“We lost the championship at home against the lower teams, but we played at home in a very difficult climate. We have to realise that, away from home, we are championship winners. At home, against the smaller teams, we lost the league” – Arsene Wenger, April 29.
Pesky fact No.1: Arsenal have dropped only five points at home against bottom-half sides; they are 12 points behind leaders Leicester.
Pesky fact No. 2: They are third in the ‘away’ league table.
You might want to take a look at winning one of eight London derbies if you’re looking for places you lost the championship, Arsene.
Young hearts run free…
The Sun’s Neil Ashton loves Calum Chambers. We mean, he really loves Calum Chambers.
In August 2014 Ashton – then of the Daily Mail – wrote of Chambers: ‘We are witnessing the future of English football, someone to get excited about after the pain and despair of those three depressing group games in Brazil. Chambers already has given us reason to hope.’
By November – after Chambers had been destroyed by Swansea’s Jefferson Montero – Ashton wrote: ‘The idea was to protect this kid, to nurture one of the genuine talents in the game. Instead we are hell bent on burning him out. For a 19-year-old, making his way in the game after a £16m move from Southampton in the summer, he is playing an awful lot of football. Way too much football, as it happens.’
And now here we are in April 2016 and Chambers is not playing enough football. There must be an optimum level at which he does not look out of his depth and prone to mistakes.
Obviously, Chambers’ fall from grace can be attributed in no way to Chambers himself; it’s all the fault of Arsene Wenger.
‘THERE was a time when Arsenal was a finishing school for the world’s most talented young players,’ begins Ashton. ‘Ashley Cole, Cesc Fabregas, Robin van Persie and Kolo Toure will say amen to that. Calum Chambers, who has had just 273 touches of the ball in an Arsenal shirt this season, is entitled to think differently.
‘Arsene Wenger’s fabled production line, once thought of as a route to the very top, needs some urgent attention.’
Ashton goes on to write that ‘more than a decade has passed since Wenger bought into his own hype, with the country brain-washed into believing he possessed supernatural powers when it came to star spotting’ and claims ‘beyond the Invincibles, his record has not been good’.
Absolutely. Because he definitely does not have a right-back recently named in the PFA Team of the Year who has 53 Premier League appearances to his name at the age of 21. Or a 19-year-old who has already been capped by Nigeria.
But yes, you’re right. If Arsene Wenger does not ‘find a way to integrate Chambers into Arsenal’s team next season’, it’s definitely the Frenchman who has ‘lost his touch’.
‘Liverpool were restrained, rarely committing players forward in search of a precious away goal. Instead they surrendered possession, giving Villarreal the chance to shoot on sight’ – Neil Ashton, The Sun.
It’s a shame for Neil that the page lay-out at The Sun did not place that sentence a little further away from a statistics box that shows Liverpool had 54% possession and ten shots to Villarreal’s seven.
So according to
Jose Mourinho’s agents Neil Custis in The Sun, ‘JOSE MOURINHO has been assured in the last 48 hours that he will be Manchester United’s new boss’.
Exactly how is that different to the ‘verbal agreement’ for exactly the same contract (£60m over three years) that Manchester United and Mourinho made at the end of March?
Jose Mourinho has been ‘assured’ that he will become new Manchester United boss. So how is that reported by the Daily Express website?
‘Jose Mourinho signs stunning Man United deal to make him highest paid Premier League boss.’
The big news
At 11.15 on Friday morning the top headline on MailOnline’s football page is as follows: ‘Happy birthday Juan! Mata joined by Manchester United team-mates and partners for party celebration at restaurant.’
There is literally no bigger news in English football on the morning after a European semi-final.
The huge news
Mediawatch can only assume that an SEO expert at the Metro website has sent an e-mail highlighting the power of the word ‘huge’.
How else can we explain headlines that claim ‘Wenger confirms huge Arsenal star is ready for long-awaited comeback’ (Santi Cazorla)? or ‘Huge figure now certain he’s joining Man United after advanced talks in last 48 hours’ (Jose Mourinho)? The latter will be a ‘Huge decision from Ed Woodward’, apparently.
What a huge pile of horsesh*t.
Mark Lawrenson’s BBC prediction for West Brom v West Ham (2-1 to the home side) keeps Tony Pulis’ brave Baggies in seventh in a table constructed from his forecasts. The Hammers? 18th of course.
West Brom have now gone six games without a victory, but ‘Tony Pulis’ side never seem to have to wait too long to pick up a point’, so obviously they will beat a team that has not lost since February 6. Obviously.
A Lawro, Lawro laughs at this one…
Mark Lawrenson on the BBC: ‘Pardew has moved on and so have Newcastle. Their current predicament has nothing to do with him. Some of their fans might realise now that he was actually a good manager for Newcastle and, subsequently, I think he will get a good reception.’
Subsequently, we think you’re a fool.
In the know
The Daily Star’s David Woods sells himself as ‘IN THE KNOW, INSIDE THE GAME’. Absolutely. Without him, how would we know – because it has been ‘largely underplayed’ – that ‘along with super-flops Chelsea, absent from the Champions League next season will be either Manchester City, Arsenal or Manchester United’?
Because absolutely nobody has mentioned the underachievement at Manchesters City and United or Arsenal, have they? Nobody at all. Thank f*** for the old-school ‘inside’ journalists.
Recommended reading of no day. Ever.
The worst idea for a football feature ever?
Verily it is.
Recommended reading of the day
Sid Lowe on Daniel Sturridge being on the bench v Villarreal
Nick Miller on top ten run-in rants
Seb Stafford-Bloor on Manchester City in Europe