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RVP joins an exclusive club of 69, Oliver Holt gets a tad carried away after 'one of the magical nights in United's European history' and no sympathy for Adam Johnson...

Last Updated: 20/03/14 at 14:31

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Robin Reliant
"To score a hat-trick in Champions League football is a big thing," said a giddy David Moyes. "Only certain players in the world are capable of doing it - and Robin is one of them."

To be exact, Robin is one of 69 players who have proved capable of achieving that feat. He joins an exclusive club that also features such luminaries as Juul Ellerman, Sergey Rodionov, Bernd Hobsch, Mike Newell, Sigurd Rushfeldt, Frode Johnsen, Predrag Dordevic, J√°dson, Konstantinos Mitroglou and, erm, Nicklas Bendtner.

Illustrious company indeed.

Pudding: Over-Egged
Mediawatch knew that somebody would wildly over-react to Manchester United's 3-0 win over Olympiakos and we suspected that somebody would be Oliver Holt after Wednesday's column in the Daily Mirror claimed that David Moyes 'deserves time. A lot more time.'.

Thus, a 3-0 home win over a side who have won just seven of 50 away games in the Champions League, have lost 12 of 12 games in England and are ranked 26th in Europe by UEFA (just below Rubin Kazan), has become 'one of the great evenings in their rich European history' and 'one of the magical nights in United's European history'.

And that's one of the most nonsensical things we've read this year.

Analyse This
The Daily Mail's 'big match analysis' comes from Martin Keown, who begins by telling us that Ryan Giggs 'offered United better balance than Juan Mata did against Liverpool'.

Which is a bit like saying that Rio Ferdinand offered more defensive presence than Adnan Januzaj.

Spirit Having Flown
"Maybe people will say I am too old school, but when you have the Manchester United spirit you can make the difference and nothing is impossible," is the cry from Patrice Evra. "I am really pleased for everyone, for the fans, for the new staff, for the players - it was really important to show the love and respect for the shirt and we won because of the spirit."

a) Is it a tad churlish to ask where that Manchester United spirit was against West Brom, Everton, Newcastle, Tottenham, Swansea, Sunderland and Liverpool?

b) When have we ever passed up the opportunity to be churlish?

Reade The Signs
It's difficult to argue with much of Brian Reade's fawning piece about Brendan Rodgers in the Daily Mirror, but Mediawatch is a determined sort and has found one line that has irked us - largely because it's something that has been oft-repeated in recent weeks.

Reade gushes: 'He has a clear vision of where he wants Liverpool to be: back at the top. And how he wants to get there: playing pure, possession football.'

Surely a massive Liverpool fan like Reade should have spotted Rodgers' change in tactics this season from pure possession-based football to swift counter-attacking, taking them from third in the possession average table to ninth. The briliance of that switch is the key reason for Liverpool challenging for the title, not some sort of 'clear vision' of 'possession football'.

Applaud the man, yes. But for the right things, please.

England For The Average
Mediawatch has little sympathy for 'England manager only picks players from big clubs' whinging, especially when it comes from a player who lacked the application and the consistency to be successful at a big club.

And so to Adam Johnson, who has found sympathetic ears in the north-east with his outburst about England manager Roy Hodgson essentially only picking the best players in the country. Which, we think you'll agree, is hugely unfair to those players who occasionally pull together a few weeks of form in the lower reaches of the Premier League.

"I think a lot of people saw me almost as a certainty for the Denmark squad," says Johnson, who is seemingly unaware that using both 'think' and 'almost' in such a short sentence weakens any argument.

David Coverdale in The Sun takes up his cause, writing about Johnson's 'hot form' in January: 'And it prompted Hodgson to visit Wearside for the FIRST time in his almost two-year England reign and watch the winger in person against Hull.

'Johnson's hopes of making an impression in that clash were wrecked by a fourth-minute red card to team-mate Wes Brown, as he was forced to play out of position for the remainder of 10-man Sunderland's 2-0 defeat. But he remained confident of being selected in Hodgson's extra-large squad for the Wembley tie with the Danes.'

What Coverdale does not mention is that Johnson had one more chance to impress Hodgson before that Denmark squad was announced when he played for Sunderland at Arsenal; he was hauled off at half-time after touching the ball 11 times.

Since then he has really stuck it to the man by playing a forgettable hour of the Capital One Cup final, 23 minutes of a 3-0 FA Cup defeat to Hull and 83 minutes of a 0-0 clash with Crystal Palace that featured three off-target shots.

How foolish and narrow-minded of Hodgson to pick Raheem Sterling, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Adam Lallana in his stead. England will never win the World Cup with that attitude.

Shortest Article Ever?
Mediawatch did not click the link on this tweet from the Birmingham Mail - 'REVEALED: Why Fabian Delph should NOT be heading for the World Cup with England' - but we suspect it merely says 'because he's not as good as other English midfielders'.

He should talk to Adam Johnson.

Singing The Same Song
Yaya Toure, March 13: "Why would it be (a failure)? We have already won a cup. You cannot say that. Football is a competition - only one team can win each of the trophies."

Gael Clichy, March 19: "Just the Capital One Cup won't be enough."

We're siding with Yaya in that particular fight. Or any fight at all.

Disturbing Headline Of The Day
'UP DAWSON'S CREEK' - The Daily Mirror.

Worst Headline Of The Day
'WE'LL LIGHT FLAME FOR BOSS' - The Sun's headline works if you ignore the correct pronunciation of Flamini.

Non-Football Story Of The Day
'From Kim Kardashian's vampire facials - which draws her own blood before injecting it back into her face - to Simon Cowell's beloved sheep placenta facials, there's some weird and wonderful beauty treatments on the market today.

'But one grandmother's bizarre beauty secret has just gone and trumped them all. 67-year-old Stella Ralfini from London says that her key to eternal youth is semen facials.

'It's worth thousands and thousands, but it's free,' she explains in a YouTube video. 'All you need is a lover but if you don't have one, you know what to do. All you need to do is, every ten days or two weeks, just both have a good time, make sure he has a good time, and when your beautiful love-making session is over, you are going to scoop this amazing sperm mask up in your fingers, put it on your face, leave it for fifteen minutes and wash it off.'' - MailOnline.

Thanks to today's Mediawatch spotter Ben Stapleton. If you see anything that belongs on this page, mail us at, putting 'Mediawatch' in the subject field.

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Readers' Comments


ven if United were to sign CR7 & Messi to play upfront, the fact remains Fletcher and Cleverly are playing in midfield. That's where the problem is. Fletcher is too slow with an awful pass, while Cleverly is simply rubbish

Di Maria - A Signing of Necessity, or Opportunity?


hese days, these days, you can't say something racist without somebody saying that you're a racist.

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rop Rooney (he's so disappointing, overrated and overpaid), and play Di Maria and RVP upfront, much like the set up at the Netherlands team with Roben and RVP...

eric bush3
Di Maria - A Signing of Necessity, or Opportunity?

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