Manchester City: A team of no legends
Mediawatch has long been amused by Stan Collymore’s sustained antipathy towards Manchester City, but with City boasting a 13-match winning streak in the Premier League, even Stan has to admit that they are pretty good.
But watching Jamie Carragher say that David Silva is “alongside Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp and Eric Cantona” as “one of the greatest we’ve ever had in the Premier League”, while Henry himself described Silva as “the best creative midfielder we’ve seen in this league”, has riled Stanley Victor. Thankfully he has an almost-daily column in the Daily Mirror for all the times he gets riled.
‘David Silva is a very good player – a special player, in fact.
“But I’m struggling to buy into this notion he will be remembered as one of the Premier League’s all-time greats. He’s not in the same bracket as Dennis Bergkamp, Eric Cantona, Thierry Henry or Alan Shearer. Not quite.
‘And I’d have Didier Drogba, John Terry and Frank Lampard ahead of him, too.’
Well, it is just an opinion but Mediawatch is rather more impressed by Silva’s excellent record of an assist every 3.26 Premier League games than Lampard’s decent record of an assist every six games. As well as by him being a far better footballer, of course.
But Stan has his reasons…
‘All were dominant over several years and demanded your attention, whereas Silva has shone at times but never on a consistent, three or four-year basis like the others.’
Pesky fact: No other footballer has record as many Premier League assists or created as many chances as Silva since he arrived in 2010. That’s over seven years ago. It sure sounds like he might have been consistent.
‘When Bergkamp was in his pomp at Arsenal he was central to everything they did. Henry scored great goals and did it with a swagger for the Gunners.
‘Cantona was the genius who brought it all together at a great Manchester United side, while Alan Shearer bludgeoned his way into that group with his sheer volume of goals.’
Well it’s certainly true that central midfielder David Silva has not scored as many goals as those strikers, and on that basis he is definitely not worthy of being mentioned in the same breath.
‘As for the Chelsea trio, they won a trophy every year, and in some years more than one. Silva, on the other hand, goes almost quietly about his business. Don’t get me wrong, it’s very good business.’
He has indeed gone ‘almost quietly about his business’ at City. And that ‘business’ has been winning five trophies in seven years. Which doesn’t sound too shabby to Mediawatch. And not a million miles short of Lampard’s 11 trophies in 13 years at Chelsea.
Collymore is not finished yet. He has another man in his sights…
‘What about Sergio Aguero? He has been a phenomenal goalscorer and will go down in football folklore for the title-winning goal against QPR in 2012. But, like his team-mate, I still can’t quite put the Argentinian in the same bracket as those all-time greats.’
Yes, because scoring 131 Premier League goals in 191 games simply cannot compare to Didier Drogba’s 104 goals in 254 games. How could it?
‘Silva and Aguero are two-time Premier League winners and deservedly so. Yet considering how much City have spent in recent years and the players at their disposal, two should be par for the course really.
‘So what happened in the 2012-13, 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons?’
Well, since you ask, in 2012/13, Manchester City finished second behind Manchester United despite Aguero missing much of the season.
Then in 2014/15, Manchester City finished second behind Chelsea even though Aguero won the Golden Boot with 26 goals, while Silva had his best ever goalscoring season with 12 goals.
In 2015/16, Manchester City were poor and finished fourth even though Aguero scored 24 goals and Silva notched 11 assists.
Then in 2016/17, Manchester City finished third despite Aguero scoring a disappointing 20 goals.
To summarise, Aguero has been the Premier League’s top scorer since he arrived in 2011, while Silva has been the Premier League’s leading creative midfielder since he arrived in 2010.
But that’s not good enough for our Stan. Just let it go, fella.
Sunday December 3: Adrian is excellent for West Ham in a 2-1 defeat to Manchester City, with manager David Moyes saying after the match: “If you get the jersey in football you hope you can retain it. You hope that if you play well you might get another chance. That’s football and I don’t think that’s changed.”
Tuesday December 5: The Sun ‘exclusively’ reveal that Adrian will keep the West Ham jersey for Saturday’s clash with Chelsea. Wherever do they get their inside knowledge?
Favourite line from that Sun story:
‘It is a huge blow for Hart, coming just a few days after the World Cup draw was made for next summer’s finals in Russia.’
Now that is cruel, cruel timing.
Costa Del Miserable
The latest in the Neil Ashton Looking Sad In Russia series contains quite simply the most wonderful picture caption…
‘SunSport columnist Neil Ashton has heaped praise on the coffee shop in Novgorod’
He has, you know.
Mourinho is treble winner!
‘Mourinho magic hidden by City’s shadow’ is the latest headline on an Arab News piece by the Manchester United manager’s lickspittle-in-chief Duncan Castles, on a one-man mission to ensure that his hero gets the immense credit he surely deserves despite his team being eight points behind the league leaders after spending around £300m in 18 months.
Now Castles is absolutely right in thinking that in any other season, Mourinho’s Manchester United would look like potentially impressive champions. But this is not any other season; this is a season in which Pep Guardiola’s City have been significantly better. This notion – gathering pace across the media – that ‘but for’ Team A then Team B would be champions and thus both should be equally lauded is insane.
Anyway, over to Castles…
‘In the mere 16 months since Mourinho’s first competitive match United have trebled their post-Ferguson major trophy count, taking a League Cup and the club’s first Europa League. They are back in the Champions League and all but through to the knock-out rounds. Their League Cup defense has reached the quarter-final stage.’
‘Trebled’ is great, isn’t it? It is a phenomenal way of selling victory in two second-tier competitions. It sounds like Mourinho has transformed Manchester United in really quite sensational fashion, rather than taking a fifth-placed team into sixth and picking up a couple of trophies along the way.
‘Statistically, United have the best defense in the Premier League, have scored more goals (35 in 15 fixtures) than everyone but leaders Manchester City, and are on course for a final points return of 89. To place that in historical context, in just two of the past 11 seasons have the champions finished with 90 points or more. (Mourinho delivered the League record haul of 95 points in his first year at Chelsea.)’
And to place that in present-day context, Manchester City are on course for a final points return of 109 points, which would smash all records. Oh and Chelsea – not mentioned by Castles – are on course for 81 points, which would have won the title two seasons ago. Oh and Chelsea won the actual Premier League title last season, which is definitely better than any ‘trebling’ of trophies that involves the League Cup.
Castles does at at least credit Guardiola’s City with ‘beautiful, possession and attack-focused football’, though that is clearly designed to take the pressure off United.
This next line is simply phenomenal…
‘United are handicapped.’
Take a second to take that in before we move on to his explanation…
‘They have significant injuries in central defense and midfield, and their narrative-defying 3-1 win at Arsenal last weekend came with the cost of a red card to the team’s most creative player.’
Well, that was kind of his fault, Duncan. And ‘significant injuries in central defense and midfield’ basically boils down to the absence of Eric Bailly and Marouane Fellaini.
Oddly, Castles makes no mention of Manchester City’s ‘handicap’ of being without half their first-choice defence. Now that would be ‘narrative-defying’.
Recommended reading of the day
Miguel Delaney on Mark Clattenburg.
David Squires on the Jurassic World of managers.