival Manchester United is no more than stripping a little sheen (and even then only temporarily so) from the next trophy about to be delivered to Old Trafford.
United’s lead still stands at a formidable 12 points, never mind City’s 2-1 achievement Monday on Sergio Aguero’s latest something-special, his late game-winner in the fictional Manchester championship.
In the end, for most of us, it was just an enjoyable Monday afternoon match, one that added some bonus sizzle at the end for finishing on the highly combustible side. (Mostly just “handbags,” as they say.) The Premiership race has long since been decided.
Monday’s was a deserved win for City, who parlayed passion with intelligence in generally appearing to be the better team, creating more of the quality chances.
And all does reiterate the important point of what might have been – what dream may have come for a City side that looks, up and down the roster, like the better collection of talent.
As a collection of individual skill and know-how, City’s bunch seems more equipped than Manchester United’s to deal with the hills and mountains that appear weekly in perennially heavy weather of Premier League competition.
Manchester United’s roster is full of wonderful players, clearly – and yet City’s roster seems better stocked with absolute game-breakers. Once past Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney (on his good days), United’s roster does not reach the same starry heights. Again, we’re only talking about independent, individual assessments here.
What City clearly does not have is Alex Ferguson, master of squeezing every teeny-tiny drop of talent from the Old Trafford tube.
And what City does not have is United’s ability (linked surely to Ferguson, who has already forgotten more about the game than many manager will ever know) to grind and grind and grind across the long months.
While City was suffering questionable losses at Sunderland and Southampton, United kept grinding and grinding, turning up ways to turn draws into wins. (City also drew at home to Liverpool and Everton, for instance.)
At the end Monday, the yellow cards flew, the game was gripping and Aguero’s game-winner was just plain awesome. City deserved the night – but it’s not enough to do it once. Being crowned kings of EPL is all about doing it again and again. United still have a big edge there.