Replacement bus service
‘MATCHES between Spurs and Leicester are just like London buses,’ writes Charlie Wyett – a man not blessed with imagination – in The Sun. ‘You wait ages for one and then three come along at once.’
Couple of things, Charlie:
a) Nobody has ever impatiently looked at their watch waiting for a fixture between Leicester and Tottenham.
b) The last time they played was August 2015. Before that it was March 2015. And then January 2015. And then December 2014. That’s a decent bus service.
The alternative to the Tottenham bus nonsense came from the Daily Mirror’s Chief Sports Writer Dave Kidd under the ridiculous headline of ‘NO KANE, NO GAIN’ and from the Daily Mail’s new Football Editor Ian Ladyman with ‘IT’S KANE TO THE RESCUE’.
‘ON a day when Mauricio Pochettino tried life without Harry Kane, Tottenham’s talismanic striker ended up having to rescue his side with his 50th goal for the club,’ writes Kidd, while Ladyman gives credence to Alan Shearer’s hyperbolic claim that Kane is worth £80m.
Listen carefully because we will say this only once: It was a penalty; we’re pretty sure somebody else would have taken it. Or would they have all just looked at each other and cried ‘what the shuddering f*** are we going to do now?’?
The sun will come out tomorrow…
Having written on Saturday that Ryan Giggs ‘has taken his chance to put a smile back on the face of Manchester United’, claiming that ‘in a bid to pull them out of a slump, Louis van Gaal’s No2 got more authority in training and on match days’, suggesting that ‘results have picked up since the Old Trafford legend took on a more influential role’, The Sun’s Neil Custis could not then criticise United too harshly for a 1-0 home win over League One Sheffield United that featured one shot on target from open play.
‘The fans are bored, the players look bored and yes, the manager does too,’ writes Custis on Monday. ‘Yet there are some flickering signs of change. After all, United still have a draw and two wins from their last three games.
‘Despite all the dissent immediately after the match, I definitely thought the team was at least trying to play more positively.’
Thank the lord for Giggsy, eh? By the way, Neil, was Giggs ‘offered a way out of Manchester United by Swansea’ like
Ryan you predicted last month?
Could it be magic?
Mediawatch cannot help thinking that Harry Redknapp has picked the wrong weekend to go on a nostalgic FA Cup trip (black-and-white TVs, Abide With Me, blah-di-blah-di-bloody-blah) in his Daily Telegraph column headlined ‘Tradition of the FA Cup is being devalued by greed’.
‘It is ridiculous,’ says Redknapp when poked for an opinion on a round of Premier League matches being played in midweek, just days after the FA Cup third round. ‘I am sure there are other weeks when they could have played these Premier League games. If this midweek was left spare, more teams would have really had a go in the FA Cup.’
Which is a rather odd thing to say when the Premier League’s top 12 teams are all in the fourth-round draw. How much more could they have ‘really had a go’?
Redknapp is not finished there: ‘What I do not understand…is why those four or five teams in the middle of the table, who are not at risk of relegation, do not have a real go for it.’
You mean like West Ham, whose manager Slaven Bilic has said that he would prefer to win the FA Cup rather than finish in the top four?
Or Crystal Palace, whose manager Alan Pardew said: “Unless I get dragged into that bottom four or five (of the Premier League), it will be my strongest team in every round”?
Or Watford, Stoke or Everton, who all won their matches and are in the fourth-round draw? You mean those teams, Harry?
You didn’t check the results, did you? You just started thinking about Bert Trautmann and a foggy mist of nostalgia and snotty tears descended.
Taking on the laptop gurus. Again.
Watford striker Odion Ighalo’s phenomenal goalscoring form has been a lovely cameo in this unpredictable season. Well done, that man.
But does it ‘make a nonsense of the numbers game’? Only if you really, really squint and you’re Martin Samuel of the Daily Mail.
‘Aside from the unfolding chaos at clubs such as Aston Villa, another reason to be sceptical around football’s enthusiastic embrace of pure analytics is the number of times an individual, or a team, bucks all expectations,’ writes Samuel.
‘Take Odion Ighalo of Watford, now emerging as a potential target for Arsenal and Manchester United.’
Riiight. Where are you going with this? Well, it turns out that Ighalo was told in the summer that he would not play much for Watford. And then he did.
Is there any suggestion that ‘pure analytics’ were cited? No.
Is there any evidence anywhere at all of anybody writing off Ighalo based on ‘pure analytics’? Is there f***.
And yet his success is ‘why the numbers don’t always add up’. You mean the numbers that showed him scoring 20 Championship goals last season, Martin? It’s fair to say that they really did ‘add up’.
Revealed: Why Jose was really sacked
‘The 19-year-old (Loftus-Cheek) is so talented he has almost become a symbol for Chelsea’s academy and any manager is judged on whether he can get the midfielder into the first team. Yes, really.
‘Mourinho failed, clearly did not fancy him, and even gave him several public dressing-downs. Forget the title, he failed Lofus-Cheek.’
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what happens when the Daily Mirror’s John Cross is allowed to write about something other than Arsenal.
Talking of Cross, you may remember from Friday’s Mediawatch that he thought it ‘unbelievably disrespectful’ that a journalist asked Arsene Wenger if transfer stories written by his friends were “rubbish”.
We’ll just leave this here:
How is Bogdan in goal for a Premier League club? pic.twitter.com/1O2Gi94wFy
— John Cross (@johncrossmirror) January 8, 2016
At 10am on Monday morning, the leading story on the Daily Telegraph football page is chief sports writer Paul Hayward’s piece about Gareth Bale being happy as a pig in Spanish muck in Madrid.
So it’s a shame about Telegraph football’s last two tweets on the subject:
— Telegraph Football (@TeleFootball) January 11, 2016
— Telegraph Football (@TeleFootball) January 11, 2016
Apparently, United are ‘looking to capitalise on reports that Bale is unsettled at Real Madrid’. Not reports in your own newspaper – which features Bale’s happy quotes on the front page of their Total Football section – obviously, but day-old reports in The Sunday Times (well, they say The Times, but we know better).
We guess it must just be ‘online debate’. Or ‘blatant clickbaiting bullsh*t’. Take your pick.
@F365 our football writers very well informed about this, eg read today's coverage. Online debate is a different forum, as you well know.
— Paul Hayward (@_PaulHayward) January 7, 2016
Headline of the year
‘FOLLOW THE JELAVIC ROAD’ – The Sun.
Recommended reading of the day
Miguel Delaney on the Ballon d’Or
Sid Lowe talks to Michu
Bruno Alves on Lionel Messi