Ian Wright challenges Gary Neville as Roy Keane sides with Arsenal icon in heated debate | Football | Sport

Chelsea pushed hard for a victory for 90 minutes but ultimately struggled once the game went to extra time, despite having a stronger team on the pitch than Jurgen Klopp’s inexperienced side. Virgil van Dijk then nodded his header past Djordje Petrovic in the 188th minute to prevent the game from going the distance, sparking widespread criticism of the Blues.

Neville was swift to put the knife into Chelsea, labelling the team ‘billion-pound bottle jobs’, in a tag which has stuck to the Stamford Bridge outfit. However, not all of the ex-England star’s co-pundits believe that the severity of the line was necessary.

Discussing his commentary on The Overlap, Neville said: “I got progressively more angry in extra time with Chelsea, Initially I wanted to use [Todd] Boehly’s name but I didn’t because I didn’t want to personalise it. I thought, shall I say it? Is it too strong? I felt as though it needed to be said.”

Arsenal hero Wright then interjected to say: “That particular line though is very harsh.” Though Neville was in full agreement that it was a somewhat brutal nickname to put on a team, continuing: “It’s a harsh line.

“After the game, I went to the producer and asked whether it was harsh, he said it might be a touch harsh, but he said, ‘We’re on television, in entertainment and it’s one of the biggest moments this season, last minute goal’, and secondly, ‘Did you think they bottled it?’ I said that they froze in extra time, there is no doubt that they were playing with fear and froze. When people say, it’s a great line. I don’t think it’s a great line.”

Wright was still unconvinced though, replying: “I think ‘froze’ would have been better to use.” Neville then hit back to insist that he does not think the term ‘bottled’ will be stuck with Chelsea forever, saying: “I’m not saying they’re continual bottle merchants for the rest of their career or they can’t win a trophy in the next three months. In 90 minutes they played alright but in extra time they bottled it.”

Keane and Wright then joined forces to attempt to make the point that Neville may have overstepped the mark and set a dangerous precedent with his expression, with Keane asking his former teammate: “In the next few months if Liverpool don’t win something are we going to say they bottled it?” Wright added: “It feels like the narrative now, Gary. Look what happened with Arsenal last year.”

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