Sir Alex Ferguson

It would have been incredibly naive if anyone had thought money would not play a huge role in changing the way the Premier League would turn out.

We have all seen it before in regards to Chelsea and Roman Abramovich during his time at Stamford Bridge as the Russian oligarch completely changed the face of English football when he arrived in 2003.

Manchester City soon got their own wealthy owners when Shiek Mansour bought the club back in 2008 and Sir Alex Ferguson knew Manchester United would be in trouble soon enough.

Although he would refuse to ever let his thoughts about any of his opponents known publicly, it has been claimed that he knew privately that the Red Devils card had been marked and that it was only a matter of time before they were facing problems from their “noisy neighbours”.

Simon Bajkowski, who reports on Manchester City for the Manchester Evening News for the last seven years, revealed to Betway that Fergie knew he and Manchester United needed to be prepared.

Speaking to the bookmaker, he said: “What he recognised with Manchester City very early on was that there was potential to cause United bother.

“Fergie was marking their card. Something serious was going on and United would need to pay attention.”

Of course, Sir Alex managed to keep Manchester City at bay for much of his remaining years at the club, as he managed to win the Premier League title in the 2012/13 season a year after the epic title race between the two sides in 2011/12 that saw a late Sergio Aguero goal make the Citizens the champions.

However, the power shift in Manchester ever since he retired has only gone one way; downwards and things do not look that great for the Red Devils at the moment either.

Pep Guardiola has since arrived at the Etihad Stadium and has taken Manchester City to a new level as they have become consistent title challengers, whilst Manchester United have lost their identity and continue to struggle to find it.

Since Fergie retired, United have had David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho at the helm prior to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who has been attracting his own detractors at the moment but he has since received a vote of confidence of sorts.

However, one thing that might work in the Norwegian’s favour ahead of the Manchester derby is that he has a rather good record when coming up against Guardiola’s side, having beaten the Spaniard in three of the last five contests between them.