We love it when stats ‘prove’ things that we didn’t realise could be proven. Plus, Manchester United set to ‘shock’ everybody, the best of Merson and those damned foreigns at Newcastle…
‘MANCHESTER UNITED are facing a defensive crisis,’ it says on the back page – the back bloody page – of the Daily Mirror.
They’re playing sodding Sunderland. They are missing two left-backs. It’s emphatically not a crisis.
‘Man Utd boss Louis van Gaal to play shock left-back from start against Sunderland,’ it says on the Daily Express website.
Could anything be more ‘shocking’ than playing the same footballer who started at left-back just two days before?
Body Of Proof
Mediawatch loves it when stats ‘prove’ things. The Metro love it too, claiming – as they do – that ‘stats prove that Man United striker is the most lethal finisher’. No, it’s not Wayne Rooney.
They also have an ‘incredible stat’ that ‘proves Man United star is Premier League’s best midfielder’.
The stat? That ‘Mata has outscored every other midfield from open play in the Premier League’ since he joined Manchester United. Yes, that does say ‘ever other midfield’.
And there we were thinking that stat ‘proved’ simply that Mata has outscored every other midfielder from open play in the Premier League since January 2014. Is that how we’re officially measuring the best midfielders now?
F*** you Cesc Fabregas, with all your assists and your not joining until the summer of 2014.
F*** you Nemanja Matic, with all your tackling.
F*** you Eden Hazard, with all your dribbling and sh*t.
Come back and when you’ve outscored every other midfielder from open play in the Premier League since January 2014.
As is traditional, we bring you the best of Paul Merson’s predictions on the Sky Sports website…
‘The lead at the top is eight points, but Chelsea can win the title. After last week especially. It was a huge day for Chelsea last week, to beat Arsenal and then see City lose at home to West Ham. You have to remember Chelsea will look to beat Man City at home in April, so I call it five points.’
You also have to remember that Manchester City will look to beat Chelsea, so we call it 11 points.
‘I’m a great believer that if teams aren’t winning, they’re not very good.’
We now know what Plato would have been like with a drink problem.
Tell Me Wij
What is Newcastle’s problem? If you read or write for the Daily Mail, it’s the foreigns of course. Never mind that Newcastle’s finest players over the last five years – Yohann Cabaye, Cheik Tioté, Fabricio Coloccini, Tim Krul, Hatem Ben Arfa, Papiss Cisse, Mathieu Debuchy, Demba Ba – have been quite defiantly foreign, the problem is the ‘cosmopolitan squad’.
‘McClaren can’t beat the language barrier,’ is the headline on Neil Ashton’s column, which begins in truly bizarre fashion.
‘When Jonny Wilkinson’s mentor Steve Black was employed as a motivational speaker at Newcastle United, he told the players to sit back and visualise the moment they score in the famous black and white shirts.
‘What followed will go some way to explaining why the 33,986 hardy souls who turned up at St James’ Park to watch their Capital One Cup shaming against Sheffield Wednesday feel so disenfranchised.
‘‘Don’t kiss the badge, don’t run to the crowd,’ he told the bewildered bunch of largely overseas players. ‘Think of how the person who set up the goal is feeling – so go to them and thank them.’’
‘Since those words were spoken by Black, acclaimed for his work with former England rugby fly-half Wilkinson, Newcastle’s players have not had much cause for celebration.’
They did, however, score two goals on the opening day against Southampton. Watch the following video and confirm just how not arsed Georginio Wijnaldum looks about scoring and how he really does not acknowledge the crowd. The foreign b**tard.
The Perfect Storm
Headline on MailOnline: ‘Guardiola STORMS OUT of Bayern Munich press conference after questions surrounding England job.’
And how is this ‘storming out’ described in the article? You can watch it here, by the way.
‘When pressed on that subject at his weekly pre-match press conference ahead of Bayern’s trip to Mainz on Saturday, Guardiola rose from his seat and bade farewell.
”Oh come on, I’m coach of Bayern Munich,’ he said. ‘Many thanks and auf wiedersehen.”
Who the hell says thanks before ‘storming out’? Not Mrs Mediawatch, that’s for sure.
Slight Difference Of Opinion
‘The Liverpool manager retains the support of his club’s American owners, for now. The 42-year-old is pragmatic enough to know the backing that came – surprisingly strongly – from the other side of the Atlantic this week will not endure unless there is a seismic shift in performance’ – David Maddock, the Daily Mirror.
‘They say you never walk alone at Anfield but the Liverpool boss is becoming isolated from his Fenway Sports Group employers. Ahead of tomorrow’s must-win clash at home to struggling Aston Villa, the sound of silence from principle owner John W. Henry and chairman Tom Werner is deafening’ – Ken Lawrence, The Sun.
Was this ‘strong backing’ delivered using sign language?
Hmmm. Shall we trust Merseyside-based reporter David Maddock or anybody at all from The Sun on Liverpool? Such an awfully difficult decision.
Childish Nonsense Of The Day
The Sun’s description of Alberto Moreno as a ‘fool back’.
Surely Some Mistake?
Bizarrely, West Brom goalkeeper Boaz Myhill does not make it into any of the ‘teams of season so far’ (it’s definitely not too early) put together by Sky Sports pundits. But we thought he was the Premier League’s in-form player? It said so in your Power Rankings and they are not remotely flawed.
The Inside Track
Mediawatch is increasingly obsessed with Daily Mail man Neil Ashton’s ‘WHAT I’M HEARING…’ titbits. Last week he was wearing that an old school journalist had written a book; this week he really does have his ear to the ground:
‘GABRIEL lost his cool with Chelsea’s bad-boy striker Diego Costa last Saturday, claiming he was repeatedly unsulted in their native Brazilian-Portuguese tongue.’
Without Ashton, we really would not have had a clue.
A Lawro Lawro Insight
The Sun have given great weight to the views of Mark Lawrenson, who says that Brendan Rodgers “can’t afford to lose any of his next three”.
Mediawatch would like to gently remind The Sun – and anybody else tempted to give him credence – that Lawrenson said this about Kenny Dalglish in April 2012:
“I don’t believe he’ll be sacked. It’s a poor run, but the new owners are not going to make knee-jerk decisions. I think one or two people are (mentioning him being sacked), because as a manager in the Premier League it’s a crisis if you lose a couple of games.
“They have Villa at home at the weekend and I hate saying it’s a must-win, but it is.
“We live in an instant media world, but I think the Liverpool owners are in it for the end game. I think he (Dalglish) will be fine, but at any level, you have to win games.
“I really don’t believe he will be sacked.”
Liverpool sacked Kenny Dalglish in May 2012.
Mark Lawrenson on the BBC: “Players take a massive responsibility…Villa is massive then we have the derby. It’s a massive 10 days for him, absolutely massive.”
Headline Of The Day
‘FORGET ABOUT DE PRICE TAG’ – The Daily Mirror. Excellent.
Non-Football Story Of The Day
‘A semi-naked woman has glued her bottom to the Debenhams department store in Croydon. The bizarre spectacle, apparently a protest, attracted a group of onlookers in North End.
‘Pictures were also posted online showing a grey-haired woman, standing on a stool and holding a microphone, speaking to passers-by.
‘She was wearing a sash reading “world’s grumoiest old woman”, and was reported to have been complaining “there was nothing on the telly”.
‘Police were called to reports of a protest 12.40pm and were said to be “a bit confused”.
‘Officers did not intervene as the woman was not fully naked but Debenhams staff tried to shield her from view with advertising signs.
‘The woman was wearing only a thong, a sash, and a wig covering her genitals’ – Croydon Guardian.
— Alice Mellar (@AliceeCJ) September 24, 2015
Thanks to Michael Arnold for that one.