Clearly Garth Crooks is trolling us now. There is no sodding chance that he has picked a BBC team of the week featuring Jeffrey Schlupp as a centre-half, Alexis Sanchez and Marko Arnautovic as wing-backs and Kevin de Bruyne as the holding midfielder with a straight face. Never mind the performances of Santi Cazorla and Francis Coquelin in central midfield against Manchester United, or Victor Wanyama against Chelsea. Did they score? Did they f***. We can only assume that Crooks begins his ‘research’ with a Google search for ‘who scored in Premier League at weekend’. And frankly, we would have him no other way.
Besides the simple ‘what the f***?’ nature of the formation, our highlights include:
* ‘I remember Gomes when he played for Spurs…’
We’ll just call you The Memory Man, shall we?
* ‘He (Gabriel) reduced Anthony Martial to the minimum of chances and was instrumental in achieving Arsenal’s first clean sheet of the season.’
…since the three consecutive clean sheets against Liverpool, Newcastle and Stoke in August.
* ‘Southampton should have had two penalties, the first for an infringement on Van Djik by Branislav Ivanovic and then on Sadio Mane by Ramirez.’
* ‘Earlier in the season I said Arnautovic and his team-mates owed it to their brilliant goalkeeper Jack Butland to start performing and justify the investment made in some of their big name signings. Well, Stoke have now gone four games unbeaten – it looks like they have got the message.’
It’s all you, Garth.
* On Kevin de Bruyne: ‘Two assists and one glorious finish but no mentions on the Match of the Day analysis?’
There was another fella who scored five goals, mind.
* ‘When Eriksen is scoring goals it suggests the player is back to his best.’
We give you one word: Insight.
* ‘Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho can bellyache all he wants about the officials but they are not the reason for Chelsea’s appalling start to the season or their total collapse against the Saints – that was entirely down to the brilliance of Mane.’
And, presumably Graziano Pelle and Virgil van Dijk, who also make your team of the week.
Don’t ever change.
Beep beep beep
Harry Redknapp, September 2, Telegraph Total Football Live event: “I don’t fancy Liverpool at all. I think it’s the worst Liverpool team I have seen in years. They look bang average. They are lucky to have any points. Bournemouth should have beaten them, they got a wonder goal at Stoke. Okay, they played all right first-half at Arsenal. I think they will do well to finish in the top five. I am not with Liverpool at all this year.”
Harry Redknapp, October 5, Daily Telegraph: “I don’t think Brendan deserved to go so soon into the season. I think they’ve got a wonderful chance of finishing in the top four this season.”
Boys from Brazil
In Harry Redknapp’s rush to ‘feel desperately sorry for Brendan’, he has mangled a few facts.
* ‘I don’t think Brendan has signed those new players at Liverpool. They’ve brought in players from Brazil and I don’t think he will have known much about them.’
Does he mean Roberto Firmino? Bought from Hoffenheim. Or does he think Joe Gomez is Brazilian? He does sound a bit foreign.
* ‘The thing that will frustrate him is that those new players may well go on to benefit the next manager. They will settle in England and they will get used to the Premier League.’
Of the seven players bought by Liverpool this summer, six were from English clubs. We’re pretty sure Danny Ings is already settled in England.
The Midas touch
‘There have been too many accusations of Rodgers getting a little too full of self belief and self confidence,’ writes shameless Phil Thomas in The Sun. ‘And indeed there was a standing joke on Merseyside that the only difference between him and God was that God didn’t think he was Brendan Rodgers.’
And how did Rodgers get this bloated opinion of himself? Thomas himself didn’t contribute, did he? Oh God no. Remember this from March:
‘If anyone still harboured doubts about whether the Northern Irishman merits a mention alongside any of the game’s top bosses, surely they have been blown away for good now.
‘For while City were one dimensional – again – with no plan B when the first one was not working, Rodgers once more showed himself to be something of a King Midas of managers.’
How on earth did Brendan’s head get so big? As Toyah would say, it’s a mythtery.
Too many chiefs
This is the kind of memorable opening paragraph that earned Phil McNulty the chief football writer gig at the BBC: ‘Everton and Liverpool fought out a Merseyside derby at Goodison Park in what proved to be Brendan Rodgers’s final game in charge of Liverpool.’
Same old, same old
Chief Grumpypants Steven Howard, The Sun, October 1: ‘On Sunday more than 60,000 will flock to the Emirates to see Arsenal play Manchester United. I sometimes wonder why they bother. They won’t see anything new and, more likely than not, will just re-emerge in a bad mood (no, not just me). Even if they win on Sunday we know where we will find them at the end of the season. Third or fourth and out of the Champions League early.’
Chief Grumpypants Steven Howard, The Sun, October 5: ‘THIS was all so typically Arsenal. Disaster, as usual, followed by immediate triumph. And such a triumph that Arsenal would not have been flattered had they won 6-0.’
That must have really p***ed him off.
Rooney > Walcott
According to The Sun’s player ratings, powered by Opta: Wayne Rooney (7) had a better game than Theo Walcott (6).
Does that mean Neil Custis was right when he warned on Friday about the irrepressible Rooney: ‘Gunners beware!’ How wrong we were to doubt him.
When you’re missing Brendan…
…just drink in Tim Sherwood: “I had a manager in the opposite dugout on Saturday who hasn’t had it his own way at every club but he’s come through and stuck to his beliefs. That’s exactly whet Tim Sherwood will be doing.”
Genuinely excellent intro of the day
From Mark Irwin in The Sun: ‘JOSE MOURINHO questions himself all the time. And he always comes up with the same answer – that he is bloody brilliant.’
Summing up Martin Samuel’s smug, ‘I told you so’ style (and we know a thing or two about that particular style), this is the Daily Mail man from two weeks ago:
‘There was a sizeable amount of conceit around Southampton at this time last year. After six games, they were second in the league, one place behind Chelsea, an outstanding start that was widely stated to have proved their critics wrong. It had foolishly been suggested that selling five of your best players was a bad idea.
‘Southampton had instead cashed in, bought wisely, and thrived. How ridiculous those critics looked now. There were even some Southampton fans pretending they knew this would happen all along. Fast forward a year and Southampton are still selling and still a place behind Chelsea, except now this pegs them in 16th. Their foray into the Europa League got them as far as two qualifying rounds and defeat by Midtjylland, and Manchester United are the only big hitters they have faced in the league. They should rally and rise from here but there was no way they could continue the selling policy and stay competitive at the top.
‘A year ago, the summer sales gave Ronald Koeman the chance to build his own team; this time he will have seen the departures as debilitating. Indeed that was the problem with last year: it made the process look easy. It never is.’
Samuel: The only man outside of Portsmouth who is happy to see Southampton fail.
Mediawatch: Always happy to see Samuel look like a tool.
Talking ’bout a revolution
Women in Football are ‘a network of professional women working in and around the football industry who support and champion their peers’; they meet five or six times a year to discuss their experiences in football over sandwiches.
Only new man Martin Samuel could describe them as a ‘pressure group’.
Bless my cotton socks, I’m in the news
Alan Pardew in Friday’s Evening Standard: “You only have to look at Roy’s (Hodgson) selection to know that he never shuts the door on anybody. He took a chance on Jamie Vardy and he has been rewarded.”
Handsomely rewarded with no goals and no assists in two England performances.
Headline of the day
‘KISS KISS BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG!’ – The Daily Mirror describe our perfect evening with Sergio Aguero.
Thanks to today’s spotter Nik Roseveare. If you see anything that belongs on this page, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org putting ‘Mediawatch’ in the subject field.