1. United's focus
From the moment Sir Alex Ferguson and his squad touched down in Durban last
July on the start of a pre-season tour of South Africa, United’s ambitions
were clear. “Priority No 1 is to win the title back,” Ferguson insisted, a
point reinforced by his players throughout pre-season. Repeated success had
perhaps softened United’s edge, but from the outset, Ferguson has used the
disappointment of last season as fuel. In contrast, Roberto Mancini has
bemoaned the failure of some of his Manchester
City players to use last season as a platform to greater things –
the inference being that too many have allowed themselves to coast.
2. City's injuries
In a survey carried out by the sports injury website physioroom.com at the end
of last season, it emerged that City’s title success was built on a
foundation of supreme fitness. While Manchester
United squad were found to have lost a combined total of 1,681 days
to injury, City lost just 186 days. But this season City’s luck ran out.
Sergio Aguero has lost two months of the season to injury, Vincent Kompany
has missed nine Premier League games with repeated calf problems, and Micah
Richards has played just four games all season.
3. Vidic and Ferdinand