Alexis Sanchez: ‘100% committed’ grafter, or ‘snake’?

Date published: Tuesday 6th February 2018 12:01

It’s like he makes his mind up anew every single day
The thing Mediawatch admires most about Stan Collymore is his willingness to change his opinion at the drop of a hat. His Daily Mirror column is headlined as ‘the man who speaks his mind’, but the small print fails to point out that said mind can change very quickly.

Tuesday brings us a truly wonderful example of the genre. You see Collymore has watched Alexis Sanchez in his three Manchester United games (although presumably not against Tottenham) and is mightily impressed. Paul Pogba needs to learn from him, apparently. Because Pogba isn’t 100% committed to being good at football.

Anyway, here’s a flavour:

‘What you get from Sanchez is 100% commitment. The Chilean international may be a superstar but he recognises the importance of putting the hard yards in for whichever team he is representing.’


‘The one thing Sanchez will do for whatever team he’s in is graft and put in a shift. You are pretty much guaranteed to get 90 minutes of effort out of him.’


‘Sanchez is a classic example of being something every team needs. If you are him, you may get back in the dressing room after having a five or six out of ten performance but the manager points to you and says ‘See him there. He hasn’t scored today. He has had an absolute shocker in front of goal but you know what he gave me? He gave me 100 percent effort and commitment and made himself a nuisance.’

You get the point, but to repeat: ‘100% commitment’, ‘putting the hard yards in for whichever team he is representing’ and ‘the one thing Sanchez will do for whatever team he’s in is graft and put in a shift’.

The repetition is necessary because Mediawatch remembers Sanchez leaving another club to join Manchester United not that long ago. And he left that other club under a little bit of a cloud after accusations that he’d become slightly selfish and that his commitment had actually been a little less than satisfactory.

Now Mediawatch doesn’t have a particularly strong view on that, but at least we know that Collymore does. Because Collymore has never doubted Sanchez’s commitment, his graft, his effort and his status as a team player, because he just said so.

So we’ll leave you to guess which pundit wrote in August:

‘Some Arsenal supporters seem happy to say, “Alexis Sanchez is a great guy, he’s a model pro” but I am sorry, he is not. He is angling to get out of Arsenal and he is not doing it in a proper way. He is a disgrace.’

And which pundit wrote last March:

‘When things don’t go his way, he throws his arms in the air and is more than happy for others to carry the can. His performance, despite scoring, was that of a man who looks happy to let the spotlight shine on Wenger rather than helping his team to win a game.

‘I honestly was undecided as to whether Alexis was a great pro getting frustrated or a bit of a snake just doing enough for himself but letting his manager down. I’m leaning towards the latter.’

‘100% committed’ at all times. Until he stops being 100% committed and crawls on his belly.


From one extreme to the other
Elsewhere in his Daily Mirror column, Mediawatch largely agrees with Stan Collymore that Dele Alli has a big 12 months coming up. But the obsession to sell Alli as either angel or demon is really a bit much.

Take these two lines:

‘He can take one route and go on to become… England’s most talented footballer.’

‘The alternative? It doesn’t quite happen for him over the next few years, Spurs and Mauricio Pochettino get fed-up with him, he bounces from club to club.’

There is a middle ground. And that middle ground sits somewhere between being his country’s most talented player and a washed-up nobody.


All we want is consistency
Mediawatch is enjoying this new jam of tabloid newspapers asking a former referee what they think and getting entirely different answers. Particularly when those former referees are highly critical of current referees while simultaneously disagreeing with each other.

Take Tiemoue Bakayoko’s red card on Monday evening:

– In The Sun, Mark Halsey writes:

‘The first challenge was careless, he’s lost his balance and fallen onto him and not a yellow card. It’s a free-kick only.

‘Five minutes later, Bakayoko produced a reckless challenge and got a second caution but he should not have been cautioned for the first one.’

So 1) first one not yellow, 2) second one yellow and therefore 3) no sending-off.

– In the Daily Mail, Graham Poll writes:

‘Chelsea were really hard done by when referee Mike Dean showed Tiemoue Bakayoko two yellow cards in five minutes.

‘While the first one on 25 minutes was correct as he threw himself on to Etienne Capoue, the second – for a foul on Richarlison – was extremely harsh. Bakayoko had not made another foul challenge following his caution and overstretched after a poor touch on 30 minutes.’

So 1) first one yellow, 2) second one not yellow and therefore 3) no sending-off.

Got to the same place in the end. Via two completely different routes.


Keep up
‘Manchester United join Liverpool and Bayern Munich in chase for £40m-rated Borussia Dortmund star Christian Pulisic’, reads the MailOnline’s headline. At 11am on Tuesday, it is the fourth top story on their football homepage.

Mediawatch assumes that someone at the Mail saw reference to the story in the BBC Sport’s gossip column from Tuesday morning, which links to a story by German newspaper Bild on Pulisic.

Shame they didn’t bother to look at the date on the story either; it’s over a week old.


Blame game
“Old Trafford is tourist-central, but most of the grounds are now. Liverpool fans sing ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ at the start of the game, and that’s pretty much it.

“You think of Man City, there’s not an incredible atmosphere in there, the Emirates Stadium is like a library at times and West Ham are struggling now going to the new stadium. I’ll be interested to see what happens with Spurs.

“It’s hard to get all the people eating their lunch and their scones at it, isn’t it? The atmosphere comes from the ones who have had a few scoops and they all get together and they have the flags waving, but that’s going out of football.

“People are going as a family now, and your missus doesn’t want to sing football songs, does she?” – Joey Barton, Talksport.

Mediawatch did not expect to see scones and women blamed for ruining atmosphere at football matches. Hardly forward thinking from football’s great philosopher.


Ask a simple question
‘Why has football turned into a non-contact sport? – Daily Mail.

It hasn’t.


And then ask another
‘Why Lallana will NOT be suspended for Liverpool despite red card in U23 clash’ – Daily Mirror.

Spoiler alert: because those are the rules.


Modern football line of the day
‘ALEXIS SANCHEZ whisked his family away to Paris on a private jet after scoring his first Manchester United goal.

‘The £505,000-a-week Chile superstar and his loved ones visited the Eiffel Tower on Monday.

‘Famous pet dog Humber can also be seen in a separate picture Sanchez posted shortly after his Paris snaps’ – The Sun.

‘Famous pet dog Humber’. #PrayForAtom.


Recommended reading of the day
Geoffrey Fink on the Munich air disaster.

Adam Bate on Oleksandr Zinchenko.

David Squires on the Riyad Mahrez impasse.

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