Change Of Heart
‘If Sunday’s Community Shield proved one thing to me, it’s that we will see a different Arsenal last season. One that finally has the maturity to go all the way once again. I genuinely believe Arsenal can beat everyone at home, and I am equally convinced they now have the discipline to nick a result when the chips are down’ – The Sun, August 4.
‘At times it seems more important to play great football than grind out a point. That’s an attitude which must change, and change quickly. Or it’s going to be one heck of a long season’ – The Sun, August 11.
It’s almost award-winning tragicomedy that those two quotes were from the same man in the same paper. Poor Ian Wright.
As Wrighty himself says in his column on Tuesday: ‘It didn’t take long for that pre-season excitement to fall flat’.
About as long as Arsenal’s ‘genuine chance of beating everyone at home’, Ian.
Urgh De Sa(u)vage
Said Robbie Savage on BBC 5Live on Monday evening: “I picked Manchester United to win the league before their goalkeeping crisis.”
That sounded an awful lot like an early backtracking to Mediawatch, so let’s go back to Friday when Savage’s predictions appeared in the Daily Mirror.
‘United remain my tip for the title,’ Savage wrote. ‘But they must resolve the goalkeeping situation. If David de Gea is not going to play against Tottenham because his mind is elsewhere, perhaps it is best if they let him join Real Madrid and bring in a world-class replacement. Neither Sam Johnstone nor Sergio Romero is a long-term answer, so I’d go for Hugo Lloris.’
So you did know about United’s goalkeeping ‘crisis’, Robbie. But you picked them to win the title anyway.
Put Your Hands Up, Bend Your Knees
One of Savage’s most
ballsy deliberately controversial season predictions was picking Manchester City to finish in fifth.
‘Too many people in Manuel Pellegrini’s team want to run forwards, not backwards,’ wrote ‘Mr Marmite’ in the Daily Mirror on Friday, adding to these cutting words before kick off on BBC 5Live on Monday: “This City side just haven’t improved. I actually fancy West Brom to turn them over.”
Fast forward to 24 minutes of the match at the Hawthorns, with City 2-0 up: “Can I change my prediction for the season?”
Of course you can Robbie; you always do anyway. Then you can delight in loudly telling everyone how right you were all along.
On The Same Page
In Tuesday’s Daily Mirror, Dave Kidd is urging patience with West Ham debutant Reece Oxford. And rightly so.
‘Let’s not christen Reece Oxford as the English Beckenbauer just yet,’ Kidd begins. ‘Let’s just enjoy the feelgood story of a 16-year-old Arsenal fan, who once urged the club to sign Mesut Ozil on Twitter, making his Premier League debut against the Gunners and barely giving Ozil a kick.
‘Let’s allow him to experience the ups and downs, the ins and outs from West Ham’s starting line-up, without expectations going haywire.’
Thank goodness for that. He’s played one game, so let’s just all breathe a little bit, as Kidd urges.
Let’s hope that Kidd doesn’t turn to the next page in his own paper then, and an article by John Cross taglined ‘the rise of West Ham’s wonderkid’. We’ll give you a few choice extracts:
‘More worried about GCSEs than facing up to anyone… even Messi’
‘His teenage kicks are destined to take him to the top’
‘He is one of football’s hottest properties’
‘Even the likes of Sir Geoff Hurst and Sir Trevor Brooking never broke schoolboy records like this kid’
‘He is compared to Rio Ferdinand’
The hype machine is already free-wheeling downhill.
Turnaround, Bright Eyes
‘Last summer Louis van Gaal was late arriving at the club because of the World Cup but this time there are no excuses. Why wasn’t the Angel di Maria deal done earlier? Were they waiting to see how he performed in the Copa America? Well he was one of Argentina’s better players in their run to the final so that can’t have been the reason.
‘Their defence was utterly awful last season, and when a centre half warrior was needed, nobody came to fill that role and the season is about to start. Even if that player arrives now, wouldn’t it have been better to get him in early to go on tour and blend in ready for the start of the season?
‘The goalkeeper situation isn’t a problem – if David de Gea stays. But if he leaves late in the window then that is a massive blow for United. Last year United lost on the opening day and won only one of their first five matches. I’m surprised Van Gaal is risking a repeat this time around’ – Adrian Durham, MailOnline, August 4.
‘ Louis van Gaal is restoring Manchester United to where the club feels it should be. Van Gaal has got them back into the Champions League which was stage one of the process, but it’s not just about top four, titles and trophies. It’s about re-establishing an aura that should surround and embrace a truly great football club. He’s making United great again’ – Adrian Durham, MailOnline, August 11.
One week. One sodding week, and a 1-0 home win over Tottenham. Mercifully, we’re becoming immune to this bulls**t.
An Evolving Story
Barcelona winger Adama Traore may well not end up at Liverpool but, if he does, the Metro want you to know about every single stage of the process.
Unfortunately, collating the clickbait headlines in date order reveals more U-turns than putting Usher’s greatest hits album on repeat:
‘Manchester United paying release clause to seal Adama Traore transfer’ – July 26.
‘Liverpool officials fly to Barcelona to complete Adama Traore transfer’ – July 30.
‘Southampton plot to hijack Liverpool’s transfer move for Barcelona winger Adama Traore’ – August 1.
‘Everton set to hijack Liverpool’s transfer move for Adama Traore’ – August 2.
‘Liverpool risk losing Philippe Coutinho in Adama Traore transfer deal’ – August 2.
‘Adama Traore travelling to Liverpool for medical ahead of transfer’ – August 3.
‘Aston Villa plot shock move for Liverpool transfer target Adama Traore’ – August 4.
‘Adama Traore close to Liverpool transfer after accepting move’ – August 4.
‘Adama Traore has dinner with Stoke officials ahead of possible transfer’ – August 5.
‘Adama Traore ready to accept £4.2m Liverpool transfer from Barcelona’ – August 6.
‘Adama Traore convinced he is making Liverpool transfer’ – August 8.
‘Liverpool lining up deal for Barcelona star Adama Traore after re-entering transfer race’ – August 10.
Either Traore been a busy boy over the last fortnight, or this is all based on vacuous nonsense. Mediawatch wouldn’t like to say which.
I’m Free, Fee Falling
‘Chelsea agree £21.7m deal for Augsburg defender Baba Rahman’ – Daily Mail.
‘The 21-year-old has been a target for the Blues for a number of weeks and sources understand the fee will be over £20m’ – Sky Sports.
‘Chelsea transfer news: Blues close to sealing £17.7m deal for Baba Rahman’ – London Evening Standard.
‘Chelsea are hoping to complete the £17million signing of Abdul Baba Rahman this week’ – Daily Mirror.
‘Rahman is expected to undergo a medical after Chelsea finally agreed an initial fee of £14m’ – Daily Telegraph.
Wait a week and you’ll get him for nothing.
First. Fast. No.
From Sky Sports News’ live transfer blog on Monday evening:
‘Stoke City boss Tony Pulis admits he has quite a few transfer targets and wants to get business completed before the end of the transfer window this month.
‘Speaking on the Monday Night Football, Pulis said: “We know what we need. The chairman has been very good. We are after quite a few targets and there will be players that leave the football club as well. We have to make sure we do our business without anyone else knowing and get it done. Hopefully we will get it done”‘.
The story has since been corrected. Presumably because Mark Hughes was livid.
Headline Of The Day
‘Ya The Man’ – The Sun. If it’s a crime to like that headline, then throw us in a cell.
Runner-Up: ‘Reece Is The Word’ – Daily Mirror.
Worst Headline Of The Day
‘Spurs To Breel Him In’ – The Sun.
Non-Football Story Of The Day
‘Craft beer is all well and good, but this one takes the biscuit.
‘A pub in Wellington, New Zealand is soon to launch a “milked” stout that contains stag semen. Steve Drummond, the co-owner of The Green Man pub, told stuff.co.nz that he is confident the beer containing “export quality” deer semen will be a hit among the local hipster community.
‘”We sort of like, looked at the whole craft beer scene and thought what could we do that’s a bit outrageous, a bit Green Man,” he said.
‘The deer beer will be served on handpump to deliver that smooth and creamy texture that you really want from a sperm-based beverage.
‘”There’s only one way to serve semen stout and that’s handpulling it,” Drummond said’ – LovinDublin.com. Spot the gag in that last quote.
Thanks to Ken Reilly and Gavin Little. If you spot anything that belongs on this page, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, putting ‘Mediawatch’ in the subject field.