The Page That Has Been Very Busy

Martin Samuel struggles to remember last season's title winners and why all the neutrals are backing 'Super Suarez'...

Last Updated: 14/04/14 at 13:12

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This is the Daily Mail's utterly bizarre description of former Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba. For once, Mediawatch is speechless.


Match Ratings
Mediawatch's weekly groan at match ratings continued this morning when we turned to Mark Odgen's reaction to Liverpool's win over Manchester City on The Telegraph website.

Writes Ogden as he hands out his arbitrary scores: 'Jesus Navas: 6 - The Spanish winger was selected for his pace, but he rarely used it to trouble the Liverpool defence and it was no surprise when he was replaced by James Milner - who made a difference - in the second-half.'

The mark out of ten awarded to 'difference-maker' James Milner? Also a six. But that's nothing compared to Ogden seemingly missing the crucial moment in the match as he summarises Vincent Kompany's performance thusly:

'Vincent Kompany: 8 - Looked to be troubled by the training ground injury which threatened his participation in the game, but his class and desire came to the fore in the second-half when he was inspirational at the back.'

No need to worry about that costly sliced clearance, Vincent, it looks like you've got away scot-free.


Poll Taxing
Writes Graham Poll in his analysis of Mark Clattenburg's performance for the Daily Mail: '5 MIN: A very unusual early card in a huge Premier League game. Luis Suarez slid in and caught his opponent late. The card was correct but unnecessary. (Verdict:) HARSH.'

Well, that's quite a contradiction isn't it? Still, Poll surely knows what an unnecessary-but-correct yellow card is, what with handing out three to Josip Simunic at the World Cup that time.


Foreign Concept
The rush to praise Liverpool for their thrilling victory over Manchester City seems to have played havoc with Martin Samuel's memory, judging by his column in the Daily Mail.

'These days, to rise from seventh last season to become champions is the equivalent of Nottingham Forest winning promotion, and then the championship a year later,' writes Samuel in his match report from Anfield.

'To do so with a predominantly British starting XI is equally a feat from a bygone age.

'We had accepted that champions were foreign entities now. A title-winning team with an English spine? We thought its time had passed.'

Nothing irks Mediawatch more than people writing on our behalf, especially when 'we' remember that Manchester United won the league last year with five Englishmen in their top 11 appearance-makers and ten British players in the top 18.

Still, we suppose that strictly falls under the definition of 'bygone'.


Melancholy
Mediawatch was in a great mood this morning, full of beans and ready for whatever the day could throw at us. And then we turned to the 'Tony Awards' in The Times.

'Bobby Zamora has three in seven now,' writes Tony Cascarino as he hands out one of his gongs to the QPR striker. 'That's great for Queen's Park Rangers.

'Bobby's not always been in love with football, but he is smiling now.

'I hope he appreciates what he's got, because you miss it when it's gone.'

How terribly poignant. We're just about ready for a duvet day after reading that.


Mad Dog
Martin Allen has a column on the Daily Mail website this morning, in which he explains why he loves England and the English game. We know, shock horror.

Under a piece headlined 'Anfield or the Bernabeu? For me there's no comparison' Allen offers a glowing tribute to the atmosphere at English grounds using perhaps the most one-eyed argument Mediawatch has ever read.

'At the end of last season I went over to Madrid with my sons George and Charlie to watch Real Madrid vs Valladolid,' writes Allen.

'It was a nice sunny day and the gentlemen wore slick sunglasses, chinos and cashmere cardigans. The music was Spanish-style organ stuff, the kind you'd hear in a Spanish movie. On the concourses they sipped espresso coffee as they flicked their nutshells and nibbled on their cashew nuts.

'Sunday afternoon I went to watch the match at Anfield. There the fans were in jeans and their red Liverpool shirts, more often than not far too tight. But it was worn with pride and passion.

'I have never been in a football stadium with so much emotion, passion and excitement. From Real Madrid and the Bernabeu to Liverpool's Anfield. For me there is no comparison.'

Real Madrid did indeed host Valladolid on May 4 last season, five matches before the end of the season. Real were 11 points behind Barcelona at the time, with little to no chance of winning the league. The fixture also came just four days after Madrid had been knocked out of the Champions League, and the opponents were a side 34 points below them in La Liga.

By contrast, the game at Anfield on Sunday was Liverpool's biggest league match in 24 years, and was played to a backdrop of the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster, with all the emotion that generated. Liverpool took the lead after just six minutes of a match that, were they to win, would put them in the driving seat for the title.

With that in mind, it isn't really too much of a surprise that there was a difference in atmosphere. But no, this obviously proves that those 'cashew-nibblers' and 'espresso-sippers' just don't get it, do they?


Context
Writes Chelsea fan Rob Beasley in The Sun: 'Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini might think Chelsea are boring, but the Blues finished the day with three more points than him.'

Yes, Rob, but Chelsea were playing the team in 15th who were reduced to ten men after 16 minutes. City, on the other hand, faced the league leaders at their own ground. Believe it or not, there is a difference.


Deserved
While Mediawatch has very much enjoyed watching Liverpool this season, we're becoming increasingly tired at being told they 'deserve' to win the title.

The Daily Mirror's Liverpool correspondent David Maddock is the worst of a bad bunch on Monday, writing after yesterday's victory: 'Liverpool surely deserve it as the most exciting, adventurous, fearless side in English football, and also because they are not backed by the billions of oligarchs, even if they have spent a few quid along the way.

'They deserve it too, for their skipper, who was simply outstanding, leading his team through inspirational force when they blew away City in the first half, and sheer will in the second when anything could have happened.'

Let us stop you there, David. The only team to 'deserve' the title this season will be the one that finishes top on May 11. If that happens to be Liverpool, then congratulations all round. Until then, this sycophantic pandering to one of the largest fanbases in football is all a bit tedious.


On Behalf Of A Nation
The Mirror aren't the only ones to preach Liverpool's virtues to the masses on Monday, with the Daily Mail detailing ten reasons why 'every neutral is behind them'. This had better be good.

At No. 3 in the list is 'Super Suarez', of whom Craig Hope writes:

'He was the man we loved to loathe. Then we loathed to love him. Now we simply love to love him. Sunday's histrionics apart, Suarez's transformation from villain to hero is on a par with David Beckham's rehabilitation in the wake of France 98.'

Woah there. Rewind a second. Mediawatch would kindly suggest that 'every neutral' does not suddenly 'love to love' Suarez. We would happen to be neutrals in this particular argument, and we certainly don't have any love for him.

'Super Suarez' isn't our favourite bullet point, however, with that award going to No. 6, headlined 'Six Lions'. Under that, Hope writes:

Yes that's right, he writes nothing. Not a word. Mediawatch is actually thankful for such brevity.


Laboured Intro Of The Day
Writes Steven Howard in The Sun: 'They have waited 24 years - they can hang on another four games.

'Just six hours. Or 360 minutes if that sounds any less for Liverpool fans who ended with scrambled brains and shredded nerves at Anfield yesterday.

'Mind you, the second-half seemed like a quarter of a century on its own. And the five minutes of added time another five years, give or take a month.'

Seconds, minutes, hours, TIME. Doesn't it all sound so compelling?


Self-Description The Day
'If they do manager to pull it off on May 11 then I dare say this old salty sea dog might well shed a tear or two as well' - Mark Lawrenson, on himself and Liverpool's title bid.


Worst Headlines Of The Day
'TEAROES' - the Daily Mirror.

'Head Over Hulls' - the Mirror.

'Tears Of A Crown' - The Sun.

Thanks to today's spotter Ally Moncrieff. 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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