Sol Campbell thinks the ‘Invicibles’ wouldn’t be afraid of playing against Manchester City’s current side, and claims too many Premier League teams are at the moment.
Speaking to Planet Football, Campbell insisted that not enough teams are taking the game to Pep Guardiola’s side. Although they’re clearly very strong at the moment, the ex-Arsenal defender thinks their opponents are making things easy.
“Do I think our team from 2004 would have beaten them? We would not have been afraid of them, that’s for sure,” he said. “I’ve seen too many teams looking scared of City this season. That is one reason why they have won the league so easily.
“They are playing the possession game, the Barcelona way, but I think more teams need to go toe-to-toe with them when the time is right. We haven’t see that too often this season.
“Liverpool broke the idea that they are invincible, and they also lost in the FA Cup at Wigan. So we have seen that they are beatable, but too many teams are going into games against City fearing them.”
He has a point in regards to the psychological factor of City’s early season run. The longer the side’s winning run went on, the more their opponents seemed to go into matches expecting to lose.
That meant in games where Guardiola’s side really weren’t that good, for example against Newcastle in December, they still got the win anyway, because their opponents didn’t put them under any pressure.
When Crystal Palace – of all teams – finally exposed some weaknesses, everything changed. Liverpool ended City’s unbeaten run a couple of weeks later, and Wigan crushed their hopes of a quadruple.
That’s not to say the side haven’t been well deserving of all their plaudits this season. After all, they created the environment that made opponents afraid of them with some fantastic performances.
You just wonder how much the mental side of the game really did play a part. Could the season have gone differently if Everton had held on for a win against City’s 10 men in gameweek 2, cutting down their unbeaten season dream before it left the ground? We’ll never know.