Could it be Magic?
Paul Merson on Sky Sports, predicting the result of Watford v Crystal Palace: ;I hope Troy Deeney can finally get his 100th Watford goal, he’s been stuck on 99 for weeks! He’s a goalscorer and if he scores first, Watford will get a result, of that I’m certain. If Palace do, they will hold on for the win.’
No, Ian Herbert of The Independent, Alan Pardew’s sacking was not ‘another reminder of the brutality of football management’; it was the inevitable consequence of Crystal Palace being shit for a year.
Stop, elaborate and listen
Now you might be thinking that Crystal Palace’s biggest problem was their defence, what with just one clean sheet in the Premier League this season and a stunning total of 67 goals conceded in 36 games in 2016. You would of course be wrong; Palace’s biggest problem has been their ‘elaborate’ football.
That’s according to The Sun’s resident Palace fan and Sunday Supplement host Neil Ashton, who begins his piece on Alan Pardew’s exit thus:
‘THE new playing style never suited Crystal Palace. Front foot, elaborate and gung-ho just did not work under Alan Pardew.’
Now we’ll stop you there and ask at what point ‘elaborate’ became a synonym for ‘gung-ho’. According to the dictionary, ‘elaborate’ is defined as ‘involving many carefully arranged parts or details; detailed and complicated in design and planning’. Which sounds like pretty much the opposite of ‘gung-ho’. And absolutely nothing like Crystal Palace.
This ‘elaborate’ Palace side wins more aerial battles than any other Premier League side, plays more long balls than any team barring Burnley and attempts more crosses than all but Southampton.
When did ‘aiming for Christian Benteke’s head’ get redefined as ‘elaborate’? If Ashton thinks Palace’s style is ‘elaborate’, he’s going to be blown away – and bloody confused – if he ever watches Barcelona.
Neil Ashton also writes that Pardew ‘seems to have a fixation with French midfielder Yohan Cabaye, 30, who had been his most influential player on Tyneside’.
As Cabaye has started fewer Premier League games than ten other Palace players this season, how do you describe how Pardew feels about Martin Kelly? Obsession? As for Joel Ward…that sh*t’s unhealthy.
Barking up the wrong tree
So Alan Pardew has a ‘fixation’ with Yohan Cabaye, who has started just nine Premier League games this season, while poor media darling Ross Barkley – according to Ashton – ‘has been in and out of the (Everton) side, struggling to nail down a guaranteed place under their new coach’.
Erm, Barkley has started 14 of 17 Premier League games with only Ashley Williams, Idrissa Gueye, Maarten Stekelenburg and Romelu Lukaku getting closer to ‘nailing down a guaranteed place under their new coach’.
And yet Barkley is ‘one confused kid’. It’s no wonder that he ended up ‘finally taking out his frustration with a vicious challenge on Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson’.
It’s on your conscience, Ronald, for you have left a 23-year-old ‘kid’ with a ‘brain scrambled by the “do’s” and “don’ts” list given him to him’. Mediawatch’s brain is a little scrambled by that sentence, and also by the notion that a professional footballer could struggle so much with instructions that he ends up with a 56.7% pass completion rate and seven losses of possession through miscontrol or opposition pressing.
If he has indeed been given a ‘raft of defensive duties out of possession’, Mediawatch was struggling to see the evidence in a game that featured no tackles, no interceptions and one really, really, really horrible foul.
We all love a bit of alliteration but we’re not sure that ‘SELHURST STUNNER’ (The Sun) are the right words to describe the most predictable managerial change in football history.
Now this is a real fixation…
Andrew Dillon, The Sun, November 17: ‘ANTONIO CONTE has got his Chelsea players eating out of his hand thanks to a hot sausage and a dollop of ketchup.’
Andrew Dillon, The Sun, December 17: ‘CHELSEA have got the bottle to go all the way this season – by drinking beer after every game. Boss Antonio Conte reckons a swift bevvy is perfect for rehydration from 90 minutes of punishing Premier League football.’
Andrew Dillon, The Sun, December 23: ‘ANTONIO CONTE let his players drop their guard and pig out on Christmas dinner yesterday. Turkey, stuffing, mince pies and pud with all the trimmings…’
Mark Lawrenson on the BBC:
‘I am expecting Sunderland manager David Moyes to get a really good reception when he returns to Old Trafford for the first time since he was sacked by Manchester United in April 2014.
‘I think people now appreciate that, when he succeeded Sir Alex Ferguson, Moyes had a more difficult job to do than the man who replaced him, Louis van Gaal.’
Important notes: David Moyes and Mark Lawrenson are close friends. And the latter is deluded.
Five ridiculous headlines from more successful websites
‘Brutal! Antonio Conte takes parting shot at Chelsea flop Oscar’ – Metro. Yes, that’s the Oscar who won the Premier League two seasons ago. And yes, they’re referring to Antonio Conte saying that he thinks “this league is fantastic and to play in this league is a great opportunity”. Zing.
‘Who has the SCARIER legs? Gareth Bale gives Real Madrid teammate Cristiano Ronaldo a run for his money’ – Daily Mirror. Apparently, ‘Ronaldo’s hamstrings are from another planet’.
‘Roy Hodgson: What I really think about Man United superstar Wayne Rooney’ – Daily Star. You will be astonished to discover that what Roy Hodgson really thinks about Wayne Rooney is that he should have had more support from the FA. Yes, really.
‘Spotted: Alexis Sanchez on his knees in Arsenal training ahead of West Brom clash’ – Daily Express. Other footballers were ‘spotted’ on their feet.
‘The funniest TripAdvisor reviews of all 20 Premier League stadiums’ – Daily Telegraph. It’s their top story. Sob.