With the English Premier League about to kick-off in under 13 days, debate rages amongst various self anointed pundits on the outcome of another, much anticipated, season, which could see Manchester United take an overall 19-18 lead over the old Lancashire rivals, Liverpool.
What makes me belief United will take that all important lead, is that squad vs squad, United have a bigger and more talented squad than Liverpool's. Its possible that the best XI of the two sides are now quite equal, having lost Ronaldo and the unreliable, inconsistent brilliance and rare goals from Tevez , we stand shoulder to shoulder with the Alonso-less Liverpool. Although the scousers will point to last season's double over us, including the painfully horrendous display at Old Trafford, United have become a more tactically tighter unit, a concept almost completely foreign to Cristiano.
Loosing the world's best player may make the games against the lower half of the league slightly more difficult, but where Ronaldo single handedly vanquished opponents with dribbling and long range sharp-shooting, which subsequently drew more than one opponent to him, which then released the likes of Rooney, Berbatov, Tevez and the rest of the side to find space and receive balls to fashion shooting opportunities. Be that as it may, the additions of Antonio Valencia and the as yet unseen Gabriel Obertan, provide the side with the necessary speed and skill down the wings to create chances, and in Micheal Owen, we have a tried and trusted finisher who score with a regularity that will no doubt improve with confidence, match practice, fitness and service.
Unlike Liverpool, the quality of the players down our 35 -40 man squad is much greater than the quality in the liverpool squad. Although Torres, Gerrard and Mascherano are world class players, they do not have similar reliable players such as O'Shea,Brown, Scholes, Giggs and their second string line-up are not of sufficient skill to defeat lower league teams when Torres and Gerrard are rested or injured.
Although the pundits think that the games between the title-rivals will be more important than ever before, as the top 4 aim to maximize points taken off each other. However, the ability to take 3 points off Stoke away, Villa away, Spurs away and Fulham away, are more vital to title success than beating Liverpool at Anfield.
Last season, United struggled against the other top 3 teams, taking 4 from 6 vs Chelsea, 0/6 from Liverpool and 1/6 from Arsenal, yet we were still able to win the title with a game to spare because we were able to defeat the teams Liverpool and Chelsea were not able to take maximum points off. Our ability to beat the lower, mid, and upper-mid table teams is what will win up the league. We have the right balance of creativity, solidity and finishing prowess to score enough goals and concede as few as possible to win enough games to win the league.