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...
'You sometimes reach the stage where you wonder whether there's actually much point in England going' - has Steven Howard just become a parody of himself?
Writes Martin Lipton ominously in the Daily Mirror: 'SIX defeats by January 1. Seventh place and 11 points adrift of Arsenal. Unhappy New Year, David Moyes. And while Manchester United are not a team in crisis...'
Erm. We'll stop you there, Martin, and draw your attention to the rather large words in capital letters at the top of the very same page: 'UNITED IN CRISIS.'
For what it's worth, Mediawatch is siding with the sub-editor.
Tell Me Why
It's difficult to argue with Steven Howard in The Sun (and my word, we try) when he writes that Wayne Rooney has no reason to stay at Manchester United without Champions League football when he could go to Chelsea. It's difficult to argue because it's roughly 600 words of stating the bleeding obvious.
But it's odd that Howard asks 'how much longer can Rooney continue the unequal struggle of attempting to carry this United side?' and 'why should Rooney spend the rest of his career in a United team searching for a new identity?' when Howard himself wrote an article in February that asked another rather big question:
'Where does Rooney go when you need him?'
Which leads to a question of our own: Why would the champions be so perturbed at losing a player who 'always fails for England and Manchester United in the big games', Steven?
From Robbie Savage's Premier League predictions for the Daily Mirror on August 16: '8) Everton. I wish him all the best, but Roberto Martinez will find David Moyes a hard act to follow. Defensively, his Wigan side were poor and Goodison fans are not used to seeing their team spring leaks at the back. Martinez has plenty to prove.'
Robbie Savage's updated Premier League predictions for the Daily Mirror on September 5: 'Here is my FINAL forecast of who will finish where. No going back on this pecking order, I will stand or fall by this table...7) Everton (8th)'
Robbie Savage on the BBC, December 12: "Everton have done absolutely fantastic. I think they could finish in that fourth place. Fourth place is between Everton, Liverpool, Spurs, United. And I think at the minute, Liverpool injuries, United's home form is poor, Everton have taken four points away from home against Arsenal and United recently - I've got to fancy them, as we're speaking, for that fourth place.'
Robbie Savage back in the Daily Mirror, January 3: 'Everton will continue to be a force if Romelu Lukaku stays fit and they jeep hold of Leighton Baines this month. Prediction: 6th.'
Does that mean he will claim to be right if they finish fourth, sixth, seventh or eighth?
Here are those words from Savage in September again: 'Here is my FINAL forecast of who will finish where. No going back on this pecking order, I will stand or fall by this table.'
Number of teams who remain unmoved in his January predictions: Two.
And he has the cheek to call himself 'Sav the Soothsayer' because he predicted that Sunderland would struggle.
Mediawatch is always fascinated to see the back pages of our national tabloid newspapers when there is no obvious back-page news. Do they go for a ridiculous transfer flyer (the Daily Star), a vague pretence that they're remotely interested in football in the provinces (the Daily Mirror and the Daily Express), an actual exclusive news story (a round of applause for the Daily Mail) or are they The Sun?
If they're The Sun, they take some fairly innocuous comments from Sepp Blatter and try to give them some kind of context their readers will understand. And that means a picture of a footballer they recognise.
Which is how you get to a back-page headline of 'CHEATS', a picture of Oscar and an opening paragraph that reads: 'SEPP BLATTER has branded the Premier League's serial divers as "deeply irritating cheats".'
Of course, Sepp Blatter did no such thing. Sepp Blatter merely wrote in his FIFA Weekly column that he finds cheating in football to be 'deeply irritating'. No mention of the Premier League. No mention of Oscar. No mention of Adnan Januzaj.
This Is Twit
Mediawatch very, very much enjoyed Sandro's tweet on Tuesday - 'Charlie Adams - THE BEAST IS WATCHING YOU!!!' - partly because we utterly adore the kung-fu-kicking, guitar-playing Brazilian legend and partly because he got the Stoke clogger's name wrong. We'd like to think he knew.
But as much as we enjoyed Sandro's tweet, we have enjoyed Stoke boss Mark Hughes' response even more...
"We don't appreciate some of their players Twittering on their own sites about 'Waiting for Charlie'."
a) 'Waiting'? Where does it say 'waiting'?
b) Mediawatch still giggles every time it remembers Phil Brown referring to his mobile phone as a 'text machine', so any reference to 'twittering' is always (and we mean always) welcome.
c) Since when did 'twittering' become worse than 'tw*ttering'?
Talking of twittering, here's Joey Barton with his views on the FA's appointment of Michael Johnson (not that one. Or that one) to an FA equality panel despite once describing homosexuality as "detestable": 'How can you ask for race equality, when you don't believe in sexual equality for others? The lack of practical intelligence @FA astounds.'
Which is a fair point. But one that would probably have been better made by somebody who had not served a two-match ban for calling Thiago Silva an "overweight ladyboy".
'JUAN MATA is so out of favour at Chelsea he will be allowed to go out on loan this month,' writes David Woods in the Daily Star. Surely if he was really out of favour they'd sell him?
Worst Intro Ever?
'OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER was never comfortable getting a tan' - Hang your head in shame, Martin Lipton of the Daily Mirror.
Quote Of The Day (One)
"Thank goodness I didn't join Man United, otherwise right now I'd be killing myself" - Daniele De Rossi.
Quote Of The Day (Two)
"A lot of the younger players will be escalated into the first team" - Sam Allardyce.
Headline Of The Day
'Tan Pays Out Molde Ole Dough For Solskjaer' - The Daily Mirror.
Worst Headline Of The Day
'MANU UTD' - The Sun.
Non-Football Story Of The Day
'A man who claims to have two penises has unveiled them - where else - on internet forum Reddit. Having chosen the apt moniker DoubleDickDude (let's call him DDD), the man claims to have been born with the rare congenital condition Diphallia and on Wednesday revealed dated (obviously NSFW) photographs of his what he says are his two appendages. He added he is bisexual and in a committed relationship with a man and a woman. Under an 'Ask Me Anything' header, DDD's post: "I am the guy with two penises" attracted almost 12,000 comments in a matter of hours. Amid the flurry of questions, DDD said he had considered having one of his penises removed as a teenager, but was now happy with his condition. He also revealed he urinates from both organs and that both are capable of intercourse, though the right one is "a little more sensitive"' - Huffington Post.
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