Love and affection
One of the five things The Sun ‘learned’ from Manchester United’s win over Arsenal: ‘DANNY WELBECK still has affection for United after he toned down his goal celebration to some high fives.’
Either that or Welbeck scored the Arsenal goal that simply narrowed Manchester United’s lead; throwing himself into the crowd would have looked like the reaction of a lunatic.
Remember when he scored an actual winner at Old Trafford in the FA Cup quarter-finals last season? Did the words ‘affection for United’ spring to mind?
— Arsenal News (@__arsenalnews_) November 26, 2015
‘It’s some time since Old Trafford has enjoyed an afternoon like this’ – Neil Custis, The Sun.
We know one person inside Old Trafford who would not have ‘enjoyed’ Manchester United’s 3-2 victory over Arsenal. That’s another three pounds you have to lose, ‘fat man’. Which makes ten.
Bizarrely The Sun themselves have made no mention of Custis’ ‘incredible pounds versus points challenge’ since mid-January. Thankfully, Mediawatch is here to keep count. Call it a public service.
Harry Redknapp is absolutely right to say that Arsenal ‘look a very average team’ in his Daily Telegraph column. He is also correct to say that if the Gunners ‘do not play better than that, they could end up back in fourth in a season which, without any doubt, has been their big chance’. He doesn’t fancy Arsenal ‘when the chips are down’.
Well done, Harry.
Except we remember this from January 4: ‘I think we saw this weekend why it is a two-horse race for the title. Manchester City came from behind, late on, against a good Watford side and Arsenal managed to grind out a win when they were not playing well against Newcastle. That is not something Arsenal have been able to do in the past and it shows their progress this season.’
It sounds an awful lot like Harry fancied Arsenal when the chips were down just eight weeks ago. He will probably fancy them when the chips are down again in about four weeks if results pick up. Such is the lot of the expert pundit.
Now? ‘Leicester and Tottenam are rightly the title favourites’ and Leicester ‘deserve to be top of the league’. Redknapp says: ‘It is a big advantage that they are out of every other competition. It can make a massive difference.’
Bizarre then that Redknapp said on January 4: ‘Leicester have had the most successful season of the lot up to this point when you think they were tipped to go down in August, but they will probably start to fall away and I’ve put them down to finish sixth.’
He obviously decided it would make a ‘massive difference’ just at the point that it started to make a ‘massive difference’.
One word: Insight.
On the Huth
‘I still think their key signing was Robert Huth, first on loan from Stoke in the January transfer window last season and then permanently in the summer for about £3million. He was such a consistent player for Stoke that his transfer really came out of the blue,’ says Redknapp in the Daily Telegraph.
Minutes played by Huth for Stoke in the Premier League in the first half of the 2014/15 season: Three (very consistent) minutes.
Black fly in your Chardonnay
Charlie Wyett as Alanis Morissette in The Sun: ‘Liverpool’s run, which started against Roma in the 1984 European Cup, would also see nerve-shredding wins in finals over Birmingham, AC Milan, West Ham and more recently, Cardiff.
‘Ironic, then, that the first shoot-out disaster in the club history’s was orchestrated by a German.’
Ironic? Or mildly interesting if you work for a newspaper that still believes there is a place for the word ‘Argie’ in 2016?
Walters and the Henderson
Mediawatch can only presume that The Daily Mirror’s madcap, zany veteran Mike Walters picked Jordan Henderson as his Capital One Cup final man of the match just so he could use his ‘Attention please, this is your captain peaking’ pun?
Three penalty saves and Willy Cabellero earned himself 6/10 while Henderson (not mentioned in the Daily Mirror’s actual match report) somehow captured an 8/10.
A strong day at Wembley for wacky Walters, who also ‘learned’ that Kolo Toure came off the bench and was the first to ask Jurgen Klopp about the ‘ironic’ German/penalty correlation.
While Walters was ‘learning’ about substitutions and admiring Jordan Henderson, the Daily Star’s Dave Woods was giving his ‘BIG-MATCH VERDICT’. And what a verdict it is.
‘THE first massive challenge for Pep Guardiola will be to make sure Sergio Aguero goes nowhere this summer,’ writes Woods, never one to shy away from the big talking points. ‘Without Aguero you can’t imagine Manchester City having too much pep up front, even with Pep!’
Woods has been quick to spot that Sergio Aguero is really quite handy but the man who sells himself as ‘inside the game’ seems to have missed the imminent signing of a new Manchester City contract that will keep the Argentine at the club until 2020.
Mediawatch suspects that Guardiola’s ‘first massive challenge’ will be to find footballers worthy of playing alongside the one man he doesn’t actually have to worry about.
Worst intro ever?
‘EDDIE HOWE must ‘eight’ the sight of the man whose nickname is The Octopus’ – Neil Silver, The Sun.
Missing the target
Utterly, utterly bizarre column from Martin Samuel (not the first time Mediawatch has typed those words) in the Daily Mail. West Ham fan Samuel saw Sunderland winger Wahbi Khazri attempt a rabona at Upton Park. He was incensed.
‘As Khazri looked no great shakes at kicking conventionally — one of his corners went directly behind the goal, another massively overshot and curled out of play on the other side of the pitch — what inspired him to attempt to showboat at such a crucial moment is a mystery,’ writes Samuel.
Not mentioned by Samuel: Khazri hit the woodwork with a free-kick and created more chances (3) than any other player on the pitch. Samuel’s Daily Mail colleague Sam Cunningham gave him a higher rating than any other Sunderland player at West Ham.
And there’s more: ‘Khazri does not seem to be the sort who will expect to be playing for Sunderland in the Championship next season, if that is what the future holds. So it doesn’t matter if they go down; he pleases himself. The rabona proved it — Khazri cared more about how he looked than how Sunderland fared.’
Not the sort? Because he was born in France but plays for Tunisia? And nobody else has ever done that, of course.
What Samuel missed from his lazy Google search is that the fickle Khazri spent 11 years with Bastia, during which time they were relegated to the third tier of French football. At that point he was very much the sort to stick around and help the club to successive promotions.
‘Maybe Khazri thinks flamboyant tricks will get him his next move. Maybe he is right. At the time Sunderland bought him, he had scored two league goals since September 11,’ writes Samuel.
Not mentioned by Samuel: Only two players – Angel Di Maria and Zlatan Ibrahimovic – have registered more assists in the French top flight this season.
But still, what a c*** for trying a rabona, eh?
Question of the day
How long can ‘UNCAPPED Mark Noble continue to press his case for an England call-up’ (The Sun) before he gives up?
The most Richard Keys thing ever?
— Richard Keys (@richardajkeys) February 29, 2016
Recommended reading of the day
Swiss Ramble on Arsenal’s cash pile
Sean Ingle on away goals reform in Europe
Chris Bascombe on the scale of Liverpool’s problems