For Man United to catch Man City, what would it really take?

Last May, it didn't seem like Manchester United were that far away.

They'd just finished third in the Premier League. They'd won the Carabao Cup. Although they lost the FA Cup final to Manchester City 2-1, it wasn't the no-contest kind of match we've seen these sides play in the past. And while United have beaten City during the Pep Guardiola era, most of those were smash-and-grab, hit-them-on-the-break wins. This loss, though, looked a little more like a very good team losing to a great team. United outshot City 13 to 11.

All told, last season was a pretty great start to Erik ten Hag's tenure -- and then it all fell apart.

United finished the 2022-23 season 14 points behind City. This year, they're 16 points back ... with 12 games still to play. And City aren't even in first place. United are 14 points back of third, where they finished last season. And they're eight points back of fourth, the final guaranteed Champions League place.

The only good news, really, is that there's a new rich guy in town to tell people what to do. Jim Ratcliffe finalized his minority stake in the club last week, and thanks to an unusual agreement with the majority owners, the Glazer family, Ratcliffe will oversee football operations.

"We have a lot to learn from our noisy neighbor and the other neighbor," Ratcliffe said last week, referencing Man City and Liverpool, with a nod to a famous Alex Ferguson quote. "They are the enemy at the end of the day. There is nothing I would like better than to knock both of them off their perch. They have been in a good place for a while and there are things we can learn from both of them."

If Man United are to ever knock Man City off of their perch, how might they do it? Here's the step-by-step look at everything that would need to happen.