There was a moment, not long after Vincent Kompany had whistled a potentially career-defining shot past Kasper Schmeichel, that the tethering between Man City and Liverpool threatened to become a stand-up comedy routine.
A routine square pass by Ilkay Gundogan caught Kompany off guard. The Belgian fell to the ground, with images of Steven Gerrard helplessly scrambling on his knees as Demba Ba pounced flashing through the minds of every City fan.
Kompany recovered before any serious damage could be done, but it was just the latest footnote in a Premier League title race of microscopic margins. Gordon Ramsay’s finest carbon steel chef’s knife wouldn’t possess the precision be able to separate City and Liverpool this season.
Of all City’s attacking artists, it took a 33-year-old centre-back scoring a first goal from outside the box since 2007 to break Leicester’s resistance.
Indeed, it had been six years since Kompany last had a speculative waft from outside the box and, given Kyle Walker’s first-half effort is still rising, you can’t blame Hamza Choudhury for inviting the Belgian to chance his arm.
According to Opta, shots from the range Kompany let fly go in roughly 3% of the time. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, but if Kompany finds himself in a similar situation against Brighton you won’t find Pep Guardiola encouraging him to let the size 13s go.
Kompany’s strike put him in the fine company of Ruud van Nistelrooy and Tim Howard, two players who spent years trying to get one over on Liverpool.
From percentages to millimetres.
Had John Stones not cleared a bizarre goal-bound effort off the line when the two sides met in January then, theoretically at least, Liverpool would be going into the final game of the season ahead of City.
The ball was 11mm- roughly the diameter of your belly button- from crossing the line.
Sergio Aguero’s goal against Burnley crossed the line by 29.5mm, roughly the width of three staples placed side to side.
Again, had Aguero’s shot not gone in then Liverpool would be going into the final game of the season in the driving seat.
Sure, if your nan had wheels she’d be a bicycle, but Liverpool fans have every right to feel aggrieved if 40.5mm is the difference between winning the Premier League title and despair.
Who said geometry was boring?
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