The big question
Paul Merson has noticed something: Arsenal aren’t doing very well.
The ‘former Gunners great’ is given a platform to air his views by the Daily Star, and he grasps the opportunity.
His main gripe is with manager Arsene Wenger’s record in the transfer market. He states:
“He’s always bought players no-one else wants, not household names. Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil are the only ones.
“Why haven’t they bought a Zlatan Ibrahimovic, a Gonzalo Higuain or a Karim Benzema? They won’t pay the money.”
Fair points, even if you don’t agree with them. But Merse is not done.
“Arsenal is run as a business first and a football club second. But where’s Calum Chambers now? Where’s Rob Holding? It’s not good enough.”
Ah yes, the question every Arsenal fan is asking: Where are Calum Chambers and Rob Holding?
Roll the Dyche
So yes, Arsenal are struggling. Luckily, Mediawatch doesn’t even have to venture further than the Daily Star to find out what steps the club need to take next to ensure future success.
‘As the great debacle rages about who will eventually replace Arsene Wenger, it’s amazing that one boss keeps getting overlooked,’ writes David Woods.
So, who is this mystery manager who ‘keeps getting overlooked’? Which individual is being unfairly ignored in discussions as to who should replace Wenger.
Why, it’s obvious, isn’t it? It’s Sean Dyche. You silly people.
And why is Sean Dyche being overlooked? It’s because he ‘is managing an unfashionable club in Burnley’, you see. But there is one other factor which means Stan Kroenke will not even consider his job application: He is ginger.
Yes, David Woods believes that one of the main reasons Dyche will not be appointed Wenger’s successor is because he is ginger. Which is delightful.
But he continues:
‘He may look like a night-club bouncer and have that croaky voice, but the work Dyche has done at Turf Moor deserves massive credit and he hasn’t earned the nickname ‘The Ginger Mourinho’ for nothing.
‘While Eddie Howe at struggling Bournemouth is as short as 4-1 favourite to take over at the Emirates, Dyche isn’t even in the betting with most bookmakers, although BetVictor do go 66-1.
‘However, just look at the Premier League table – the Clarets are 12th, two places ahead of the Cherries and 10 points above the drop zone.’
Arsenal appointing a manager who adopts a similar style to their current boss would be stupid, but appointing a manager who adopts a very different style is the way to go. If only he wasn’t ginger.
‘Burnley came up from the Championship as champions with 93 points and although critics will point to Dyche taking them down the season before, they were relegated with their heads held high.
‘They conceded just 10 goals in their last 13 games and picked up seven points from their final three fixtures.’
And they had lost five of their previous six games in that 2014/15 relegation season. But their heads were certainly ‘held high’ as they finished on three points more than a woeful QPR side.
‘Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see, just for once, if an English manager could cut it at the top?’
We were wondering when that strand of the argument would emerge. Try Tim Sherwood at Tottenham. And although they are not English, Brendan Rodgers and David Moyes were given their chances.
Oh, and as you say yourself, David, Eddie Howe is one of the favourites for the Arsenal job. He’s a little bit English.
‘Dyche doesn’t mind dishing it out either, claiming earlier this season Antonio Conte at Chelsea is considered a tactical genius because he is foreign but would be labelled a dinosaur if he were English.
‘A bit harsh, but overall he does have a point.’
For the 427th time, you can think that Dyche has done a brilliant job at Burnley without also thinking that he is the man to replace Wenger.
Wenger’s future as Arsenal manager dominates the newspapers – although there is strangely no further mention of Sean Dyche or his whole ‘being ginger’ thing.
Charlie Wyett, The Sun‘s Football Editor, takes a slightly different path. He has taken a look at the Arsenal squad, and decided they need a ‘massive shake-up’ in terms of playing personnel as well as manager.
In total, Wyett looks at 22 players in the Arsenal squad, and has stated whether they should ‘STAY’ or ‘LEAVE’.
The results? Arsenal should sell 14 of their first teamers this summer. That includes Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mesut Ozil, Granit Xhaka, Nacho Monreal, Mohamed Elneny, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott. Good luck with that.
Now, considering Arsenal are selling 14 of their first-team players, they probably ought to buy someone in the summer. Antoine Griezmann, perhaps?
Arsenal fans can only hope that Dean Saunders is not appointed Arsene Wenger’s successor. He must be one of the favourites for the post, considering he isn’t ginger. But he would not sign Griezmann.
Speaking on talkSPORT on Thursday, Saunders – presumably seen as an expert – was asked for his views on the Atletico Madrid striker, who recently make public his reservations about moving to a club in England. He complained about the weather, the philistine.
“The weather?! Leave him where he is.”
Oh, but the Welshman is not done. Far from it.
“How many players have you seen that come over to England and can’t play in the cold weather, and pack in? They’re wearing gloves and scarves and snoods.
“He looks to me as if he’s more or less telling you, ‘I’m one of them’.”
“One of them” is a quite brilliant phrase to use in this context. But please Dean, continue.
“So away from home, at Bournemouth, on a Tuesday night, you might not see me tonight lads. It’s too cold. Do me a favour.
“He’s got a cheek, coming out with that. Best league in the world?”
Again, we love the ” best in the world” added to the end, as if Saunders has developed a bad case of sh*t pundit tourettes.
When asked whether he ever wore gloves as a player, Saunders replied:
“I don’t think I did. I might have worn them in the snow, because when you fall over you take the skin off your hands.”
What the f*** kind of snow has Dean Saunders been exposed to?
But his explanation for wearing gloves is quite excellent. Here is his response, word for word, stutter for stutter.
“I might have worn them once or twice, but I didn’t like, I wanted to like, you know the defenders, you can feel them on you and sometimes you grab their shirt or whatever, push them away.”
“He’s a great player, but he’s gone down in my estimations.”
Antoine Griezmann is reported to be devastated that Dean Saunders thinks a little less of him.
Against modern football
Modern footballers are terrible, aren’t they? They drive fancy cars, buy houses for their mothers and some of them don’t post pictures on Instagram every day. Some of them don’t even have an Instagram account! *shudder*
Of all the crimes a modern football can commit, Roy Keane is often the first to admonish them. As he was on Thursday evening.
“It bothered me,” he told ITV. “Pogba is a free spirit but a bit overconfident. They got on with the game in play, but it’s all part of modern game.”
So, what was the crime Pogba committed which drew the ire of Keane? Did he wear gloves while playing football? Did he brandish an imaginary card? Did he try to break Alf-Inge Haaland’s leg then brag about it in his autobiography?
No. Paul Pogba spoke to his brother, Florentin, who was also playing.
“They spoke more tonight than I have spoken to my brothers in last five years.”
You wonder why.
Says Steve Bruce of Mark Clattenburg:
“The one thing you would say about Mark is he hasn’t made any really big mistakes.”
That is not the one thing Pedro Mendes would say about Mark.
Your chief football writer thinks it’s OK to talk about WAGs because banter and, hey, they love it really
With Bacary Sagna’s Manchester City contract expiring in the summer, a number of clubs are understandably interested in signing him. He might not be the force he once was, but he offers experience.
Pray tell, Daily Mirror, what else does he offer?
Can't think of a single reason as to why the Daily Mirror would delete such a charming tweet. pic.twitter.com/OuXgXELIVr
— Football365 (@F365) February 17, 2017
Yes, that’s precisely why West Ham want to sign him. Nice touch, Crossy.
— John Cross (@johncrossmirror) February 17, 2017
Don’t play the game. Lovely to see.
Today, in Daily Telegraph land…
"You know Buzzfeed?"
"Well let's just do that"
"Exactly the same?"
"No. The same… but a bit worse" pic.twitter.com/zBUMjIvWCs
— Football365 (@F365) February 17, 2017
We can’t decide whether ‘turkey twizzlers banned from school menus’ is more worthy of being on this list than Richard Whiteley’s death.
The only surprise is that it wasn’t a gallery.
Factual headline of the day
‘Ibrahimovic is hat-trick hero’ – Daily Express.
Recommended reading of the day
Paul Doyle talks to Jon Dadi Bodvarsson about England and more.
Adam Hurrey on ‘tough places to go’.
Joel Rabinowitz on Fabio Aurelio.