Failing to prepare
‘Antonio Conte jets into London to sign three-year £15m Chelsea deal’ reads the headline on The Sun website.
Second paragraph of Neil Ashton’s story: ‘Italy boss Conte was spotted in the capital and is understood to be preparing to agree the final details of a three-year contract at Stamford Bridge.’
How does one prepare to agree to the final details of a contract? By putting on your shoes? By clearing your mind? The Sun might ‘understand’ but we’re buggered if we do.
For fox sake
‘THEY went top after beating Chelsea in December and they will not be shifted before they get to Stamford Bridge on the final day,’ begins Ashton’s match report from Leicester, steadfastly refusing to let the facts get in the way of a good narrative.
Leicester did go top after beating Chelsea in December, but only because it was a Monday night game; they had actually gone top the previous week when they had won 3-0 at Swansea. Well, if we’re being pernickety (and we are), they had actually gone top in November when they had won 3-0 at Newcastle, but had lost that status by drawing with Manchester United the following week.
And as for not being shifted since that day – perhaps Ashton ought to have looked at any Premier League table between December 29 and January 16 when Arsenal were top of the table.
But sod all that research nonsense, eh Neil? You really do work for The Sun these days.
Already entrenched in The Sun way of doing things is Mark Irwin – a vocal critic of Arsene Wenger who recently wrote ten reasons why the Frenchman is taking the Gunners backwards – who writes that ‘ARSENAL manager Arsene Wenger is banking on his side to deliver the kind of miracle run which won his first Premier League title’.
Apparently, ‘boss Wenger knows he needs the sort of winning streak not seen from an Arsenal team since way back in 1998 to over haul runaway leaders Leicester. That season they were 11 points behind Manchester United in March – but reeled off ten wins in a row to snatch the title on the line.’
One question: Has Mark Irwin simply forgotten the 13-game winning run that won Arsenal the title in 2001/02, or has he chosen to simply ignore it because it doesn’t fit his narrative? Supplementary question: He probably doesn’t give a sh*t, does he?
‘Lean times’ is the phrase The Sun’s Neil Custis uses to describe Manchester United’s current form.
Indeed. We make that 20lbs you need to lose so far, Neil.
Exclusive in The Sun, March 5: ‘CHELSEA are to join the battle for Everton striker Romelu Lukaku in a summer move.’
Exclusive in The Sun, March 26: ‘ANTONIO CONTE has moved Romelu Lukaku to the top of Chelsea’s summer transfer plans.’
Exclusive on The Independent, April 4: ‘Romelu Lukaku to Chelsea: Antonio Conte targets Everton striker for summer rebuild.’
Headline on that very new and exclusive Independent story: ‘Romelu Lukaku to Chelsea: Antonio Conte targets Everton striker for summer rebuild.’
Sub-headline on that very new and exclusive Independent story: ‘EXCLUSIVE: Belgian seen as a key target for summer rebuild.’
Opening paragraph on that very new and exclusive Independent story: ‘Antonio Conte wants Chelsea to re-sign Romelu Lukaku after identifying the Everton forward as a key target for his summer rebuilding programme at Stamford Bridge.’
Mediawatch suspects that the Independent would like us to think that Romelu Lukaku is a target for a summer rebuild at Chelsea.
And oh Daily Telegraph ghost writer.
He’s right; it is ‘almost certainly too late’ for Wes Morgan and England.
— Mr Geoff Peters (@mrgeoffpeters) April 3, 2016
Stitching up daddy
Let’s just re-visit one line from that Harry Redknapp piece – not the one about it being ‘almost certainly too late’ for Wes Morgan and England – but this one: ‘I remember watching him when he first came through at Nottingham Forest and thinking he was good enough then to play in the Premier League.’
If only Redknapp had been managing a Premier League club at the time (he was).
And now read this from Jamie Redknapp in the Daily Mail: ‘I wonder how many managers have looked at him over the years and thought he’s not quite good enough for the Premier League. My dad sent scouts to watch him loads of times.’
Sandra will have to sit between them at lunch.
What a Mangala
“If you have the statistics then you will see every time Mangala plays then we win,” said Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini as he attempted to persuade fans and journalists (and himself?) that the prospect of Mangala v Zlatan is really not scary at all. Oh no.
Every time Mangala plays you win? If only there was an example from just two weeks ago when Mangala played against Manchester United. Not to mention the six other times – including that 4-1 against Liverpool – City have lost with Mangala in the side this season. We have the statistics, Manuel, and we are not afraid to use them.
It’s not quite Troy Deeney as defensive midfielder but Garth Crooks’ quest to include as many goalscorers as possible (nine) in his BBC team of the week, could leave Jamaica’s Wes Morgan and Robert Huth a tad exposed…
Bold from Garth to have Dimitri Payet and Philippe Coutinho as holding mids this week… pic.twitter.com/p8mcUggJJe
— Ben McAleer (@BenMcAleer1) April 4, 2016
Garth Crooks: ‘Metaphorically speaking, Arsenal are chasing the pack having stumbled and now must do something pretty spectacular to win the race.’
That’s not a metaphor, Garth, that is pretty much exactly what has happened.
Lucky, lucky man
Garth Crooks on luck: ‘Fortunately, Dieumerci Mbokani survived the horrific attack in a Belgian airport when a bomb exploded last week while en route to play for his country in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The African striker returned safely to Carrow Road and played superbly against Newcastle.
‘He had a first-half goal disallowed after a super ball by Howson and then a shot brilliantly saved by the relatively unknown goalkeeper Karl Darlow. At this point, I thought his luck had run out but he suddenly cut inside and fired a fearsome shot that flew into the net for a thoroughly deserved goal.’
Mbokani must have found a four-leaf clover – first he survives a terrorist attack and then he scores a goal for Norwich against Newcastle.
Metro online headline: ‘Mohamed Elneny breaks 2015/2016 Premier League record by playing most passes by one player in single match.’
Daily Express online headline: ‘Arsenal star sets Premier League record in Watford win: Arsene Wenger reveals his thoughts.’
Altogether now: It’s not a f***ing record if it’s one season.