The last three seasons in the Premier League have been a duopoly of dominance to say the least. Manchester City and Liverpool have divided the honours of winning the last three seasons of the top flight of English football amongst themselves, as both sets of supporters have enjoyed a very competitive rivalry between Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp’s outfits.
One of the most prevalent debates is about the calibre of the players of both sides when compared to each other – the most recent debate of which has involved fullbacks Joao Cancelo and Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Cancelo and Alexander-Arnold have undisputedly been two of the best fullbacks in the league for the last couple of seasons. But a recent debate has sparked online regarding which of the two right-backs are better, with both sets of fans coming to the aid of their favoured fullback’s ability while talking down the other.
The contrasting positions of the two teams has also been a factor in the debate – while City are on their way to clinch their third league title in four years, Liverpool are bang in the middle of statistically the worst ever title defence in Premier League history.
Cancelo is far more complete
City fans have come up with the argument that while Cancelo has undisputedly been the better fullback this season, he is also a more complete player than Alexander-Arnold.
TAA is only better at crossing and set-pieces. He’s arguably the best crosser itw from RB though and Liverpool facilitate him to make crosses often, so he looks great playing to his strengths.— Yasiin Bey (@umirf1) February 26, 2021
But Cancelo is far more complete: at creating, defending 1v1 and positionally.
While Trent is known to excel at crossing and Liverpool make it a point to help him make his pin-point deliveries quite often, he is accused of lacking defensive awareness – making Cancelo a more complete customer with his creative ability, defensive prowess and positional awareness.
The City fans’ argument is assisted by Cancelo racking up better numbers than Dani Alves and Phillip Lahm under Guardiola – two of the best ever right-backs in history in their own right.
Cancelo has better numbers under Pep Guardiola than both Phillip Lahm and Dani Alves but mfs in my TL are entertaining Cancelo vs TAA debates—
(@DeBruynology) February 26, 2021
Brudda, Cancelo has— Akio Fernandes
• played in 3 of Europe’s Top 5 leagues
• was back to back Best RB in Serie A (17-19)
• currently best RB in PL
• regular for Portugal & won a trophy with them too
Did I mention he’s currently benching the player that benches Trent for England?
https://t.co/6ysuKtQOnT (@BlueWolf_09) February 26, 2021
People seriously comparing Trent and João like we care what you think. Trent’s entire game is based around crosses, Cancelo is more technically gifted than anyone in your entire team. Judging full-backs off G/A is such a hilarious argument, just accept we’re clear and move on. pic.twitter.com/g0Grfrqrvd— π (@JDS94_) February 26, 2021
I'm seeing a lot of Cancelo and Trent debates on the timeline.— Michael ¹⁷
Why is Cancelo being better than Trent even a debate ?? Cancelo would literally be their best Fullback, Midfielder and one of their best Attackers
(@TheImmortalCTZN) February 27, 2021
Trent has been the best right-back in the world since 2018
Liverpool fans have retorted to their rivals by stating Alexander-Arnold’s decorated individual honours at a very young age.
The English fullback has been a part of the PFA Team of the Year as well as the FIFPro World XI on two occasions each, has been a Ballon d’Or nominee, and has most recently won the PFA Young Player of the Year for his exploits in Liverpool’s title-winning campaign last season.
Cancelo’s individual accolades vs Trent’s pic.twitter.com/Mqee76RJFq— ً (@TheImmortalKop) February 26, 2021
Alexander-Arnold has also racked up some extraordinary numbers when it comes to goal involvements – he has a total of 25 direct goal contributions since the start of last season – which is undoubtedly, an incredible return coming from a fullback.
No way I’m hearing shouts that Cancelo is a better passer than Trent— GDon ☬ (@lfcgdon) February 26, 2021
Liverpool fans have also pointed out the fact that while City’s Portuguese fullback might be in a better vein of form of late, Alexander-Arnold has been one of the best fullbacks in the world for a longer period of time.
"How is Trent better than Cancelo"— • (@The_Gerrard_Era) February 26, 2021
Trent Alexander-Arnold individual honours:
• PL YPOTS
• PFA TOTY x2
• PFA YPOTY
• UCL squad of the Season
• FIFA Pro World11 x2
• IFFHS Mens World Team
Trent has been the best RB itw since 2018. Some people have short term memory.
Cancelo is having one of his best seasons ever.— Hashtag LFC
Trent is having a bad season.
There are levels to this thing pic.twitter.com/sTP0JS0FVT
(@hashtag2weet) February 27, 2021
Even though the debate rages on, a common standpoint that both sets of fans can agree on is that Cancelo and Alexander-Arnold are two of the very best in the league in their positions, and give their respective teams an advantage in most games – be it in the league or in Europe.