Manchester City's Erling Haaland gestures during the Premier League victory over Newcastle United at Etihad Stadium, Manchester, March 2023.

Man City & not one, not two, but three bits of brilliant sh*thousery to beat the dark arts kings

With comedic mistiming, Kieran Tripper lauded the art of shithousery before Newcastle’s League Cup final defeat to Manchester United.

Speaking to The Guardian, Tripper said: “I’ve experienced these things a lot in Spain.

“It’s about when to slow a game down. If the opposition are on top, of course you’ve got to kill the game. You’re not going to allow them to take a quick throw-in and say: ‘Carry on.’

“Some teams aren’t happy with us this season but it’s about being clever.

“I love it. The best for me was Atletico Madrid’s Stefan Savic. He used to pull people’s hair, even in training. It was crazy but I love all that.

“Of course, opposition fans aren’t going to like it but I think it’s good to see. I don’t see why everyone’s kicking off about it: it’s good!”

Trippier and Newcastle have received criticism from opposition supporters for their indulgence of the dark arts this season – if you want a fun drinking game, down your glass every time Nick Pope lies on the ball – but they were administered a taste of their own bitter on Saturday.

Manchester City haven’t won four of the last five Premier League titles without resorting to tactics that’d make Severus Snape blush on occasion.

For years, there was no greater proponent of the tactical foul than Fernandinho, the type of bloke who’d trip you up to get the last pack of peppers in the supermarket.

And the necessity of protecting a two-goal lead against Newcastle bought out the belligerent side of Pep Guardiola’s champions.

You’ll have all seen Erling Haaland squaring up to Dan Burn, telling the Newcastle defender to whistle and shit at the same time. Indeed, we dedicated an entire article to the moment.

But that wasn’t the end of the shithousery; Ruben Dias saw right through Anthony Gordon ‘resting’ within earshot of the City coaching staff and gave him a hearty shove into next week.

And, just when Newcastle’s pan of piss was reaching boiling point, Haaland combined with Jack Grealish to give a masterclass in the art of procrastinating over a set piece.

With three defenders ready to pounce, Grealish rolled his corner a whole 12 inches to the feet of the Norweigan Goal God. Rather than cack his pants as Joelinton lunged in with the intention of removing head from torso, Haaland calmly played the ball off him for a corner.

Five seconds later, the whole charade was repeated; the 22-year-old used his immense physical heft to hold off Joelinton and Trippier to retain possession for his side.

Both Newcastle players were left with steam coming out their ears; City had well and truly showed them what proper shithousery looks like.

“We are the team with the least waste of time in our careers, then the first time we go to Arsenal away and after 36 minutes we got a yellow card so don’t worry about wasting time,” Guardiola fumed last week.

“It depends on the referee, but I’m pretty sure the yellow will be for Ederson. How many thousand, million games do teams come to Etihad Stadium and waste time from the keepers? Twenty seconds every time – the goal-kick and long ball and long ball and long ball, and absolutely nothing happens.

Asked if City were being unfairly treated, Guardiola added: “In this action, yes. How many times after press conferences do I complain about referees or make an appointment [to see them]? The game is done when it’s done.

“I don’t even know before the game who the referee is. I don’t talk with them before or after.”

Even the manager isn’t immune to some top-class shithousery. Once the pain of defeat fades, even Trippier would have to admit a begrudging admiration for City’s commitment to the dark arts.

By Michael Lee

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