Mediawatch is duty-bound at this point to offer a reminder that Roberto Firmino was deemed the 11th worst signing of the season by the Daily Telegraph website in January.
‘Comments are closed on this picture gallery.’
We bloody bet they are.
Great wall of co-efficients
Amongst all the love for Liverpool in Friday morning’s newspapers are various painful Spanish Armada references.
‘AT long, long last…an English galleon to blast a hole through the Spanish Armada,’ writes Phil Thomas in The Sun.
‘And once again, as it has been so often over the years, when it comes to Europe, wouldn’t you just know Liverpool were the ones to do it?’
Those of us with memories longer than a harvest mouse might point towards Liverpool’s meek attempts against Real Madrid last season, but let’s move on to Gideon Brooks in the Daily Express who writes alongside a ‘The Reds scupper Spanish armada’ headline:
‘IT HAS been such a good year for teams from Spain in European competitions that at times it has been tempting to rebrand the tournaments La Liga Plus.
‘And while no-one has worked out what the season has done for La Liga’s coefficient, it is safe to say astronaut Tim Peake has a better chance of spotting it than most.’
Firstly, some people have worked it out using maths and sh*t, and secondly, what the actual f***?
‘REVEALED: The Man United, Arsenal and Chelsea stars that have flopped in Europe’ is the tantalising headline on the Metro website.
Included on all that list is European flop Carlos Tevez, scorer of four goals (including the vital away goal against Lyon) en route to the 2008 Champions League final with Manchester United in which he scored a penalty in the shoot-out.
And yes, that’s the same European flop Carlos Tevez who scored seven goals as Juventus reached the Champions League final last season.
‘He’s undoubtedly one of the best players of his generation but 13 goals in 42 appearances for three of Europe’s elite clubs is a poor reflection of his ability,’ it says here.
He must be gutted.
Attack, attack, attack
Headline on the back page of the Daily Express: ‘Bale attacks City.’
Opening paragraph on the back page of the Daily Express: ‘GARETH BALE has claimed Manchester City could not cope with the pressure of their Champions League semi-final with his victorious Real Madrid team.’
Actual quotes from Gareth Bale:
“Experience probably told a lot over the two legs. It was difficult for them, it was a new occasion because they haven’t been in this position and it is never easy in these games.
“We’ve had lot of experience of being in semi-finals and we did a very professional job. We kept it tight at the back and we limited them to minimal chances – they had two shots on target in the two games – and we got a bit of luck with the goal.
“Maybe they lacked a bit of ambition going forward but that’s down to us. I guess you could say they could have thrown a little bit more but they didn’t.”
Don’t hold back, Gareth.
‘Arsenal and Tottenham are at opposite ends of this Premier League table’ is the intriguing SEO-tastic headline on the Daily Mirror‘s Row Zed website. Which table? Tell us more. Clickety-click-click-click.
‘Does this explain how different their seasons have been?’ they ask. Well, we don’t know. Does it? What the f*** is it? What is this table that explains why their seasons have been so, so different, what with Tottenham having three whole points more than Arsenal?
It’s the ‘PERCENTAGE OF GOALS CONCEDED FROM OUTSIDE THE BOX’ table.
It turns out that ‘Just ONE of the 28 goals Spurs have conceded have been from outside the box’ while ‘TEN of Arsenal’s 34 conceded have come from outside the box’.
Does this explain how different their seasons have been? Or does it explain how desperate Row Zed are for content? Mediawatch is plumping for the latter.
Not quite on the same page
Neil Ashton, The Sun, page 64: ‘There are fears that Kevin De Bruyne, the £54million signing from Wolfsburg, appeared a fraction short of what is required at the highest level.’
Martin Blackburn, The Sun, page 65, on De Bruyne: ‘SHINING light for City in a poor season – Pep will love him.’
Must do better
The Sun’s Martin Blackburn, in a review of ‘WHO’LL STICKER AROUND AT CITY?’ (don’t ask), has filed Jason Denayer under ‘STAYING (but must do better)’.
Harsh; the poor lad has never played a minute for City.
Wrecking the dream: A reprise
Mediawatch has never forgotten Neil Ashton’s finest moment at the Daily Mail in January 2014, when the words ‘DREAMWRECKER’ sat atop his bile-filled piece about Katharina Liebherr forcing his friend Nicola Cortese out of Southampton.
Let’s enjoy this again:
‘On Wednesday night, just after 7pm, she won, but the fear is that Southampton will be the biggest losers. Cortese had tolerated Katharina until she refused to allow him to continue in his executive role without interference.
‘The Italian, a banker by profession, established The Southampton Way when Markus Liebherr took the club out of administration in 2009. He lived and breathed Southampton.
‘Each day, when he walked up the main staircase at St Mary’s and headed towards his office suite, he passed a mural on the wall which reminded his staff of their ambition.
‘Katharina, who has no experience of running a football club and until recently had little interest in the sport, will run the show from now on.’
And what a sh*t job she has done, the rotten wrecker of dreams. Three straight top-eight finishes for a club with very solid finances. Despicable.
Fast-forward to May 2016 and Ashton is still going in to bat for Cortese, now writing in The Sun:
‘SOUTHAMPTON director Les Reed needs his memory jogging after claiming he was heavily involved in Mauricio Pochettino’s appointment at St Mary’s in 2014.
‘Reed was Football Development and Support Director at the time with a specific brief to oversee Saints’ Academy, medical, kit and equipment.
‘The decision to bring in Poch – as Reed should have pointed out – was down solely to the club’s former executive chairman Nicola Cortese.’
Three things, Neil:
a) Pochettino was actually appointed in 2013. Perhaps Les Reed is not the only man who needs his memory jogging.
b) Is Les Reed a dream wrecker too?
c) Nobody but you or Cortese gives a shiny sh*te.
‘Fat man’ update
Weekly weigh-in done and 22lbs lost, just four behind LVG points with 10 days and a trip to @NorthBootcamp to come
— Neil Custis (@ncustisTheSun) May 5, 2016
Yes, he is going to a boot camp in an attempt to win a challenge that was never taken up.
Never make yourself the story, they said. Well, that’s not so much got lost as got buried on an island a thousand nautical miles from the mainland.
‘I have been really impressed by the Hammers of late,’ says Mark Lawrenson in his BBC predictions.
Which is presumably why his last ten predictions for West Ham read as follows:
West Brom 2-1 West Ham
West Ham 2-0 Watford
Leicester 2-1 West Ham
West Ham 1-2 Arsenal
West Ham 2-1 Crystal Palace
Chelsea 1-1 West Ham
Everton 1-1 West Ham
West Ham 1-1 Tottenham
West Ham 2-1 Sunderland
Norwich 2-0 West Ham
Imagine if he hadn’t been impressed…
From our usual Friday ‘expert’…
* Paul Merson on Roberto Martinez: ‘I think he’s a very good manager abroad.’
Does he mean Swansea?
* Paul Merson on Manchester City v Arsenal: ‘If there’s ever a chance for Arsenal to win at the Etihad again, this is the game. If they don’t win this game, you’d have to ask serious questions. Man City are there for the taking, all day long.’
Pesky fact: Manchester City’s last three results at the Eithad are a 0-0 draw with Champions League finalists Real Madrid, a 1-0 win over French champions PSG and a 4-0 cruise against Stoke City. So yes, an absolute piece of p*** for Arsenal.
* Paul Merson’s prediction for Norwich v Manchester United: 2-3.
A reminder, were it required, that Norwich have not scored in 270 minutes of Premier League football.
* Paul Merson on Stoke City: ‘Everybody is being judged compared to Leicester it seems, so for everyone else it’s a bit of a benchmark, but they’ve finished above teams they probably didn’t think they would at the start of the season.’
Stoke – should the season end with them in tenth – will finish the season above just one team who were above them last season. That team? Swansea. So, yeah, well done Stoke, you are better than Swansea. That was well worth the £40m spent on transfers this season.
Recommended reading of the day
Toby Sprigings on Northampton Town
The Bangkok Post on a Thai monopoly and Leicester’s triumph
Dave Selini on Saul Niguez