More accurate than Fabregas, more touches than Messi - Kroos to start against Arsenal?

Manchester United transfer target Toni Kroos threw down a great claim to start this week's Champions League game against Arsenal.

Bayern Munich midfielder Toni Kroos produced a superb performance for the German champions as they strolled to a 4-0 win against Freiburg yesterday.

Kroos has recently seen himself confined to the subs bench in the Bundesliga but he responded superbly with a better passing accuracy in yesterday’s game than Cesc Fabregas managed for Barcelona in their 6-0 win against Rayo Vallecano in La Liga (91% compared to 90).

He also had more touches (98) of the ball than Sergio Busquets (75) or Lionel Messi (66) managed in that game to send out a big message to Pep Guardiola ahead of this week’s Champions League game against Arsenal.

The main side that have been linked with a summer swoop for Kroos is Manchester United and his basic passing and touch stats yesterday are further evidence over why he’d be a good investment for the Old Trafford side.

Kroos also produced an assist for one of Xherdan Shaqiri’s goals and has thrown his hat into the ring to start against the Gunners.

The problem Guardiola has is that Kroos is throwing down a perfectly good claim to start the match ahead of the likes of Thiago, Mario Gotze, Javi Martinez and Bastian Schweinsteiger to name just a few talented.

Kroos also played very well at Arsenal last year, scoring what turned out to be a decisive goal in the tie after Arsenal played well to win away at Bayern Munich in the second leg, losing the tie 3-2 on aggregate.

But following the West Londoners' FA Cup fifth round exit to Manchester City last night, Mourinho issued a fresh response - claiming that he has been depicted as a perennial villain.

Mourinho said: 'It's always the same guy (that is) the bad guy. Okay. You like it that way.

'One is the polite and one is the bad guy. I'm not surprised because I know you (the media)'.

The long-standing war of words between Mourinho and Wenger dates back to the self-styled Special One's first spell in the Stamford Bridge hot seat when, in late 2005, he described the Gunners boss as a 'voyeur'.

'I think he is one of these people who is a voyeur. He likes to watch other people. There are some guys who, when they are at home, have a big telescope to see what happens in other families. He speaks, speaks, speaks about Chelsea', Mourinho said at the time.

Chelsea's defeat at the hands of Manuel Pellegrini' Manchester City side Saturday will also have been all the more sweeter for the City boss after he was involved in his own spat with the Portuguese.

Mourinho succeeded Pellegrini at Real Madrid in 2010, after the Chilean was replaced following just one season at the Santiago Bernabeu, which prompted the Portugese to also brand his predcessor a 'loser'.

More attacks followed when Pellegrini took over at Malaga, then hovering above La Liga's relegation places, as Mourinho claimed: 'Second place is just the first loser. If Madrid were to fire me, I wouldn't go to Málaga. I'd go to a top-level team in Italy or England'.

The pair have since renewed their acquaintances as Manchester City and Chelsea vie for the Premier League title this season but Mourinho was full of praise for his contemporary's team performance Saturday:

'City played much better than us. They deserved much more than us to win', he admitted.

'When the best teams wins, I think football is in peace. Two weeks ago, the best team won and today the best team won so for me that's simple.

'Was the refereeing team very poor in the second half ? Yes. But even with a perfect refereeing team, would Chelsea win the game ? No. They were better than us. The second goal is offside but they would (still) win 1-0 because we were never close to score or be dominant'.

image: © wonker

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