The power balance has shifted at the summit of the Premiership last year. Just as Chelsea rose from the pack to claim the title in 2009-2010, so it was Manchester City's turn in the last campaign. The burning question is whether Manchester City can retain the title next year or is their success the footballing equivalent of Right Said Fred's "I'm too sexy?"

Let's look at City first and consider what money can buy. Mancini has assembled a team of highly talented individuals, playing attractive football, with an average age of 26. Some doubted the collective spirit of the players, while others questioned the ability of the manager to go toe to toe with Sir Alex.

The team answered their critics, although I am sure a few City fans were holding their breath each time Balotelli touched the ball or Tevez got within a square mile of a journalist! They have not yet added to their squad, although if the rumour mill is anything to go by, there seems to be an appetite for additional personnel. The bite of UEFA Fair Play regulations may have had an impact on their freedom to sign at will but money is no object for this wealthy club.

It is often said in football that results are everything but the manner of Manchester City's victory over their neighbours at the tail end of the season was striking.

While it is dangerous to read too much into one game, City enjoyed almost 53% possession compared to 51% in the 6-1 drubbing they gave United in October. It seemed even more one sided given that City created 15 chances compared to United's 4. In short, City looked the better side in both encounters.

However, statistics also tell us that only goal difference could separate the sides at the end of the season and that United went into that derby game knowing that a draw was sufficient. They would never admit playing for a draw but somehow it is a scenario that often benefits the underdog.

Manchester United, like any team are in a constant state of transition but surely the old guard of Giggs and Scholes have done their service, along with Ferdinand now in the twilight of his career. There was much scorn when Scholes came out of retirement to help the cause but you can hardly call it desperation. My sense is that they are proving so hard to replace because they were the best of their generation by a country mile. Arsenal fans were after all happy to see Henry making a cameo, in spite of his age. Nevertheless, equally able replacements will somehow need to be located before too long and sufficient time allowed for them to get to grips with life in the deep end.

Over the elapsed time between seasons, (sometimes referred to as Summer), United have strengthened their squad with Shinji Kagawa and Nick Powell. It may yet prove to be unnecessary, as last season's injury crisis was surely a freak occurrence and without it they may have been out of sight long before May.

The rumour mill is in overdrive with stories of everyone from Van Persie to Usain Bolt linked to the club but while the idle speculation is fun to follow and suits the obsessive nature of many football fans, nothing is yet certain.

Manchester United has a relatively young side and a well-proven youth system. They have not had it all their own way since 1992 but only Arsenal, Chelsea and City have briefly interrupted their party.

While last season showed that there was little between the two Manchester sides, the next instalment will tell us how far this City side are from maturing and how United can react to both the footballing and financial challenge to their Top Cat status.

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