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Manuel Pellegrini's 'masterstroke' to play his £27m striker, Robbie Savage saw Liverpool's collapse coming (ish) and more...

Last Updated: 09/05/14 at 12:27

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Masterstroke
Mediawatch is as big a fan of Manuel Pellegrini as the next arsey media column but even we're reluctant to match the usually grumpy Steven Howard for the credit he is ready to hand the Chilean for revitalising the career of Edin Dzeko in The Sun.

Apparently he was 'ostracised' by Roberto Mancini last season, when he featured in a mere 32 Premier League games and scored 14 Premier League goals. This year it's all change as Dzeko has played in 30 Premier League games (so far) and scored 16 Premier League goals. Quite the transformation, we're sure you'll agree. Dark, dark night has become the brightest day.

'His reintegration into the side has been so successful that it is his goals - 26 in total and five in his last three games - that have propelled the club towards the title,' writes Howard, who neglects to mention that six of those goals came in the League Cup.

'This has been little more than a masterstroke by Pellegrini at a time when Sergio Aguero has been sidelined by injury and Alvaro Negredo has come off the boil.'

A 'masterstroke' indeed to spot the £27m striker in his squad and play him instead of an injured Aguero, an out-of-form Negredo, an unsettled Stevan Jovetic or, say, reserve defender Dedryk Boyata.

Just don't get us started on Pellegrini 'somehow' keeping it all together as UEFA sanctions grew closer and closer.


Professor Of Hindsight (Part One)
Robbie Savage is crowing in his Daily Mirror column that he spotted that Liverpool were conceding too many goals away from home three months ago - just after they had conceded ten goals in their last five away games. An excellent spot, we're sure you'll agree.

'Nobody likes a professor of hindsight, but three months ago in this column I warned that the Reds' title charge would fall just short because they spring too many leaks away from home,' writes Smuggage in the Daily Mirror.

What Savage does not mention is that a month ago - after the 3-2 win over Manchester City - he had changed his mind, telling the BBC Sport website: 'While I have been saying all season why Liverpool will not win it, on Sunday they showed why they can. They are the favourites now.'

Or at least they were until they lost.


Professor Of Hindsight (Part Two)
Robbie Savage, Daily Mirror, February 13: 'To win the title, Liverpool need to play on the front foot. If they sit too deep, and spend too long hemmed in around their own box, I fear they will crack.'

Robbie Savage, Daily Mirror, May 9: 'They were naive to chase the win against Chelsea, when a point would have been enough to keep Manchester City at bay in the title race.'


Solutions
To his credit, Savage does not idly tell Liverpool to sort out their defence and then walk away; he suggests a name: It's just a shame that name is Steven Caulker.

Yes, the recently relegated Steven Caulker who cannot even oust Chris Smalling from the England squad.

Excellent shout, Robert.


Fact-Finding Mission
The Daily Express' John Dillon, writing about Liverpool: 'One behind in the 'goals for' column now, it still remains the fact it is Liverpool who just about claim this term's rosette for artistic merit.'

And it remains the fact it is John Dillon who needs to look up the meaning of the word 'fact'.


Play It Again, Sam
Not for the first time, the Daily Mail's Northern Football Correspondent Ian Ladyman steps out of his patch to launch an impassioned and in-parts poisonous defence of uber-Northerner (who is bizarrely from the Midlands) Sam Allardyce, soon to be ex-West Ham manager.

'West Ham will end the season as a Premier League club, having beaten Tottenham home and away in the league and also in the Capital One Cup. They should move to the Olympic Stadium as an established top-flight club, having been in the Championship when Allardyce took over three years ago,' writes Ladyman, because of course beating Tottenham is the recognised benchmark for managerial success.

Never mind that they lost to Stoke (twice), Hull, Norwich, Fulham, Newcastle, Crystal Palace, had an aggregate score of 12-1 across three games with Manchester City and lost 5-0 to Championship side Nottingham Forest, while having the second-lowest possession and pass completion statistics in the top flight, THEY HAVE BEATEN TOTTENHAM THREE TIMES.

Also, Mediawatch suspects that they are an 'established top-flight club' because they have spent £52m over the last three years, including £10.75m on Matt Jarvis, £5m on Modibo Maíga and £15.5m on the permanently injured Andy Carroll. Well done, Sam.

Ladyman is aghast that any spoilt West Ham fan could ask for more, writing: 'West Ham are a modest club who think they're a big club. The manager's office at Chadwell Heath is a Portakabin with temporary heating. The club's fans think they should be able to open the door and find Pep Guardiola sitting there.'

Which of course is absolutely true and not a massive exaggeration designed to make his friend's detractors look silly. And it absolutely definitely doesn't just make him look silly for making such a ridiculous claim.

To his credit, Ladyman acknowledges that this season has perhaps not matched expectations, but 'injuries left Allardyce without two key attacking weapons - Stewart Downing and Andy Carroll - and an inability to tame Ravel Morrison saw him join QPR on loan'.

Scooting past the fact that Downing has missed a massive six Premier League games this season, we rather suspect that Allardyce should perhaps have predicted injury problems from a player who had completed just one full Premier League season in his career and disciplinary problems from a player called Ravel Morison. Sympathy from Mediawatch is in short supply.

But perhaps we're just like those West Ham fans who 'like to close their eyes and pretend it is 1966'. Or at least close their eyes so they don't have to watch Allardyce's God-awful football.


Nick Nick
Elsewhere in the Daily Mail, Neil Ashton writes at length about Erik Lamela alongside a list of 'ten worst signings of the season'. We're astonished that there's no room for Mesut Ozil, described as 'nicking a living' by Ashton in March.


Headlines Of The Day
'B FOR BONKERS' - The Daily Mail sum up the mood.
'Dyke has got a B in his bonnet' - The Daily Express.

Worst Headline Of The Day
'SMARTIE!' - The Sun. Because Chris Martin scored, you see.

Non-Football Story of The Day
'A topless woman armed with two machetes smashed up a cash register and glass display counter at a George Town coffee shop in a bizarre early-morning rampage as terrified customers hid in the bathroom. The woman left Café del Sol only after staff gave her a free piece of carrot cake. After leaving Café Del Sol, she next targeted the nearby Burger King, where police apprehended her after she demanded a cheeseburger with lettuce.

'Café Del Sol staffer Neil Samson said he told two of his regular customers - an elderly woman and a pregnant woman - to hide in the restroom during the incident.

"We just told them to run to the restroom. They were upset and shaking," said Mr. Samson. After the woman fled the shop at 7:30 a.m. with a piece of carrot cake in hand, Mr. Samson called police. Staff confirmed they had given the woman a free muffin the previous day. The woman showed up at Burger King on North Church Street at 8 a.m. and began chopping at the counters there. She threatened the manager and staff and demanded a cheeseburger with lettuce. Police officers armed with a taser arrested her at Burger King. Police say she dropped the machetes and they did not need to resort to using the taser' - Cay Compass.

Thanks to today's Mediawatch spotter Barry Phelan. If you see anything that belongs on this page, mail us at theeditor@football365.com, putting 'Mediawatch' in the subject field.

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