Mutiny in the Bunty
To the credit of the Daily Mail’s Ian Ladyman he used the far-less-loaded word ‘dissent’ and even added the words ‘to some degree’ as a caveat. Put that through the Daily Mail’s headline filter and hey presto:
‘MUTINY IN THE AIR AT UNITED.’
And how has this MUTINY manifested itself? Has Louis van Gaal been cast adrift in a boat with 18 of his supporters after whipping those who questioned his authority?
No. Worse than that. In footballers saying to other footballers that they sometimes found football training – which is, incidentally, their job – to be ‘boring’ and ‘repetitive’.
Charity begins at home
If you are already feeling huge amounts of sympathy for Manchester United’s footballers for finding their highly paid part-time work repetitive, you will be shedding crocodile tears at this paragraph from the Daily Mail’s Neil Ashton, stepping on his newspaper’s Northern Football Correspondent’s ‘SPECIAL REPORT’ toes with a column that basically says the same thing.
‘There is no let-up for this squad and the chances of a rare day off for the players after they meet Leicester evaporated when they were reminded that they are to attend a black-tie event on Sunday night.
‘Each year United’s entire first-team squad, along with Van Gaal and the coaching staff, attend the annual gala dinner in aid of the children’s charity Unicef.’
The poor, poor b***ards. We should probably arrange an annual gala dinner in aid of them.
Little quiz for you.
What’s worse – crowbarring football into a Black Friday theme purely to use the hashtag, or BBC Sport’s choice of players?
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) November 27, 2015
‘Premier League graphic shows anyone can beat anyone in top-flight and proves it is the most unpredictable division in the world’ – MailOnline.
‘The Premier League is widely regarded as the best and most exciting in the world and it seems anyone can beat anyone.
‘After just 13 games of the 2015/16 campaign, one team has beaten another, who have defeated another and so on.’
So every Premier League team has both won and lost at least one game. And this ‘proves the Premier League really is the most entertaining and unpredictable’.
And that there really is no low bar in football ‘journalism’ anymore.
Could it be Magic?
Fresh from bizarrely offering guidance to Jack Grealish, Paul Merson is back on more familiar ground with his Premier League predictions. And Mediawatch is on very familiar ground when taking the p***. Highlights include:
* ‘They do have a bit of belly about them, United.’
Kudos to the Sky Sports website monkey who illustrated this point with a picture of Wayne Rooney, by the way.
* ‘This is either going to be a cracker or a boring 1-0 Manchester United win. I’ll go for the cracker’ writes man employed by Sky Sports, who are coincidentally showing the match live.
* On West Ham: ‘They’re starting to all of a sudden become the team we expected them to be at the start of the season.’
Tip to said Sky Sports website monkey: Do not write down everything he says. You can’t ‘start to all of a sudden become’ anything.
* On Bournemouth: ‘They were 2-0 up against a struggling Swansea team and never won, so that’s worrying in my opinion.’
Repeated tip to said Sky Sports website monkey: Do not write down everything he says.
* ‘This is one of those predictions where I’d like to tell you what the score will be after seeing the first 10 minutes.’
For a man who makes a lot of predictions, he really does struggle with the concept.
* ‘I’m going to go for Man City, but I wouldn’t be shocked if this was a draw’ and then ‘I’m going for a draw but I wouldn’t at all be surprised if Chelsea went on and won this’.
* ‘If Chelsea win this against a Spurs side who have only lost once this season in the league, people will sit up. You would start thinking they can get top four, especially with the way the Premier League has gone this season.’
A reminder: Merson tipped both Chelsea and Tottenham to finish in the top four two weeks ago.
* ‘I got it horribly wrong last week with Liverpool.’
Paul, this is the Premier League table fashioned from your predictions; it’s fair to say you’ve got it ‘horribly wrong’ a few times.
How the table would look if every single Paul Merson prediction was correct. pic.twitter.com/jXRFEpGUVq
— Simply Spurs (@Simply_Spurs) November 24, 2015
You can take the man out of Anfield…
Mark Lawrenson’s prediction for Bournemouth v Everton on the BBC?
‘This is a gut feeling more than anything else, but I am going to go for a Bournemouth win. It is certainly not based on their previous form, because they have only won one of their last 10 league games…’
No Mark, it’s based on you hating Everton.
In a table constructed from his predictions this season, Everton sit in 15th, a point below Bournemouth. That’s a Lawro, Lawro lot of dodgy ‘gut feelings’.
Sh*t newspaper zone
It’s now 2015 so The Sun have gone stats-crazy and REVEALED ‘how Ranieri has stunned Prem…and it’s not just about Vardy’. A team of ‘SunSport’s technical experts’ (we won’t lie, we’re a tad disappointed they haven’t credited ‘boffins’) have even provided some graphics. Our favourite is the graphic that basically describes the concept of the counter-attack:
‘LEICESTER never chase after possession – they average less than 45 per cent. They drop the defensive line deep, lure opposition full-backs forward and win the ball in their own half…’
And where do they win the ball back? In the area helpfully labelled ‘WIN BALL BACK ZONE’.
It may be 2015 but this is still The Sun.
The Sun also credit a ‘scouting network to put their rivals to shame’ which has seen Leicester ‘unearth’ N’Golo Kante (under the radar as ‘statistically the best ball-winner in Europe’s top five leagues last term’) as well as Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez.
The secret of their success?
‘Players are meticulously scouted and assessed for their character, as much as for their ability. (Steve) Walsh supervises three office staff who use the Wyscout computer system to study footage of Europe’s top five leagues, to find players with better stats than Leicester’s in every position.’
That indeed does put their rivals to shame. Absolutely nobody has ever scouted like this before. Most other clubs blindly buy just about anybody that looks good on a YouTube compilation.
While Mediawatch has been suitably impressed with Kante, Vardy and Mahrez, we cannot help but point out that Yohan Benalouane (£5.6m), Gokhan Inler (£5m) and Andrej Kramaric (£9m) suggest that Leicester’s ‘impressive scouting system’ is far from foolproof. Should we have put a REVEALED label on that sentence?
We’ll just leave this here…
— TFS Leicester City (@TFS_Leicester) November 5, 2015
In the office Jamie Vardy/Dennis Bergkamp sweepstake prompted by Louis van Gaal saying “I only know, for example, Dennis Bergkamp as a player with me did the same with Ajax and that is not easy”, Mediawatch picked Metro. So f*** you, woman from HR* with your Daily Express website.
— Metro Sport (@Metro_Sport) November 27, 2015
He really sodding didn’t.
Question of the day
‘How apt that in the City of Winds, it was Harry Kane who blew away Qarabag’ – professional Cockney Paul Jiggins in The Sun.
We do have an answer but we would have to swear.
No sh*t/sh*t intro of the day
‘WAYNE ROONEY admits Manchester United only have themselves to blame for putting their Champions League hopes in jeopardy’ – The Daily Mirror. As opposed to…?
No sh*t headline of the day
‘Willy Cabellero ready to fill Joe Hart role is Manchester City need him’ – The Guardian. So that’s second-choice keeper prepared to do the job of a second-choice keeper. Thanks. For. That.
Just sh*t headline of the day
‘Bruce in a-Tom-ic waning’ – The Sun.
Recommended reading of the day
Oliver Kay on Mr A at Chelsea.
Alex Hess on all-action hero Mousa Dembele.
Edward Stratmann on Roberto Firmino’s role at Liverpool.
* As if we have HR.