Last night, while strolling to a 5-0 win over relegation favourites West Bromwich Albion, European Cup holders Manchester United set a new English record for the 1,032 minutes without conceding a goal. The previous record was held by Premiership rivals Chelsea, when goalkeeper Petr Cech did not concede a top-flight goal for 1,025 minutes in the 2004-2005 season.
However, some have said that United are getting more praise for their achievement than Chelsea ever did, which prompts the debate: Is one achievement more of a feat than the other?
The main argument in favour of Manchester United is the strength of the defence that set the record.Chelsea got there with a full-strength reliable back four of Terry, Carvalho, Ferreira and Gallas. United used a mix of Gary Neville, Raphael da Silva, Evra, Evans, Vidic, Ferdinand, Brown, Ecklesly and O’Shea during their 11 game run, mixing experience and youth, perhaps making it harder. You could also throw in that United had to travel to Japan and take on the world’s best club teams in the process of setting the record.
An argument to support Chelsea is that the record was utterly smashed when broke in 2004-2005. Petr Cech kept the Premiership at bay for 1,025 minutes when the previous record, set in 1997 bt United legend Peter Schmeichel, was merely 694 minutes. Cech was also only 22-years-old and in his debut season at Chelsea after his £7 million move from French side Rennes.
As for an answer to the question of who set the better record, I suppose that depends on whether you watched it set from Stamford Bridge or Old Trafford…