Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur are suffering from the same problems
For the neutrals hoping to see the gap close at the top of the Premier League, last weekend was a bad one.
Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur both suffered shock home defeats, to Crystal Palace and Newcastle United respectively, leaving them both on four points after three games, five off the top.
It is likely the gap will only widen as the campaign develops, since both United and Spurs have incomplete squads that — as unpalatable as it seems — cannot compete with Manchester City and Liverpool. And it really is neutrals, as well as United and Spurs fans of course, that will mourn the chasm this season. Liverpool may closely challenge City again but in all likelihood we’ll see Pep Guardiola’s side stroll to a third successive title, which will diminish the league’s excitement.
Now to the evidence which explains the widening gap.
Firstly, United and Spurs both appear ill-equipped to break down defensive teams who come to their cavernous stadiums and park the proverbial bus. Neither side signed the X-factor players in forward positions that they needed in the summer. Both spent and strengthened (Spurs on Tanguy Ndombele and United on Harry Maguire), but both will look blunt at times this season.