Mediawatch has a pretty strong guff radar, but you don’t need to be an expert to read a headline like ‘Premier League table without biggest point-earning goals’ and realise that what follows is likely to be a torrent of nonsense.
It comes courtesy of MailOnline, who have reached for their abacuses and calculators and worked out that…wait for it…Harry Kane is important to Tottenham and Mohamed Salah is useful to Liverpool. Colour us flabbergasted.
‘It is an often repeated phrase by fans, usually of other, rival clubs: where would Tottenham be without Harry Kane?
‘The Spurs striker is the most prolific points winner in the Premier League – his 24 strikes this season have been solely responsible for 14 of Tottenham’s points. Take those goals away, and Spurs lose a number of wins and draws.’
Yes, Spurs would, but one small point: you do know that they would be able to pick another player if Kane wasn’t available? Christian Eriksen wouldn’t just be crossing the ball into a penalty area with no bugger standing there, whatever you think of Fernando Llorente.
Still, the news that Tottenham are better off with the goals from the league’s top scorer included in their total is certainly revealing.
‘Manchester City’s biggest points earner is Raheem Sterling, with 15 strikes earning 11 points. Sergio Aguero may have scored 21, but those have only been worth seven points. This is because many of Aguero’s goals have come in thrashings – four in the 5-1 thrashing of Leicester, for example, meaning two of them had no bearing on points won.’
Well three had no bearing rather than two. But who cares about things like simple maths when there is advanced statistics to be done?
‘If you remove the goals of every top six player who has won their side seven or more points this season, then Liverpool lose 20 points, Manchester City 18, Tottenham 14, Manchester United eight – with Chelsea and Arsenal losing zero.’
Honestly, read through that paragraph one more time. And then tell Mediawatch that there is not a problem with online content for its own sake.
If that MailOnline guff about a club’s best player being important wasn’t enough nonsense, Mirror Football aren’t far behind. ‘Has Alberto Moreno finally replaced Philippe Coutinho? Liverpool training pictures suggest he’s got a new best friend,’ reads their headline.
The words ‘training pictures suggest’ usually hint at a non-story, and we weren’t disappointed.
‘Liverpool fans were left gutted when Philippe Coutinho joined Barcelona in a £142million transfer in January – but no one was arguably more heartbroken than the Reds’ very own Alberto Moreno.
‘The Spanish left-back posted an emotional Instagram message to the Brazilian shortly after the departure was confirmed, stating how much he was going to miss his ‘true friend’.
‘Now, exactly one month on from that record deal, it appears Moreno has found a new pal – Virgil van Dijk.’
Yes, you’ve guessed it. The Mirror have one photo of Van Dijk celebrating with Moreno and another of Van Dijk in shot while Moreno kicks the ball to a third player. And that, ladies and gentleman, is enough for a story about Moreno’s new friend.
Mediawatch’s favourite line? ‘The centre-back then appeared to take a set piece from a similar position, copying his new friend.’ Someone go out and buy the bloody friendship bracelets.
As of 11.30am, the Mirror Football website lists the story as their ‘most read’. That probably isn’t worth boasting about, guys.
Start the stopwatch
On January 9, The Sun ran an ‘exclusive’ about young Manchester City player Tosin Adarabioyo. He had dared buy a house within his price range, you see.
‘A MANCHESTER City starlet aged 20 who has never started in a Premier League game has splurged on a £2million mansion.
‘Tosin Adarabioyo is on £25,000 a week despite just seven appearances for the megabucks side in cup games and the Champions League.
‘The six-bed, five-bathroom new build is tucked away on a country road in leafy Cheshire – a notorious hotspot for footballers.
‘The three-storey detached house also boasts a home cinema, gym and sweeping views overlooking a golf course.
‘Last night he was on the subs bench for the Carabao Cup clash with Bristol City.
‘A source said of the defender’s six-bed pad in Cheshire: “He has almost as many bedrooms as he has senior club appearances.”’
On Wednesday, The Sun report that City midfielder Phil Foden will sign a contract worth at least £40,000 when he turns 18. Foden has only made six appearances for the ‘megabucks side in cup games and the Champions League’.
We await the same ‘exclusive’ stories about Foden’s ‘splurging’.
Planet Sport interview: We sit down with Spain’s Gonzalo Fernandez Castano (Golf365)
Slam, slam, slam. Everybody slam
‘LVG slams Pep dream’ reads the oddly-worded headline in Wednesday’s Daily Mirror. We’ve all had that dream, Pep, don’t worry. Just don’t tell Freud.
So, what was this ‘slam’? Did Louis van Gaal say that City would lose every game between now and May? Did he call Guardiola a chequebook manager? Did he say that City’s success is funded by those with a questionable history of human rights issues who are using football as a vehicle for increasing Abu Dhabi’s political standing? Now that really would be a slam.
“There is no way another team will claim the Premier League title this season. The quality of Pep’s players is just too high for them to slip up now.
“But I have concerns over the Manchester City back line. I watched them against Arsenal and Aubameyang could have punished them. He should have scored.
“The big teams, who dare to play a pressing game against City and who will put their central defenders under pressure, can put Pep’s team in trouble.”
‘Big teams can put Manchester City in trouble.’ Pow! Take that, the dream.
‘Neville, however, is bullish. Winning next summer’s World Cup in France is the ultimate goal. Installing legendary striker Casey Stoney into his backroom staff has been a masterstroke in pulling together a fractured squad who’ve seen Mark Sampson’s reign put the Lionesses into the headlines for all the wrong reasons’ – Steve Brenner, Independent.
Not that legendary. Stoney was a defender.
He does know that he’s a Premier League manager, doesn’t he?
By far my favourite line from Wenger’s press conference: “I don’t ask you if your position is reviewed at the end of the season.”
— Mattias Karén (@MattiasKaren) February 28, 2018
Indeed Arsene, but then we’re not paid £7m a year, we haven’t promised that we will challenge for a league title after a period of dramatic decline and we don’t get to choose when we leave our roles on our own terms. It’s almost as if these are completely different jobs.
Laboured intro of the day
‘Callum Camps will hope to hear his name over the Wembley PA system tonight – rather than his car number plate.
‘The Rochdale midfielder, 22, dreams of being the winning goalscorer on the announcer’s lips.
‘But two years ago it was his car licence that was called out over the PA during a League One game against Gillingham’ – Ken Lawrence, The Sun.
Sports news of the day
‘Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius nets new girlfriend in former Made in Chelsea star Ianthe Rose’ – Daily Mirror.
‘Ianthe, however, has left Karius to brave the winter weather that has swept across the United Kingdom this week on his own, as she jetted off to Dubai to soak up the sun. She has posted a series of images from her holiday on social media – which will no doubt make Karius jealous.
‘He wrote “so cold” on his Instagram story, before appearing to enjoy a dog walk in the snowy conditions after training on Tuesday.’
Glad we’ve got every vacuous angle covered.