Roll up, roll up…
The Sun’s Neil Ashton was at Rochdale on Sunday and his match report begins: ‘NOBODY wearing blue wanted to leave the place.’
Well it’s not every day you get to see the Busby Babes, Shankly’s Liverpool and Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United all rolled into one.
If you insist…
From the back page of the Daily Mirror: ‘ROCHDALE hero Steve Davies insisted he never gave up believing in an FA Cup miracle.’
Why the f*** did he need to ‘insist’? Did they ask him for proof?
24 hours in the brain of John Cross
Doing the FA Cup sixth round draw now is an absolute joke. It’s two days and two big ties before the fifth round is concluded. You are killing the FA Cup. Killing it. Absolutely ridiculous.
— John Cross (@johncrossmirror) February 17, 2018
Rochdale get last gasp 2-2 draw. The magic of the FA Cup alive and well no matter how people try to kill it. Love the cup.
— John Cross (@johncrossmirror) February 18, 2018
Celebrate good times…come on
Romelu Lukaku has scored 21 goals in all competitions this season; only three players in English football have scored more – Harry Kane, Sergio Aguero and Mo Salah.
He scored twice against Huddersfield Town on Saturday to take his recent record to six goals in eight games.
So obviously this is the perfect time for Chris Sutton to extensively criticise the Belgian in his Daily Mail column for scoring goals against the wrong kind of opposition.
‘Why don’t we see these fearsome displays more often?
‘The major criticism levelled at Lukaku is that he is a flat-track bully. All but one of his 12 Premier League goals have been scored against teams currently in the bottom half, with the other against ninth-placed Everton.
‘Those goals have helped United beat teams they struggled to break down last season.’
Indeed. There’s your answer. Oh, you haven’t finished…
‘It is not just goals that are lacking against United’s top-six rivals but performances, too. In six matches against Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and Tottenham, he has mustered four shots on target.’
He also mustered an assist against Tottenham but it’s worth noting that Lukaku has only had eight shots in those six games; for contrast, Harry Kane has had 40 shots in seven games against top-six opposition. It’s hardly sodding surprising that Kane has scored more goals.
‘While Jose Mourinho’s negative tactics can mean chances are at a premium, I thought Lukaku’s pace would allow United to launch devastating counter-attacks. So far that has not materialised.’
We suspect that Lukaku cannot launch devastating counter-attacks alone, Chris. One-man counter-attacks are more shit than devastating.
‘United’s poor form against the teams around them has prevented them from challenging Manchester City for the title. What is stopping him in the big games?’
So United’s form against certain teams is ‘poor’ but we are only asking what is stopping Lukaku? What is stopping all the other players from creating chances for him?
‘Lukaku has all the attributes to be a top player. But he does not have the killer instinct that the likes of Sergio Aguero and Harry Kane possess.’
That ‘killer instinct’ has led to Kane boasting a 15% conversion rate in the Premier League this season; Lukaku’s is 17%. That’s not to say that Lukaku is a better striker than Kane, but Kane does not have almost twice as many goals only because he has ‘killer instinct’; it’s at least partly because he takes more than twice the number of shots. And some of the blame for that must lie somewhere other than the feet of Lukaku.
Oh but Sutton has a theory…
‘Lukaku appears to be a laidback character but sometimes he looks uninterested. I have never understood why he chooses not to celebrate some of his goals. Celebrating is impulsive. That buzz you get from scoring is the reason you play football. Is it a visible display of his frustration that he cannot score against the best?’
So he occasionally does not celebrate goals because he is frustrated that he is only scoring goals against the likes of Bournemouth? And you choose to espouse this theory after a match in which he celebrated both goals he scored against Huddersfield Town?
It’s almost like it’s all absolute bollocks.
From the BBC’s match report in December 1999 of Chelsea’s 6-1 win over third division Hull City:
‘Chelsea’s £10m star Chris Sutton, suffering jeers of derision for an early miss, was glad of the chance to add to his two-goal tally for the season.
‘He was more than a little keen to remind the scornful Hull fans – and the rest of the footballing world – of his shirt number after heading home wingback Jon Harley’s cross on the half hour.’
Yes, that was Chris Sutton – celebrating wildly after the third of his three goals in a season at Chelsea. Against third division Hull. Maybe he should have been a bit more laidback.
Man United Man United Man United
When you work for the Manchester United section of a Manchester-based newspaper, you spend most of your days thinking of links to reasons to report seemingly irrelevant news. Hence in the Manchester Evening News…
‘Chelsea player Eden Hazard responds to Manchester United transfer talk’
If, like us, you are wondering ‘what Manchester United transfer talk?’ then you – like us – had forgotten that The Sun claimed about two months ago that Jose Mourinho was ‘planning a British record £90million move for Chelsea star Eden Hazard’. Yes, before they signed Alexis Sanchez, thus making that transfer rumour entirely defunct.
But still, here is Eden Hazard ‘responding to Manchester United talk’.
Except, well you can probably guess that Telefoot never mentioned Manchester United in their Hazard interview.
Trick or treat
‘Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard treats model girlfriend Jena Frumes to lunch after Huddersfield FA Cup win’ – MailOnline.
Leaving aside the small point that he only played nine minutes in that game so it is hardly relevant to anything but SEO, how do you know he paid for lunch?
Oh, you don’t; you just assumed because he’s a footballer and she’s a model.
Apparently it’s still 1987.
Clickbait of the day
Ex-Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool star announces retirement at the age of 35 – Shoot.
Well that’s one way to break the news of the retirement of the former England women’s captain Casey Stoney.
It’s 2018: Clickbait sees no gender.