In the Daily Express, Matthew Dunn offers his thoughts on the new Premier League season. Mediawatch doesn’t think it has ever read something so bloody miserable. Move over Chief Grumpypants, there’s a new man in town.
‘It always been a privilege to see so many live Premier League games as a neutral – until this season’, Dunn begins. We’ve had one weekend.
‘A number of talented players have joined the league’s elite band of skilled technicians such as Eden Hazard, Alexis Sanchez, Sergio Aguero and Wayne Rooney – but they are more decorative flourishes on carefully constructed teams rather than and outstanding individual who steals the show.
‘Spanish fans, meanwhile, remain blessed with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. It becomes increasingly hard to kid ourselves that our league is the world’s greatest.’
Few questions, Matthew:
1) How on earth have you made ‘carefully constructed teams’ a negative thing?
2) How can any journalist (or anyone, in fact) view having Hazard, Sanchez and Aguero in the league as a disadvantage?
3) Are Hazard, Aguero and Sanchez really not ‘outstanding individual who steals the show’?
4) If you love watching Messi and Ronaldo so much, why don’t you, y’know, watch the Spanish league?
5) Are you not sick of debating the ‘world’s best league’ thing?
6) Who p*ssed in your cornflakes on Saturday morning?
The Blame Game
On the Mirror Football website, Steve Stammers has his say on Arsenal’s problems.
‘No excuses. Please, no excuses’, Stammers begins. ‘There can be none for an Arsenal team that looked flat and lacking in spark and urgency as they lost to West Ham at the Emirates on Sunday.
‘Naturally, as is the way in the modern game, it will be manager Arsene Wenger who will be in the receiving end of any flack. Easier to blame one person than the fourteen players who were used. And that would be so, so wrong’.
Fair enough, Steve. Blame the players not Wenger. Don’t hang the manager out to dry. Oh, what’s that, you haven’t finished?
‘If Wenger has failed in anyone department, it is that he has failed to recruit a finger-pointing, rousing leader in his squad’, Stammers continues.
‘One of Wenger’s great strengths could now be said to be a weakness. His man management is exemplary and the players who work for him appreciate how much personal responsibility he gives them. He trusts them – with their proven track records and pedigree – to work issues out for themselves on the field.’
It’s ‘so, so wrong to blame Wenger’. But he failed to recruit the right player and trusted his players too much.
Express-ing Our Distaste #1
‘Man Utd’s Morgan Schneiderlin desperate to avoid curse of Liverpool stars’, reads the headline on the Daily Express website.
‘Morgan Schneiderlin insists he will not suffer a similar fate to that of former Southampton team-mates Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert and Dejan Lovren’, the piece begins.
Actual quotes from Schneiderlin: “All my life, I have been working for this moment to happen. In my life before, I could have moved but I was not physically ready when I was younger. With the experience I have behind me, it’s a good step up. There are new players, good players, a good club with a good structure. I can’t wait to show what I can do.
“Southampton toughened me up, physically and mentally. Going into League One could have made me sad or worried about my future. But I was surrounded by good people who made me understand how I have to get better, which part of my physicality I have to improve. I’m really grateful for that. I worked really hard on my fitness and the way I understand the game. Playing in League One against strong, physical players can only help.”
Mentions of Liverpool: None
Mentions of ‘former Southampton team-mates Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert and Dejan Lovren’: None
Shame of the Daily Express: None
Express-ing Our Distaste #2
‘Brazil legend: Philippe Coutinho can replace Steven Gerrard at Liverpool’, reads another headline on the Daily Express website.
‘Brazil legend Kaka believes Philippe Coutinho can become the next Steven Gerrard at Liverpool’, the piece begins.
Actual quotes from Kaka: “I have been a big admirer of Coutinho and he can be a very important player for Liverpool and Brazil. There will be a lot of expectation on him with Liverpool fighting to get back into the Champions League, but I know that he can handle it. One great player doesn’t make a team, but you can build a team around one great player, and I believe he can be that player.”
Mentions of Steven Gerrard: Non… Oh you get it by now.
The Death Of Journalism, Pt. 427
The Metro‘s fall into vacuous transfer bulls**t is one thing, but their new push into opinion pieces is another entirely. We don’t mean that as a compliment.
Today’s worst example comes courtesy of Rob Devine, and the subject is Mesut Ozil. We’ll present it (almost) without comment:
‘Yet again one glaring piece of evidence of Wenger’s consistent failure was the abject showing of Mesut Ozil. Surely the £42.4 million squandered by the North London outfit for the German internationalist can now safely be deemed the most worst purchase in Premier League?
Obviously it’s all clickbaiting nonsense, but Mediawatch did enjoy ‘most worst’.
‘In two seasons wearing red, the 26-year-old former Real Madrid man has contributed next to nothing.’
Ten goals and 16 assists in Premier League and Champions League alone.
‘His abject, ineffectual showings are an embarrassment with his all too very nonchalant on field persona an indicator of a total lack of care for the very punters forced to spend their hard earned wages for the ‘privilege’ of attending Arsenal matches these days.’
All together now: Give Arsenal fans Ozil’s wages.
We could carry on, but there’s just no point. The Metro: The overpriced free newspaper.
Wednesday’s back pages once again rue the lack of English players appearing on the opening weekend of the Premier League, with Dan King in The Sun particularly hand-wringing in his think-piece.
‘This season is set to climax with Roy Hodgson and England attempting to end 50 years of hurt at Euro 2016,’ King writes. ‘But it has begun with the fewest number of English players ever to contest the opening round of fixtures in the top flight.
‘Despite a 100 per cent record in their Euro qualifying campaign so far, few would expect much from Roy’s Boys next summer. And as for further down the line things look, at best, uncertain and, at worst, grim.
‘Only 88 of the 276 players used by Premier League clubs over the weekend were qualified to represent England. That is the smallest proportion since the 1992/93 breakaway.’
Firstly, as King points out England have indeed won every qualifying match so far, something matched by only one other country. As for ‘few would expect much from Roy’s Boys next summer’, it should be pointed out that England are fourth favourites for the tournament behind Germany, Spain and hosts France.
Furthermore, using the early Premier League seasons as an example of where England need to be is all very well, but remind Mediawatch how England did in the 1994 World Cup? All those English players sure helped out there.
Just A Number
‘Bristol City have £6m bid for Crystal Palace’s Dwight Gayle accepted’ – The Guardian.
‘Crystal Palace have accepted an offer from Bristol City for striker Dwight Gayle. Sky sources understand the deal is worth £6m, but could rise to as much as £8m with incentives that have been included in the bid’ – Sky Sports.
‘Crystal Palace accept £10m bid for Dwight Gayle’ – MailOnline.
‘Robins in £10m bid for Gayle’ – Daily Mirror.
What’s £4m between friends?
The Sun headline: ‘Lescott: Slick City looking Invincible’.
Opening paragraph: ‘Joleon Lescott claims table-topping Manchester City are in the mood this season to have a crack at being the next ‘Invincibles’.
Actual quotes from Lescott: “It’s early to say but I’m sure they expect themselves to win the title. Obviously they want to win every game. Their expectations are very high, they believe they can win every game and they believe they can win the league.”
So less ‘Lescott thinks that’ and more ‘Lescott thinks Manchester City thinks’. Which is something quite different.
Join The Frey
‘Lille’s Swiss star Michael Frey, 20, is set to join Nottingham Forest in a £2.5m deal today’ – The Sun.
If Frey does indeed join Forest, Mediawatch is pretty sure it won’t be on a permanent deal. They’re under a transfer embargo.
Slight Difference Of Opinion
‘Everton are set to sign Barnsley prospect Mason Holgate. The Toffees have agreed a £1m fee for the defender, 18, who snubbed Bournemouth’ – The Sun.
‘Bournemouth will talk to Barnsley defender Mason Holgate, 18, today ahead of a £1m move’ – Daily Mail.
Don’t Believe The Hype
‘Bookies slash odds on Everton sealing incredible transfer of Prem star’ – Metro.
It’s Jonny Evans.
‘Everton agree fee for Xherdan Shaqiri after hijacking Stoke transfer’ – Jamie Sanderson, Metro, August 10.
Keep up the good work.
Non-Football Story Of The Day
‘A Chinese man recently found himself having a 10-inch long cylindrical object stuck in his rectum and had to go through a two-hour operation to have it removed.
‘Doctors in a hospital in Guangzhou, southern China, were surprised to see a microphone-shaped item lodged in the man’s colon after an X-ray, reported People’s Daily Online. The patient refused to explain how the object had got there, but media reports suggest the man had been involved in a fight at a karaoke bar when the object was inserted into his body.
‘The middle-aged man, named only by his surname Cai, had no visible injuries when he arrived at the First Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine on August 8. However, he had a strange and pained expression on his face and pointed at his rear to the staff.
‘Surgeons initially tried to extract the object from the man’s anus but found that it was lodged in too deeply so they had to operate on him. Although the doctors did not disclose what exactly the object was, they revealed that it measured approximate 10 inches in length and 1.5 inches in diameter and was made of plastic’ – MailOnline.
Thanks to Arran Lyle. If you spot anything that belongs on this page, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, putting ‘Mediawatch’ in the subject field.