£634 million Net v Minus £5 Million
When Money talks, fantasy Walks.
£634 million net v - £5 million; the difference in spend in the last 5 seasons...
It's hard not to be jealous over the disparity, but I harbour the team owned by one of the richest per capita countries in the World no ill will. Someone has to win the lottery, and it was their turn. Monetary spend of that power and magnitude in any sport or business makes a difference and I expect it to show against us too.
There is a difference between being admiringly envious and churlish. Churlish is claiming that selling them Walker was a smart piece of business because Trippier is better; those making these claims are clutching at straws. Thank God they don't scout players for a living.
One is an out and out wingback with incredible pace and powers of recovery, now coupled with tremendous timing and an improving end product, which combined can leave defenders for dead and the other is a Right back, that can't go past a standing steward without stopping and passing it sideways or backwards, what he can do is make long deep accurate deliveries; but don't expect him to keep step with anyone pacey or recover his position easily, because he can't.
Walker went from strength to strength under Poch and when we sold him he was close to, if not the best Right Wing back in Europe. Since then, from what I've seen and what my ManC loving friends tell me, he's got better game by game. That will be a huge bonus for England.
Whilst I cannot forgive him for his unprofessional conduct and the way he undermined the team the coach and allowed naked greed to undermine his character, it would be equally as churlish for me to suggest we haven't missed him. For those that thought Trippier was better, just ask yourself why we invested so much in Aurier, who sadly we simply won't see the best of until next season.
Rose isn't yet back to his best, so whether it's him or him and Davies as I expect who will need to curb his runs, they are going to have their hands full - as Spurs fans have goaded Walker on Social media, I fully expect him to repay them and us in spades.
Now to the game; the tally between all meetings between the clubs is close we've won 60 drawn 35 and lost 58. Recent meeting is what matters most and so far since Pep took over, Poch has come out on top City last won a league fixture at home against us in October 2014. We beat them 2-1 in February 2016 followed by a 2-2 draw last January we came back from 2-0 down when they really let us off the hook that day.
City go into this game in magnificent form and playing some of the best football I've ever witnessed in the Premier league, this season in all competitions they have had 25 game, won 22, drawn once when reduced to 10 men, drawn one against Wolves in the league Cup (that they then won on penalties (that was like a nursey school outing) and lost one game away to Shaktar Donetsk after fielding their B/C team - such are the depth of riches at their disposal.
We on the other hand have slipped, just as I said it would be, Wembley has proved a troublesome 'home' ground, team after team has upped their game and one by one the tactic by the visitors has been to frustrate. It won't surprise anyone that apart from perhaps one game against Liverpool our best play has been away from home.
I can only see a very tough game for us Rose, Winks, Dembele are all still trying to find their form after injuries, we will of course be without two of our best players of last season in Victor and Toby, and Sanchez has another game where he must sit in the stands. Dele has looked out of sorts and out of form and Harry is another still trying to find his deadly sharpness from last season after returning from injury.
Two recent wins, one emphatic the other less so has lifted spirits and Poch as always is taking a very positive approach to meeting the 'best team in the premier league' - an assessment I can't take exception to.
Poch normally likes to mix up his approach for the big games and I wouldn't be surprised to see him do it again here; to me this looks all over a game where we will have to play or should as we did in the Champions league and play on the counter, with Trippers crosses I'd be tempted to start both Llorente and Kane because if City are vunerable anywhere it's at the back - they'll be missing Stones and Kompany who for my money are their best two CB's, we know what Walkers capable of and we also know that if pressured and harried he can make mistakes.
I just can't see us springing a surprise win here, we just are not at the peak that I think we would need to be to do that, our best hope is to use the counter to score by long diagonals or fast breaks because what I also do not expect us to be able to do is keep a clean sheet for this one.
I hope I am wrong, so in ending a draw would be a great result, a win simply is not on the cards for me - the gap between their spend and ours is vast and so eventually that chasm will tell as the respectice premier league standings affirms.
I'm going to speculate on our line-up; lloris, Trippier, Dier, Vert, Davies, Rose, Dembele, Winks, Eriksen, Llorente, Kane.
A match to relish, although I will be watching at home with everything crossed.