Laying it on a bit thick
‘Liverpool are almost back on their perch, knocking United out of their way as they close in on a top-four finish’ – Neil Ashton, The Sun.
Woah there, Neil. Liverpool are likely (but not certain) to finish in the top four for the second time in eight seasons. That perch was established through domestic and European domination. Let’s hold back the hyperbole for now.
The subject of diving is all the rage in Tuesday’s papers. Three former referees offer their take in the tabloids, while three papers have opinion pieces on the topic.
The most bizarre one comes from Stan Collymore in the Daily Mirror:
‘The fact that two of the players caught up in diving controversies at the weekend are young and English is horrific. Absolutely horrific.’
It’s only horrific if you have always supposed that diving is a ‘foreign’ problem, which it clearly isn’t. Otherwise, it’s entirely predictable. Doesn’t anyone remember Michael Owen?
‘If both Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford hadn’t been brainwashed into thinking that diving was the thing to do, they would have taken the ball on and one of them might have scored a worldy goal.’
Oh wow. So it isn’t poor Marcus’ fault that he dived against Swansea (Kane didn’t actually dive, did he?), it’s the fault of the game for ‘brainwashing’ him. Players have no individual choice anymore, apparently.
It’s probably those bloody foreign managers doing the brainwashing too…
Ten thousands spoons
“Individually Sunderland were one of the weakest teams in the division and ironically they are bottom” – Alan Pardew on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football.
That’s not what “ironically” means, Alan. In fact it’s the opposite of what ironically means.
Feel the Moyes
As part of Pardew’s Monday Night Football stint, he defended fellow member of the manager brigade David Moyes, despite his wretched season at Sunderland:
“It’s been a tough season for David, coming back to the Premier League he wanted to make an impression but it hasn’t worked out.
“When I see him interviewed he’s hurting big time and I suspect he’ll want to put things right next year.
“It will be a good shout for Sunderland to have him there next year as he’ll be hungry to prove what a top manager he is.”
So Sunderland should keep Moyes on the basis that he is up for it now? If Moyes wasn’t hungry to prove what a “top manager” he is this season, given the task of stabilising Sunderland and dismally failing, what makes you think he suddenly will be hungry in 2017/18?
Maybe he’s just gone a bit sh*t?
Re-writing history #1
At the risk of making this an Alan Pardew special, the great man also offered his wisdom on spotting good players. When Pardew speaks, it’s worth examining the quotes.
“I’ve worked with quality technical players like Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano.”
This is excellent. Is that the same Mascherano who Pardew chose to leave on the bench in favour of Hayden Mullins? The same Mascherano who Pardew picked at left-back? The same Mascherano who said in December 2015 about Pardew: “It was frustrating to join after a World Cup and have the manager ask what position I played but I continued to push forward for six months.”
Also, last week Pardew was asked on BeIN Sports to pick the best player he ever managed, and his answers were Dean Ashton and Cheick Tiote. Forgot all about that technical ability then, Alan.
Re-writing history #2
Finally finally, here’s Pardew on why Antonio Conte doesn’t deserve all the credit for making Chelsea’s 3-4-3 formation work:
“Obviously this [Marcos Alonso] is an inexperienced player who’s had an unbelievable season. I don’t think anybody would have assumed he’d do that role as well as he has.”
Well Conte might, given that he signed him last summer. And Alonso had played as a left wing-back for Fiorentina for two seasons, was 25 when he joined Chelsea and had played almost 200 career games, including three seasons of European football. But sure.
Changed your tune
‘The big question on Antonio Conte’s lips this week will be whether the ‘rats’ have the minerals for the run-in.
‘Eden Hazard was man-marked out of the Manchester United game by Ander Herrera on Sunday. Diego Costa played like a man who was aching to be sent off. And when Cesc Fabregas came on as Chelsea’s Plan B he didn’t have anything like the impact his manager will have wanted with so much on the line.
‘We all know how those three threw it in under Jose Mourinho last season So if I was Conte I’d be wondering if I needed to be concerned that something similar was happening’ – Stan Collymore, Daily Mirror, April 17.
‘Barring an incredible collapse, the title is Chelsea’s after their win at Everton. It was a job done professionally and underlined they have winners in their dressing room – players who have won leagues, Champions Leagues, Europa Leagues and many other different trophies individually and collectively’ – Collymore, Daily Mirror, May 2.
Players like Hazard, Fabregas and Costa, you mean? Have those ‘rats’ become winners in the space of a fortnight, or was the first column just written to be deliberately provocative?
— Jonathon Rogers (@JonnyRogers9) May 2, 2017
Perhaps someone at The Sun will be kind enough to offer Crystal Palace programme editor Jonathon Rogers an explanation?
No sh*t Sherlock
In his Team of the Week feature for BBC Sport, Garth Crooks has hit upon a riddle:
‘Conte must have hugged every one of his players and his substitutes and, given the chance, he’d have hugged every Chelsea fan in the stadium. Whatever the reasons for his celebrations, provided Chelsea do nothing stupid between now and the end of the season, the title is theirs.’
Mediawatch doesn’t want to come across as high and mighty (yeah yeah, we know), but we think we’ve worked out why Conte was celebrating: Chelsea won.
‘A very dear friend told me that in football there was no better ball than the first-time cross. At the time, I didn’t really appreciate the significance of the statement but, as I began to understand how difficult it was to score goals, I became indebted to those full-backs who had the vision and ability to execute the skill’ – Garth Crooks.
What a man.
Follow the leader
‘Manchester United’s Luke Shaw to see specialist over foot ligament damage – Sky sources’ – Sky Sports.
That story was published 56 minutes after the Press Association story landed. Those sources sure are slow to read.
Sad news for the banter defence
‘A Newcastle United fan claims he was sacked from his job over “banter” with a Sunderland-supporting colleague. Philip Renwick, 55, says he wrote NUFC and a smiley face on the handle of a colleague’s generator at work.
‘The dad-of-three said it was common for employees working at Stonbury Limited in Morpeth, Northumberland, to joke about the football. The Newcastle Chronicle reports Mr Renwick said he was shocked to days after the ‘joke’ that it had cost him his job.
‘“I’ve been in construction for 35 years and I’ve never known anything like it,” he said. “Most places that I have worked there has been a Newcastle and Sunderland rivalry. It was just banter and I was having a laugh”’ – Daily Mirror.
Richard Keys will be fuming.
Headline of the day
‘Rocket Can’ – The Daily Mail has us burning out our fuses up here alone.
Recommended reading of the day
Iain Macintosh on Leyton Orient.
Rory Smith on Arsene Wenger.
Sid Lowe on Atletico Madrid.