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...
There are times when Mediawatch wants to just stare at what football has become, sadly sigh, shrug and quietly slip away into the night. There are times when we just want to put our fist through the nearest window then write obscenities in the blood on the floor. And there are times when we want the seas to rise and claim us all, because really it's the kindest thing for everyone.
Today is one of those days, with the reaction to and coverage of Eden Hazard's fracas with that ballboy making us thoroughly depressed.
The ballboy was tracked down on Twitter and now has about 80,000 followers, including at least three newspaper journalists. People have been re-tweeting comments he made in the past week. Stories have been written on him 'boasting' about time-wasting before the game. The inevitable parody account has thousands of followers. Joey Barton weighed in, obviously.
But hey, that's Twitter, a more wretched hive of scum and villainy you will not find, so presumably everyone in the mainstream, sensible press and media will calm us all down and provide some balance, right?
'THUG HAZARD SHAMES BLUES' screeches one headline in The Daily Mail - 'When will Chelsea rise from the GUTTER?' bawls another. The Daily Mirror claimed Hazard 'heaped shame' upon Chelsea while The Sun described the Belgian as a 'disgrace'. The Times (The Times!) dedicates good portions of their back five (five!) pages to it.
The Mail website also ran a piece this morning called 'Inside the mind of a ball boy'. No jokes.
Sky spent a good five minutes analysing the incident, looking at the build-up, considering Hazard's motivation and recalling previous examples of player/ballboy interaction.
Pat Nevin appeared on BBC News this morning, calling for some perspective, but then stated that "you have to get rid of the ballboys". With a straight face.
What the f*ck is going on, people? What's happening? This is a sideshow. It was a brief and unfortunate moment for which one party has been punished. This is not what we should be debating. It's not what we should even be spending our time talking about. It's certainly not what every single match report about Swansea reaching their first ever major cup final in the national press should lead on. Stop it. Stop talking about it. Stop it. Stop it. Stop it.
Of course, we're just as bad as everyone else by talking about it for this long. Oh god.
Also in The Daily Mail - on their back page no less - is a story about Gary Neville.
Well, not really - it actually reports Richard Keys, former Sky employee, having a pop at the Neviller for his (possibly over the top) criticism of David de Gea.
Keys said on SHOUTsport: "I think he was sent out with an agenda. I don't think Gary would have done that had he not been told, "Listen, finger him". I don't think you can nail a goalkeeper in that way."
Aside from us feeling rather bilious at Keys saying 'finger him', it seems fairly standard SHOUTsport stuff. So why is it on the back page of The Daily Mail? The answer may lie in the next bit.
Charlie Sale writes: 'Talking to Sportsmail last night, Keys went a stage further, questioning whether Neville can remain on Sky while working as an assistant to England manager Roy Hodgson.
'Keys said: 'I don't think he can do both jobs. It will continue to compromise him. He's also too close to Manchester United.'
Ahhh, the old conflict of interest argument. Interesting. Where have we heard that before?
Sale wrote in May last year: 'Sky Sports are fully expecting Gary Neville to be as trenchant with his opinions as he has been during an acclaimed debut season as a TV analyst - despite sharing his duties with his new role as England coach.'
On a similar theme, Jonathan Liew wrote a rather scathing piece about Colin Murray in The Daily Telegraph this week.
'There are days when, to be perfectly frank, you wonder what the point of it all is. Terrorism, injustice, dubstep: where will it all end? Why fight? Why bother?
'But there are some days when, against all the odds, against this seemingly irresistible tide of ill, you feel you might finally be getting somewhere. Those days are rare, but they are golden. And yesterday was one of those days. Colin Murray is leaving Match of the Day 2. Let the bells ring. Let the birds sing. Let us all give his substitute a big cheer.'
Liew goes on to describe Murray as 'annoying', 'pig-headed', 'irrelevant' and that 'nobody will ever care' what he thinks about football.
But what on earth could have inspired such ire?
Liew writes: 'Forgive me if you think that lets Murray off lightly, but I choose my words carefully. The last time I wrote about Murray, in Oct 2010, during the early weeks of his Match of the Day 2 tenure, I was quickly contacted by the law firm Schillings.
'If you're a celebrity, and you want to sue a newspaper, Schillings are who you go to. But what became clear over the five rambling, increasingly jaw-dropping pages of their letter was that Murray was less interested in securing punitive damages for defamation than he was in mending his broken heart.'
A quick addendum to the Mediawatch piece on Garth Crooks from Wednesday, in which Crooks predicted that Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez would score 40 goals in a season, the likes of which has not been seen since Keegan and Toshack.
As someone with a more thorough archive than us has pointed out, the most goals scored by Keegan and Toshack in a season for Liverpool was 39.
As the shrewd among you may have noted, Mohamed Diame was on the bench for West Ham's trip to Arsenal on Thursday.
Predictably, this set tongues-a-waggin' in the papers, with the more excitable scribes crying foul.
TREASON, GUNPOWDER AND PLOT!
Sami Mokbel writes in The Daily Mail: Maybe it was a purposeful ploy by the West Ham boss to deprive Wenger of a front-row view to watch the powerful Senegalese ahead of a January switch.'
WHAT HEINOUS MACHINATIONS LIE HERE?!?!?
Of course, the 'ploy' wasn't especially strictly adhered to, after Sam Allardyce brought Diame on for the last 20 minutes of the game, thus affording Wenger a front-row view to watch the powerful Senegalese.
11.48am: The Daily Mirror website publishes a story based entirely on Marca's tale of an ultimatum given to Real Madrid by Iker Casillas and Sergio Ramos.
12.05pm: Real president Florentino Perez declares the story is false.
Worst Headline Of The Day
'Dai-abolical at the Liberty' - The Daily Mirror.
Tweet Of The Day
'Has football gone mad? Hazard is sent off for kicking the ball under a ball boy attempting to smother the ball rather than return it. #CFC' - The Official Chelsea account goes off piste.
Non-Football Story Of The Day (Sorry)
'No matter how badly your day might be going, it's safe to say it's going better than this guy's. A security guard at a hospital in Rio Claro, Trinidad and Tobago, accidentally shot his penis off with his .38-calibre handgun. A resident called police to report the sound of a gunshot coming from a parked car. When they arrived on the scene, police discovered the man bleeding from his groin with spent ammunition cartridges at his side. Adding insult to his injury is the fact that, according to police, the man didn't have a license to carry the gun. As a result, he will be charged with illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition... once he gets out of hospital, where he is under armed guard' - MSN
Thanks to today's Mediawatch spotters Phill Thomas, Paul Fields and James Dall. If you see anything that belongs on this page, mail us at email@example.com, putting 'Mediawatch' in the subject field.