Hyperbole of the day
The award goes to Neil Ashton in The Sun, who describes Manchester United’s Super Cup defeat to Real Madrid as ‘a very, very sad night for English football’.
We’re not sure how everyone will recover…
Ashton really is full of woe like Wednesday’s child after watching Manchester United on Tuesday. ‘Desperate’, ‘dreadful’ and ‘damning’ are just three of the one-word sentences he uses to emphasise that woe, while the headline labels Manchester United’s players as ‘flops’. We like that losing one game makes you a flop now; patience was so overrated anyway.
It’s not just Manchester United that are making Ashton sad, though, but our game as a whole:
‘Our game, no matter how much we pump up the monied world of the Premier League, has fallen a long way behind.
‘Zizou’s side, along with Barcelona and Bayern Munich, are playing something different, something beyond the reach of English clubs.
‘We watch it, we see it, we appear helpless to do anything about it.’
Manchester City might want a word, Neil. They beat Barcelona in the Champions League in their last meeting nine months ago. You wrote that it was ‘a glimpse of the glory days ahead’, at the time.
You can expect a lot of this in the next ten months
‘Manchester United have made waves in the transfer market in recent years, splashing millions of pounds to get them back to the top in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era.
‘They broke the transfer record to land Paul Pogba from Juventus for £89million last year – a record that has since been shattered by Neymar’s switch to PSG – and spent £75million to lure Romelu Lukaku from Everton a few weeks ago.
‘Boss Jose Mourinho will be hopeful that the big-money signings will deliver them plenty of trophies… except they missed the chance to do that last night.’
So reads the Mail Online article under the headline ‘Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku cost £165million… but can’t score from six yards out!’.
Top tip: Not every player scores every chance. Even the expensive ones.
Still, Mail Online have nothing on BBC Sport, and their live text from the Super Cup final:
‘They could have been dead and buried a minute previously, but United claw a goal back. The Red Devils are helped by horrendous Keylor Navas goalkeeping, as he parries Nemanja Matic’s shot back into the danger area. On hand is Romelu Lukaku to tuck the ball into the net. Even he could not miss from there.’
Yes, ‘even’ the Premier League’s second top goalscorer from last season.
Goals, goals, goals
‘Who will top PL scoring charts?’ is the question asked by Sky Sports on Wednesday, and it’s a good one. What is a thousand times better is how they work out the answer with some piping hot nonsense.
‘Could Alexandre Lacazette continue Lyon goal ratio to top Premier League scoring charts?’ is the headline when you click into the piece, to which is the answer is ‘probably not, no’.
You see, what Sky Sports have done, rather than offering an intelligent take on who might actually be top scorer and how many goals they will score, is take their goals per minute from last season and assume perfect conditions in 2017/18.
Forget that players might perform worse in a tougher division, because Dwight Gayle will definitely score 37 Premier League goals next season and Tomer Hemed and Glenn Murray will definitely score 21 and 23 goals respectively.
Forget that a striker is incredibly unlikely to play every minute of every game and assume they will anyway, because Alexandre Lacazette really could score 40 goals. Of course he bloody could.
‘Swansea striker Tammy Abraham, on loan from Chelsea, would outscore team-mate Fernando Llorente on 23 goals,’ begins Mediawatch’s favourite paragraph. ‘If he can maintain his form of 23 goals from 3,424 minutes in the Championship for Bristol City last term.’ The ‘if’ is doing plenty of work in that sentence.
Still, you heard them: Nineteen different players scoring 20 or more goals. Sure.
Laying it on a little thick
Expecting club websites to be neutral is a little ambitious, but Mediawatch has been enjoying the work of Manchester United’s official site in recent weeks. In the countdown to United’s Super Cup tie against Real Madrid, they cracked up the buttering up of Jose Mourinho to eleven.
All the following are taken from a single preview story:
– ‘The reason for optimism is Mourinho’s record as a serial winner and unflinching, relentless and ruthless determination to bring more silverware, and glory, to Old Trafford.’
– ‘He is certain to be in ‘game mode’ as he arrives in the Macedonian capital and, make no mistake, will be hell bent on hatching a plan that will unsettle his former club Real.’
– ‘That will not be the only motivation for a manager whose fierce competitive nature burns brighter than ever.’
– ‘If there are any weaknesses in Real’s armoury, you can be sure Mourinho will have identified them and had this ultimate test in his mind for some time.’
– ‘In a contest that is more likely to be fiery than friendly, bank on Jose’s United attempting to cook up the right formula to overcome Madrid’s aristocrats.’
– ‘While Zidane built up his personality during a stellar playing career, the United boss is all about his incredible work as a coach, arguably making tactics ‘cool’ for a younger generation.’
– ‘It was often said Sir Alex Ferguson had a sharp memory on matches and events but Mourinho’s grasp of the game is impressively far-reaching.’
– ‘As is always the case when covering his press conferences on the continent, he was respectful to the hosts and is never afraid to display his vast knowledge of football.’
– ‘He effortlessly shifts between Spanish and English with his answers, as journalists try to keep up with special headsets relaying live translation.’
– ‘Of course, languages are no problem for Jose and he projects a confident air’
Pyongyang are on the phone. They reckon this is all a bit much.
The new fairytale
‘As a shopaholic sport goes bananas, Spurs — Lord love ’em — have not spent a single bean. Tottenham’s balance sheet is so wonderfully avant-garde chairman Daniel Levy should enter it for the Turner Prize. If Spurs win the Premier League having achieved a lower net spend than any other Premier League club over five years, it would arguably be a more sensational achievement even than Leicester’s title triumph’ – Dave Kidd, The Sun.
Dave, it really wouldn’t.
'WE ARE A JOKE!'
— Eurosport UK (@Eurosport_UK) August 9, 2017
That is the tweet from Eurosport on Wednesday morning, poking fun at Tottenham Hotspur for releasing a season DVD for their 2016/17 season, when they finished second in the Premier League and reached the FA Cup semi-final. The accusation is that Spurs deserve to be mocked for being small-time.
What isn’t mentioned: Club release season DVDs all the bloody time. A very quick search reveals that West Brom and Burnley both released them for 2016/17.
Must try harder with the trolling…
Slight difference of opinion
‘PSG ready to offer over £80m for Alexis Sanchez as they try to beat Manchester City to wantaway Arsenal star’ – Independent, Tuesday 3.45pm.
‘Paris Saint-Germain drop their interest in Alexis Sanchez giving Arsenal huge boost ahead of season’ – Daily Telegraph, Tuesday 8.03pm.
Glad that’s cleared up.
Changing your tune
‘Paris Saint-Germain drop their interest in Alexis Sanchez giving Arsenal huge boost ahead of season’ – Daily Telegraph, August 8.
‘Alexis Sanchez’s Arsenal future in doubt again after he is ruled out of Leicester game’ – Daily Telegraph, August 9.
‘Depending on who you believe, Arsenal forward Alexis Sánchez is either on the brink of joining Paris St-Germain, considering a move to Manchester City or, you know, doing what he is paid handsomely to do and remain an Arsenal player’ – Daily Telegraph, August 9.
Maybe go with your chief football correspondent, given that is presumably what you are paying him for.
‘Gloomy and tired United land back home at 3.30am as Marouane Fellaini looks groggy following nasty head clash with Real’s Sergio Ramos’ – The Sun.
Either that or Fellaini is just pictured walking with his head down. One of the two.
Questionable advice of the day
If you followed Merse’s predictions each week, you’d end up in a healthy 14 per cent profit. That means Merse’s predictions in 2016/17 were more fruitful than any high street cash ISA, and comfortably beat the FTSE 100 over the same period’ – Sky Sports.
The bank of Merse. Jesus.
Recommended reading of the day
Jonathan Liew on the loneliness of the out-of-work manager.
Jack Lang on Alan Ruschel.
Nick Ames with Pep Clotet.