Rojo, row your boat
Who did you think Manchester United’s worst player was against Anderlecht in their Europa League victory on Thursday? Daley Blind? Michael Carrick? Zlatan Ibrahimovic?
All three players do receive a rating of five out of ten from John Cross in the Daily Mirror, as does poor Jesse Lingard. But Cross hands out yet another his worst mark – to another individual.
‘Marcos Rojo – Injured early, bravely carried on but that nearly cost his team’
Yes, Rojo carrying on despite being injured ‘nearly cost’ Manchester United, who looked terrible in defence after he was substituted. They conceded their only goal nine minutes after Blind replaced him.
Into the Woods
You get the sense that most journalists in the country had some sort of article lined up with regards to Premier League clubs struggling in the Champions League. The demise of England’s final team, Leicester, was the cue to file them.
After Neil Ashton of The Sun put it down to fixture congestion on Thursday, David Woods seeks to find the answer in the Daily Star on Friday.
‘Not so long ago managers whose teams were in the Champions League felt they were in with a shout of winning it.
‘Not any more. Following years of dismal efforts, summed up this year by Leicester being the only team to reach the quarter-finals, that Champions League confidence has evaporated.’
Sure, English clubs are not quite as dominant as they were from 2005 to 2011, when they had at least one representative in six of the seven finals, but only Spain and Germany have had more semi-finalists since 2012.
‘Even the last win, by Chelsea in 2012, was hardly done in style, the Blues battling their way to success with breakaway football against Bayern Munich, winning on penalties after a 1-1 draw.
‘Bayern had 21 shots on target, compared to the west Londoners’ six. The German giants had 20 corners, while the Blues had one!’
Crikey. Does anyone in charge at UEFA know that Chelsea’s 2012 Champions League win was ‘hardly done in style’? The victory will surely be annulled when they find out.
Also, no German clubs reached the Champions League semi-final between 2003 and 2010? And they’re doing alright now. Go figure.
Sport or Sporf?
The terrible news of Ugo Ehiogu’s sudden passing at the age of just 44 led to an understandable outpouring of grief towards one of the game’s much-loved figures on Friday.
BBC Sport were at the forefront of the reporting, as ever.
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) April 21, 2017
What BBC Sport failed to mention in that tweet above was that half an hour earlier, they had posted their own tribute to Ehiogu.
They decided that the best way to respect and remember Ehiogu would be to post his stats from an old computer game.
Screenshots are not necessary here – they are readily available all over Twitter – but the ill-judged nature of the BBC’s reporting has to be seen to be believed.
‘Just look at Ugo Ehiogu’s stats on Championship Manager 2,’ they tweeted, alongside a picture of said stats from said game. ‘What a career the ex-Aston Villa man had.’
And there, ladies and gentlemen, is surely the result of a person working for an organisation that believes ‘Topical event + thing people love = great content’ is the secret to social media.
It is perhaps the greatest example of ‘BBC Sport or BBC Sporf?’ ever, and that is doing a disservice to the numerous ‘banter’ social media accounts who display better judgement than to mourn someone’s death by posting their stats from a 20-year-old computer game.
What makes BBC’s stance on this even stranger – and they have yet to apologise for the tweet, for what it’s worth – is that they are not as click-driven for profits as any other outlet. This is purely a terrible attempt at producing shareable ‘content’ for an audience that they have misjudged terribly.
But hey, outrage is king, and engagement figures on social media are the be all and end all. Tastefulness and respect is for idiots.
The headline on the front of the MailOnline website:
‘What was Jose’s mystery note? United boss Mourinho spotted KISSING a piece of paper just before Rashford’s Anderlecht winner’
The headline in the story:
‘Marcus Rashford nets the winner just moments after Jose Mourinho kisses mystery piece of paper as Manchester United beat Anderlecht at Old Trafford’
Amount of times said piece of paper is referred to in the article: Once.
Amount of times MailOnline answer their own question of ‘What was Jose’s mystery note?’: Zero.
Amount of clicks MailOnline get for essentially writing another match report sold on a spurious and unanswered question in the headline: Loads.
Headline on the front of the Daily Mirror website:
‘What is Mourinho’s lucky charm? Man United boss spotted kissing item moments before winning goal’
The headline in the story:
‘What is Jose Mourinho’s lucky charm? Manchester United boss spotted kissing item moments before winning goal’
Oh look, they’ve added a ‘Jose’ and a ‘chester’. Get you.
Amount of times said ‘lucky charm’ is referred to in the article: Twice.
Amount of times Mirror Football answer their own question of ‘What was Jose’s mystery note?’: That depends as to whether you deem ‘The charm appeared to be a small book, that looked to have writing on the left-hand side, which he took a short look at’ as an appropriate answer.
Amount of clicks Mirror Football get for essentially writing another match report sold on a spurious and unanswered question in the headline: Loads.
You gotta have faith
Luckily for Mediawatch and those who hate being asked questions by people who don’t properly answer them, Mourinho discussed his piece of paper/lucky charm after the match. Because that is football journalism.
“It is not because of this that we score,” he joked. “I do it so many times, maybe you just saw it today. I do it for 17 years. It’s just my religion and faith.”
It isn’t “religion and faith” Jose, mate. It’s intrigue and clicks. Fool.
Knock it off, Nigel
Reads the first paragraph to John Cross’s interview with Nigel Winterburn in the Daily Mirror:
‘Nigel Winterburn is worried that Arsenal have lost their winning mentality.’
Mediawatch is worried that Nigel Winterburn is about ten years behind everyone else with that belief.
Recommended reading of the day
Miguel Delaney on Tottenham.
Seb Stafford-Bloor on Mousa Dembele.
Steve Price on a stadium with ski jumps.