Oh wow. We spotted this a little late to fully do this justice but feel free to enjoy this latest gallery story from the Telegraph.
‘As Everton’s Tom Davies continues to impress, who is your Premier League club’s local hero?’
So, have they trawled through Premier League clubs’ youth teams to find a ‘local hero’ like Tom Davies who has not yet emerged? Or have they simply looked at the birthplaces of first-team players, put them through Google Maps and calculated which is closer?
The latter, of course.
Hence, Nathan Dyer is Swansea’s ‘local hero’ even as an Englishman in a Welsh side and south London-born Ben Watson is a ‘local hero’ in Hertfordshire.
Oh and Yorkshireman John Stones is Manchester City’s ‘local hero’. Yes, of course he is. He’s one of their own. Which must come as a shock to Tosin Adarabioyo, born in Manchester and on City’s books since the age of five.
The winner? There was a winner?
Did you watch Arsenal’s win over Burnley? Bloody brilliant, wasn’t it? But so much was happening that you probably missed a few things. Thankfully, ‘Sportsmail takes you through what you may have missed…’
Apparently, one of the things you ‘may have missed’ was Arsenal’s offside winner. Which asks serious questions about a) how much attention you were paying to the match and b) how sodding desperate they are for clicks.
Thanks to the Mail, we also now know that some Arsenal fans made a banner featuring Alexis Sanchez’s dogs. Because nobody else mentioned that. At all. Oh no. What a spot. Thank you Matt Maltby and your eagle eyes.
Hendrick = Ramsey x 2
You should never confuse ‘what you may have missed’ with ‘things we learnt’. And in the Mirror, they learnt that ‘an in-form Ramsey beats a new signing’ because ‘his movement and work rate are vital to creating space for his team-mates’. Somebody should have told Andy Dunn before he did his player ratings for the same paper; he may have given him more than 5/10.
Mind you, Dunn was perhaps a little distracted when he was doing his ratings. How else do you explain Jeff Hendrick (‘proceedings passed him by’) getting 10/10?
Finger in the Dyche
And yet giving Jeff Hendrick 10/10 was nowhere near the most ridiculous thing Dunn wrote this weekend. That honour is saved for this:
‘In the extremely unlikely event of Arsene Wenger calling it a day, if you drew up a shortlist to succeed him, Sean Dyche would not be on it.
‘Should be, wouldn’t be.’
It’s a strong start. Suggesting that a manager currently in charge of the 13th best side in the Premier League should replace the man currently in second is bold. It’s also mental. And that’s even before you acknowledge that Burnley have comfortably the worst away record in the top flight and play a style diametrically opposed to Arsenal’s.
But go on…
‘Right now, there is a glass ceiling for British managers and it is probably only Eddie Howe who has a stab at breaking through it.
‘In the Premier League, Howe and Dyche, ahead of Bournemouth’s game against Watford, had both managed in 59 fixtures.
‘With 18 wins and 13 draws, Howe had collected 67 points and Dyche, with 15 wins and 14 draws, 59. Not much between them…’
Well, there’s the small matter of a relegation. And there’s also the not-inconsiderable point that Bournemouth (52% possession) are a little closer in style to Arsenal and other top-six clubs than Burnley (41.5%). Eddie Howe is not seen as having a brighter future just because he has more points than Dyche; to ignore that is to obfuscate the rather large elephant in the room.
And while we’re talking about points totals and pretending that a) style and b) relegations do not matter, let’s talk about Slaven Bilic (87 points over the same time frame) and Claudio Ranieri (103) and why neither of them are being talked about as potential Arsenal managers. Is there a glass ceiling for British managers or just for those managers who are mid-table or lower in the Premier League? Odd that Dunn is not suggesting that there’s unfair prejudice against Croats or Italians.
‘Maybe one of the reasons Brits might be unfairly overlooked is that, quite simply, a very cosmopolitan league is suited to cosmopolitan managers.’
Except David Moyes was not ‘unfairly overlooked’ by Manchester United, was he? And Tim Sherwood was not ‘unfairly overlooked’ by Tottenham. Nor Brendan Rodgers by Liverpool. And yet all three have been outperformed by the foreign managers that followed them.
‘Yet what Dyche has done is improve players – take Michael Keane as a shining example – and get his group punching above its weight.
‘Surely, those are fundamental qualities that should make him eminently employable by a club, for example, the size of Arsenal.’
Well, no. Because when Arsenal look for a replacement for Wenger, they will look for a manager who has a track record in winning trophies, of winning games in other stadiums that are not Turf Moor, of playing a style of football that makes them competitive in Europe. They will not be looking for a manager who can help Championship defenders look at ease in the Premier League. Or at least they will be looking for a manager who can do that and much, much more.
Sean Dyche has done an excellent job at Burnley but he has not done an excellent job at a club like Arsenal or in a style like Arsenal’s. That’s what will prevent him being on a shortlist to replace Arsene Wenger, not his accent.
‘Chip on his shoulder or not, being British means there is only so far he can go.’
Unless you’re David Moyes, Harry Redknapp, Tim Sherwood, Mark Hughes, Brendan Rodgers, Sam Allardyce…
To hell and back
As we watched Diego Costa scoring Chelsea’s opening goal in their 2-0 win over Hull we were reminded of the words of Neil Ashton and Justin Allen in The Sun:
‘DIEGO COSTA is hell-bent on quitting Chelsea, claiming he hates English football…he told pals he will do anything to force a move during the transfer window – claiming that he “hates English football and hates the FA”.’
We’re not sure that playing excellently and scoring a goal to extend Chelsea’s lead at the top of the Premier League table to eight points will force through that move in the next eight days, pal.
Mason, the Mirror and the need for speed
Read our Mediawatch special on the Mirror jumping the gun when more than transfer updates were at stake.
‘Stretching for an angle’ intro of the day
‘HE was only on the park for 23 minutes and his touches were few and far between. And it is doubtful whether even he will remember his West Brom debut in a few years, let alone anyone else. Yet West Brom’s new £10million signing was easily the most influential player at the Hawthorns as West Brom underlined the gulf between an ambitious club and a stagnant one’ – Graeme Bryce, The Sun.
Sorry, but what? Are you seriously suggesting that a very good West Brom side beat the worst team in the Premier League at home because Jake Livermore was on the bench? Oh you are? As you were with your nonsense…
The above story in The Sun is accompanied by a table showing that West Brom are the ‘BEST OF THE REST…if you exclude the top six teams and their games’.
Which is a fancy way of saying that West Brom have picked up just one point from seven games against top-six sides.
But then they didn’t have Jake Livermore on the bench…
Five ridiculous headlines from more successful websites: A Daily Star special
They deserve their own section today…
‘Chelsea defender to miss rest of the season after suffering serious injury’
It’s Baba Rahmann; he’s on loan at Schalke.
‘Ultimate XI: Man United star Paul Pogba among world’s most expensive transfers worth £638m’
We would be rather shocked if the world’s most expensive player was not in an XI of the world’s most expensive players.
‘This is what Dimitri Payet has been doing at West Ham training – Sky Sports man’
The answer – as you suspected – is that he has been training at West Ham training.
‘Pundit: This is what Diego Costa really wants from Chelsea’
What he ‘really wants’? A new contract. The pundit in question? Former Arsenal midfielder Adrian Clarke.
‘Graeme Souness: Chelsea need this player at club next season’
You’ll never guess. Clue: It’s not Baba Rahman.
The life of Ryan
Utterly bizarre stuff from Martin Samuel in the Daily Mail:
Question: ‘HOW can it be a surprise that not one of four million players in the Premier League’s official Fantasy Football game picked Ryan Fraser before Bournemouth faced Liverpool, when Gordon Strachan has never selected him either?’
Answer: Nobody was surprised (or even vaguely interested) because before Bournemouth faced Liverpool, Fraser had played 40 minutes of Premier League football in three months. And neither scored nor assisted any Premier League goals.
Recommended reading of the day
Michael Cox on the tactical battle at the Etihad
Dominic Bliss on the art of penalty-taking and the English psyche
Daniel Taylor on the risks of stadium re-build