Bold shout of the day
‘We used to mock Kevin Keegan’s naivety for imagining he could win games 4-3 and still claim the title, but what Guardiola has laid before us is a significant upgrade on that ideal, and may just work. He has better forwards than Keegan had and a clearer vision of what he wants to achieve.
‘Keegan was a motivator who, on the day he stood down as England manager, as good as admitted his tactical shortcomings. He knew something was wrong against Germany, he said, but he did not know how to fix it. Guardiola is a coach, a tactician — and an extremely gifted one’ – Martin Samuel, Daily Mail.
So you’re saying that Pep Guardiola is a better manager than Kevin Keegan? We’re going to need more evidence to make a call on this one, Martin…
Stand by your man
Stan Collymore is not a fan of Pep Guardiola, and he rarely fails to tell us so via his column in the Daily Mirror. This started over a mix-up with Collymore thinking that Guardiola didn’t know who he was, and has snowballed from there.
The problem is that Manchester City are in some double sexy form, and that means Collymore really has to reach to give Guardiola a kicking. Still if you need something passing from a high shelf, Stan’s your man:
‘I even heard some Manchester City fans crowing, ‘We want to win games and win them well’. Which is rubbish – I don’t remember it being about style over substance for them two decades ago when they were scraping through third-tier finals at Wembley.
‘City just wanted to get up the leagues back then and they didn’t care how they did it. Yet here they are, 20 years and a billionaire sheikh later, basking in the gloriousness of life in Pepville.’
Yeah, the b*stards. Enjoying watching their team and everything.
‘It may well be pretty nice at the moment there but I will tell them this: If I was still a player I’d have been much happier with a 0-0 draw away from home against our biggest rivals than scoring seven but conceding two to a Stoke team who will finish in the bottom half of the table.’
Manchester City have beaten Stoke and Liverpool this season, Stan. United have beaten neither, albeit away from home. Are two points really better than six?
‘What did we actually learn about City at the weekend? Not a lot. We know they’ll score fives, sixes and sevens at times this season but we also know they’ll concede goals that, really, they shouldn’t.
‘It doesn’t matter if you win 10-4 or 1-0 you still earn the same number of points, but ultimately it will be the number of clean sheets you keep that win you the title.’
This is the gold stuff, really, so much so that you really do have to read that last line again: ‘Ultimately it will be the number of clean sheets you keep that win you the title.’
Mediawatch doesn’t like to be rude, but ‘ultimately’ it will be the number of points you take that will win you the title. We know that because in the last eight seasons, the team with the most points has won the title in every season. The team that has kept the most clean sheets has won the title in one of those eight seasons. Manchester United kept the most clean sheets last season and finished sixth.
‘What will determine Pep Guardiola’s success is not how they play, it’s whether or not they can get one more point than the team in second. That isn’t a given while they are conceding two goals in games against teams such as Stoke.’
1) Manchester City scored seven times. How is that not the thing you’re focusing on here?
2) Manchester United, under your great hope Mourinho, conceded two sodding goals to Stoke. And they definitely didn’t score seven.
‘José Mourinho is minded to sign a new contract at Manchester United but will do so only if he believes the terms reflect his achievements at the club and its current status under him.
‘Mourinho earns around £15m a year but is thought to want a marked improvement on his package of salary and incentives to reflect the success he has brought and the team’s evolution under his leadership.’ – Jamie Jackson, Guardian.
Reflect his achievements at the club? Mourinho is the highest-paid manager in world football. What pay rise did Unai Emery get for winning the Europa League in 2013/14?
Play the PR game
‘Arsenal are actively trying to find a January buyer for Mesut Ozil amid growing concerns over his motivation.
‘A number of the attacker’s team-mates are convinced Ozil’s days at the Emirates Stadium are numbered and that it is inevitable he will not extend his contract’ – Daily Mail.
Mediawatch can agree that Ozil has been shonky this season, but we are very much enjoying the change in narrative so that his January departure is being sold as a positive. And who could fathom why Ozil might be so demoralised in the first place?
Omen, oh my
MailOnline has some bad news for Tottenham and Mauricio Pochettino: There’s no point them going to Spain to play Real Madrid. History is against them.
‘Tottenham have failed to score in four meetings with Real Madrid… History is against Mauricio Pochettino’s side heading into Champions League clash,’ reads the headline on their fluff piece. You know it’s fluff because it is attributed to a ‘Sportsmail reporter’.
It’s a slightly pedantic point (shock horror), but the whole ‘history is against them’ argument really is an absolute nonsense. Tottenham have indeed played Real Madrid four times without scoring, but two of those were in 1985. That means the square root of bugger all now.
The other two games were in 2011, from which there are no members from Tottenham’s match-day squad still at the club. Unless Heurelho Gomes is going to be recalled in goal and Michael Dawson will play at centre-back, that probably won’t have much impact either.
History isn’t ‘for’ or ‘against’ anyone or anything. It’s just things that happened before now.
They come over here
“What a club. That’s a club that if someone comes in with serious money, with that support, Newcastle could push on to another level, if he’s got a buyer, and it’s the right kind of buyer. I’m sure it’ll be another foreigner coming into the game, which is sad in many ways” – Harry Redknapp.
The same Redknapp who definitely didn’t benefit financially from foreign owners at Portsmouth, Queens Park Rangers and Birmingham City, you understand.
“I’m massively into the idea of different ways of playing – different teams operating in different ways. Different individuals have different strengths, and that’s always been the beauty of the game. I think there still is good value in different ways of playing and how different players operate” – Sean Dyche on talkSPORT.
Alright, Johnny Different.
Casual racism of the day
‘Bale lined up for takeaway’ – The Sun.
Yes, because that’s exactly the way to sell Wales’ potential participation in the China Cup. They wear funny hats too, ROFL!
Patronising statement of the day
‘You have to understand the nuances of football to understand the away point United picked up at the weekend was a great one’ – Stan Collymore, Daily Mirror.
Recommended reading of the day
Jonathan Liew on Kevin de Bruyne.
Nick Ames on Dries Mertens.
Owen Blackhurst on Ronaldo.