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Sunderland's problems go from bad to worse, and Chelsea would have wrapped up the title by now had they signed Rooney...

Last Updated: 04/04/14 at 12:58

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Mediawatch was a little preoccupied with Robbie Savage's musings. Plus, how Man United signed Falcao and Angel Di Maria...

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Tough At The Bottom
Writes Neil Ashton in the Daily Mail: 'If Gus Poyet thought life was tough at the bottom of the Barclays Premier League, it got a whole lot worse when it emerged that Sunderland fielded Ji Dong-Won in four top-flight matches when he was ineligible.'

Let's have a quick re-cap...

Ji Dong-Won played in four matches at the start of the season without the international clearance required following his return from a loan spell at Augsburg. Sunderland spotted their error in mid-October and 'fessed up to the Premier League. They were fined in December.

Sunderland have been embroiled in a relegation battle all season. They are 19th in the table and four points from safety with only eight matches remaining.

Mediawatch is struggling to see how this revelation makes things 'a whole lot worse' for Gus Poyet.

Still, at least the Mail didn't claim the story as a back page 'EXCLUSIVE!' with a double page inside spread like The Sun.


READ THIS! IT'S ABOUT MESSI!
Mediawatch is no pedant (cough), but if the MailOnline are going to shoe-horn Lionel Messi into as many headlines as possible simply to attract hits, we're going to pick them up on it. And then we're going to examine the relevance of the reference with a fine-toothed comb like someone with way too much time on their hands.

'He's the 6ft 6in giant who's kept Messi out four times this season...why Cech should be wary of returning Courtois,' states the Mail's headline.

The following story is just 195 words long, but notes that 'in fact, Messi has failed to score against (Courtois) in four games so far this season.'

Again, Mediawatch is no pedant, but we'd just like to point out that Messi didn't manage a single shot on target in the first two of those fixtures and only three in the following games. But we suppose 'He's the 6ft 6in giant who saved three of Messi's shots this season' doesn't have the same ring to it.

Okay, perhaps we are pedants.


Savage
Robbie Savage is wondering. This is always a good thing for Mediawatch when it wants to bunk off early to the pub on a Friday.

'Chelsea have stumbled at the worst possible time, and it makes you wonder,' writes Savage in the Daily Mirror.

'If they had landed Wayne Rooney in the summer - and Arsenal had signed Luis Suarez - the title race would have looked very different. One of them would probably have wrapped it up by now.'

Really, Robbie? Chelsea or Arsenal would 'probably have wrapped up' the title with six games to go? Manchester City, with two games in hand, still have 24 points to play for and are only two behind Chelsea. Would Rooney have added 23 points to the Blues' total by this stage?

To have mathematically wrapped up the title by now, Chelsea would have needed 30 wins and two draws in their 32 matches so far. Mediawatch doubts Rooney would have had that big an impact.


Scandal
Along with his views on Chelsea, Robbie Savage sticks on his demagogue cap to blast the price of the new England shirt (even more expensive if you want Oxlade-Chamberlain on the back, he points out) and Pepe Mel for shaking hands with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in a moment of pure spontaneity when Cardiff snatched a last-minute equaliser against West Brom. Anyone would think Savage works on a popular radio phone-in show, consuming the most irrational and tedious slurry of opinion and then spraying it back out into a column for a national newspaper.


Competition
Mediawatch is a big fan of Thibaut Courtois. In three seasons on loan at Atletico Madrid, the 21-year-old has won the 2012 Europa League, the 2013 Copa del Rey - in which he was named man of the match against Real Madrid - the 2012/13 Zamora trophy (awarded to the La Liga keeper with the lowest goals-to-games ratio), and is currently on course for the league title and a place in the Champions League semis this year.

It's fair to say he's pretty bloody good.

But Petr Cech isn't worried about Courtois' expected return to Chelsea. No siree.

"I had Carlo Cudicini behind me when I came here, the best goalkeeper in the Premier League at the time," Cech told the Daily Mail.

"When Ross Turnbull played for Middlesbrough he was a big English prospect and he really improved here. Hilario has always been ready to play, and you can see the difference at Fulham when Mark Schwarzer is not there.

"If, on the first day of pre-season, Thibaut Courtois is here, he is here. If he comes back and he's better than me, credit to him, well done to him, but who knows?

"I'm not afraid. I'm not a fool to think I've been here 10 years and I'll be here another five, just because. I am not playing because my name is Petr Cech."

No, Petr. You're playing because you beat off all that fierce competition from Ross Turnbull and Hilario.


Superfluous Sentence Of The Day
Writes Matt Barlow in the Daily Mail on Cech's future now Courtois is waiting in the wings: 'His form is good and yet only one goalkeeper can play'.


Success
The Daily Mail report that Manchester City are lining up summer moves for a number of English youngsters, including Ross Barkley, but warn: 'City beware! Since being overtaken in 2008, they have signed 11 English players who have hardly been runaway successes.'

Mediawatch would contest that it's rather harsh to include James Milner, Gareth Barry and Joleon Lescott in that list, considering all three played significant roles (more than 25 games) in City's first top-flight title victory in 44 years.


Transfer Guff
Writes Martin Lipton on the back page of the Daily Mirror under the headline 'HAZARD WARNING':

'Jose Mourinho could be forced to sacrifice Oscar or Eden Hazard to fund his summer spending spree.'

So Chelsea are going to sell their best players to sign other good players? Either it's a really slow news day at the Mirror, or Lipton hasn't thought this one through.

And to think Mediawatch was hoping it had at least another month before the transfer bulls**t train begins.


Worst Headlines Of The Day
'Couldn't Mack It Up' - The Sun.

'It's Rodgers and Hammers time, but Kop boss says side are rightly low key and pitch perfect' - the Daily Mirror. We enjoyed the wordplay, but it loses its effect when you have to explain it.

'Now I'm Stuart Peace' - the Daily Mirror.


Non-Football Story Of The Day
'A teenage girl has been rescued after getting stuck in a drain trying to retrieve her mobile phone.

'The girl climbed down the hole in Eaves Road, Dover, Kent. But she became stuck and was unable to climb out.

'A passer-by, Tim Richards, witnessed the incident. "It's not the type of thing you see every day," he admitted.

'"It was pretty weird. She was more concerned about getting her phone back rather than getting herself out of the drain."

'Mr Richards said the girl at one point managed to inch herself out - but promptly slid back in before becoming "completely stuck"' - msn.com

With thanks to Michael Mallen and Robert Hallums. If you spot anything that belongs on this page, mail us at theeditor@football365.com, putting 'Mediawatch' in the subject field.

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