When I first watched this, I thought Neville had bought into his own hype as a coach’s pundit and new football nerd poster boy. Jonathan Walters for goal of the year? On a little bit of set piece luck? Come off it, you’ve bought your own hype Gary, way, way too soon.
But then watching this video, you find yourself at a loss to counter Neville’s argument. First, it reminds you the amount of work that goes into set-piece goals. Second, it underlines the brilliant consistency of Tony Pulis’ approach. The dude believes, heart and soul, in Watford long-ball. Part of the method in playing a defensive 4-5-1 is that set-pieces must be taken advantage of whenever they occur—they’re the easiest way to work against the inherent statistical rarity of goals. And so Pulis coached this little trick to death, Stoke got their goal, and, as it turned out, their point against West Ham.