It’s Friday so it’s Paul Merson Day. And he is sure Arsenal will win because they ‘simply have to’. But they should ‘beware’ of Wayne Rooney, whose passing is still brilliant…
Could it be magic?
It’s Friday; it’s Paul Merson Day…
* On Arsenal v Manchester United: ‘The game will probably go how it does all the time. Arsenal will turn up, dominate the game and United will break on them and score. Despite that, I’m going to go for an Arsenal win because they simply have to.’
The Gunners have beaten United just twice in 17 meetings since 2008 and just once in the Premier League in that sequence. If only they had ‘simply had to’ beat them before.
* On Chelsea v Southampton: ‘Chelsea simply have to win this game, they have to win.’
There’s a lot of it about. And teams famously always win games ‘they simply have to win’.
* ‘West Brom are a funny team. They went to Villa and won quite comfortably, then they were 2-0 up flying at home to Everton and threw the lead away.’
It’s almost like Everton are a far, far better team than Aston Villa.
* ‘Bournemouth are going to miss Callum Wilson, I don’t care what anybody says, that is a massive blow.’
Who are all these people going round saying losing Callum Wilson is not a massive blow?
* ‘I watched Leicester the other week where they were 2-0 down against Stoke and fought back to win 3-2. That was all well and good but you don’t want to keep falling behind because sooner or later you won’t come back.’
Like last week against Arsenal, Merse?
A Lawro, Lawro nonsense
‘From what I have seen so far this season, Sunderland are the worst team in the Premier League,’ says Mark Lawrenson on the BBC, clearly wary of being left behind by Paul Merson in the prediction stakes.
Which is presumably why his predictions so far this season would see Sunderland in 16th, better than West Ham, Everton, Aston Villa and Watford.
What does he predict? A 2-0 win for Sunderland, of course.
Roo-m with a view
The Sun’s Neil Custis is Wayne Rooney’s biggest fan; he loves him in a way that Mediawatch loves Graziano Pelle. It’s not pure.
Hence he has cobbled together a double-page spread in The Sun – including quotes from Alan Shearer and Paul Scholes – with the headline ‘BULLETPROOF’ in which he insists that the manchild really will come good.
‘His range of passing, positional awareness, workrate and sheer desire’ apparently remain undimmed. Which could come as a surprise to anybody who has actually watched him play.
Custis’ love poem is accompanied by a graphic that shows that Rooney has always been a slow starter. The implication is that Rooney started 2013/14 similarly slowly with just five goals by October 1, and he still scored 19 goals.
The difference? Rooney’s five goals in 2013/14 came against Bayer Leverkusen (2), Crystal Palace, Manchester City and West Brom. In 2015/16 he has scored against FC Bruges (3), Ipswich and Sunderland.
‘Gunners beware!’ apparently.
Shock and bore
Meanwhile, the back page of the Daily Mirror claims that there would be “no guarantees” that Wayne Rooney will start for England at Euro 2016.
They call this a ‘EURO SHOCK’. Hmmm, Mediawatch would be rather more shocked if a manager guaranteed a footballer starts regardless of their form.
The English press is utterly desperate for Ronaldo to return to Manchester United. Which is why you get a headline like ‘Hotshot Ron hints at return’ in The Sun above a story that begins ‘CRISTIANO RONALDO hinted he could return to Manchester United next year’.
And what was this ‘hint’?
“We will see what happens tomorrow but at this point in time I am happy at Real Madrid.”
Get out the bunting, chaps.
Ear to the ground
Mediawatch is a big fan of Neil Ashton’s ‘What I’m hearing’ titbits in the Daily Mail. That man knows things. We don’t know how but he knows things.
This Friday he is ‘hearing’ that ‘Wayne Rooney will be given a specially commissioned golden boot by the FA before England’s Euro 2016 qualifier against Estonia at Wembley next Friday’.
From Sky Sports website on Thurday afternoon: ‘Wayne Rooney will be presented with a golden boot by Sir Bobby Charlton before the European Qualifier against Estonia to mark his achievement of becoming England’s record scorer.’
However does Ashton know these things?
Ridiculous headlines from more successful websites
* ‘Chelsea and Manchester City complete big-money transfers’ – Daily Star.
Translation: Mo Salah and Edin Dzeko have joined Roma.
* ‘Arsenal boss Wenger gives surprising opinion on Man United’s transfer business’ – Metro.
Does he call them all c***s? That would surprise us. No, he said: “Man United have the money they’ve spent. It’s not artificial. It comes from their own resources. They have the right to do it.”
We suspect ‘Arsenal boss Wenger makes reasonable statement on Man United’s transfer business’ would have been rather less SEO-friendly.
* ‘Neymar sits on top of £200,000 Ferrari’ – MailOnline.
To be fair, he does.
Worst headline of the day
‘Lallana skin’ – The Sun. ‘Lallana’ really doesn’t sound enough like ‘banana’ for a back-page headline.
Frightening headline of the day
‘Under-fire Rodgers perfect fit for England’ – The Times.
Non-Football story of the day
‘For most of us, the signs indicating a toilet on an airplane are pretty clear. But for one passenger on a KLM flight from Edinburgh to Amsterdam, apparently the obvious wasn’t so obvious. James Gray was arrested and fined 600 Euros (about $672) after he tried to open a jet exit at 30,000 feet, according to an article in the Telegraph. He told authorities he mistook the exit for a bathroom door’ – Huffington Post.