Lawro beats the bookies (as long as you ignore what the bookies do), Tony Pulis makes history and more from the papers...
When Bale is good, it's down to the manager. Apart from when it's Villas-Boas...
Grumpy v Grumpy
The Independent's James Lawton has been a grumpy old boy for a while now. He was probably a grumpy old boy when he was, well, a young boy.
Today Lawton writes a piece that became familiar in the summer, when those wonderful and flawless Olympians were showing footballers how ghastly the sport, their behaviour and their shoes were. Specifically, it's the 'This thing is brilliant, so I'm going to write about how it makes this other thing rubbish' piece.
In this case, Lawton writes about Leo Messi and Luis Suarez. We'll leave you to guess which one he praises for his 'uncommon grace' and which he calls a 'thief in the night.'
First of all, Lawton seems to write himself into knots with this one: 'For Suarez, as he awoke to another day of fierce controversy, Rodgers and TV analyst and former midfield general of Manchester United, Leeds United and Scotland, Gordon Strachan, argued that he was doing no more than his professional duty when he plundered his handball goal against non-League Mansfield on Sunday and celebrated in his usual way, which of all things just happened to be an inflammatory kiss of his wrist.'
Well, it is his usual way, so either it's standard stuff that would have been curious to skip this time, or it's deliberately inflammatory. Surely one or the other.
Lawton then goes on to bemoan the state of morality in football:
'The imperative to win, in any way possible, to dive for advantage, to have an opponent sent off by any contrivance, has become so all-consuming that the gesture of Liverpool's Robbie Fowler in protesting a penalty awarded against his opponent David Seaman 16 years ago has become so quaint, so remote, it might have been dreamed up at King Arthur's Round Table.'
The problem is, Lawton seems to be pining for a time that was never really around. A time of fine upstanding men who would lay down their capes over a puddle for a lady and admit if they Did A Bad Thing.
Cheating is not a new thing. As others have pointed out this week, Francis Lee was not only delighted but rather loudly bragged after scoring a goal with his hand for Manchester City against Spurs in 1973. Cheating used to happen in the old days, it just wasn't replayed on TV fifty times every hour, and this incident was not evidence that 'once again what was left of football's value system had been perverted.'
And yes, we're aware of the irony of such a grumpy response to a grumpy piece. Sod off and leave us to our cocoa.
Seas, Rise And Claim Us All
Not too many things unite the papers. However, one of them is certainly 'innocuous quotes to vaguely back up a story we've been pushing for months'.
In case you missed it on Monday, Pep Guardiola reiterated what he said when he left Barcelona and what he's said ever since when asked about his future - specifically that he's having a year off, but after that he'd like to be a coach again.
Pep said: "Yes, next season I will come back to manage a club. I don't know which team but I will come back to manage."
So, we think we can all agree, pretty much exactly what he's been saying since May. So no change then. So no story to report, right? Wrong.
'I'LL PEP UP THE PREM' barks The Sun, despite Guardiola making no reference to the Premier League. Or any country or league.
'STAND GUARD - Pep Guardiola fired the starting pistol on the biggest managerial scramble for years by revealing he is ready to return to the dug-out' flanges The Daily Mirror, of course reporting news that isn't actually news. It's a bit like firing a starting pistol either halfway through a race, or 20 minutes before it starts.
'CHELSEA'S PURSUIT OF GUARDIOLA IS BACK ON' farts The Daily Mail. And so on, and so forth, and by God when will the seas rise and claim us all to take us from this awfulness.
In case you missed it over the weekend, here's the Stoke players' fantasy football league.
We direct you to Jermaine Pennant's team name.
Childish Giggle Of The Day
From SportsPro magazine:
'Tottenham Hotspur winger-cum-hole player Gareth Bale...'
Suddenly that heart celebration thing makes more sense.
Can't quite work out what Blackburn's Martin Olsson is getting at here. Any ideas?
He told The Lancashire Telegraph: "I have nothing to say on that. I just want to focus on Rovers. I don't want to offend anyone, I just want to focus on my football and that's it.
"There has been speculation since the summer but I just have to let it go and focus on my football. If I focus on something else, I am not going to be focused here.
"So I am focused on Blackburn 100 per cent."
Reports The Daily Mirror:
'QPR's bid to hijack Loic Remy's Newcastle switch has failed - despite throwing Shaun Wright-Phillips into the deal.'
Despite? Or because?
Headline Of The Day
'Follow the Jelavic road' - The Sun nearly wash away all of their past sins with this beaut.
Worst Headline Of The Day
'Cup is a Shay of hope for keeper' - The Daily Mirror.
Non-Football Story Of The Day
'Families of terminally ill patients are making bets to predict the date their relatives will die in a sick gambling craze in Taiwan. According to China Press, senior citizens' clubs have set up more than 10 gaming houses in Taizhong City as the bizarre trend has taken off. Gamblers - including cancer patients' family members and even the doctors - have reportedly lodged £2.1m with bookies. It is reported that those who want to take part in the game have to first pay a membership fee of more than £40.
'The bookies then visit hospitals to seek permission from the patients' family. Then they take the punters to the hospital on their next visit to observe the patients. According to the rules, the bookies win if the cancer patients die within a month. However, if they die between one and six months after the bets were placed, the gamblers would be paid three times their wager. Reports said local police were investigating the gaming houses in Taichung, which is the third largest city in Taiwan' - Orange.
Thanks to today's Mediawatch spotter Chris Ryan. If you see anything that belongs on this page, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, putting 'Mediawatch' in the subject field.