Roar & Against: Manchester City’s best 21st century team would beat Chelsea’s

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    Petr Cech saved the goals and Didier scored them for Chelsea in 2009/10. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

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    With Manchester City in contention for another Premier League title and Chelsea chasing hard, it’s a reminder of the dominant periods in each team’s recent history.

    Chelsea and Manchester City both had huge success in the early 2010s and when you look at the squads it’s easy to see why.

    For a bit of fun we’ve enlisted Roar Guru Isaac Nowroozi who will take on Roar expert Stuart Thomas in a Roar & Against debate.

    The topic: that Manchester City’s 2011/12 team would beat the best of Chelsea’s 2009/10 squad.

    Isaac Nowroozi – Why Manchester City would win

    Chelsea failed to beat Manchester City in the Premier League on both occasions in the 2009/10 season, so what makes people think that same Chelsea side could beat City’s 2011/12 team?

    Granted, it’s not the same team, but it’s not just a different side, it’s a better one.

    Much better.

    Manchester City’s 2009/10 season was poor. They finished fifth with just 67 points and the biggest moment of their season was sacking Mark Hughes for Roberto Mancini.

    While The Citizens’ attacking prowess was impressive, they had defensive problems.

    They were letting in far too many avoidable goals and they couldn’t find any joy in the domestic cups.

    However, they still managed to get two wins over Chelsea – one under each manager.

    Carlo Ancelotti couldn’t set his team up in a way that could effectively deal with the attacking power of Carlos Tevez and the pace of Emmanuel Adebayor, and despite City’s defensive issues, his side struggled to find the net against them.

    Chelsea only put three past City in 09/10, two came via Frank Lampard, one of which was a penalty, and the other was an own goal by Adebayor.

    Chelsea’s league win in 09/10 was impressive, but Manchester City’s league title win in 11/12 came in a far more competitive season where a single slip up could have cost them their whole season.

    City won the title in the last minute of the last game. Who could forget that famous, AGUEROOOOOOO moment.

    If the 2011/12 squads of Arsenal and Manchester United competed in the 09/10 season, then Chelsea could easily have ended up finishing fourth.

    We don’t even have to look at a comparison between Chelsea’s side from 09/10 and City’s side from 11/12 to see what would happen – just compare the Citizen’s teams from those seasons and we’ll have our answer.

    They would be better than everyone all over the pitch and the players that struggled in 09/10 would be stronger and more accustomed to the pace and the physicality of the Premier League.

    Their 11/12 squad finally had that fine balance of experienced Premier League players that have developed and understood the league and those special players that could change a game in an instant.

    Manchester City finally had the results to go with their newfound ‘big club’ status.

    Not only would City’s 11/12 champions beat Chelsea’s 09/10 side, they would have won the 09/10 Premier League season in much more convincing fashion.

    Predicted score:

    Manchester City 2

    Chelsea 0

    Sergio Aguero

    (Photo by Nigel French – EMPICS/PA Images via Getty Images)

    Manchester City’s 2011/12 Squad

    2. Micah Richards
    3. Wayne Bridge
    4. Vincent Kompany (captain)
    5. Pablo Zabaleta
    6. Joleon Lescott
    7. James Milner
    10. Edin Džeko
    11. Adam Johnson
    12. Stuart Taylor
    13. Aleksandar Kolarov
    15. Stefan Savić
    16. Sergio Agüero
    18. Gareth Barry
    19. Samir Nasri
    20. Owen Hargreaves
    21. David Silva
    22. Gaël Clichy
    25. Joe Hart
    28. Kolo Touré
    30. Costel Pantilimon
    32. Carlos Tevez
    34. Nigel de Jong
    42. Yaya Touré
    45. Mario Balotelli

    Stuart Thomas – Why Chelsea would win

    This is a fascinating hypothetical, however Chelsea emerge as the victor when one looks at the two squads on balance.

    While winning the league by a mere point on the final day over Manchester United was incredible, their season takes on historical significance when the FA Cup is added to the resume.

    Becoming the seventh team in association football history to complete the ‘double’ puts the Chelsea team of 09/10 in the most esteemed company.

    The Blues went on the most sustained period of attacking football seen in the Premier League era.

    The squad managed one hundred and three goals (a Premier League record) and even more astonishingly, finished the campaign with a +71 goal difference.

    A quartet combined for seventy-four of those goals in the domestic league. Nicolas Anelka (11), Florent Malouda (12), Frank Lampard (22) and Didier Drogba (29) clinically scythed their way through defences.

    While Carlo Ancelotti’s first season at Stamford Bridge will always be remembered as an attacking smorgasbord, a robust and effective defence did its fair share, in forging one of the great modern English teams.

    17 clean sheets are testament to that fact and John Terry led his defence with his usual courage and conviction, ably supported by Branislav Ivanovic and Ashley Cole, despite Cole missing three months with injury.

    Petr Čech’s role in the run can never be underestimated and Michael Ballack was excellent in mid-field despite an ankle injury eventually souring his season.

    With a busy schedule due to sustained involvement in both the F.A Cup and Champions League stretching the squad, Chelsea managed to maintain their standard in the league under immense strain.

    After topping their group in the Champions League, a disappointing loss in the round of sixteen to Internazionale, was perhaps the only crack in their season.

    A crack that failed to derail their local aspirations and holding aloft two trophies was ground breaking for the Club.

    In the match-up with City, the Londoners would possess too many weapons for Roberto Mancini’s team.

    With a particular brief to shut down marksman Sergio Aguero, the defence would nullify City’s attacking weapons far more effectively than Manchester would manage against the multiple threats posed by Chelsea.

    The mental fortitude and toughness of Chelsea would see them win against the Manchester City team of 2011/12.

    Predicted score:

    Chelsea 3

    Manchester City 1

    Chelsea in the 2009/10 Premier League

    (IAN KINGTON/AFP/Getty Images)

    Chelsea’s 2009/10 Squad

    1. Petr Čech
    2. Branislav Ivanović
    3. Ashley Cole
    5. Michael Essien
    6. Ricardo Carvalho
    8. Frank Lampard (vice-captain)
    10. Joe Cole
    11. Didier Drogba
    12. John Obi Mikel
    13. Michael Ballack
    15. Florent Malouda
    17. José Bosingwa
    18. Yuri Zhirkov
    19. Paulo Ferreira
    20. Deco
    21. Salomon Kalou
    22. Ross Turnbull
    23. Daniel Sturridge
    24. Nemanja Matić
    26. John Terry (captain)
    33. Alex
    35. Juliano Belletti
    39. Nicolas Anelka
    40. Henrique Hilário
    41. Sam Hutchinson
    43. Jeffrey Bruma
    44. Gaël Kakuta
    45. Fabio Borini
    46. Jacopo Sala
    50. Jan Šebek

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