Gary Neville tears into Cristian Romero during Tottenham defeat
Gary Neville has torn into Cristian Romero during the second-half of Tottenham Hotspur’s North London derby defeat to Arsenal on Sunday, insisting on Sky Sports (broadcast on 15/1; 5:47) that he was lucky to not be sent off.
Spurs fans endured a miserable evening against their bitter rivals. Antonio Conte’s men were blown away in the first-half. And by the time they came back into the game after the break, the damage had largely been done.
The visitors took a 2-0 lead into the interval. And Spurs were struggling to contain Arsenal’s attacking players. One player who did get booked was Romero. The Argentinian was, once again, not afraid to get stuck in. But he seemingly crossed the line at one stage.
Neville criticises Cristian Romero
And it seems that Neville was not entirely sure that he should have still been playing after the hour-mark. Romero lunged into a challenge with Granit Xhaka.
It did not appear that there was a lot of contact. And Xhaka definitely made the most of the challenge, throwing himself to the ground just after. But the defender definitely knocked the Swiss off of his stride.
Nevertheless, the referee decided to let play continue rather than book Romero for a second time. And Neville suggested that the World Cup winner could have had few complaints if he had been dismissed.
“Romero, I think, is really lucky,” he told Sky Sports. “He’s already been booked and the Arsenal players know it. He slides in, it’s absolutely stupid from the centre-back. What is he doing? He’s going to get away with it, it looks like. He’s lucky in the way in which he lunges there.”
Spurs defender is going to get it wrong from time to time
Romero always treads a very fine line. He is not afraid to make big challenges and certainly loves to get completely stuck in.
Sometimes that lands the 24-year-old in big trouble. But there is no question that he is, by some distance, Spurs’ best centre-back. And one of the reasons for that – as well as the lack of quality amongst some of his teammates – is the fire he plays with.
He was fortunate to not be dismissed. But you can guarantee that that will not deter the defender from making a similar decision the next time the chance presents itself.