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Aguero challenge sparked Man City vs Chelsea brawl that pleased Gary Neville

A LOOK BACK: After tempers flared during Chelsea’s 3-1 away win against Manchester City in 2016, Gary Neville said he enjoyed watching all of the physicality and passion on display from the fierce rivals

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Tuchel slams poor first half from Chelsea in win at Watford

Premier League football is not for the feint hearted, and sometimes the emotion and frustration can overflow – to the delight of Gary Neville.

The former Manchester United defender was wide eyed in excitement after tensions between Manchester City and Chelsea overspilled, during the Blues sealed 3-1 away victory in 2016.

An astonishingly bad tackle by Sergio Aguero on David Luiz was the catalyst to a spectacular fracas involving all players on the pitch.

In an amidst the shirt pulling and butting of heads, Fernandinho was spotted in the periphery grabbing Cesc Fabregas by the throat and pushing him over an advertising boarding.

And as condemnations were being thrown at the contest left, right, and centre, Neville went against the grain, saying he ‘liked’ what he saw from the two sides.

Chelsea and Manchester City furiously came together in an astonishing fracas in 2016

“I can’t like the Aguero challenge. I can’t. But what I saw at the end, and it may be the wrong thing to say, I liked that,” Neville said after the game.

“The Premier League won’t like it and the FA won’t like it. There will be bans, fines and the rest of it but I don’t want boring.

“That is players defending the shirt, their teammates and showing passion for the shirt.

“When there’s a tackle like that you expect your teammates to steam in and then the other players to steam in.

“Maybe I shouldn’t say I liked it given the position that I am in but it is a considered thought and I’d say the same thing tomorrow too.”

Both Aguero and Fernandinho were given a red card, while Fabregas and Nathaniel Chalobah were all booked for their involvements; the latter of which for being overzealous in a confrontation with Kelechi Iheanacho.

Sergio Aguero’s fierce challenge on David Luiz sparked the brawl between the teams

When the players weren’t entangled in each other’s shirts, falling over advertising boardings, or steaming into full blooded, two-footed challenges, there was some lovely football on display at the Etihad Stadium.

A Gary Cahill own goal put City ahead, goals from Diego Costa, Willian, and Eden Hazard secured the three points for then-Chelsea boss Antonio Conte.

However, the drama in the closing stages dominated the headlines, as City and Chelsea were both fined £35,000 and £100,000 respectively.

Fernandinho was given a red card after grabbing Fabregas by the throat and pushing him over the advertising boardings

Both clubs were charged with “Failing to ensure their players conducted themselves in an orderly fashion and/or refrained from provocative behaviour.”

The Blues’ fine was more substantial, as the Etihad fracas was the fifth time they had been found guilty under the aforementioned charge.

However, Neville believed the contest triggered nostalgic memories of previous fierce contests in Premier League history, particularly the brutal matches between Arsenal and Manchester United in the early 2000s.

“Yes, the Premier League has an image around the world but on the other hand I am constantly hearing there’s a lack of loyalty and a lack of passion. Well you’ve seen some,” Neville said ardently.

“We talk about the old clashes and they are almost folklore. People say: ‘Do you remember that Arsenal and Man United clash in the tunnel?’

“Those moments make football great. There are enough ordinary games in the world out there.

But I’ll go home tonight and think that was a fantastic game. I’ll remember this game.”

Conte’s side went on to win the Premier League title in spectacular fashion, in what was the Blues’ last league triumph.

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