If a week is a long time in politics, then 24 hours is an eternity in the hyperbole-filled world of football’s English Premier League – variously described as the richest, most exciting, most talked about and most watched league on the planet.
Indeed, if you’d read any of the analysis before Sunday afternoon’s eagerly awaited encounter between Abu Dhabi-owned Manchester City and American-backed Manchester United you could easily, and erroneously, have gathered the impression that City were deep amid a crisis.
A faltering start to the league season, in which City had only fleetingly impressed following a summer of heavy investment in new players would, according to the pundits, soon be made to look even less impressive when United came calling at the Etihad Stadium. David Moyes’s United team had, meanwhile, dealt competently if not spectacularly with a few tough fixtures and were ready to shine, predicted the same narrative.
The pre-match postulating was reduced to rubble after kick-off. City prevailed by 4-1 and produced a performance to make the whole sporting world take notice (there’s that hyperbole again). In the process, they also proved that football, once called “the ballet of the masses”, is often full of more twists and unexpected turns than Swan Lake.