- May 24, 2007
I’m all for continual improvement (which also happens on the training pitch rather as well as the transfer market).That is generally correct, although the fact that this season we weren't able to beat them, and very nearly lost both matches, suggests our best 11 could be improved.
But I think it’s harsh to point to our games against them as evidence they have a better eleven. The Anfield game was a stalemate. At the Emptihad it was on a knife edge. They weren’t decisively the better team, and it was the run of the ball that got them three points. I still don’t know how that ball got cleared off the line, and it was unlucky that Mane’s shot bounced out off the line while Sane’s bounced in. And then of course, Kompany shouldn’t have even been on the pitch for the last hour...
Football matches are not exercises in scientific objectivism. You don’t get the same result running the same match over and over (as I know from my footy manager days). On the day, any team can beat any other team. There is a such thing as form and fitness, and old fashioned luck comes into it too. Because they beat us in a game that doesn’t mean they are conclusively better than us, just like we weren’t better than them because we beat them three games out of four last year.
Looking at the sides, I think we are very evenly matched. I wouldn’t take their keeper over ours. I prefer our central defence and I think we have better full backs. I would take Fabinho over Fernandinho (mostly just because he is getting on now) and I wouldn’t swap our forward three for theirs.
I’d make room for the creativity they have in central midfield, but that’s about it.
The difference between us is the depth they can call on, especially up front.