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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Which Premier League clubs value style over substance?

After Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said the defensive approach Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho adopted at Anfield in Saturday's 0-0 draw would not be tolerated at his club, it got us wondering which teams do value style over substance?

Clearly winning is important, but ESPN FC's club correspondents report that most of their clubs (including Man United) want to showcase some style on the way to success. So is style important?

MAN CITY: YES

After three seasons without a title, success is the priority and even manager Pep Guardiola admitted after the 7-2 win over Stoke City that: "I am here to win, I'm not here to entertain." But it's all the more satisfying when success comes with style and swagger. It's what marks out the truly great teams from the good teams and the knock-on effect of ruthless attacking is that some opponents are beaten before they even kick-off -- happy to settle for a narrow defeat rather than hoping they could sneak a draw. -- Jonathan Smith

MAN UNITED: YES

Playing style matters at Manchester United, as Louis van Gaal found out to his cost. Width, pace and goals have all become part of United tradition through Sir Matt Busby and Sir Alex Ferguson. But so has winning trophies. There will be disappointment among some United fans that Jose Mourinho did not have more of a go against Liverpool at Anfield on Saturday. There was a feeling ahead of the game that, even without Paul Pogba, Klopp's side were there for the taking. But Mourinho isn't the first United manager to make his team hard to beat at Anfield. Ferguson did it more than once and if a point at Anfield helped win another title then it was well worth it for him. Attacking football is part of United's history and it matters that they are good to watch. But there are games when that it just not possible -- especially if there is the chance of a trophy further down the line. -- Rob Dawson

TOTTENHAM: YES

"The great fallacy is that the game is first and last about winning. It is nothing of the kind. The game is about glory, it is about doing things in style and with a flourish, about going out and beating the other lot, not waiting for them to die of boredom." That, said by Tottenham's 1961 double-winning captain Danny Blanchflower, is perhaps the most famous quote associated with Spurs and sums-up the entire ethos the club. It has never been enough simply to win at Spurs and winning 'in style' has long been part of the club's DNA, since before even Blanchflower and his manager Bill Nicholson helped to bring so much success to north London. 'The Tottenham way' is now ingrained in the club and fans would simply not accept a manager or team who neglected style, whatever the results. -- Dan Kilpatrick

CHELSEA: YES

He might have left two years ago, but the modern Chelsea remains in many ways the house that Jose Mourinho built. Stubborn resilience and defensive organisation are qualities more appreciated at Stamford Bridge than just about anywhere else in England, not least because they have been vital to some of the greatest achievements of the Roman Abramovich era. There are many Chelsea supporters who cherish the club's miraculous Champions League triumph in 2012 as much for the style in which it was achieved as for the feat itself, doggedly standing firm against waves of pressure from Barcelona and Bayern Munich. None of which is to say that Chelsea fans don't love a bit of flair too. Charlie Cooke, Peter Osgood, Pat Nevin, Ruud Gullit and Gianfranco Zola provide a proud lineage of entertainers stretching back to the 1960s. Joe Cole and Juan Mata were both loved in their time and these days, there's no more keenly anticipated sight at Stamford Bridge than Eden Hazard jinking through an opposing defence. Style is important at Chelsea, but there's a proud appreciation of the fact that it's not the only way to win. -- Liam Twomey

ARSENAL: YES

Sometimes you get the feeling that style is the only thing that matters to Arsene Wenger. How else to explain the stubborn insistence of focusing so intently on the attacking side of the game while repeatedly neglecting defensive solidity? Wenger has done little to hide his scorn for Jose Mourinho's tactics through the years, despite the Man United manager racking up trophies at a much higher rate than the Arsenal boss. The switch to a back three formation last season seemed to signal that Wenger had finally realised that substance trumps style, although sadly his team seems to lack both at the moment. -- Mattias Karen

LIVERPOOL: YES

For a club like Liverpool, yes, it matters. One of the reasons Brendan Rodgers lost his job at Anfield was for moving away from attacking style that saw Liverpool a whisper away from the Premier League in 2013-14. "Pass and move, it's the Liverpool groove" was a motto for successful Liverpool sides in decades gone by, but those teams of the 70s and 80s also knew when to dig in and grind out a result, too. Liverpool, under Klopp, are at their best when they're on the front foot, and it seems like their best route to success. However, the current Liverpool boss must wish his side, at times, could display the defensive discipline United brought to Anfield on Saturday. -- Glenn Price

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