The Page That Could Have Gone All Night

Steven Howard manages to be miserable at the Emirates, Jose Mourinho spouts some nonsense and Robbie Savage tries to help David Moyes...

Last Updated: 09/12/13 at 12:29

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Beast Of Steven
You will remember that on Friday (before the World Cup draw that paired England with Uruguay), The Sun's Mr Grumpypants Steven Howard theorised that Roy Hodgson would be worried by Luis Suarez's four-goal haul against Norwich because the Canaries boasted seven Englishmen. Not seven Englishmen who are in Hodgson's World Cup plans, of course, but seven Englishmen nevertheless. Hodgson should apparently be losing sleep over the inadequacies of Ryan Bennett.

On Monday, Howard notes that Hodgson was at the Emirates to watch eight Englishmen in a rather good football match. Surely this should cheer up Howard - especially as Ross Barkley was really quite magnificent in patches. But no...

'Let us just hope the penny has finally dropped with Hodgson...he has yet to start him...what a waste...for Hodgson to continue ignoring him would be criminal.'

Three things, Steven...

a) Ross Barkley is 20 years old.
b) He has made 27 Premier League appearances.
c) Cheer up fella.

Foul Play
It might not have been the 'fury' described by the back page of The Sun, but Arsene Wenger was clearly a little miffed at Everton's rough-house tactics on Sunday and a little miffed with Howard Webb for not doling out bookings.

Apparently he 'rapped': "When we got our passing going they stopped us every time with a foul without being punished by the referee. After that they can get everyone in their own half again."

Fouls by Arsenal v Everton: 13
Fouls by Everton v Arsenal: 11

Bookings for Arsenal players v Everton: 0
Bookings for Everton players v Arsenal: 4

His rap didn't even rhyme.

Can't Win, Won't Win
Headline on the back page of The Sun: 'JOSE: WE CAN'T WIN TITLE'.
Headline in the Daily Mirror: 'TITLE? NO WAY SAYS JOSE'.

Actual quote from Jose Mourinho: "Who told you we are the first contender to win the league? I don't think we are. I think we are one of the six teams that are potential contenders."

It's almost like he's saying that they can win the title but don't make them favourites. It's almost like Britain's favourite tabloids have wilfully misunderstood.

Mind The Gap
Mind you, there's some classic nonsense being spouted by Mourinho in the same interview. His desperate attempt to play down expectations has led to some - and this will shock you - massaging of the truth.

"My team in the last two or three years in December was 15 to 20 points behind the leaders," he said as reporters dutifully recorded his comments.

Since when have ten points (2023/13, 2011/12) and one point (2010/11) been in the '15 to 20 points' range, Jose? Since you wanted everyone to 'oooh' and 'aaah' about you being just five points behind, perhaps?

Don't Ask, Just Tell
The Daily Star clearly don't believe a word uttered by Mourinho.

He says: "Of course we want the best possible results but I am not waiting for players, I am not asking for players. This is a period for the club and this is a period of my team where we have to try and improve the players we have and try to build a future."

They say: 'JOSE MOURINHO is set to condemn Chelsea's shot-shy strikers to the scrapheap...he will tell Stamford Bridge sugar daddy Roman Abramovich he needs to spend big to stop the club slipping out of the 'big four'.'

Savage Says
"They're not scoring goals," noted the Welsh sage after highlights of Chelsea's defeat to Stoke on Match of the Day.

Chelsea have 30 goals from 15 games. Only Manchester City and Liverpool have scored more. That's the same number as Arsenal, who are five points clear at the top of the table. They have scored 12 in their last four games. But no, they're not scoring goals.

Clean Machine
Chelsea are scoring goals (pay attention, Robbie), but they are also conceding them with really quite alarming regularity. Just don't tell Gary Cahill...

"We've kept a lot of clean sheets this season..."

Let's stop you there, Gary. You've kept four clean sheets. As have Hull and Crystal Palace. That's really not 'a lot' by anybody's standards (except perhaps Manchester United).

Stating The Obviously Impressive
Robbie Savage in his BBC column: 'Alan Shearer made a fantastic point on Match of the Day on Saturday night when he pointed out how, with Rooney suspended against Newcastle, Van Persie had to drop deep to get on the ball.'

Mediawatch is shedding real tears that a BBC 'expert' is so obviously bowled over by such insight. Next week: Savage hails Alan Hansen's revelation that Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker are actually rather good.

'How David Moyes can save Man Utd's season' is the headline on Savage's BBC column. Surely as bad as things are going for Moyes, they have not reached the point when he should turn to Savage for sage advice such as 'sort out the Rooney and Van Persie speculation' and 'target some top-class talent'.

Moyes might also point out that Savage 'wrote' in April when United claimed the title: 'The strength in depth that Ferguson has, and the adaptability of his players, allows him to change his formation and approach depending on the opposition...the margin by which United won the title was frightening, and I think they are a team which is getting better and better.'

And yet now, with United 13 points off leaders Arsenal, Savage 'writes' that Moyes 'needs to bring some faces in but he also has to decide who he no longer wants and move them on. I am sure he has made a few decisions on that already but the problem he has is that, on current form, he seems to have more players who are not up to United's standards than the ones who are.'

So, to re-cap: When United were winning, they had an excellent squad. Now they're not winning, that same squad is not good enough.

Savage: Writing down what they say on 6-0-6 so you don't have to.

Going On
Paul Lambert really doesn't want to go on about the referee's performance in Villa's defeat at Fulham on Sunday. He absolutely definitely doesn't want to labour the point.

"I don't think we played as well as what we have been but I still think that some of the decisions went against us," Lambert told Sky Sports.

"I think the referee's performance for the whole game was poor. I think some of his decisions were I say, I thought Mike's performance today was I said, I thought the referee's performance today was poor...

"But there's no point in going on about it."


Headline Of The Day
'RENE: DON'T WALK AWAY' - The Daily Mirror with a headline that will mean bugger all to anybody unfamiliar with the work of The Left Banke. And frankly, who cares about them?

Worst Headline Of The Day
'LUSERS' - Get used to this one from The Sun as England v Uruguay approaches.

Non-Football Story Of The Day
'Police today revealed the problem which has long blighted the Chase is getting worse, with streams of people flocking to the site. Officers believe doggers and voyeurs are travelling to Staffordshire from Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire to three specific car parks at the beauty spot. Wildlife and rural officer Pc Pete Clarke said a concern was the litter 'doggers' leave behind, including used contraceptives which could be a health risk. There are also fears young families could catch exhibitionists in the act. The problem gained notoriety in 2004 when Stan Collymore admitted dogging at the spot' - Express And Star.

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Readers' Comments


may well get slated by other United fans for this, but out of the three contenders, I'd far prefer Liverpool to win the title. Yes some elements of their fanbase can be a bit OTT, yes they're our biggest rivals and yes it will make our poor season feel even more like the end of an era (Fergie's gone, Liverpool are back on top). However I just have to applaud Brendan Rodgers and the way he's turned Liverpool around in just a couple of seasons. It...

Please Stop Telling Us What To Think


ooray! We are all excited now, we beat a very mediocre team! With all due respect to WHU supporters, not winning that game shouldn't even be a consideration. This is the problem, there is no winning mentality at the Emirates - we're all congratulating ourselves beating a team that we have a winning record against.

Wenger hails important win


s this meant to be an aspiration for United supporters? Moyes mediocrity strikes again. I see the Bayern boys don't want to sign for him, and his reputation amongst the senior European coaches make other key signings unlikely.

De Gea's Europa League target

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