Jamie Carragher accused Gary Neville of making a late change to his Premier League team of the season as the Sky Sports pundits differed over three players. Carragher controversially selected Chelsea star Cole Palmer despite the Blues’ poor form, while Neville adopted an unorthodox 4-2-4 formation.
Neville’s 11 included Declan Rice and Rodri at the heart of the midfield. The former Manchester United defender justified his picks by saying: “I could have gone with Douglas Luiz at Aston Villa and I compared the stats between Luiz, Rice and Rodri.
“Luiz could have got in but with Rice and Rodri, it gives the front four more freedom to attack. Rodri is the best midfielder in the world in his position, and City have lost games when he’s been missing.”
Carragher then quipped: “Gary, I know for a fact that you had Douglas Luiz in your team at 6pm tonight!”
Both teams, selected at the halfway stage of the campaign, were largely similar. Carragher and Neville selected eight of the same players in their 11s, leaving three differences.
Carragher opted for Tottenham goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario after a fine start to the Italian’s career in England. Neville selected Liverpool’s Alisson Becker as his shot-stopper.
Both pundits selected the same back four. Trent Alexander-Arnold was at right-back, William Saliba and Virgil van Dijk as the centre-backs, and Spurs’ Destiny Udogie at left-back. Arsenal new boy Rice also made both teams.
Carragher selected a three-man midfield, insisting that Palmer has been one of the best players in the Premier League despite Chelsea’s woeful start to the campaign. “Palmer has been one of the players of the season,” the former Liverpool defender said. “Not just one of the best Chelsea players, but one of the best in the Premier League.”
Bernardo Silva made Carragher’s team, while Neville selected the Portuguese star’s Manchester team-mate Rodri. Mohamed Salah, Erling Haaland and Son Heung-min were selected by both, while Neville used his 4-2-4 formation to pick Jarrod Bowen as an extra forward.
Neville believes that Unai Emery has been the most impressive coach in the first half of the season. Villa are second in the league behind leaders Liverpool.
Carragher added: “I am the same. I was thinking about Gary O’Neil as well. He has been sensational.
“When I look where Wolves are in the table and they have probably been there under Nuno (Espirito Santo), compared to where Aston Villa are now, it feels like a really long time since they have been there so I would go with Unai Emery as my manager of the year.”