See, it’s not just us
Shout out to Spanish sports newspaper Mundo Deportivo for their list of forwards that Barcelona could sign in January. That list includes Antonio Di Natale, Luca Toni, Dimitar Berbatov, Miroslav Klose and Claudio Pizarro.
They might as well go full Harry Redknapp and get Niko “lovely boy” Kranjcar in.
No more, Neymar
‘Manchester United transfer news and rumours: United up ante for Neymar with staggering bid of £143.9m,’ is the big transfer news from the Daily Telegraph on Wednesday. You have to admit, it’s pretty hot stuff.
You also have to admit that it’s probably piping hot mess. The Telegraph write that ‘today reports are doing the rounds’, but Mediawatch’s rough translation of that is ‘Fichajes.net said yesterday’. No wonder they didn’t quote the source.
That Fichajes story is headlined as ‘Neymar not listen to Manchester United’ when forced through Google translate. It’s fair to say even our favourite
bulls**t peddlers intrepid transfer rumour reporters aren’t having this one.
‘Manchester United have €200 million to spend, and their priorities are of course Gareth Bale and Neymar. But the Brazilian international will not hear talk of the Red Devils.’
So Fichajes go with ‘United have €200 million to spend but won’t get Neymar’, and within 24 hours the Telegraph have ‘United up ante for Neymar with staggering bid of £143.9m’? They should be ashamed (but they’re not).
‘Sergio Aguero struggling to walk and will miss Manchester City’s Champions League clash with Borussia Monchengladbach but Yaya Toure returns to training,’ reads the catchy headline on MailOnline.
‘Manchester City’s injury problems have worsened with the news that striker Sergio Aguero is struggling to walk,’ a piece by Ian Ladyman begins. ‘City face Borussia Monchengladbach in the Champions League on Tuesday night looking to recover some form after Saturday’s Barclays Premier League defeat by Stoke City. But manager Manuel Pellegrini revealed on Monday that Aguero will still be missing as he tries to recover from a heel injury.’
Aguero might be struggling to walk, but that’s not what Pellegrini said. As Ladyman’s own piece quotes: “It is an injury that he cannot work on. He needs time to recover from that problem. It is not a serious injury but it is a pain injury. We will have to see how he improves in the next week.”
Lost in translation?
‘Blaming him [Van Gaal] for yet another goalless draw – United’s fourth in six home games – doesn’t add up,’ is Adrian Durham’s first big opinion of the day in his MailOnline column. He does like a big opinion.
‘The big stick Van Gaal was being beaten with was that United had only one effort on target in the West Ham game on Saturday. But whether the efforts are on target or not is not down to Van Gaal, it’s down to the player who is aiming for the target.’
That’s all true, of course, as long as you ignore details such as where the players are shooting from, which players are doing the shooting and how the chances are created (ie the style of play), all of which are implemented by the manager.
Why stop there? It isn’t Steve McClaren’s fault that his players have shown little passion, or Tim Sherwood’s fault that his players couldn’t attack or defend properly. Why is any manager sacked at all, when it’s the players who have played badly not them?
To answer the rhetorical question, it’s because the manager is held responsible for the performance of the club’s players on the pitch. If West Ham was a one-off then Van Gaal could avoid censure, but it’s three goals in six home games and seven in ten in all competitions.
I’m wicked and I’m lazy
Mediawatch would like to congratulate Sheffield Wednesday’s Lucas Joao on being named as the Football League Player of the Month in the Championship for November.
Joao played 188 minutes in November, and started one match. He was brought off in the 56th minute of that game. Quite the advert for England’s second tier.
We’re not scared
‘Barca clash would be no hell for Pell,’ reads the headline in the Daily Mirror.
‘Manuel Pellegrini has no fears about Manchester City finishing second in their Champions League group – even if it means facing Barcelona again,’ is the first line of that story.
Number of mentions of Barcelona: None.
Changed your tune
“It is very important to finish top of the group, not just to avoid Barcelona, but to beat a big team like this in Turin” – Manuel Pellegrini, November 24.
“If you do not finish at the top of your group, I do not think it is disappointing. I do not think we have to be always pessimistic about the draw. Maybe if you finish top, you can have a draw against a big team that finished second in its group” – Pellegrini, December 8.
Funny what a defeat to Juventus can do.
Ride together, die together
“What’s good is that he tells us we’re all together, if things are going badly there’s a problem with everyone. He doesn’t leave us, how shall we say, in the s**t, in the poo, and we’re always together” – Kurt Zouma.
Because if there is one thing Jose Mourinho is famous for, it’s not singling people out for blame.
On the same page
“On the positive side we are still in all four competitions, but today we didn’t have the legs to defend as we needed to or attack in the way we liked and we didn’t create many chances. We have had to play the same 12 or 15 players for most of the season” – Manuel Pellegrini, December 6.
“The amount of games is not an excuse, because we have everything around us to make our life easy. We have good facilities and good staff, and as much as we can recover we have to do it” – Bacary Sagna, December 7.
The inconvenient truth
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 8, 2015
‘Big draw’ indeed. Seven in the last ten games, to be precise.
Ten thousand spoons…
‘Monk, who ironically was Swansea’s captain under Rodgers, is due to receive a pay-off of around £3million having signed a new three-year contract only back in July’ – Daily Express.
Can you captain ironically?
Ask a simple question
‘How can Arsenal qualify for the Champions League last-16?’ – Independent.
Win by any other score but 1-0 and 2-1.
Description of the day
‘Swansea want controversial tactican (sic) to become new manager’ – Metro.
Step forward Brendan Rodgers, ‘controversial tactician’.
Worst headline of the day
‘Keep poo flag flying high’ – The Sun. Sh*t headline. Literally.
Runner-Up: ‘Axed Liverpool manager estranged wife settle cash dispute’ – MailOnline. They’re all words, but that’s not a sentence.
Recommended reading of the day
Swiss Ramble on Brighton
Michael Cox on Georginio Wijnaldum
Caitlin Murray on the US women’s team