Back in September ’09 when United beat City 4-3 Sir Alex Ferguson first uttered the phrase “noisy neighbours” gloating about the victory they had snatched late in injury time, it has becoming something of a buzz word that United and the press have used to beat City down with. Indeed every time either City beat United or vice versa the “noisy neighbours” have either been silenced or made a statement. It has become that much of a buzz word that City winning the FA Cup was greeted by the line of “the noisy neighbours have just got louder”
The Community Shield was a “footballing lesson” according to Wayne Rooney on twitter as United came from 2-0 down to win 3-2. Then of course came the derby at Old Trafford as City thrashed United 1-6 and yet again the buzz word popped up in most match reports as the noisy neighbours made a huge statement. There have been comments from David De Gea apparently saying that United in the long term will pip City in the race for Premier League glory.
Paul Scholes has also said similar and yet again that buzz word crept in again as Ferguson even repeated it pre the aforementioned Community Shield. Perhaps you can see the patten emerging here? Yes that’s right all the noise appears to be coming not from the Etihad Stadium but from Old Trafford. This could actually be a key in the title race United do appear that wrapped up in what City are doing instead of what they are. That said it is unusual to go in to February with the top 2 so close. Normally one side does have a healthy lead, indeed looking at the table United are ahead points wise as at the same point why is this? Simply it’s keeping on City’s tail that has got them to that level. The “Noisy Neighbours” are bringing a level of consistency and performance that means this title race could well go down to the game at the Etihad Stadium in late April or even into the last couple of games.
United do have the experience edge they have been there and won titles so many times in recent years but you actually do get then impression much as they won’t admit it their focus is on what is happening at the Etihad instead of their own performances. When interviewed you tend to see Roberto Mancini and his players asked directly about the title race and United yet they usually reply with comments about it simply being about Manchester City winning and not looking at other results. This is the key all Manchester City can do is focus on their own results and not worry about what is happening at Old Trafford or any other stadium. In my opinion that is what cost Newcastle the title in the mid 90′s as Kevin Keegan got sucked into mind games and the Toon Army threw away a title which was theirs for the taking.
There is however a difference Roberto Mancini despite still being young in managerial terms he knows what it takes to be champions as he proved in Serie A. The first title was handed to him and Inter Milan as Juventus were stripped of their win during the match fixing enquiry in ’05-’06, but he followed that that up by retaining the title twice. The term Noisy Neighbours is a United invention and actually sums them up it is them making all the noise mainly about the fact they will catch City and in the end win the title. Time will tell I don’t have a crystal ball but honestly without us would United be in their current position points wise? Will they win the title? Will City win? Who knows but it’s going to have many ups and downs as the race for the Premier League title enters it’s last games.