Manchester United’s dominance of the Premier League during Sir Alex Ferguson’s time in charge at Old Trafford was done in an era when it was much easier to win the title according to Paul Merson
Paul Merson claims it’s harder for Manchester City to win the title nowadays than it was for Manchester United in their pomp – and he reckons if Pep Guardiola pulls it off again this weekend the City boss should beat Jurgen Klopp to the Manager of the Year award.
That is even if Klopp leads Liverpool to a Treble by adding the Champions League to the FA Cup and League Cup already in the Anfield trophy room. Writing in his Daily Star column, Merson said: “Guardiola is still the manager of the year if City win the title – and it’s harder now than when United were doing it.
“The Premier League is the ultimate. It’s 38 games in the hardest competition in the world. If you win it, you are the best. Jurgen Klopp has done an absolutely phenomenal job at Liverpool this season but if he does not win the league he isn’t manager of the year for me.
“Don’t forget Liverpool were put in a Champions League group they could have walked through, and they’ve won both domestic cups on penalties. They did not win the games. And look, if City get over the line that would be four titles in five years.
“I do not think they get the credit United got when they were doing it under Sir Alex Ferguson. This is a stronger league than it was when United were the dominant force. In my opinion. It was only them and Arsenal for years and years who could win it.
“It’s different now. Chelsea can beat anyone on their day. The only difference is consistency. United have been disappointing. But Tottenham have got results against both the title contenders. City could have lost to West Ham the other day.
“This is a very competitive league. So what City have done over the last five years is phenomenal. It really is. Guardiola deserves more credit for that than he gets really.”
Merson, who won five major trophies with Arsenal and played at the World Cup for England, says City play great football. But despite his praise for City’s achievements under Pep, Merson claims he would rather watch Liverpool.
“I have to be honest and say I do not like watching City,” Merson said. “It’s great football. But the other team is usually beaten before they play them. I’ve seen so many games at the Etihad when teams go there and just get their tummies tickled.
HAVE YOUR SAY! Did Ferguson’s United have it easier than Guardiola’s City? Let us know in the comments section
“They just want to get the game out of the way as soon as possible. With Liverpool you see more of a game. More of the games are close. So there’s more excitement.
“They are completely different teams. But this is a very competitive league. No-one lies down. You have to earn the right to win a football match. If you think City should be disappointed somehow if they only win the league and Liverpool win a Treble, you’d be wrong.I do not see that at all.
“I’m glad for Liverpool that they’ve taken the title race to the final day. To win two cup finals, be in another, and push City all the way, is amazing. It’s phenomenal what they’ve done. But at the start of the season it’s all about one thing. The Premier League. Thirty-eight games. Home and away. To be the best in the country.
“Don’t buy into all this hype about the Champions League. That’s just about egos. You could lose more games in that than you do all season in the Premier League and still win it!
“City can be so proud of themselves if they win another championship. That would be four titles in the last five years and that is dominant at the highest level. It goes under the radar a bit sometimes. I do not think we give them “enough credit. They keep churning out titles and go deep in every other tournament too. They’re exceptional.”