Early Doors

New order? Don’t bet on it

Early Doors

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Fifteen years ago this month, United lost 5-0 to Newcastle. Can you guess which of those two teams has won nine Premier League titles since?

Back in 1996, ED remembers seeing countless replays of Philippe Albert chipping an exasperated Peter Schmeichel, and wondering if there was any way back for United after so delicious a humiliation.

They promptly lost 6-3 to Southampton, and were turned over by Fenerbahce and Arsenal.

Then they won the Premier League by seven points.

ED mentions this because a lot of people seem keen to pinpoint yesterday's 6-1 battering at Old Trafford as the moment City ended United's years of dominance.

Journalists, eh? We love reading too much into things, drawing conclusions and oversimplifying.

Evans was absymal, De Gea overwhelmed, Rooney anonymous, Fergie outcoached.

So frankly, what other conclusion can be drawn from yesterday's demolition derby at Old Trafford, than that Fergie's United are finished?

The Guardian, true to its lefty credentials, is very keen on educating its readers through the 'Five things we learned' series that follows every big match.

Today's five, courtesy of Daniel Taylor (usually excellent but hamstrung by a silly concept) were:

1-City are now title favourites - True, though Taylor himself emphasises there is a long way to go yet. And City did come into the game top of the table, so their credentials as a very good side were already established.

2-Balotelli is worth the hassle - Until he gets sent off next weekend or buys himself a trip to the moon. The Italian is an extraordinary mix of the sublime and the ridiculous. You're best off not reacting too strongly either to the good or the bad.

3-United's central midfield lacks stardust - Did it really take until yesterday afternoon to learn that?

4-Milner has reinvented himself - Has he? Or has he just had a few good games?

5-Time is running out on Evans - Time has been running out on Evans since Fergie spent £30m on two young defenders.

So - not to much five things we learned as 'five things we already knew, or which cannot possibly be proven on the evidence of a single game'.

And the front of the Guardian's sport section goes one better, listing 'Six reasons why this result could herald a new era' that were actually six statistics illustrating why it's bad to lose 6-1.

Football does this. You cannot erase the image of City ripping through United three times in the dying moments.

At the moment, it feels like no other outcome was possible.

Which rather forgets that United were the better side in the first half (albeit without creating much) and City's opener came against the run of play.

ED isn't saying United will go on winning everything in perpetuity. Sport doesn't work like that. And City may very well be the next great force in English football.

But if that's the case, the sea change wasn't yesterday. It was years ago when Sheikh Mansour began his epic spending spree.

City's superiority will not be proven until they win the Premier League a couple of times - which they may very well do.

This result means a great deal to the fans of both clubs, but for the rest of us? It's three points and a whole heap of goal difference. Nothing more.

QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: "I've seen that there's a lot of comments on the internet with regards to some video footage of me in today's game. I thought Anton was accusing me of using a racist slur against him. I responded aggressively, saying that I never used that term." ED's brain aches after John Terry issues his categorical denial that he racially abused Anton Ferdinand.


QUESTION OF THE WEEKEND: "Why always me?" Early Doors doesn't see anyone else setting light to their house with fireworks.

BEAT POET QUOTE OF THE DAY: Jack Kerouac on Mario Balotelli: "The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes 'Awww!'" (Hat-tip to @incakolanews)

FOREIGN VIEW: Honestly, you people need to watch more Serie A.

Milan trailed Lecce 3-0 at half-time yesterday and brought on Kevin-Prince Boateng, who promptly thundered in a hat-trick before Mario Yepes headed the winner.

Full report here

COMING UP: Some excellent Championship fare on the menu tonight - Brighton and Hove Albion v West Ham United at 19:45 CET.

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