Frankly, my dear…
‘At the start of the season, you may have heard me say this on Sky Sports: “If you think Frank Lampard should finish in the top four and win a cup, then you’re deluded.”
‘I stand by that statement now.
‘Nobody should have been expecting this. But the fact that Chelsea have qualified for the Champions League and are in the FA Cup final shows what a remarkable job Lampard has done.’
Jamie Redknapp there – reminding us of what he said on Sky Sports in August to illustrate what a ‘remarkable’ job his cousin Frank has done to finish one place and six points worse off than last season.
And here – for balance – is the deluded Jamie Redknapp in the Daily Mail at the start of the season: predicting Chelsea to finish fourth and win the FA Cup.
Is it too much to remember what you said literally the week before?
‘LIVERPOOL have won the title by 18 points but it won’t be a one-horse race next season,’ ‘writes’ Alan Shearer in The Sun.
‘Manchester United and Chelsea will join Manchester City in making sure Jurgen Klopp doesn’t find it another cruise at the top.
‘The Big Four are all back in the Champions League following their final fixtures yesterday.’
Would that be the Big Four that had literally never finished in the top four places of the Premier League before? That Big Four? You can’t just capitalise this sh*t and pretend it is A Thing.
The proof that the Big Four is a nonsense is in the headline on Shearer’s piece on The Sun website…
‘Man Utd, Chelsea and Man City will challenge Liverpool in four-horse Prem race… but Arsenal are still off the pace’
Shearer does not mention Arsenal in any other context than as FA Cup finalists and yet they simply had to crowbar them into the headline. It’s almost like Arsenal still garner more clicks than half the, erm, Big Four.
Writes Barney Ronay in The Guardian: ‘The four wealthiest clubs in England will now take up those four spots and compete in the world’s glitziest midweek league. The teams who are usually the teams are once again the teams.’
Except the teams have never been the teams before.
Believe it or not!
Elsewhere in the same column, Alan Shearer explains that it would be ‘an unbelievable season’ for Manchester United to finish in third (33 points behind the champions) and win the Europa League.
If Shearer literally could not countenance the notion that United would finish third in a title race for which they were universally fourth favourites, and win a tournament for which they have never been less than joint favourites, then somebody needs to tell him about Leicester winning the title. It will blow his mind.
The campaign to paint this as a brilliant season for Manchester United is in full swing, with the Mirror website headline of ‘Man Utd finish top of the Premier League and unbeaten from day Bruno Fernandes joined’ being accompanied by this:
‘Bruno Fernandes delivers again to show Man Utd can pile pressure on Liverpool and Man City’
Which is odd because we have read Andy Dunn’s Mirror match report and he says absolutely nothing of the sort. What he does say is this:
‘If Solskjaer and the United board continue to invest as wisely as they did when finally getting the Fernandes deal done, then they can look forward to narrowing the gap between themselves and the top two.
‘That gap remains sizeable.’
‘As for United, this is a creditable achievement but this is also a side that will have to improve markedly to take a hand in next season’s title race.’
Does that sound like Bruno Fernandes has ‘delivered again to show Man Utd can pile pressure on Liverpool and Man City’ to you? Or does it sound like if Man United spend some more money they might not be 33 points adrift next season?
Crooks of the matter
We did wonder where to start with Garth Crooks’ team of the season on the BBC. Then we thought ‘start with the goalkeeper, you dicks’ and that made it much easier.
‘Playing from the back has now become almost an obsession but the heart of goalkeeping is about clean sheets. Ederson has done that better, and on more occasions, than anyone in the Premier League this season and with it won the Golden Gloves award. He deserves our congratulations.’
He has indeed kept the most clean sheets – beating Nick Pope to that particular honour. Let’s just ignore that he faces 2.86 shots on target per game compared to Pope’s 4.47, shall we? And ignore that the list of goalkeepers with a better save percentage than Ederson is long. This long to be precise: Hugo Lloris, Dean Henderson, David De Gea, Vicente Guaita, Alisson, Bernd Leno, Kasper Schmeichel, Nick Pope, Martin Dubravka, Lukasz Fabianski, Rui Patricio and Alex McCarthy.
So well done Ederson, for being the 13th best shot-stopper in the Premier League. Here’s an award.
In defence, Crooks has picked Harry Maguire, because he ‘actually carried Manchester United until Bruno Fernandes burst onto the scene. Not to acknowledge Maguire’s contribution to United’s top-four achievement would have been an outrage. That is why I have selected the England centre-back in my team of the season.’
Save your ‘outrage’ for the Daily Mail then. They asked ten of their experts and writers and not a single one picked Maguire in their team of the season. And for once we absolutely agree with the Daily Mail.
We’re too discombobulated to even question Raheem Sterling in midfield and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on the right of a front three.
‘Timo Werner could receive dream Chelsea shirt No. as transfer departure confirmed’ – Mirror.
It’s one hell of a way to say that Pedro has left Chelsea.
Recommended reading of the day
Miguel Delaney on this odd transfer window
Seb Stafford-Bloor on David Silva
Recommended listening of the day
🚨NEW POD ALERT🚨 @acjimbo, @danielstorey85, @oilysailor & @Zonal_Marking:
🔀Final day twist: there was no twist
4⃣Weary #MUFC get CL spot
🔵Hats off to Lampard @MattDaviesAdams
🍒What now for Howe?
👉30-day @TheAthleticUK trial https://t.co/5ncdllwBW1 pic.twitter.com/PXhNaf4LtX
— The Totally Football Show (@TheTotallyShow) July 27, 2020