Garth Crooks look like a silly old man as he discusses Paul Pogba and Mo Salah, while Stan Collymore thinks Chelsea are good under Thomas Tuchel by accident.
Hair of the Pog
It’s a good day for Mediawatch when Garth Crooks is trending. It’s not such a good day for Garth Crooks, who frankly looks like a very silly, very bitter old man with his inclusion of Paul Pogba in his BBC team of the week. Not because Pogba does not deserve his place – he absolutely does – but because Crooks’ comments are petty and ludicrous. Absolutely ludicrous.
‘Why am I not surprised? Paul Pogba playing for Manchester United at the business end of the season. It’s not like him to miss a party.’
Well, he has enjoyed more than his fair share of parties after winning the four Serie A titles and the actual World Cup.
‘Harry Maguire, Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford have been ever-present for Manchester United and kept the ship afloat while Pogba was fixing his hair.’
Paul Pogba literally had coronavirus. And then he twice got injured. But do carry on…
‘The French star made the occasional contribution and even got in to my team of the week on occasions with some wonderful performances. I feel loathed to select him on this occasion but with a performance like this against Aston Villa what can I do?’
Erm, not be a prick about it?
Garth Crooks is incapable of picking Paul Pogba in his team of the week without criticising him in some way. Or multiple ways.
This has been going on for nearly five years now. Give it a rest, Garth. pic.twitter.com/Sw4ygdadKX
— GoalScorer Challenge (@GoalscorerC) May 11, 2021
If there is one player that Garth Crooks dislikes as much as Paul Pogba it is Mo Salah.
He wrote this in October 2020:
‘Salah needs to be careful, I’ve seen him sacrifice his team-mate before for glory. The reason Liverpool have been so successful is due to the collaboration of their front three. Didn’t the Beatles break up over something rather petty?’
And then literally the following week:
‘I wonder if Henderson might have a gentle word with Salah to remind him that he has placed himself among the Liverpool greats – and not to spoil it with cheap nonsense like diving.’
This week – under cover of praising Thiago – Crooks manages to slip in this nugget:
‘Mohamed Salah only seems interested in the Golden Boot and I think that is having a negative effect on some of his teammates.’
It seems important to point out that not only did Liverpool win on Saturday night but Salah actually created the opening goal for Sadio Mane. A job at The Sun beckons, Garth.
A Tuch lucky
Stan Collymore has previously written that ‘Frank Lampard will build a team capable of winning the title’ and described him as the ‘brightest English coach to emerge for a generation’. He then wrote after Lampard was sacked by Chelsea: ‘That is the idiocy of Chelsea in 2021 because I’m not sure any coach could have done any better with this group of players than Lampard.’
So we were very much prepared to use the word ‘begrudging’ while reading his piece in the Daily Mirror about Thomas Tuchel. But we were not quite prepared to read that the German’s achievements – reaching two cup finals and almost guaranteeing a top-four place with 17 wins in 25 games in which they have conceded just 11 goals – were ‘more by accident than design’. Even for Collymore, that is phenomenal.
‘WHEN Thomas Tuchel arrived at Chelsea as Frank Lampard’s replacement in January, the lack of time he had to get to work looked like it could be an albatross around his neck.
‘But actually, it now appears to have been the reverse and something which has worked massively in his favour.’
Ah, so it turns out that he has outperformed Lampard because he had less time. The lucky sod. If only Lampard had not been given all that bloody time.
‘Tuchel did not have to sweat the minutiae that dogged Lampard’s latter days at Chelsea.’
Mediawatch is genuinely baffled here but the theme seems to be that Tuchel had it easy.
‘He didn’t have the two to three months some incoming managers have to look at his squad and give great thought to how he wanted to do things.
‘He simply knew he needed to stop other teams scoring against them and that, bit by bit, he could start to build confidence on the training ground and get those exciting forwards they have in Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Hakim Ziyech and Co firing.’
That’s simply all he had to do. And if Lampard had less time, he could have presumably done the same. Curse that damn minutiae.
‘And, while it may well have been more by accident than design given the timeframes he had to work to, here he is having guided Chelsea to two major finals already.’
Just by accident!
‘What will be fascinating now is what happens next season with Tuchel, between match days one and six or seven, when we will find out if he is an intuitive coach or a numbers and books coach.
‘If he makes the mistakes Guardiola made early this season with his defence, the same mistakes Lampard made by letting in goals, then we’ll know he’s just another do-it-by-the-book manager.’
First, let’s take a minute for Guardiola and Lampard being mentioned in the same breath as similar managers with similar flaws, and then ask exactly why Tuchel should avoid being like the coach who is on the verge of winning his third Premier League title in four years.
‘Both will suck their fans into believing they can achieve something, but both have the spine and bottle of a jellyfish’ – Stan Collymore on Manchester United and Arsenal, November 3, Daily Mirror.
Fast-forward to May 2021 and Collymore is urging Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ‘to channel his inner-Keano’ as his team sits in second and is two weeks away from a European final.
Just give it up, fella.
“Hopefully [the Europa League final] will be OK with Harry. I don’t know. We need to check it. It might be a few weeks or a month – we don’t know,” said Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Sunday.
So what kind of mental gymnastics are needed for Charlie Wyett to claim an ‘exclusive’ in The Sun that ‘HARRY MAGUIRE looks set to miss Manchester United’s final four Premier League games in his race against time to be fit for the Europa League final’? Solskjaer pretty much confirmed exactly that live on television.
It does say in the second line that Maguire is ‘awaiting the results of an scan’; maybe they were sent to Wyett instead. It’s a GDPR minefield.
‘MARCUS RASHFORD’S No1 target is bringing silverware back to Manchester United – not breaking Wayne Rooney’s goals records’ – The Sun.
Wise. They have a Europa League final in two weeks and it will take over ten years for him to break Rooney’s record.
Recommended reading of the day
Jonathan Liew on Real Madrid ruining footballers