From Neil Custis in The Sun: ‘While Ryan Giggs tried to inspire from the technical area, the Dutchman watched on and scribbled. I’m convinced one day we will take a look at that pad and find a doodle of a windmill.’
The Dutch b***ard.
The ‘THINGS WE LEARNT’ genre has reached what could be a new nadir with the Daily Mirror. Here are the first three things David McDonnell ‘learnt’ from Manchester United v Liverpool in full:
1) With Mata demoted from penalty-taking duties after missing in the last round, Martial won and converted the spot-kick. Needs to show same composure from open play.
2) United needed an early goal to get back into the tie and Clyne gifted them the opening, tripping Martial to conceded a needless penalty which gave United a way back into the encounter, until Liverpool equalised.
3) Having been denied by De Gea, who saved his low first-half effort, Coutinho finally beat him just before the break, lifting the ball into the net with a touch of class from an acute angle.
Is this what happens when Chief Sports Writer Dave Kidd turns up at Old Trafford, pulls rank, takes your usual match report gig and demotes you to the not-so-holy trinity of quotes/ratings/’learnt’? You just think ‘f*** it, I’m just going to write a report anyway – in bullet points. That’ll teach ’em’…
If Mediawatch learnt anything at all, it’s that David McDonnell would rather have written the match report.
‘It is no coincidence that five of the top six scorers in this season’s tournament (the Champions League) play for Barca, Real or Bayern.’
Neil Ashton there with the kind of ‘world’s best players play for the world’s best clubs’ insight that tempted The Sun to shell out the big bucks to take him from the Daily Mail. You literally can buy that kind of knowledge.
Pie in the Sky
Hearty congratulations to Sky Sports website man Gerard Brand for eking out almost 300 words on the subject of ‘How finishing fourth in Premier League may not guarantee Champions League spot’. He basically explains that, well, in a scenario that involves Manchester City and Liverpool winning their European trophies and City finishing outside the top four, finishing fourth in the Premier League may not guarantee a Champions League spot. He even includes an ‘Example scenario’ in case we cannot understand this complex concept.
The odds of this happening according to a leading bookmaker with ties to Sky: 441/1.
Thank f*** they warned us.
This is naughty nonsense from the Daily Mail, who jump on the Manchester United crisis bandwagon by writing:
‘Manchester United are trying to encourage sales of VIP seats for their penultimate home match of the season by pointing out the Premier League title can be won that day…by Leicester City.
‘Club representatives have sent out emails to supporters claiming executive packages are selling fast because of the chance to see Claudio Ranieri’s side clinch silverware.
‘United used to be able to ensure a packed Old Trafford come the end of the campaign through lifting trophies of their own, but have resorted to trying to shift expensive seats through the success of their opponents.’
Hmmm. Surely the very point of the e-mail – which tells fans that ‘we are now down to the last 50 VIP seats’ – is to emphasise that there are very few tickets left for that match – a ‘claim’ backed up by the lack of VIP tickets available on the Manchester United website. They have not had to ‘resort’ to anything at all; the game will sell out.
But yeah, ‘UNITED CASH IN ON FOXES GLORY’. Of course they do.
I am the magic man…
It’s Friday. It’s Paul Merson day. Whoop and indeed whoop.
* On West Ham: ‘In recent weeks they’ve only come alive when they’ve been behind.’
Except for last week when they scored the first goal against Manchester United. Or March 2 when they beat Tottenham 1-0. Or February 27 when they beat Sunderland 1-0. Except for those examples – three of the Hammers’ last four games – Merse has absolutely nailed it.
* On Watford: ‘Beating Arsenal to reach the semi-finals of the FA Cup was a massive result for the club. But what do they do now? Do they rest some of their players in the league with a date at Wembley just around the corner?’
The FA Cup semi-finals are five weeks away and there’s an international break next week; we suspect they’ll go full strength.
* ‘Stoke appear to be getting better away from home which is extremely unusual for them.’
They may appear to be getting better away from home. But what’s actually happening is that they have lost three of their last five.
* ‘Southampton have had some superb results in recent weeks. Their form has completely turned around.’
Pesky fact: Southampton have won one of their last four Premier League games.
The Daily Mirror’s Darren Lewis has an ‘exclusive’ – that Chelsea want N’Golo Kante. Excellent story, scoopmeister.
What is slightly odd is that on March 7, Lewis wrote in the Daily Mirror that ‘highly-rated Leicester midfielder N’Golo Kante is in line for a new deal to stave off interest from the big guns’ with both Chelsea and Arsenal listed as admirers. And on March 10 he wrote in his Betway blog that ‘Leicester midfielder N’golo Kante and PSV left-back Jetro Willems are talents highly-rated at Stamford Bridge’.
And only now – on March 18 – is it an exclusive. Congratulations on the back-page byline, fella.
P***-take of the day
— Ian Gulliford (@IanG1878) March 18, 2016
We’ve all had disappointing wees. And all made that face.
Recommended reading of the day
Nick Miller interviews the Guardian’s Daniel Taylor
Michael Cox on Neymar following Messi path
Jonathan Wilson on the way to beat Guardiola