City have opened the cheque book in the past two seasons, purchasing expensive forwards such as Carlos Tevez, Emmanuel Adebayor, Roque Santa Cruz and Mario Balotelli but ahead of the Manchester derby tomorrow night, Cole feels his old club still has a much more potent attack, like they did in 1999 with Teddy Sheringham, Dwight Yorke, Ole Gunnar Solksjaer and himself.
"United still have the better forwards. They are obviously missing Wayne Rooney - who is a match-winner when he's fit - but Javier Hernandez is one to be feared. He's had a fantastic start," Cole said.
"Michael Owen may not have played as many games as he would have liked, but they still have Federico Macheda coming through as well.
"Then there's Dimitar Berbatov. He may be languid in his style, but he is very good in the air and can produce a moment of magic.
"Sir Alex Ferguson will want them to get to where we were in 1999. All four of us could play together. We all clicked. I don't know why. It was freakish.
"Sometimes you get two forming a partnership, but all four of us were comfortable with each other.
"I'm not sure that's the case at City. Tevez is the key for them, but he can't do it all alone. And Adebayor would get into most teams, but isn't playing much.
"That's why United go into the game as favourites for me, especially because City are on a bad run and have problems in the dressing room.
"They've already lost three times and you can only afford to lose four or five and win the title. Even if they win the derby it wouldn't change my opinion."