Martin Samuel now likes managers that criticise players, but wants everyone (other than him) to stop talking about gay footballers. Plus youth hostelling with Chris Eubank...
Arsene Wenger was fuming and seething, Ian Wright picks his mate, Martin Samuel takes on a straw man, John Cross reports on a 'revolt' and more...
Alan Smith on Anderson: "It isn't a night to judge players...but he has been disappointing."
How Did That Go?
Wrote the Daily Mail's Martin Samuel on Wednesday: 'For a man in need of a sudden reversal of fortune, West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce is going about his business in a very strange way these days. On Wednesday night, he will play a second-string team in the Capital One Cup quarter-final against Tottenham.
'Good news for the fringe players, good news for Tottenham's interim manager Tim Sherwood in his first game, bad news for the locals who recall the days when domestic cup competitions contained the potential highlights of West Ham's season and were not simply an onerous task to be completed between training sessions.'
Writes Matt Barlow in 'Sherwood Watch' for the Daily Mail: 'He opted for an adventurous 4-4-2 line-up that meant a recall for Jermain Defoe and a first start of the season for Emmanuel Adebayor, back from the wilderness after falling out with Andre Villas-Boas. The partnership would have been enough to get Spurs purists nodding in appreciation.'
Yes, those Spurs 'purists' must have been overjoyed to see a strike partnership of Defoe (one goal in his last 26 Premier League appearances) and Adebyaor (eight goals in all competitions since the start of last season) who last started together in March's 4-1 thrashing at Internazionale and, before that, the 0-0 draw against a pretty horrendous QPR side in January.
Why on earth didn't Villas-Boas think of pairing them together this season?
Given the late nature of West Ham's fight-back to claim victory at White Hart Lane, Mediawatch expected to see several match reports lauding Tim Sherwood's Spurs' revolution on Thursday morning.
Step forward AVB's old pal Neil Ashton in the Daily Mail.
In his desperation to praise Sherwood and deride Villas-Boas, it seems Ashton fell into said trap on Wednesday evening, as Mediawatch notes with interest the differences between his on-the-whistle report for the paper and the easily amendable online write-up.
'In the chairman's office at Tottenham's magnificent new 77-acre training centre in Enfield, Daniel Levy has the plans for the club's new 56,000-capacity super stadium,' writes Ashton in the paper.
'To fund their ambitious project, Joe Lewis, the club's principle owner, is relying on the riches from regular Champions League football.
'All they need is a manager to guide them there. Step forward, Tim Sherwood.'
Of course, this considered intro doesn't really work after Spurs crashed out of the League Cup to a West Ham side who have been on a horrendous run of late, so Mediawatch invites you to compare and contrast with Ashton's online intro:
'In the corner of the Park Lane End, West Ham's noisy travelling fans sang 'You're Getting Sacked In The Morning'. It has become standard here.
'Tim Sherwood, in his first game in temporary charge of this dysfunctional Tottenham team, was not to be spared.
'There is a disease eating its way through this great football club and someone - Sherwood, or whoever - must provide a cure. Fast.'
Ah, that's better. Much more appropriate for the occasion.
Ashton's subtle changes don't stop there, however, as he continues to dance around his foiled attempts to anoint Sherwood as Spurs' saviour in print.
'It is Sherwood's baby now. He went with what English football knows best and to hell with the fashion for 4-2-3-1. This was 4-4-2, plain and simple. Two wingers, two strikers, get on with it and get this team past West Ham,' writes Ashton in the paper, handily ignoring the fact that 4-2-3-1 has been rather a successful formation in English football for some time - just ask Sir Alex Ferguson.
And then, for the Mail online: 'This is Sherwood's baby for the time being and he knows it.
'Sherwood cares for this team, his boys, but what could he realistically do with two days' preparation? Not a lot.
'For that reason he went with what English football knows best and to hell with the fashion for 4-2-3-1 or a false No 9.'
Don't you love it when a plan fails to come together?
Tim Sherwood might have overseen a League Cup exit in his first match in charge of Spurs, but it seems he was a winner in at least one aspect on Wednesday.
Writes Matt Barlow in the Daily Mail: 'A wet and windy night at White Hart Lane was no place for the sharp suit and tie combo always favoured by AVB. Sherwood stayed true to his coaching status with a club tracksuit under a big blue bench coat and a pair of white trainers.'
It's a wonder he caught any of the game.
Slight Difference Of Opinion
"The bottom line is he agreed to all of those signings. From speaking to AVB, I understand he was happy that the players came to the club" - Les Ferdinand.
'Andre Villas-Boas did not approve four of Tottenham's seven summer signings and asked chairman Daniel Levy not to buy them. Villas-Boas objected to the acquisitions of Erik Lamela, Nacer Chadli, Vlad Chiriches and Christian Eriksen, a quartet who cost Spurs a total of £56million, but his judgment was overruled' - the Daily Mail.
'Can he hang on to the job?' ask The Sun of Tim Sherwood's hopes of being appointed Spurs manager.
'Why not? With candidates of the required calibre unlikely to be available before next summer, a good run of results would put Sherwood in a strong position.
'He was close to one here and must find the positives to focus on and concentrate on the league.'
Imagine The Sun's reaction if David Moyes had claimed Manchester United were 'close' to the right result following one-goal defeats to Everton and Newcastle.
Writes Neil Custis in The Sun: 'David Moyes' Christmas might not turn out to be a turkey after all.
'The festive champagne looked like it was going to be pretty flat after defeats to Everton and Wigan brought boos of a very different kind.'
Wigan? Hold your horses, Neil. United aren't in the Championship yet.
Michael Owen has shared his thoughts on the title race in his mid-term report for Sportlobster, and the BT pundit doesn't fail to disappoint with his...erm...interesting views.
'Liverpool are fully deserving of being labelled title contenders,' writes Owen.
'The Reds are firmly back in the big time. The noises I am hearing are that (Brendan) Rodgers has money to spend this coming window and should he unearth another couple of gems, I certainly wouldn't back against them lifting some silverware come May.'
Fair enough, you might think. Liverpool have made a great start to the season and can jump ahead of Arsenal - perhaps only briefly - with a win against Cardiff on Saturday. But how does Owen rate the Gunners, who eased to a 2-0 victory over Liverpool in November?
'Arsenal don't have the class of player to go toe to toe with the main title contenders,' he continues.
'Despite people constantly telling me Mesut Ozil is world class, his inconsistency means that we only see occasional glimpses of real quality.
'His odd good performance is usually followed by half a dozen poor ones.'
Ah. So despite leading the table after 16 games, picking up a confident win over Liverpool and qualifying from the toughest Champions League group, Arsenal simply don't possess enough quality. Go figure.
As for Ozil, who has two goals and four assists in his last six appearances, Mediawatch would like to point out that he hasn't gone more than three games without a goal or assist at any stage this season. So not quite the 'half a dozen' that Owen claims.
The Daily Mirror's Mike Walters is not a fan of Andre Villas-Boas, that much is clear. But Mediawatch can't abide his petty digs at the sacked Spurs boss as he gleefully sticks the knife in.
Writes Walters: 'For 80 minutes, Sherwood appeared to have consigned the dreary, soulless era of Andre Villas-Boas and his blasted dossiers to the dustbin at White Hart Lane.'
Two things, Mike:
1) A match lasts 90 minutes. Spurs lost 2-1.
2) Would a narrow 1-0 win at home to a dire West Ham side, in which Spurs continued to miss a hatful of chances, really have signified a new dawn?
Worst Headline Of The Day
'Sm-Ash 'n grab' - The Sun.
Non-Football Story Of The Day
'A Taiwanese tourist had to be rescued after accidentally walking off a pier in the Australian city of Melbourne while checking her Facebook page.
'The woman tumbled from St Kilda's pier into Port Phillip Bay late on Monday night. Police were alerted to the incident by a witness and rescued her in a speedboat after about 20 minutes.
'The woman, who apologised, was taken to hospital for observation but police said she was fine. Senior Constable Dean Kelly of the water police said officers found her floating metres from the pier.
'"She still had her mobile phone in her hand and initially she apologised... she said 'I was checking my Facebook page on the phone and I've fallen in'."
'Constable Kelly called on people to pay more attention when using social media around water' - bbc.co.uk
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