Martin Keown solves Chelsea's defensive problems and why Arsenal should fear Napoli tonight...
The Sun conduct an 'experiment' and Adrian Durham knows how to spice up romance...
The newspapers in this country are weird. Of course they're weird. In what other world than a truly bizarre one would Mary Berry saying she hates Gordon Ramsey be front-page news (The Daily Mail), a golfinator replying to some 'trolls' on Twitter be back-page news (The Daily Mirror) or 'Roo' be placed in any headline and people think this is acceptable (every paper, ever)?
Still, at least they're not as downright odd as the Spanish press, who it seems have graduated from merely manic via strange to actual stalking.
Today's edition of AS features a picture of a bewildered looking Gareth Bale 'with' (and when we say 'with' we mean 'in the same shot but trying desperately to get away as quickly as possible') the paper's editor, who it seems has basically been camped outside Bale's house for the last few weeks, in the hope of getting a few words with their target.
They then followed him to the Wales camp, where they again attempted to grab an interview that they would no doubt then plaster on their walls, while dancing around wearing crotchless pants and chanting at their life-size Gareth Bale doll, which obviously is dressed in a Real Madrid shirt.
And to be fair, they did succeed in talking to Bale. Or rather, 'at' him.
The exchange between editor and Bale went thus, with translation from SportWitness.com:
'"You know who I am?". Follow the lesson well learned, he was unresponsive. We continue: "I'm the bogeyman."
We accompanied him to the door of the hotel with a flurry of questions: "How are you? Is this a hard time, you're gonna play with Wales?". No response.'
They did eventually get a quote from him, which they used as their front-page splash headline. And it was a ripper. A real doozy. One worthy of this remarkably weird behaviour and the expense of camping outside a man's house for weeks.
"I'm sorry, it's really not the time to talk."
We sort of expect to read a news story in the coming weeks, involving the AS bods, the closing line of which will be '...before turning the gun on himself.'
Only The Loanly
July 23: Matej Vydra's agent claims his client will not leave Udinese on a permanent deal. "If they try to loan the player then the answer will be no, it's simple," said Ondrej Chovanec.
August 13: Vydra joins West Brom on loan.
Here To Stay
July 17: Stewart Downing states he won't be leaving Liverpool. "I'm here to stay. I'm enjoying it, especially last season when I got a good run in the team. Hopefully that will continue, and I need to work hard. I want it to continue. It's why I came here, to play in a successful team."
August 13: Downing signs for West Ham and says: "I'm very excited. It's a great opportunity for me being here."
Case For The Defence
Regular readers will know that a frequent bugbear of Mediawatch's has been the attribution of any significance whatsoever to pre-season friendlies. They mean nothing, whatever occurs in those games mean nothing, and anyone who thinks otherwise would be well-advised to dunk their heads in a bucket of freezing water and just wake up.
So a big pail of the iciest H2O to David Anderson of The Daily Mirror, who reports:
'Manuel Pellegrini will step up his search for a centre-half to shore up Manchester City's leaky defence.
'After splashing out £90million this summer to boost the team's firepower, he must deal with an unfamiliar problem at the back after his side shipped eight goals in their last three games.'
Those three games were, of course, friendlies against AC Milan, Bayern Munich and Arsenal. Friendlies that - again, we cannot stress this enough - mean less than a fraction of 110% of f*ck all.
So, just, you know, stop it.
A couple of points from Adrian Durham's column in The Daily Mail, which we'll try to deal with quickly because we don't want you to spend too much time thinking about him or his views.
Firstly, it says a reasonable amount about Durham's football knowledge/judgement that he 'virtually pleaded' with Norwich's Russell Martin 'not to accept a Scotland call-up because I felt he had a great chance of playing for England'. Righto.
Durham also notes that: 'I want Wayne Rooney to stay at Manchester United and get minimal game time this coming season.
'If that happens then it will mean England's most successful current player will be fresh and hungry for football heading into the World Cup, rather than tired from a Las Vegas holiday as he was at Euro 2012.'
Aye, that's definitely what someone of Rooney's, erm, 'body type' needs - to be sitting on his arse for nine months so he can be 'hungry' in time for the World Cup. Excellent choice of words there Adrian, by the way.
Naked People Running Around
Russia's anti-gay laws have been in the news recently, so the chief organiser of the 2018 World Cup thought it would be a good idea to give an interview to calm fears that the country would be an inhospitable place for everyone who wished to attend.
Unfortunately, it was not a good idea. It actually turned out to be the very opposite of a good idea.
Alexey Sorokin told World Football Insider that the law, banning the promotion of homosexuality in schools etc "has been largely misinterpreted...it is designed against active propaganda of homosexuality, not against homosexuality itself. That is a big difference".
Oh, that's OK then.
Sorokin continued: "Would you like a World Cup where naked people are running around displaying their homosexuality? The answer to that is quite obvious."
Well quite. We agree with you on that one Alexey. Behind you all the way. Couldn't concur more. You're bang on.
Sounds marvellous to us.
Childish Giggle Of The Day
Reports The Guardian:
'[Nani] scored both goals in a 2-0 win before a tight groin caused his withdrawal.'
We've all been there, big horse.
Quote Of The Day
"Between 2004 and 2007 he (Frank Lampard) became, for sure, one of the best players in the world" - Jose Mourinho. There's something else significant about those dates, but we can't quite put our finger on it.
Tattoo Of The Day
What finer way could a Seattle Sounders fan pick to celebrate the signing of Clint Dempsey than with a tattoo of his face with some boots attached?
Non-Football Headline Of The Day
'Drunk surgeon arrested for stealing bag of heroin from patient's stomach' - The Irish Independent.
Non-Football Story Of The Day
'A drunk who mistook a shipping container for his bed and breakfast digs woke up to find himself sealed in for a two-week boat trip to the USA. Horrified Jiang Wu came round after a night on the town in Qingdao, China, to find he'd wandered into one of thousands of containers being loaded on ships bound for America. "The container was sealed and he couldn't get out so he called everyone he knew for help and called us too," said a police spokesman. "His problem was that he couldn't tell us which container he was in and there were thousands of them stacked on top of each other."
'Jiang was eventually tracked down in a container stacked 60ft in the air by hammering on the metal side. "He's very lucky. If he'd been asleep for another hour the next stop would have been America," said one docker' - Orange.
Thanks to today's Mediawatch spotters Ciaran McCauley, Jeremy Johnson and Darragh G. If you spot anything that belongs on this page, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, putting 'Mediawatch' in the subject field.