The Premier League Spectrum: Comparison between Manchester City and Cardiff
The Premier League is and always has been intriguing. It provides lasting memories. The new campaign, although in its infancy, demonstrates a huge contrast, too. A fine example is defending champions Manchester City and newly-promoted Cardiff City. So, how different are the two clubs?
Dominant in England, Man City proved credentials beyond doubt last season. The progression under Pep Guardiola shone through, bringing about deserved rewards. They broke numerous records. Racking up 100 points, the Citizens were the first team to hit the three-figure mark in Premier League history. They also scored 106 goals while having the best goal difference with +79.
The turning point in City’s history was, of course, the takeover a decade ago. The Abu Dhabi United Group brought in huge investment to foot a stronghold at the club. This financial backing has continued, helping to deliver stability and major success.
Since the takeover, City have become a real force in English football. A fifth and fourth-placed finish, two third-placed spots and twice runners-up have only been overshadowed by the three league trophies paraded at the Etihad.
Unwilling to stand still, Man City strengthed once again this summer. Most notably Riyad Mahrez from Leicester City. In all, spending amounted to just over £60 million. Not as much as Guardiola has lavished in recent transfer windows. But there is no need to sign a lot of world-class talents when so many are already owned.
Sergio Aguero signifies the quality possessed. City's top scorer for seven consecutive seasons, the Argentine has notched 146 times in 210 league matches. His most famous moment was the last-minute winner against Queens Park Rangers to clinch the 2011/12 title. With 204 goals in total, he is the club's highest ever marksman.
Guardiola's men have collected 10 points from a possible 12 this campaign. They're expected to continue good form and make a solid title defence. A regular rotation will be in place to ensure every player remains at peak. Pep is seeking perfection.
Cardiff City is quite the contrast to the Premier League's reigning champions. Championship runners-up last campaign, the Bluebirds are partaking in their second season in England's top flight since it was rebranded 26 years ago. Their other attempt was in 2013-14. They finished bottom with only 30 points.
It comes as no surprise Cardiff are favourites to lose Premier League status come May. This is mainly due to lack of transfer activity. Particularly compared to the other newly-promoted teams, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Fulham.
The Bluebirds spent £28 million this summer. That may seem an acceptable amount, but it was dwarfed by both Wolves and Fulham. The West Midlands outfit totalled £66 million, while the Cottagers eclipsed £98 million.
However, Cardiff are better equipped than last time. They can learn from the past. Neil Warnock has vast managerial experience. He knows survival will be no easy task. Currently sitting 16th with two draws and losses, getting early points on the board was crucial. The first victory will provide a real booster.
The Bluebirds' only two goals up to now were scored against Arsenal in their last encounter. Even though they lost 3-2, it felt like the key had been found to open up possibilities. The performance has given supporters real hope.
Cardiff's upcoming fixtures couldn't be much tougher. Chelsea away and Man City at home are both games where extra focus is required. A decrease in morale will affect mentality going forward. Warnock's team can't afford to let that happen at the highest level.
Despite not viewed as a side with huge Premier League quality, the Bluebirds are capable of causing upsets. They must find consistency by grabbing points whenever possible. Doing so could stave off relegation.
The difference between Manchester City and Cardiff proves the Premier League has its own spectrum. The defending champions possess endless quality to mount another title challenge, whereas the top-tier newbies rely on fighting spirit to battle against relegation.
The contrast can be witnessed when the two sides collide on 22 September at the Cardiff City Stadium.