The Page That Signs Off With Man Thanks

The Juan Mata love-in is already in full swing while John Terry also receives high praise...

Last Updated: 29/01/14 at 12:59

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Tweet from @FootballCliches at 8.29pm: 'I sense Mata's debut has been downgraded from "dream debut" to "showed some nice touches".'

Tweet from Oliver Holt (@OllieHolt22) at 10.06pm: 'Looked like Mata made a decent debut. Some nice touches. Just adds class to that United team. Having RVP and Rooney back not bad either.'

Mata Effect
Writes an easily impressed Martin Samuel in the Daily Mail: 'It took six minutes. Six minutes for Juan Mata to demonstrate his worth to Manchester United, six minutes for him to link, albeit circuitously, with Robin van Persie and conjure a goal at Old Trafford.'

Talk about shoe-horning an angle. Mata's so-called 'link' with Van Persie was a long ball out to the wing that was followed by three more passes, a header that hit the bar, another that was saved and then eventually the striker nodding home.

Samuel attempts to disguise this, however, by writing: 'A perfect crossfield pass to Patrice Evra and United were away. Evra's cross was headed against the bar by Luis Antonio Valencia, and the ball ricocheted around the area as United scrambled to convert.'

Pedantry perhaps, but why does Samuel neglect to mention that Evra passed the ball inside to Van Persie, who then laid it into the path of Ashley Young - not Evra - whose cross was headed against the bar by Valencia?

Or would that have made Mata's 'link' with Van Persie seem even more tenuous?

And as for the papers lauding the Spaniard's first 'assist' - technically that might be true, but a short pass to Ashley Young hardly demonstrates Mata's talent.

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow
Mediawatch appreciates the distinction between signing players who are 'world-class' and those who are not quite as talented additions, but it can't help but feel that Marouane Fellaini has been rather conveniently forgotten in the past week.

Writes Martin Samuel in the Daily Mail: 'The problem for Mata, obviously, is that he is the first.'

And David Moyes adopted the same line when he said of Mata's arrival: "This is the first, and there will be many more to come in time."

Let's not forget that, for £27.5m (£4m more than his reported release clause), Fellaini became United's fourth most-expensive signing in history when he joined in the summer.

'So, what do you get for £37m?' ask the Daily Mail after Juan Mata's debut.

Their answer: 'Despite his role as a playmaker, Mata knows where the goal is. He scored 33 goals for Chelsea and has brought his shooting boots to Old Trafford. He had two efforts at goal, testing David Marshall with a low right-foot shot.'

In other words, Mata had two shots, one of which hit the target.

Mediawatch is already tired of the love-in.

The Daily Mail aren't the only ones playing Juan Mata Q&A after the Spaniard's debut.

'What role did Mata play?' ask The Sun, before answering: 'It was a No.10 role for United's new No.8 and it seemed to suit him well...'

Mata well-suited to his natural position? That's a real chin-stroker.

Headline on Martin Samuel's column in the Daily Mail: 'Whisper it...but United may have put one over Jose.'

Why would anyone need to whisper the opinion that United have done rather well to sign Mata while keeping Rooney from Chelsea's grasp other than because it's so bloody obvious?

Ash Wednesday
In a commendable act of altruism, Neil Ashton dedicates his weekly column for the Daily Mail online to helping John Terry earn a new contract at Chelsea. A worthy cause, if ever there was.

'Out of nowhere, it appears any one by the name of John Terry will only be offered one year contracts now that he is over 30 years of age,' writes Ashton.

'He is panicking a bit, probably with good reason after putting himself in pole position to be Chelsea's player of the year.'

That's right, folks. Why remember Eden Hazard's sensational season when you're schmoozing with a captain, leader and legend?

Clean Nose
Mediawatch also enjoyed this line from Ashton's ode to Terry: 'He remains captain, but he has had to keep his nose clean over the past couple of years.'

How hard is it not to mouth the words 'f**king black c**t'?

The Sun get awfully excited about Arsenal's draw with Southampton, farting out the headline: 'BUTT OUT GUNNERS: Fonte and Lallana stun 'em as Wenger boys start to stutter.'

Underneath, Steven Howard writes: 'And Arsenal thought the hard work was going to start next week with four critical games in 12 days.

'Instead, the Gunners' title run-in exploded with three goals in six minutes at the start of the second half, a red card for Mathieu Flamini and two dropped points.'

Forgive Mediawatch for asking, but does a hard-fought draw after seven successive victories really suggest that Arsenal are beginning to 'stutter'?

'You're only as good as your last game' is a poxy adage used far too often in football journalism.

Writes Sami Mokbel in the Daily Mail: 'Prior to kick-off, as if to rub Pulis's face in it, Steve Bruce fielded his new £13.5million strike-force of Shane Long and Nikica Jelavic.'

Yes, Bruce should definitely have left his new strikers on the bench to avoid insulting Pulis over his lack of signings.

Headline in The Sun: 'Lambo shock at Clarke axe'

Is it possible to be shocked by something that happened six weeks ago?

Laboured Intro Of The Day
'Juan swallow does not make a summer. But the early signs are that United will be flying once record signing Juan Mata beds in, especially now that Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney are back' - The Sun.

Quote Of The Day
"Benteke is a well-known player in Spain, along with Victor Anichebe, they are very-well respected. They are always considered to be players that you might want to buy."

Sure, Pepe Mel. Mediawatch's Spanish friends are always raving about Anichebe.

Said Sam Allardyce: "I thought I had got Lacina Traore the other day when I was sat with the sporting director of Monaco just about to sign the papers. And all of a sudden it didn't happen."

What did you do, Sam?

Worst Headlines Of The Day
'Matman 'n Robin' - The Sun.

'Van Still Matas' - The Daily Mirror.

Non-Football Story Of The Day
'An exasperated judge had to tell off jury members after they would not stop laughing at a man accused of bestiality.

'Jury members were reportedly in fits of giggles as they were told how a man tried to bugger a sheep after he could not get a cow to felate him just yards from Tottenham's training ground.

'Paul Lovell allegedly committed the sexual act or acts with animals near to the Spurs training ground in north London last September, the Evening Standard reported.

'Sniggering could be heard from the jury panel while details of Lovell's alleged offences were described at Wood Green Crown Court.

'"I well understand that there are aspects of it (this case) that are unusual and amusing," said Judge James Patrick.

'"If you do find the case particularly funny, if you can try to get over your laughter over lunch that would be great," he added.' - Huffington Post.

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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.

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