Manchester City on the ascent as United's dominance fades, says Yaya Toure

Tim Rich
Toure said City are going to be the stronger side in the years to come: Getty

There is no equivalent in Manchester to St Totteringham’s Day, the moment when it becomes mathematically impossible for Tottenham to finish above Arsenal. This looks to be the first year since 1995 when it will not be celebrated.

However, when it came to assessing who had ‘won’ Thursday night’s goalless, fractious Manchester derby, City did have one thought to cling to.

Of their remaining fixtures, the most difficult is a home game against West Bromwich Albion who have won one match in 37 years in the blue half of Manchester. City are still on course to finish above United for the fifth season in six.

To put that into context; from 1979 to 2012 Manchester United finished above City in every season bar one. You would have to go back to the 1970s to find a time when City were indisputably Manchester’s leading club.

To Yaya Toure, the sight of United’s fans celebrating the goalless draw at the Etihad Stadium was proof of how far Manchester’s balance of power has shifted.

“It is a big change because in the past United were always able to dominate,” said the midfielder. “They were always able to control and win games. Seeing their fans celebrate like that shows that City have come close.

“Of course, the history and achievements of United are much stronger but we are coming. They know now we are difficult to play and they tried to do their best to defend and use the counter-attack.

“They were strong in defence. My friend Eric Bailly was very good. Every time we finish above them it shows that City are doing well.”

At the age of 33, this may be Toure’s final season at the Etihad but his arrival in 2010 began the shift in Manchester’s balance of power which he believes will continue over the summer.

Toure attempts to get away from Mkhitaryan (AFP/Getty Images)

“United are building something very interesting, we have to be aware of that but I think City are going to be much stronger as well,” he said. “Next year we are going to expect more and I hope United are going to attack a little bit more.”

Nevertheless, given that Pep Guardiola’s side began the season with 10 straight wins, the way it has ended must be stained with disappointment.

“We need to work on our finishing to be honest,” said Toure. “As a professional I have been here for seven years and I understand how the game is.

“Sometimes, you have to cope with that. Teams are always thinking of counter-attacking against us and that is the difficulty. That is why the Premier League is the best in the world. It is so demanding so hard and you always have to fight against yourself to succeed.”

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