With Manchester United taking a six point lead over Manchester City – people are beginning to highlight the fact that the Champions League campaign Manchester United have to face will harm their quest for Premier League glory. But will it?
The physical aspect of the Champions League will no doubt run the Man United squad down - in comparison to City's, but United have a deep enough squad to handle the added pressure of Champions League football. The returns of Chris Smalling and Phil Jones have been massive for United, and with Nemanja Vidic round the corner – the defensive fratilities look to come to an end.
A key factor is momentum.
Although playing two/three times a week may be damaging to United, momentum and adrenaline will be a massive catalyst. If Manchester United go on to win them three fixtures a week, the force and desire driving Manchester United on will no doubt last them to the end of the season.
With City playing just once a week, what happens if they lose? Their unbeaten streak at home came to an abrupt end after a dominant two year spell, and with the likes of Liverpool, Chelsea, and Stoke all set for a trip to the Etihad an upset is fiasable. That'll leave City with a week to think about the result. A week is a long time in football. A loss will result in all of City's momentum crashing down as they await their next fixture.
The mental side has affected City. The derby last weeked suggested there is still an overhang of dissapointment at Manchester City. Although the club done extremely well to come back at 2-2 the defeat will no doubt affect Mancini's men.
Without Champions League football Manchester City have less games to keep more players happy. Manchester City have the Premier League and FA Cup to fight for – there huge squad will leave a few fringe players choleric – and the ego's of Man City will no doubt leave Mancini in a difficult position.
The maximum amount of games United can play in the Champions League is seven – thats if they reach the final. In comparison to the AFCON – where City will be without talisman Yaya Toure.
So although Manchester United have the Champions League to worry about – City will have to manage without Yaya Toure when it comes to the New Year, the precise period where Manchester United begin to really play.