Blogs & Opinion


Jamie Redknapp:

Most Popular Posts:

Recent Comments:

Stuart Mcdermott on The thin blue line

"Jamie, superb article as always! I have to say that, as always, you're spot on. Arsenal have no momentum going into the last 5 games and i can't see them getting the results they ... " View all comments

Expect unexpected

Twists and turns to come in the Premier League title race, says Jamie

Jamie Redknapp - Jamie Redknapp Posted 4th January 2013 view comments

As the Premier League takes a break for the FA Cup third round weekend, Sir Alex Ferguson will be happier than his Manchester City counterpart, Roberto Mancini, with his Manchester United side seven points clear at the top of the table.

But the title is far from won yet.

United are favourites to reclaim the crown but there's a long way to go; both teams have factors which could affect the title race falling in their favour - and the drama of last season's finale shows how quickly things can change.

Ferguson and Mancini: who will be smiling come the end of the season?

Ferguson and Mancini: who will be smiling come the end of the season?

With six games to play at the end of last season Ferguson's side had just moved into an eight-point lead with a win over QPR, and Arsenal's defeat of City, after Mario Balotelli had been sent off, left most - myself included - expecting United to win a 20th league title.

United were right where they wanted to be and it was assumed Ferguson's side would - as they usually seem to do - avoid any mistakes and get the required points needed to win the league - but last season the rulebook was thrown out the window.

Both teams have factors which could affect the title race falling in their favour - and the drama of last season's finale shows how quickly things can change.

Jamie Redknapp
Quotes of the week

Free £10 bet
New to Sky Bet? We're offering all new customers a free £10 bet. Claim now

United lost to Wigan, dropped two points against Everton (despite leading 4-2 going into the final ten minutes) and defeat to City at the Etihad swung the advantage back to the blue half of Manchester.

So, despite the seven-point deficit, there's no reason for City fans or players to think they aren't able to turn this around.

Chance

However, it's vital the champions are still within touching distance of their neighbours come April 6 when the sides meet at Old Trafford.

If City can still be seven points behind - or better - going into that game (and they'll need to cut out the mistakes which saw them lose to Sunderland on Boxing Day and nearly get caught out against Reading before Christmas) then they'll have a chance.

If City win that encounter and reduce the difference to four points then United will get nervous, the pressure will be on and who knows what will happen; footballers are only human after all.

Mancini will, no doubt, be quick to remind everyone what happened when United began to let a cushion at the top of the table slip last season...

However, City would much rather be playing that crucial, decisive second meeting at home, as they did last season - but the fixtures have fallen in United's favour this time round.

Both sides still have to play the rest of the current top six once more in the league - but for United three of those five games are at home, while City must play all but Chelsea away.

United, though, have the added complication of the Champions League to worry about; while City will be disappointed to have finished bottom of their qualifying group, their absence from the knockout phase is an advantage in terms of their Premier League ambitions.

United face trips to QPR and West Ham after their away and home ties to Real Madrid, respectively, and, although those fixtures could have been tougher for Ferguson's men, it is still not ideal to have to play on the road after the physically and mentally draining experience of Champions League knockout games against the Spanish giants.

Key

Ferguson, though, has the added advantage of Robin van Persie in his line-up; last season Unitedy lost the title on goal difference so in the summer he went out and bought the best centre-forward in the country.

I predicted he'd be the difference between the teams this season and that's proved to be the case so far, with even Mancini admitting last week that the Dutchman has played a key role in United pulling clear at the top of the table.

In contrast, City have the troublesome Mario Balotelli in their squad, who wouldn't last two minutes at Old Trafford.

He's a problem in the dressing room; he always has been and always will be. Yes, he's a talent - but is he worth the hassle? He just seems to bring negative press on the team.

City won the title last year but Balotelli nearly blew it for them with his sending off against Arsenal. He's extremely lucky a lot of the fans still stick by him and the manager is very protective of him, but I fear he could be their downfall in the end.

The contributions of Van Persie and Balotelli to each side's cause over the next few months will be interesting to see, but there are many factors which decide a title race - from fixtures and talent to attitude and experience.

And, as last season taught us, we should expect plenty of twists and turns before the final whistle in May.

Comments (6)

  • Page 1 of 1
  • 1

Atish Rahbar (Manchester United fan) says...

This is the 2nd time I have read Jamies article about how it is a disadvantage for Manchester United in the league for their involvement in the champions league where Man city is out of it. But I must point out that lack of games for the relatively huge Man city squad will also mean lesser chances for some bigger players. This means, he either has to rotate his squad a little too often which will result in not gelling the first XI perfectly and also this will result in downward moral for the big names not getting games as regularly as they would like. Manchester United has a big enough squad to cope with 3 ongoing tournaments but does Man city has enough games to boost up their players moral and keep them happy? In my opinion this is a million dollar question to the players of any team who wants to perform at its best. "Are you happy?"

Posted 04:44 8th January 2013

Alan Clarke (Manchester United fan) says...

utd are up for it after the disapointment of last season and so for me utd to win by a big margin at least 8 points

Posted 23:12 6th January 2013

Umair Ali (Manchester United fan) says...

I see everyone talk about being in the Champions League. Well i dont see it as an disadvantage. Its good psychology that you are involved in best competition of hte world. United were knocked out in 2006 but it was never an advantage to chelsea

Posted 12:45 6th January 2013

Rob Mudriczki (Manchester City fan) says...

Good analysis. Utd have pulled clear with a high win percentage and the 'we'll score more than you' approach. I'm a City fan and think that Utd will be succeptible to the odd defeat here and there and don't think that City can play any worse than the first half of the season so it'll be interesting. The Top 6 away games may prove difficult as these are the games that you need to play well in to win. Chelsea were shocking when we played them not so long ago but we completely let them off the hook whereas Utd got a somewhat fortunate win albeit through a more positive approach. I think last season proves anything can happen in this league and that although both teams play a different style they are well matched.

Posted 13:28 5th January 2013

Reno Diamonte (Manchester United fan) says...

Jamie you hit the nail right on its head...Ballo wouldn't have lasted 2 minutes at Old Trafford. As for City, well they still have other issues. Not just Mario Balotelli. Mancini's atittude with the other players, for example. Even if Citeh beat(which I doubt very much) Man Utd they will have no chance of catching up with United. Why.? Because the players at United learned their lesson well last season. I honestly think that Chelsea will overtake Citeh and finish second in the PL.

Posted 07:27 5th January 2013

Dave Imeson (Manchester United fan) says...

Mr jamie redknapp your opinions are of your last season yes utd blew 8point gap and ony lost title in last few seconds .this season utd have leant their mistakes of past.with rvp he's made diffrence not rooney yes defence is leaky but vidic is back but not as sharp as of yet.hopefully if a certain transfer of sergio ramos goes though the defence will be sharp as ever.do we need rooney??? Snejiear would be a benefit in midfield to me sir alex needs to look at future rio evra and vidic will be moving on or end of contracts injurys fitness is a question mark hanging over them.if he signs ramos as rumored need to replace evra asap buttner is not up to it as off yet

Posted 17:24 4th January 2013

  • Page 1 of 1
  • 1

back to top

Other Football Experts:

Latest Posts in Football:

Graeme Souness

Souness: Chelsea, City will progress

Graeme Souness tips Bayern Munich to win the Champions League, but says City and Chelsea could go close....

Paul Merson

Merse: Trophies far off for Arsenal

Paul Merson says Arsenal's defeat in Dortmund shows why silverware could be beyond them this year....

Gary Neville

Nev: Ron return 'more possible'

Gary Neville has responded to the rumours that Manchester United could bring back Cristiano Ronaldo....

Latest News RSS feeds

Gerrard: Liverpool will learn

Steven Gerrard says Liverpool must “learn to crawl before we can walk” after scraping past Bulgarian minnows Ludogorets.

Merse: Trophies far off for Arsenal

Paul Merson says Arsenal's defeat in Dortmund shows why silverware could be beyond them this year.

Live transfer updates

Alan Hutton signs a new Aston Villa deal, while Eden Hazard is in talks over extending his Chelsea contract.

Rooney thankful to Ferguson

Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney has paid tribute to Sir Alex Ferguson for the vital role he played in his career.

Gutierrez battling cancer

Newcastle United winger Jonas Gutierrez has revealed he has been receiving treatment for testicular cancer.

Features

EDEN HAZARD EXCLUSIVE: Chelsea’s No.10 on Champions League ambitions and setting Ballon d’Or targets

EDEN HAZARD EXCLUSIVE: Chelsea’s No.10 on Champions League ambitions and setting Ballon d’Or targets

When Chelsea conquered Europe for the first time in their history with an epic UEFA Champions League final win in May 2012, Eden Hazard was sitting, watching his television in a hotel room in France.

Champions League: In-form Chelsea new boys Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas have unfinished business in Europe

Champions League: In-form Chelsea new boys Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas have unfinished business in Europe

History has a way of filtering the noise and distilling lengthy stories down to their essence. The narrative of the 2012/13 Premier League season will always be that Manchester United bought Robin van Persie from Arsenal and promptly won the title.

Mario Balotelli: Liverpool 2 Ludogorets 1 - How did the striker perform for Brendan Rodgers’ team as the Champions League returned to Anfield?

Mario Balotelli: Liverpool 2 Ludogorets 1 - How did the striker perform for Brendan Rodgers’ team as the Champions League returned to Anfield?

It was an edgy evening for Liverpool after five years away from the European Cup and it took injury-time drama for minnows Ludogorets to be beaten on Merseyside.