Catch me if you can
Mediawatch saw the headline of ‘YOU CAN’T CATCH JOSE WHEN HE’S AHEAD’ on Martin Samuel’s column in the Daily Mail and wondered if he had forgotten last season, when Jose was ahead after two matches and was caught by five other teams. We read on…
‘Manchester United’s get-ahead start has had historians looking back to 1907. The dates that should concern United’s rivals, however, are considerably more recent – 2014-15 and 2005-06. The years of the last two Premier League titles won by Jose Mourinho.’
Should we perhaps look more recently still, Martin, to when a Jose Mourinho side was last ahead after two matches?
‘Yet Mourinho, with his nose in front, is even more dangerous than the ghost of Billy Meredith. United’s manager is a front-runner, the way Tiger Woods used to be. Woods never won a major that he did not at least co-lead going into the final day. Mourinho wins his Premier League titles as imperiously. He dominates, early. Gets in front and crushes resistance into the turf.’
Except when he, you know, doesn’t.
Desert Island Dicks
Buoyed by the nonsense being spouted by Steven Gerrard and Martin Keown about Mesut Ozil, Ken Lawrence writes in The Sun that Mesut Ozil ‘played like a deserter, hiding in plain sight’.
If he really was trying to hide, he should probably have touched the ball fewer than 111 times, misplacing just six of 99 passes. He also should probably have created fewer than four chances (the most of anybody on the pitch) and dribbled past fewer than three players. It seems he had a toddler’s grasp on the rules of hide and seek.
Odd that the footballer who ‘played like a deserter’ was actually given a match rating higher than all but one of his Arsenal colleagues by The Sun. Presumably because they rely on statistics rather than prejudice.
As Arseblog wrote in their player ratings: ‘Too easy to scapegoat on days like this, was involved in most of the positive attacking stuff we did, but unable to find that killer pass.’
Either that or he ‘played like a deserter’.
Toeing the line
One thing you can guarantee from Garth Crooks is that he will use his BBC Team of the Week to air his views on every single issue in football. So in making Jack Butland his goalkeeper, Crooks holds court about the refereeing decisions from Stoke…
‘Gunners duo Hector Bellerin and Danny Welbeck had perfectly clear penalties turned down, and how anyone could argue Alexandre Lacazette’s toe was offside is so tenuous it beggars belief.
‘What’s the game coming to? Is this what TV evidence was created for: to examine if a toe is in an offside position or not? What next – forelocks?’
Let’s not linger too long on ‘forelocks’ because that is a worrying insight into the mind of Crooks, but let us remind ourselves that Alexandre Lacazette was actually offside. Not by much, but he was offside.
No Garth, TV evidence was not created for judging if a toe is in an offside position; that’s the assistant referee’s job and he got it absolutely right.
If ‘the chances of Swansea winning this fixture were so remote it wasn’t even worth a bet’ and the Swans were ‘totally outclassed’, why did Garth Crooks put four Manchester United players in his team of the week, including two defenders? Is it because, as he was quick to point out last week, he ‘tipped them for the title’?
After all, it’s not like defenders from Chelsea or Stoke did anything special this weekend…
This is the place
Neil Ashton, The Sun, Monday August 14 after Chelsea had lost 3-2 to Burnley at Stamford Bridge: ‘There is something sinister going on at Stamford Bridge. Something is very, very wrong around here.’
Neil Ashton, The Sun, Monday August 21 after Chelsea had beaten Tottenham 2-1 at Wembley: ‘This is not home for Tottenham. This is hell on earth right now.’
Is nowhere safe (from ridiculous hyperbole)?
‘They put embroidered seat covers on Tottenham’s bench – to remind Mauricio Pochettino and his coaching staff where they should sit – and Tottenham flags on every seat, which were proudly held aloft when Chelsea substitute Michy Batshuayi headed Spurs’ equaliser into his own net after 82 minutes.
‘This morning, those flags are flying at half mast’ – Neil Ashton.
Firstly, we’re not sure too many Tottenham fans took up their flags when they scored their equaliser; this video suggests very different kinds of celebration.
Caught the goal, shame about the result… coyshttps://t.co/qc3JYEDTkm
— Yiddo Newbs (@YiddoNewbs) August 20, 2017
Secondly, where exactly are hand-held flags now ‘flying at half mast’? Did dejected Tottenham fans take them home to sadly wave them at hip height?
Last week, ESPN’s Mark Ogden wrote a piece headlined ‘Chelsea manager Antonio Conte only has himself to blame for club’s woes’.
Woes? Aren’t we just one game into the new season, Mark? Via one of the more ridiculous hyphens it recent history (‘the season may just be one-game old’), the column ended thus:
‘None of the above would be a problem if Chelsea were winning, but results are going against them and Conte’s recent mistakes will return to haunt him if his team fails to find some form quickly.’
As ‘results’ are now going in their favour, are we done here?
The best thing ever…this week
Jamie Redknapp, the Daily Mail, August 14: ‘PAUL POGBA and Dele Alli were simply sensational yesterday. These two will be battling it out to be the Premier League’s top midfielder.’
Jamie Redknapp, the Daily Mail, August 21: ‘AARON MOOY’S display for Huddersfield in their victory over Newcastle was the best midfield performance so far this season.’
Better than ‘simply sensational’? Atta Mooy.
‘Remember the name,’ said Jamie Redknapp back in 2013 in the Daily Mail. And what was the name? ‘Nathaniel Nyakie Chalobah.’
Redknapp continued: ‘On loan at Watford from Chelsea, he is 18, looks comfortable on the ball and will return to Stamford Bridge with a chance of being a first-team contender. Chelsea haven’t had many from their production line, but he will break through.’
Four years later, Chalobah has left Chelsea for Watford permanently after making just one Premier League start for the club but still Redknapp is banging the battered drum…
‘I thought Chelsea might miss Chalobah against Tottenham but Tiemoue Bakayoko was composed and powerful in midfield at Wembley.’
However did they cope without Nathaniel ‘one start’ Chalobah?
The man himself obviously makes Redknapp’s team of the week alongside Paul Pogba and the slightly better Mooy. He describes Chalobah as a ‘class act’ against Bournemouth, which confused Mediawatch, who had only seen the highlights.
So we consulted the Watford Observer…
‘Looked off the pace and really poor before half-time, but was more effective when moved forward. Should have scored, but partially redeemed himself when playing a perfect ball to Andre Gray which led to the opener.’
6/10. Remember the name.
Now this is delicious. In a Liverpool corner of Reddit, on a video of Jurgen Klopp being interviewed by a Brazilian journalist about Coutinho, somebody commented ”the video isn’t available, can someone summarise it’.
The answer was posted by sarkie (note the name, it may be relevant later in the story):
‘”With the rumours of Barca paying £130m for Coutinho, will he leave?”
‘”They didn’t offer that, we said no, yet they offered, I think tomorrow they will offer a McDonald’s Happy Meal and we get the toy as well!?”
‘Turns to reporter
‘Fades to black’
Not the most hilarious of jokes, but clearly a joke nevertheless.
Clearly, that is, unless you are a journalist in a click-desperate age.
Mediawatch is not surprised by the Daily Express website and their headline of ‘Liverpool transfer news: Jurgen Klopp gives bizarre Philippe Coutinho update to journalist’. Frankly, they have done worse.
But the Liverpool Echo? Bow your Scouse heads in shame. For future reference, if a quote sounds so unlikely that you use the words ‘bizarre’ and ‘odd’ in the headline, it might be worth finding a source that’s not a fan called ‘sarkie’ on the internet…
‘JOLEON LESCOTT has backed Wayne Rooney to be the Premier League’s top all-time scorer’ – The Sun.
Mediawatch suspects that Joleon Lescott has not really done the maths.
Wayne Rooney is 61 goals behind Alan Shearer, has a two-year contract, is fast approaching 32 and last scored 20 Premier League goals in a season six years ago.
Sorry Joleon, but Mediawatch is rather more sensibly backing Rooney to score 200 Premier League goals in his career; he is now on 199 so it’s going to be nip and tuck.
Stat of the day
Paragraphs it takes The Sun’s Neil Custis to mention Huddersfield in his match report from Huddersfield Town 1 Newcastle United 0:
Recommended reading of the day
Paul Hayward on Antonio Conte.
Jack Lang on Neymar.
James Walker-Roberts on Carlos Tevez.
Thanks to today’s Mediawatch spotter Matthew Currie. If you see anything that belongs on this page, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org