Arsenal set for Premier League title glory as ‘secret omen comes to light’ but Liverpool are cursed

Editor F365
Arsenal defender Gabriel talks to referee Michael Oliver

There’s a massive game of football tonight and thus a massive amount of nonsense. And more supercomputer fun!


Oliver twist
‘Arsenal fans are dreaming of the Premier League title after spotting an omen in their favour ahead of tomorrow’s clash with Manchester City’ it says here, in The Sun.

Love an omen. Always a reliable indicator of what’s to follow. So what’s this great omen?

Brace yourselves: Michael Oliver will be the referee at the Etihad, and Arsenal have won all four of their games he’s refereed this season.

It’s absolutely in the bag, isn’t it? Congratulations to everyone at Arsenal for what is without doubt one of the most remarkable and unexpected title triumphs of recent times. A huge achievement. Of course, sceptics might point out that this ‘omen’ involving all of four games might possibly be connected with the fact Arsenal are really good and have won lots of games this season regardless of who’s been the referee.

Idiots might even point out that Manchester City have also won every game this season when Oliver has been the referee – including a fairly memorable 6-3 dismantling of Manchester United.

Or if you were being particularly ridiculous you might even note that Arsenal have in fact lost 16 Premier League games refereed by Oliver since his Premier League debut in 2010, more than anyone apart from West Ham, Crystal Palace and Aston Villa.

If you’re The Sun, you might even mention all of this and still run with the story and headline it ‘Arsenal fans dreaming of Premier League title after secret omen comes to light ahead of Man City clash’ because clicks.


Away and shite
For every good omen, though, there must be a hoodoo curse. And sadly it’s Liverpool who are already doomed as the Mirror explains.

‘Liverpool could kick off at West Ham at a disadvantage as ‘curse’ faced for final time’

And what is the curse? Is the London Stadium built on an ancient burial ground, which would, admittedly, explain some things? Or is it that Liverpool will have to wear their white away kit in which they never win?

It’s that one. The kit one.

‘Sometimes, football throws up things you can’t explain,’ ponders Nathan Ridley.

So does journalism.

Liverpool vs Bournemouth

Great expectations
‘Frank Lampard is already becoming immune to the pain of being sacked.

‘At only 44, he has been axed twice in his fledgling managerial career — by Chelsea and Everton.’

So begins the latest media puff-piece about Poor Unfortunate Frank Lampard, a serial failure of a football manager who is currently on a four-match losing run after his latest inexplicable opportunity at the highest level.

“The landscape’s changed and, this is generally, we have maybe lost sight of reasonable expectation,” bemoans poor old Frank, whose own reasonable expectation is that he deserves to be a Premier League manager because he was an excellent Premier League footballer.

But even in this piece spent tickling Lampard’s balls, Andy Dillon still makes an inadvertent point on ‘reasonable expectations’ about a manager who is currently in charge of Chelsea for absolutely no good reason whatsoever.

‘Chelsea have lost all four games so far under Lampard but he is expected to remain in charge until the end of the season.’

As Dillon well knows it’s actually of course far, far worse. Mediawatch feel like it’s taking crazy pills, but Lampard has now won just one of his last 18 matches as a manager. Where exactly does he set the bar for ‘reasonable expectation’?

Is it at all possible that it might be the repeated hiring rather than the repeated firing of Lampard that is unreasonable?


OK, Computer
Regular readers will know Mediawatch can never, ever resist a headline with ‘supercomputer’ in it. Just one of the very greatest tabloid words, and if simulating the relative handful of Premier League games left to play this season really did require such a high-powered piece of technology, we have serious questions about how the use of such a machine is being prioritised. There are other things going on surely in more urgent need of such a wonder.

We always like to think of the supercomputer as a great big noisy thing the size of a room with all knobs on it and blinking lights and stern men in white coats with clipboards walking around peering at important-looking dials and gauges.

Apparently, Mirror Football have acquired such a piece of kit, and presumably its accompanying team of stern men in white coats, because they literally call it ‘Mirror Football’s supercomputer’ and why would they lie?

Anyway, they’ve used it to predict the ‘title outcome, top four and relegation spots’ so strap in, because after several minutes of whirring and rattling this triumph of human ingenuity and engineering has delivered its answers, spitting out a piece of paper that says ‘Manchester City will win the title, the top four will be the teams currently in it and the current bottom three will get relegated imvho’. Truly, we are living in the future.


Alexander the Great
‘Arsenal could have made vital error after rejecting ‘one of the best’ for Gabriel Jesus’ is a vaguely baffling Daily Express headline and premise. Arsenal haven’t really made many ‘vital errors’ in a season that has surpassed all expectations.

The ‘one of the best’ in question is Alexander Isak, who is undoubtedly a very good player in very good form for a very good Newcastle team. He’s scored seven goals in his last eight games. He’d also managed only four goals for Newcastle before that run, but the Express argue that snubbing Jesus and instead ‘signing Isak could’ve gone a long way in helping the Gunners lift their first title since 2004 as their grip on top spot continues to slip’. Which seems like an awfully big stretch and an extreme case of recency bias.

It’s all ifs and buts of course, but it’s surely more likely that signing Isak over Jesus would have meant no title challenge at all rather than a more successful one.

Anyway, let’s look at the specific numbers that highlight Arsenal’s vital title-losing error. Isak has 10 Premier League goals and no assists, Jesus has nine Premier League goals and six assists. Silly Arsenal; they’ll rue this one for years.