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Why Man City are far from the greatest

OPINION: Are runaway league leaders the greatest club side this country has ever seen? The answer is simple...

05 April, 2018 — By Richard Osley

Man City boss Pep Guardiola

DURING this dull season of football, which has deprived us of any form of title contest, some commentators, presumably bored with what their job has become, have tried to liven things up with age-old conversation: Are we watching the greatest club side this country has ever seen? It’s a flat suggestion with an easy answer.

The truth is Manchester City, full of endless creamy praise, serves as a convenient excuse for everybody else.

As Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, Spurs or whatever team you support loiter more than 20 or so points behind in the Premier League table, it is easier to blame it all on being beaten by a galactico super-side which possesses other-wordly powers that are impossible to overcome. We were rubbish, but it’s not our fault – we are living in the time of Manchester City.

This won’t do. Just because we are all under par – don’t say your team isn’t, I’ve just told you, you are 20 points behind! – doesn’t mean City are the greatest of all time. It makes them weaker if anything.

How can you badge City as the greatest when they succumbed to Wigan Athletic, a League One side, in the FA Cup? Super-beings would not have allowed that.

And this week: this apparent greatest side of all time found themselves 3-0 down at half-time against Liverpool in the Champions League and chasing like dogs for the rest of the match.

This is the Liverpool which for all their entertaining football and excitable goal-a-thons are among only a couple of sides beaten by Alan Pardew during his awful time at West Brom. They do things like lose to Swansea. They are really only a couple of pegs up from Arsenal.

To see City exposed as they were on Wednesday answers the central question itself, but the aggravating feature is that they’ve spent the best part of a billion pounds on not being the greatest of all time.

We must also come to that other measure of excellence. You know what’s coming next. Can you really a call a team that has failed to finish the entire Premier League campaign without losing a match the greatest? The simple answer to this is, without need for an argument, is no.

Arsenal’s Invincibles were just that, invincible. They didn’t lose to some lower-league puffers. They weren’t 3-0 down at Liverpool. If you really want to know the greatest club team we’ve seen, remember these names: Lehman, Lauren, Cole, Campbell, Toure, Gilberto Silva, Ljungberg, Pires, Vieira, Bergkamp and Henry.

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