Fahr out, man
When Neil Ashton begins his Manchester City Sun report with the line ‘This lot are going Fahr’, and ends it with ‘After this, nothing seems Fahr-fetched’, Mediawatch is already ready to call it a day.
Apparently the 2016 semi-finalists ‘have discovered their Champions League mojo’ by punishing ‘chocolate wrists’ Ralf Fahrmann, who made four saves for Schalke.
And this was an ‘ominous warning to the rest of the European elite’, which is one way of describing an emphatic and excellent home win over a team four points above the Bundesliga relegation zone.
Anyway, weren’t they ‘dead and buried’ in January? Pep Guardiola was meant to ‘expect a few obits’ just two months ago, remember?
Chris Wheeler deserves credit for managing to avoid using the word ‘Quadruple’ in his City match report. It would be great if he could ask his colleagues, considering there are two months of the season still to play.
But the Daily Mail‘s north-west football reporter does get a little caught up in Guardiola’s pre-match comments about City being “teenagers”.
‘A quarter-final draw that included FC Porto, Ajax, Tottenham and Manchester United at the start of play should not be one to make City feel overawed in any way whatsoever.
‘Yes, Juventus moved ominously into the last eight last night and Barcelona and Bayern Munich could join the party this evening.’
Poor (Champions League runners-up and one point behind City in the Premier League) Liverpool.
‘But Guardiola’s attempts to dismiss City’s credentials in Europe due to a perceived lack of history are wearing a little thin.’
One man’s ‘attempts to dismiss’ someone’s ‘credentials’ is another understandably endeavouring to manage increasingly huge expectations.
And Guardiola hardly dismissed those ‘credentials’ when saying they “can arrive in the last stages and make another step forward” before the game, adding that “we want to win it, we push ourselves”, and imploring his players “to dream and point as high as possible”.
Silly Pep. Just say you’re going to win the bloody Quadruple next time.
‘There will have to be yet another round of VAR debate after Aguero megged Fahrmann for his second after 38 minutes’ – Neil Ashton, The Sun.
Raheem Sterling scored his 19th goal of a quite wonderful season at the Etihad. But he is still no closer to winning the most coveted trophy of any footballer: a place in Dean Saunders’ heart.
You see, despite boasting the most combined goals and assists of any Premier League player in all competitions this season, Sterling is still not worthy of a place in the PFA Team of the Year for the talkSPORT guest.
Asked whether the 24-year-old – outscored by five players and out-assisted by two in the league this season – would make his selection, Saunders was adamant.
“For me, Sane’s in it, and Aguero, Kane – I’d have to…I’d lose sleep over that one. Who do you pick for that one?
“But on the right I’d have to pick Salah. I’m sorry. Salah, Sane and Aguero I’d go.”
Sterling has 15 goals to Sane’s eight in the league, with both getting nine assists. How would you “lose sleep” choosing between Kane and Aguero but not bat an eyelid over that decision?
That Sterling has played more often than Sane in the Premier League only goes so far to explaining their respective returns. That Sterling has played more often than Sane in the Premier League suggests Pep Guardiola himself prefers one player to the other. But not Deano.
Redknapp and Jerome
But enough about Tuesday’s games. Liverpool travel to Bayern Munich on Wednesday to overturn their 0-0 defeat in the first leg.
Jamie Redknapp is here with his BIG MATCH PREVIEW for the Daily Mail. We still don’t know whether this is the preview of a big match or a sizeable preview of any-sized match.
He has some words of warning for Bayern Munich, and cause for potential Liverpool optimism:
‘Bayern Munich centre backs Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels are lovely footballers but they will hope Salah and co don’t run at them too often tonight.
‘Remember the 2015 semi-finals when Lionel Messi had Boateng’s number? The way the Barcelona superstar left him on his backside became an internet sensation.’
Remember when perhaps the greatest player in the history of the sport, at the peak age of 27, made someone look a little bit silly? Sure.
So there you go, Liverpool. If you want to get past Jerome Boateng, just be Lionel Messi.
On the fence
For more expert opinions on the Bayern Munich v Liverpool game, we go to Michael Owen.
“It’s certainly on a knife edge and it’s the toss of a coin, I’d suggest,” he tells the Liverpool Echo of “a 50/50 game”.
This just in: a two-legged tie currently poised at 0-0 after the first leg is close.
Thanks. For. That.
Weird way of saying Sarri…
It is always fun when outlets Mediawatch themselves. It saves us a job, for which we are eternally grateful.
So thank you to The Sun, whose headline of ‘Chelsea have created more chances than their top four rivals despite being hammered for boring Sarriball’ caught the eye on Wednesday.
‘MAURIZIO Sarri has been heavily criticised for his ‘Sarriball’ tactics but stats prove that Chelsea are creating more chances than any of their top four rivals,’ the piece begins.
‘The Italian has been slammed by supporters on countless occasions this season with many even demanding Roman Abramovich swings the axe.’
A couple of paragraphs later, Richard Forrester continues:
‘Chelsea currently sit sixth, three points behind Arsenal in fourth but with a game in hand over their rivals.
‘But the stats show that supporters should keep the faith in their manager because the lack of goals over their rivals is not through the lack of trying.’
Those pesky ‘supporters’ just don’t get it, do they? They don’t see that a team in sixth and three points behind fourth with a game in hand, likely to at least reach the Europa League quarter-finals having been beaten on penalties in the League Cup final, and three points better off than they were at this stage last season, are actually doing alright.
They don’t see that they ‘should keep the faith’ because Sarri is doing a fine job despite all the criticism.
They are ‘even demanding Roman Abramovich swings the axe’.
Those bloody ‘supporters’.
Mediawatch has just one question: when did Neil Ashton start supporting Chelsea?
‘Marko Arnautovic is frustrated after being frozen out by Manuel Pellegrini’ – Daily Mail.
Maybe don’t try and leave for another club in the middle of the season next time?
Recommended reading of the day
Ian Herbert interviews Aaron Lennon about mental health.
Andy Hunter previews Bayern Munich v Liverpool.
Michael Cox on Cristiano Ronaldo and last night in Turin.