Gary Neville's verdict on Chelsea's victory over Manchester City
Last Updated: 04/12/16 8:22am
Gary Neville believes Chelsea have a "massive chance" of winning the Premier League title this season if Diego Costa and Eden Hazard stay fit.
Speaking on the Gary Neville Podcast after Chelsea's 3-1 win at the Etihad on Saturday, the Sky Sports football expert also had his say on the stoppage-time brawl that saw two City players sent off.
The hosts let a one-goal half-time lead slip away before Sergio Aguero and Fernandinho saw red late on.
"We talk about players defending the shirt, the passion, and defending each other as team-mates," Neville said. "If one of your team-mates has been wronged in a tackle, you expect your team-mates to steam in and get about them.
"I'm hearing constantly about players that don't care, about a lack of loyalty, a lack of fight, a lack of passion. Well you've seen some.
"Maybe it was started by a moment from a reckless challenge by Aguero - which I didn't like - but we talk about the old clashes almost like folklore now.
"They are almost revered, 'Do you remember the battle in the tunnel between Arsenal and Man Utd?'
"Actually these moments go to make football great, because there are enough ordinary games out there in the world of football.
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"This is a game I will remember, I will think, 'Fantastic, what a game I've seen today.' It's what I'd expect from a Manchester City versus Chelsea game, first versus third, a lot at stake, both looking to win the title.
"I'd expect disappointed players, I'd expect hurt players, I'd expect players to react when things don't go their way and today I saw all that."
The victory for the Blues, their eighth straight in the league under Antonio Conte, ensures they remain top of the table this weekend, with West Brom at home to come next Sunday.
Having gone in at the break a goal down to City, Chelsea equalised through Costa before Willian and Hazard finished rapid counter-attacks to earn the three points.
Neville believes Chelsea's confidence is growing every week, but says the fitness of Hazard and Costa in particular will be key to their title aspirations.
"They are in with a shout [of winning the league]," Neville added. "They have title winners in that dressing room and I think the ones that have won the title before will be thinking, 'This is good.'
"Costa and Hazard have to stay fit, that's the big thing because the drop in quality behind those two is enormous.
"They look really up for it. Hazard looks brilliant, Costa looks brilliant and if they can keep those two fit, they are in with a massive chance.
"There was a devastation about Chelsea today. I am not going to hand Chelsea the title now, it's far too early for that, but when I think of teams that have won the league over the years, I think of teams that are capable of attacking in four or five seconds.
"They looked like they were going to concede at one end, and then all of a sudden it's in the back of the net at the other.
"It reminds me of teams that did win leagues. I saw that devastating counter attack today, which is massively encouraging for them."