But it has not, as yet, been able to burn off United. The inferiority complex that once marked City’s relationship with its neighbor has gone — mostly — and in recent years it has felt as if the blue half of Manchester is in the ascendancy and the red in decline.
Still, it would be a stretch to say that, even in the worst period of United’s history for three decades, the balance of power in the city has inverted. United has won three titles since City came into wealth, and made a couple of Champions League finals.
It has proved to be the only team in England truly capable of matching, almost, City’s spending in the transfer market. Its hegemony may have disappeared, but its potency has not. It has not gone quietly into the night.
Finally, this year, City — and Guardiola — seemed to have done it, and the second Manchester derby of the season, for a time, appeared to offer proof. United might sit second in the Premier League table, but it is a distant second:…