Thinking out loud
The Daily Mirror’s Arsenal fanboy John Cross loves Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. We cannot guarantee that it is a love as pure as spring water, but it is butterfly-inducing, Ed Sheeran-style love. Search for the pair of them on Google Images and enjoy the fourth picture along. Cross looks very, very happy; Oxlade-Chamberlain looks ever-so-slightly nervous.
So when Cross does the player ratings for Arsenal games, you can usually guarantee that his muse is judged through red-tinted glasses. So how does Cross cope with a glaring miss and a self-induced injury from The Ox?
‘Had a big early chance and such bad luck to get injured.’
Does ‘had’ mean the same as ‘f***ed up’ in north London? And ‘bad luck’? ‘Bad luck’? His touch was heavier than a Custis.
And yes, The Ox was exactly as good as Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Jordi Alba and Luis Suarez.
Ask a really stupid question
— Telegraph Football (@TeleFootball) February 23, 2016
Why? We’re going to hazard a guess: Because they wanted to win a football match. Are we right? Do we get a prize?
Insight of the day
“You could sense from Arsene Wenger’s interview that he felt Arsenal had wasted an opportunity last night” – Nigel Winterburn, Sky Sports.
We think they call that emotional intelligence.
Speed of light
Sam Wallace writes in the Daily Telegraph that ‘the first Barcelona goal was the kind that only they can score at this level, one that began in their box and was moved to the other end in less than 10 seconds’.
We can only assume that Wallace counted using the less-than-flawless ‘elephant’ technique as the graphic roughly 6cms to the right of his words claims that the move took 14.5 seconds from end to end.
So it seems the first Barcelona goal was the kind that even Barcelona cannot score at this level.
Question of the day
Did Barcelona’s 2-0 win really ‘make a mockery’ (The Sun’s back page) of Arsenal defender Gabriel’s claim that they had a plan to stop Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez, or did it simply show that you have to pull off that plan for the whole 90 minutes?
Topical intro of the day
‘BORIS JOHNSON, Nigel Farage and the rest could take a few tips from Arsenal on how to bow out of Europe’ – Paul Brown, The Daily Star.
Did Arsenal hold a referendum?
John Cross, The Daily Mirror, January 8: ‘Arsene Wenger has put Watford striker Odion Ighalo on his transfer hit-list. Arsenal boss Wenger will look to bring in a new forward at the end of this campaign and the Gunners are keeping close tabs on 26-year-old Ighalo.’
John Cross, The Daily Mirror, February 24: ‘Arsene Wenger is stepping up his interest in £20million-rated Watford forward Odion Ighalo. They have identified 26-year-old Ighalo as one of the strikers at the top of their shortlist for summer strikers.’
Is a ‘transfer hit list’ full of less-important targets than a ‘shortlist’? Does a transfer from one list to the other justify another story?
Into the woods
Excuse Mediawatch for not giving the Daily Star’s Dave Woods too much credence for his back-page exclusive that ‘MANUEL PELLEGRINI has emerged as the main rival to Antonio Conte in Chelsea’s search for their next boss’.
After all, it was Woods who ‘exclusively’ told us on December 22 that ‘CHELSEA will go all out to get Pep Guardiola as their next manager’.
How did that one go?
The trend of the road
Currently – at 12pm on Wednesday – second on Metro football’s ‘WHAT’S TRENDING NOW’ bar: ‘Lazio have revealed that Manchester United have agreed a deal to sign their forward Felipe Anderson for £46.8million.’
Statement from Lazio on Monday afternoon: ‘In reference to statements attributed to President Claudio Lotito regarding the alleged sale of the player Felipe Anderson, S.S. Lazio notes that these reports are devoid of any foundation.’
Devoid of any foundation. It could be Metro football’s new tagline.
Time gentlemen please
Somebody has a favourite phrase…
‘Jose Mourinho believes he has a gentleman’s agreement with Ed Woodward to become the next Manchester United manager. Mourinho is yet to sign a pre-contract deal with United, however M.E.N. Sport understands Mourinho believes he will replace his friend Louis van Gaal as United manager. The former Chelsea manager’s agent, Jorge Mendes, would prefer his client to take over at Old Trafford this season but Woodward remains resistant to sacking Van Gaal before the summer’ – Manchester Evening News, February 21.
‘MANCHESTER UNITED have a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ in place to sign Benfica star Renato Sanches this summer. United have been tracking the 18-year-old Benfica midfielder, who has been dubbed the ‘new Ronaldinho’, all season. And agent Jorge Mendes revealed Louis van Gaal’s side had a £31m bid for the 18-year-old rejected by Benfica on deadline day’ – The Sun, February 24.
Oh Jorge, we really do hope you are not casting yourself as the ‘gentleman’ in all this.
Recommended reading of the day
David Squires on FIFA’s election.