On The Ball: New season, but contrast between Manchester sides remains

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola (left) and Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag. PHOTOS: REUTERS
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The Mancunian candidates take to the stage on Sunday (Aug 7) as the contrast between Manchester City, who visit West Ham United, and Manchester United, who host Brighton & Hove Albion, remains stark. It's been a summer of change at both clubs, but the gap remains wide.

Erik ten Hag was a face in the crowd for United's final match of last season, a 1-0 loss at Crystal Palace that may register as the club's rock-bottom moment in 30 years of the English Premier League. United were aimless, shapeless and listless. Their usually boisterous away support barely mustering a chant. Ten Hag kept an admirably straight face that afternoon, fully aware TV cameras were on him while he was confronted by the depth of the job he had taken on.

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