WithPepGuardiolaatManchesterCityandJoseMourinhoatManchesterUnited,ManchesterthreatenstobecomethecentreofthefootballinguniverseduringthenewPremierLeagueseason。

TheculturedCatalanandprovocativePortuguesecontestedabitterrivalryduringtheirtimeinSpainandwith44top-leveltrophiesbetweenthem,theyarethebiggestmanagersinthegame。

NowchargedwiththeresponsibilityofhaulingthetwoManchesterclubsbacktothetopofthetable,theoutcomeoftheirpersonalduelcoulddeterminewhosucceedsLeicesterCityaschampions。

ItsUnitedorCity。

Youcantlookpastthosetwomanagers,saidformerUnitedcentre-backRioFerdinand。

Naijabet

Theyarecomingfromdifferentplaces,withJosewantingtoprovetheseasonatChelseaisaone-off。

AndPepisjustaproven,serialwinneroftitleswhereverhesbeen。

ThestoryoftherivalrybetweenGuardiola,45,and53-year-oldMourinho–sackedbyChelsealastDecember–hasbecomeoneoffootballsmostoft-repeatedtales。

TheyfirstcrossedpathsatBarcelonainthemid-1990s,whenGuardiolawascaptainandMourinhoworkedasanassistanttoBobbyRobsonandLouisvanGaal。

DespitestunningsuccesswithPortoandChelsea,MourinhowasoverlookedinfavouroftheinexperiencedGuardiolawhenBarcelonaappointedanewmanagerin2008,partlyduetofearsabouthisconfrontationalstyle。

MourinhoreactedjoyouslywhenhisInterMilansideknockeddefendingchampionsBarcelonaoutoftheChampionsLeaguein2010,tearingacrosstheCampNoupitchincelebration。

HisappointmentbyRealMadridthatyearbroughthimintodirectconfrontationwithGuardiola。

MourinhosfirstClasicoendedinahumiliating5-0defeat–theheaviestofhiscareer–andasequenceoffourencountersintwoweekslaterthatseasonsawtherivalrybetweenthementurnugly。

Inthebuild-uptotheirmeetinginthefirstlegoftheChampionsLeaguesemifinals,whichBarcelonawentontowin2-0,Mourinhosacerbiccommentspromptedanangry,foul-mouthedresponsefromtheusuallyplacidGuardiola。

ThatyearsSpanishSuperCupwitnessedanewlowintherelationshipbetweentheclubsasMourinhopokedGuardiolasassistantTitoVilanovaintheeyeduringatouchlinemelee。

SinceGuardiolaleftBarcelonain2012,theirteamshavemetjustonce,GuardiolasBayernMunichbeatingMourinhosChelseaonpenaltiesinthe2013UefaSuperCup。

AsubstandardBeijingpitchhavingnixedlastmonthsscheduledfriendlybetweenUnitedandCity,theirnextencounterwillbealeaguematchatOldTraffordonSeptember10。

Discussingtherivalry,MourinhohassaidthatthereisnosenseinhimgoingafterGuardiolaashedidinSpain。

Inasituationlikethis(inSpain),individualfightsmakesensebecausetheycaninfluencethings,hesaid。

InthePremierLeague,ifIfocusonhimandManchesterCity,andheonmeandManchesterUnited,someoneelseisgoingtowintheleague。

Guardiolahasspokenabouttherivalryinpositiveterms。

Theyhelpme,thebigcoaches,andJoseisoneofthem。

Theyhelpmetoreachanotherlevel,hesaid。

Myexperienceagainsthim,against(Jurgen)KloppatDortmund,theymademebetter。

ThecircumstancesofthetwomensarrivalsinnorthwestEnglandonlyservetoemphasisethedifferencesbetweenthem。

GuardiolasmovetoCityhasbeenlongintheoffing,theclubsEmiratiownersenrollinghistwoformerBarcelonaalliesFerranSorianoandTxikiBegiristaintopreparethegroundforhimyearsinadvance。

MuchashedidatBayern,GuardiolaisexpectedtogiveCityadistinctiveplayingstyleandestablishatemplateforsuccessthatcanbefollowedforyearstocome。

MourinhosmovetoOldTraffordwasfarmoreprecipitous,reflectingUnitedsdesperationtorecovertheirlustreafterthreedismalyearsunderDavidMoyesandLouisvanGaal。