They’re always at it. Plus, Paul Merson stops just short of picking himself, Boaz Myhill is the PL’s in-form player, how Man City could have beaten West Ham United and…
‘FURIOUS Chelsea went to war with the FA over Diego Costa last night,’ screams the back page of The Daily Star.
Apparently Chelsea are terrible at choosing their battles because – in 2015 alone, according to the Daily Star – they have ‘gone to war with the FA, the Premier League and Sky’ (January), ‘gone to war’ with Liverpool and Manchester City for a Spanish youth international (March), ‘gone to war’ with Louis van Gaal for Gonzalo Higuain and Felipe Anderson (April), and ‘gone to war’ with Liverpool in an attempt to sign PSG star Ezequiel Lavezzi (June).
Mediawatch is a pacifist; please put your guns away.
— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) September 23, 2015
That’s ‘Latest news’. From 2004. As revealed by absolutely everybody else 24 hours earlier.
Look Here! Not Here!
Top story on Metro football at 12pm, Wednesday, September 23, accompanied by an image of Kurt Zouma: ‘Forget Diego Costa! This is who we should have been talking about.’
Ctrl F Costa on the Metro homepage: 10 results.
Ctrl F Zouma on the Metro homepage: 1 result.
Feel The Power
The biggest story in sport right now – according to the Sky Sports website – is ‘Martial’s Power Ranking soars’. Which is odd as Sky seem to be so keen to stress the importance of the Capital One Cup this week; it’s definitely loads, loads better than the Champions League.
Right about now you may well be thinking ‘What the f*** are Power Rankings?’ You would be right to be curious.
The answer? ‘The Power Rankings methodology reflects a player’s performance over the previous five weeks – with each preceding week worth fewer points. This means the Power Rankings reflect the in-form players of the moment.’
Right. Hence the rather large image of Anthony Martial at the top of the page.
Martial – you will be interested to learn – ‘may have only played 114 minutes in the Premier League but his three goals in that time, against Liverpool and Southampton, sees him jump a massive 116 places in this week’s list to just outside the top 10’.
Martial is 11, so who is top? Who is the ‘in-form player of the moment’? Who is ripping up the Premier League?
Perhaps it’s Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez? Or West Ham’s Dimitri Payet? Or any player from a Manchester City who are top of the actual Premier League table?
No. It’s Boaz Myhill. Boaz bloody Myhill. Odd that his lovely visage is not adorning the Sky Sports homepage, isn’t it?
(Apparently there are 16 more in-form Premier League players – including Craig Dawson and Ritchie de Laet – than any footballer from the side at the top of the Premier League table.)
Old Red Eyes Is Back
Mediawatch does a becoming (we think) little giggle when we see that Paul Merson has been consulted for his ‘expert’ opinions by Sky Sports.
Merson has been asked to put together a combined Tottenham/Arsenal line-up. Of course. Bizarrely, it does not feature Tottenham right-back Kieran Trippier (who made Merson’s team of the season (excluding Chelsea players) back in April while playing for Burnley), but three Tottenham players have made the cut.
“The Tottenham players are through the spine, which is where I’ve always said Arsenal have struggled,” says Merson, while choosing a five-man combined midfield entirely made up of Arsenal players. Apparently, the ‘spine’ does not include the midfield.
Merson picks Hugo Lloris over Petr Cech, despite being so impressed with Cech’s signing earlier this month that he awarded Arsenal a ‘B’ in his transfer window grades.
The other Tottenham players Merson includes are Toby Alderweireld (over Per Mertesacker) and one-season wonder Harry Kane.
“I don’t think Kane is one-season wonder at all, he’s another top player and if you offered me him for Giroud or Walcott I’d take him for sure,” says Merson.
“If you’re a centre-forward you’re only as good as those around you and that Tottenham midfield is not that good. At Arsenal he’d get 20-plus goals again this season for sure.”
So quite how he got 20-odd goals last season with that sh*t Tottenham midfield while Giroud scored fewer goals with Arsenal’s stellar midfield is a mystery worthy of a Jonathan Creek investigation.
Included in Merson’s combined north London attacking midfield – ahead of Christian Eriksen – are Alexis Sanchez, despite the fact that he ‘has done little of late to justify his selection’ and Aaron Ramsey, even though he “hasn’t scored in ages, I think it’s over 10 games now”.
Out of form but still in Merson’s XI. Of course. Unlike Heung-Min Son, who “is the one that is in good form and I like him, he looks a decent player and has hit the ground running”.
We’re just amazed he didn’t pick himself.
The Day Today
‘Manchester City 1 West Ham 2: How Man City might have avoided their shock defeat to the Hammers,’ reads the headline on the Independent website.
It piqued Mediawatch’s interest for two reasons. The first is that it was produced three days after the match, and the second is that it was attributed to the gloriously vague ‘staff’. We’re imagining every Independent employee each contributing one word like a giant game of Consequences.
However, this is no think-piece, nor bullet-pointed list of advisory points to Manuel Pellegrini. Oh no.
‘With West Ham’s formation remaining the same, Sports Interactive simulated the game over again with various Manchester City line-ups and tactics until it produced an alternative result,’ the article begins.
What then follows is basically the most blatant advertorial for Football Manager one could conceivably imagine. This is a match report on a game that never existed other than on a computer game, and yet has made it onto the website of a broadsheet website.
A plea: If you are basing something entirely on fiction, please don’t title it ‘ANALYSIS’.
‘Arsene Wenger has traditionally used the least important of the domestic cup competitions to give first-team experience to his kids,’ writes Mark Irwin of The Sun in letters that – when rubbed with Lucozade – reveal the words ‘Will this do?’.
Traditionally? Like last season at this stage of the Capital One Cup when he played David Ospina, Calum Chambers, Tomas Rosicky, Jack Wilshere, Abou Diaby, Lukas Podolski and Alexis Sanchez?
Or the season before at this stage of the Capital One Cup when he played Per Mertesacker, Thomas Vermaelen, Nacho Monreal, Mikel Arteta and Nicklas Bendtner?
Or at…ah, f*** it, why are we taking four or five seconds to look up the facts when we could just write ‘Arsene plays kids in the cups’ and collect our pay cheque/BACS transfer?
The Kids Are Alright, La
‘They are about as Mancunian as sunshine and self-doubt,’ began the hatchet job on Manchester City from the MailOnline’s Mike Keegan on Tuesday afternoon.
‘But on Tuesday night, Manchester City supporters glimpse of their homegrown future may be limited to Nigeria’s Kelechi Iheanacho and Kingston upon Thames’s Patrick Roberts.’
Iheanacho did not play on Tuesday night, but let’s move on…
‘History tells us that fans craving to see the likes of Manu Garcia (mini-David Silva) and right back Pablo Maffeo (Pablo Zabaleta-lite) will be left disappointed,’ writes Keegan, hours before Manu Garcia made his Manchester City debut.
‘(Manchester City fans) will look over the road from the Etihad Stadium at the £200m City Football Academy, which opened in 2014, and wonder when this gleaming conveyor belt is going to start churning out local lads, instead of youngsters taken from elsewhere.’
When? That will be Tuesday night when George Evans – of Cheadle – became the first Manchester City player to play for every age group from the Under-8s through to the seniors.
Mediawatch is not a fan of Brendan Rodgers – we rather think John Motson might have been referring to us when he said there is an ‘agenda’ against the Liverpool manager – but we are calling ‘not fair’ on this from The Sun:
‘SINCE his first season in charge, Liverpool have moved up just one place from Sep 2012 to Sep 2015 under Brendan Rodgers.’
They did damn near win the Premier League in the meantime, fellas.
Preferred Media Partner Of The Day
‘STEVE McCLAREN has begged for “blind faith” from fans and insisted there are “no bad eggs” in his squad’ – The Daily Mirror back page.
Quote Of The Day
“Nobody anymore can play 60 games per season” – Arsene Wenger.
But they can apparently play 58. Which is why Alexis Sanchez looks absolutely sodding knackered.
Worst Opening Paragraph Of The Day
‘ASTON VILLA earned the bragging rights as they gave Gary Rowett’s side the blues – thanks to Rudy two-shoes!’ – Graeme Bryce, The Sun. We would have vaguely forgiven this mangled excuse for English if Gestede had not actually scored with his head.
The Most Trolltastic Headline Of This Or Any Other Day
‘Why pathetic Arsenal fans’ reaction to Chelsea and Diego Costa sums up everything wrong with modern football’ – Metro.
Non-Football Story Of The Day
‘An Oklahoma man who had consumed large amounts of alcohol at his birthday party at a pool hall discovered when he returned home that he had been shot twice, police said on Tuesday.
‘The man, who was not identified, was shot in the shoulder and the buttock, and the wounds were not life-threatening, Tulsa police said.
‘The man and his brother called a friend to drive them home because they were drunk after celebrating his birthday at Sharky’s Pool Hall on Monday, police said.
‘They said they heard popping noises while driving. After arriving home, they noticed there were bullet holes in the car and the birthday boy was bleeding, police said.
‘”It was soon discovered that the victim had a bullet hole entrance in his left rear shoulder and an exit wound in his left front shoulder,” according to the Tulsa police report.
‘The victim’s mother drove him to a hospital where doctors found a second bullet lodged inside his buttock.
‘Police said they do not have any suspects in the case’ – Reuters.
Thanks to today’s Mediawatch spotters John Griffiths and Cameron Boyd. If you spot anything that belongs on this page, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, putting ‘Mediawatch’ in the subject field.