Hands without a face
The Sun have mocked up an image of ‘how Jamie Vardy would look in freezing cryotherapy suite’. Because it’s still 1982 at The Sun and that’s what you do when you have no actual pictures of something you consider to be quite wacky.
Or rather, they have mocked up an image of how Jamie Vardy would look with Frank Ribery’s hands in a freezing cryotherapy suite.
The potential problem?
According to the MailOnline earlier this month: ‘Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery is suing CNN for £1million in damages after the American broadcaster used a picture of the former France international to illustrate a story on cryotherapy, his lawyer said on Friday.’
The Sun had better hope he’s not as precious about his hands as his face. To be fair, his hands are far prettier.
One giant leap
Juan Mata has been looking towards Manchester United’s next fixtures in his well-meaning but painfully bland blog:
‘Our next rival in the Premier League is Leicester. Claudio Ranieri’s team is having a remarkable season and the proof is that they are top of the league,’ says the observant Mata.
‘In particular, [Jamie] Vardy (who has equalled Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record of scoring in 10 consecutive games) and Mahrez are outstanding, playing at an exceptional level – we will have to be very careful with them.’
Mediwatch is almost in awe at the resultant headline on the Daily Star website: ‘Juan Mata hails Man United transfer target…who could make Old Trafford move in January’.
Hat tipped. And then removed and stamped on.
Headline on the back page of the Daily Star: ‘GROW UP ALLI’.
Headline on the Daily Star website: ‘Mauricio Pochettino defends England starlet Dele Alli despite him handing Chelsea boost’.
And yes, it’s the same story featuring the same quotes from the same journalist.
In his role as ambassador for BT Sport, Gareth Bale sat down with journalists from the Daily Express, the Daily Mirror and the Daily Telegraph.
Five years ago we would never have guessed that the latter would be the only publication to claim the story as an ‘exclusive’. Paper of record, our round, hairy arses.
On our guard
In a turbulent sea of truly sh*t football journalism, Mediawatch has come to regard The Guardian as an island of actual journalism about actual football, free from headlines designed with pure SEO in mind (not Ronaldo) and amusing gifs of people falling down. Until today. We’re not angry, Guardian, we’re just disappointed.
We were already tutting a little at a headline of ‘Manchester United’s Louis van Gaal pokes fun at critics after Watford win’ on an article that does not contain a single quote – whether poking fun or otherwise – from Van Gaal, when we spotted ‘Claudio Ranieri compares Leicester’s Jamie Vardy to Gabriel Batistuta’.
Except, well, he doesn’t. When asked whether he had ever managed a player who had achieved such a goalscoring feat, Ranieri replied: “Batistuta scored 11 goals in a row for me at Fiorentina. That’s the best run by any player I’ve managed. Hopefully Vardy can beat that.”
He even says “it’s amazing we’re mentioning Jamie in the same breath as Batistuta” as if to underline the difference between Vardy and a legendary striker who has almost 300 club goals to his name.
Ranieri then went on to actually compare Vardy with another player: “In my career I’ve known just one player who took the same route to the top. He was a Juventus right-back, Moreno Torricelli, who went from non-league Caratese to Serie A. And then he won the Scudetto with Juventus.”
So, ‘Claudio Ranieri compares Leicester’s Jamie Vardy to Moreno Torricelli’, then.
But those minor headline naughties are blasted into the shadows by this:
‘Manchester City stadium now ‘owned by Jürgen Klopp’, claims Wikipedia page’
Yes, a page on the internet edited by the general public has been hilariously altered to claim that the Etihad ‘has been renamed as Liverpool FC U19 Training Ground’. And this is news.
A reminder: The Guardian is the reigning ‘Sports website of the year’.
Another reminder: They took the title from MailOnline.
The Premier League is back and so is Garth Crooks. Dear, dear Garth. And we say that in the sense that he probably gets paid rather a lot of money by the BBC for a team of the week largely constructed from a list of goalscorers.
This week’s eyebrow-raiser is the use of wing-backs. Though not actual wing-backs, of course, but orthodox right-back Kyle Walker (he scored) and Leicester central midfielder Danny Drinkwater, who is going to have to do an awful lot of work to cover for gung-ho central midfield duo Ross Barkley and Philippe Coutinho.
The now-standard crowbarred personnel aside, our favourite Crooks moments this week include:
* Declaring that David De Gea ‘was the only reason Watford came away from Vicarage Road empty handed’. Only? Not Bastian Schweinsteiger? Not Memphis Depay? Not Troy Deeney? Just the man who made one really rather good save.
* This: ‘Defenders are often thrown into two categories. Those that have good games, and those that don’t.’
* ‘Leicester have lost the enthusiasm and expertise of Esteban Cambiasso, but Danny Drinkwater seems to be filling the role very nicely.’
We had no idea that Esteban Cambiasso was a left wing-back.
* On Philippe Coutinho: ‘He taunted and provoked the former champions and at times made them look like inferior.’
Inferior what? People? That would be harsh.
* In Romelu Lukaku: ‘The Belgian now joins an illustrious group of players, like Michael Owen and Robbie Fowler, who have scored 50 Premier League goals under the age of 23.
‘I’m not sure what that statistic tells us about the player, other than the striker can score goals. However, it would be a big mistake if, as statisticians often do, we try to equate landmarks with ability and place the Belgian in the same category as other players who have achieved this milestone, like Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo.’
That would indeed be a ‘big mistake’, Garth. And thankfully one that literally nobody has made. Because it would be mental. But thanks for pre-empting that mistake.
Don’t you want to warn us about comparing Jamie Vardy with Gabriel Batistuta before you go?
Disappointingly, Harry Redknapp’s only maverick team of the week choice in the Daily Telegraph is Toby Alderweireld. ‘But he played well, that sounds like a good shout,’ you might say. Indeed. But did he play well at right-back?
Every day’s a school day
The Daily Mirror learned five things from Leicester’s win at Newcastle. of course. Don’t they always.
When the very first thing you ‘learn’ is that ‘Jamie Vardy makes history’, it’s probably best not to try to learn any more as it seems you have got ‘saw’ mixed up with ‘learnt’ again.
When the second thing you ‘learn’ is that ‘Leicester sit proudly on top of the Premier League’, you have basically given yourself away as a man who has looked at a Premier League table on Sunday morning. What on earth would they have ‘learnt’ if Manchester City had won? Would ‘Leicester sit proudly near the top of the Premier League’?
‘GRIT…you need sack loads to avoid slip-ups in winter. So why is it Arsene Wenger and Arsenal ALWAYS run out at this time of year? Every year?’ begins Graeme Bryce in The Sun.
Mediawatch is shocked to see that Bryce – who has become a byword for hyperbole – is not one for perfunctory research. If he had trawled the records to go back two whole years, he would have seen that in November 2013, Arsenal had just beaten Southampton 2-0, won 1-0 away at Borussia Dortmund and were top of the Premier League, where they would largely remain until February.
ALWAYS? No. Just USUALLY, Graeme.
Poor Jesse Lingard. Interviwed by Sun journalist (and erstwhile ostrich) Ian Baker, he was described as ‘heavily involved’ and ‘living the dream’ in a match report for a victory in which he ‘came to the fore’.
His Sun player rating (compiled ‘using Opta data’): 5/10. Worst player on the pitch. Must do better.
At least The Daily Mirror’s Adrian Kajumba awarded Jesse Lingard a 7/10 for his efforts. Though that might largely have been a reward for this clearly quite reluctant quote: “Is it Louis time instead of Fergie time? Yeah, you can say that.”
The Sun’s sub-headline? ‘Fergie time? No it’s Louis time as Reds show they have what it takes to fight for title.’
The Lawro count
Number of 1-1 draws predicted by Mark Lawrenson this season: 38.
Number of 1-1 draws in the Premier League this season: 10.
Recommended reading of the day
Thore Haugstad with five actual things from the Clasico.
Daniel Taylor on Roy Keane
Simon Burnton on the rise of Dele Alli