While other managers have been quick to speak about limitations, Brendan Rodgers and Roberto Martinez have pushed the boundaries to embarrass their peers...
Liverpool cult hero Luis Garcia is returning to Anfield on Easter Monday to take part in the 'Celebration of the 96' charity match. Jon Holmes caught up with him...
Misfiring At Fish In Barrels
Martin Samuel uses his Daily Mail column today to have a swing at the Football Association for their delay in making a decision on whether to charge Nicolas Anelka for his 'quenelle' gesture, but gets rather muddled in his argument.
Samuel opts for that well-trodden path of comparisons with Luis Suarez and John Terry upon hearing the news that the FA have recruited an independent 'expert' to assist with the decision, and that we must wait until January 20th for their decision.
'If that was Luis Suarez, if that was John Terry. Really, 23 days? They would have been charged, tried and weighed off before the first tweet had arrived.
'The FA likes its racist bogeymen in black and white.'
Firstly, as Samuel himself admits, Anelka's case is slightly more 'layered and subtle' than the actions of those before him, and therefore may indeed require further investigation, not least because it promises to act as a precedent for future cases. The idea of mocking an association for asking an independent, meanwhile, is laughable. How dare a member of the FA not be entirely au fait with the inner workings of French socio-politics and far right extremism?
But, more pertinently, using Suarez and Terry as examples of the FA doing things quickly rather falls down rather spectacularly, especially as these were both described by Samuel as simpler, 'black and white' cases.
Number of days after incident for Anelka to (potentially) be charged by FA - 23
Number of days after incident for Suarez to be charged by FA - 32
Number of days after incident for Terry to be charged by FA - 279
A lesson to us all. Even when shooting a fish of the FA's size in a small barrel with a rather powerful rifle, it's possible to fire the weapon off-target.
It's Hard To Say Goodbye
After the striker sealed Spurs' rather scrappy win over Crystal Palace on Saturday Tim Sherwood lavished the praise on Jermain Defoe.
"Jermain is one of the best strikers the Premier League has ever seen, and his record at international level is decent as well.
"His minutes-per-goal ratio is fantastic - I can't give him enough praise. Even when told he is not playing, he is always ready to come on and show he is good enough to start. He's been a fantastic professional."
Two points, Tim.
1) You've just sold him, you know? If he is (and note the use of the present rather than past tense) one of the best strikers, then perhaps you should have held onto him rather than keeping Roberto Soldado and Emmanuel Adebayor as your only striking options.
2) About that "fantastic" minutes-per-goal ratio. It had been 616 minutes since Defoe has last scored a league goal. That one against the bottom-placed side in the Premier League might be the exception rather than the rather optimistic rule.
Tight On Time
Tony Cascarino today uses his Tony Awards (shudder) column in the Times to have a dig at West Brom owner Jeremy Peace.
'West Brom must be the tightest club in the Premier League. They have allowed new head coach Pepe Mel just one assistant and their biggest outlay in the summer on a player was £6million.'
A quick glance around shows that over the last five years, seven current Premier League clubs have spent less than West Brom. Five clubs also have a lower wage bill, whilst Jeremy Peace actually opposed the introduction of financial fair play in the PL because the club was well-run enough that it actually gained an advantage from breaking even, a deliberately risk-averse strategy implemented to ensure that there would be no financial meltdown should the Baggies be relegated.
And Cascarino is calling them tight. Sometimes Mediawatch wants to bang his head hard against the desk.
Shot To The Hart
Monday actually gives us the opportunity to score some open goals of our own, in the form of Garth Crooks' Team Of The Week column on the BBC Website. Crooks is notoriously 'loose' with his formations, but this time around settles for slipping Luke Shaw into the right-back position. We're pretty sure he didn't play there, but picking a Team Of The Week before all the matches have even been played does limit the options somewhat.
However, Garthy saves his best gem for the goalkeeper section: 'Joe Hart's save from Newcastle's Loic Remy that took City back to the top of the table was one that might, in the final analysis, win them the title.'
Yes, that's right. Even if we accept the notion that a save in January could possibly be what wins a team the title (which we don't), it was definitely a good (but by no means phenomenal) save in a match that City went on to win by two clear goals in a season in which they have scored 94 goals by mid-January.
In addition, if that is how it works (which it isn't), would it not instead simply make-up for the clusterf*ck error from Hart at Stamford Bridge, or the flapped cross at the Cardiff City Stadium in August? Or flying off his line against Andreas Weimann and Aston Villa in September?
Still, at least he didn't just blame the referee.
Crooks doesn't stop there, either, lavishing praise on Adnan Januzaj.
'The question manager David Moyes must wrestle with is whether Januzaj is part of his squad or an integral part of the team? I respectfully suggest that Moyes stops dithering and accepts the latter. Anyone can see that the kid is a star. Play him.'
Having started Januzaj in six of United's last seven Premier League games, we rather think Garth's sage advice is a touch unnecessary.
To Be Franck
Monday also means Antony Kastrinakis day in the Sun, which gives all of us a chance to have World Football Uncovered in front of our very eyes.
Antony is rather frothy at the mouth over tonight's Ballon D'Or award, and has revealed that it will be 'daylight robbery' should Franck Ribery not win the main gong this evening. Crikey, you think, that's a touch ballsy isn't it given that Ronaldo is 1/50 with the Bookies, and Ribery available at 20/1?
Kastrinakis' reasoning comes from the numbers that 'Opta gave me', showing that Ribery had the most assists and the better chance conversion, and was also the most accurate passer of the three. And these are, as Kastrinakis claims, the statistics that matter. No mention of the fact that Ribery's pass completion is only better than Lionel Messi's by 1%, and that he only had three more assists than both of the other contenders.
No mention too of the fact that Ribery scored 44 goals less than Ronaldo, but Antony does manage to dismiss the Portuguese's goal tally rather niftily. 'If Ronaldo wins it will be because of his 66 goals that ultimately meant nothing at club level.'
Well, nothing apart from making him the top scorer in Europe over that period, took his side to second in the league, to the final of the Copa Del Rey and to the semi-finals of the Champions League, in which he was also the top scorer with 15 goals in 11 games this year. But nothing apart from that.
'His four goals against Sweden in a two-legged play-off clinched a World Cup spot for Portugal, sure, But they should not have been in that peril in the first place.'
Yes, silly FIFA. You aren't meant to consider those goals that single-handedly took his country into the sport's showpiece occasion because his team shouldn't have been forced to go through the play-offs. Which of course was Ronaldo's fault, despite scoring eight goals during Portugal's qualifying campaign.
At least Ribery got three more assists and had a 2% better chance conversion, eh?
Nothing Compares To You
Still rubbing your eyes after reading Jamie Redknapp's weekly column in the Daily Mail? Fear not, Mediawatch is here to reassure you that it did all really happen:
- Yes, Redknapp did just compare 19-year-old Nabil Bentaleb with Xavi, and that is the headline to the piece on the Mail website. Of course it is.
- Yes, he did make that judgment solely based on the fact that Bentaleb made only six fewer passes than the Spaniard this weekend.
- Yes, he did brush over (completely ignore) the fact that one of those players was facing Crystal Palace at home, whilst the other travelled to the Vicente Calderon to play Atletico Madrid.
No pressure, kid.
'Lescott Eyes England Role' blurts out the headline from the Daily Mirror above a story that discusses the Manchester City player knowing that 'this month is key to his World Cup hopes.'
Actual quotes from Lescott about his England World Cup hopes: 0
Actual quotes from Lescott about England: 0
Actual quotes from Lescott: 0
Actual quotes: 0
Setting Your Stall Out
"There is a lot of nonsense over a name change. For me the Chairman has not only rescued the club but has signalled his intent to say 'we want to stay here'. The outside world talks about us in the wrong vein."
Steve Bruce proves that he's a company man with his thoughts on Hull City fans' campaign against a name change to Hull City Tigers.
He Should Meet The Mayor
'Within hours of his move to Toronto FC being confirmed, Tottenham forward Jermain Defoe's Twitter account followed a couple of Canadians. Who just happened to be adult movie stars Lanny Barby and Zoey Andrews'
The Daily Mirror pick up on Defoe's North American plans. Well it can't all be Due South and trips to Niagara.
Tortured Intro Of The Day
'Bears and bluebells are reported to have come out in Scandinavia, as if winter is over, but the Bees in Middlesex never stopped for it. Brentford, having risen to the top of League One on 29 December, extended the run of wins that took them there to eight with a 2-0 defeat of Port Vale, lying eighth, at Griffin Park.' - Just imagine reading this by Jeremy Alexander in the Guardian without knowing that Brentford are nicknamed the Bees. Wonderful.
Quote Of The Day
"Shut your noise, you f*cking old c**t" - Alan 'Chunky' Pardew gets a touch personal on the touchline in Manuel Pellegrini's direction. It's a bizarre scenario in which 'old' is the weirdest word of that insult - Pellegrini is just eight years older than Pardew.
Childish Giggle Of The Day
'The boss had to be hard at half-time' - Liverpool's official site give a rather graphic image of Brendan Rodgers' call to arms at the Britannia on Sunday. Mediawatch thinks it preferred the empty envelopes.
Worst Headline Of The Day
'Lumpty Pumpty'- The Sun then stink the place out with a rather bizarre take on Andy Carroll's return. Note: Just because it rhymes doesn't make it work. Especially when neither of them are actual words.
Non-Football Story Of The Day
A creep dubbed the "Swiss cheese pervert" has been exposing himself to women in Philadelphia, according to the Mayfair Town Watch.
The group is working with police to track down a heavyset white man believed to be in his late 40s or early 50s who approaches females in his car and says he will pay them to put a slice of Swiss cheese on his genitals and perform sexual acts on him with it.
The paper also reported that the pervert messaged a 19-year-old on dating site OKCupid in July 2012, saying he was "he was looking for someone to perform masturbation on him with cheese." - The NYDailynews.com bring a whole new meaning to a cheesy chat-up line.
Thanks to today's Mediawatch spotters David Whitby, Darrin Mohan, Lewis Holmes and Lawrence Kidd. If you see anything that belongs on this page, mail us at email@example.com, putting 'Mediawatch' in the subject field.