Newcastle United dominated possession so brilliantly tonight against Leicester City that the first half ended with the visitors having an xG of zero, and Gary Neville highlighted a reason why.
During his half-time analysis as the sides were somehow still level, Gary Neville said that Newcastle had been doing brilliantly all season that other teams will absolutely hate, but he seemed to admire – The tactical foul.
Singling out the incident which saw striker Alexander Isak booked, Neville said on Sky Sports: “The second thing that Newcastle have been brilliant at all season, and some won’t like it, is the tactical fouls. Any time that Leicester have got free they have just brought them down.
Gary Neville actually praises Newcastle for the ‘dark arts’ now
“You would argue in European football that is deemed as being smart, cute, dark arts of the game – whatever way you want to look at it. This is a little bit something that people won’t like.”
The team comes first and getting yourself booked to stop a counter attack is definitely taking one for the team. Not to mention the fact that Isak hurt himself in the process.
Newcastle’s style of play will be lauded in Europe at least
That phrase “dark arts” seems to only be directed at Newcastle these days despite the fact that every team has dabbled with that type of play at some point. Maybe it’s just jealousy because Newcastle have perfected it. It’s refreshing to hear it being used as a positive for once.
Another way to read into what Neville said is that Newcastle are going to fit right in playing in the Champions League next season if that kind of play is appreciated on the continent.