Disturbing sensual reaction of the day
‘The smell of Champions League football, especially when Real Madrid are on show, can be intoxicating and intimidating’ – Neil Ashton, The Sun.
We’ve spent a few minutes trying to work out what an ‘intimidating’ smell would be, and have concluded that it can only be raw sewage. What are those Real Madrid players eating?
All about Harry
Now Mediawatch isn’t suggesting that the Daily Telegraph’s Paul Hayward knew what – or who – he was writing about before Tottenham’s draw in the Bernabeu, but we are a little shocked that anyone’s key conclusion from that game could be that ‘Harry Kane proves he belongs in the company of Cristiano Ronaldo’.
It’s not that Kane didn’t play perfectly adequately – although he did miss his one big chance – more that there were at least six Tottenham players who played better. As Martin Samuel wrote in the Daily Mail in his opening line: ‘Forget Harry Kane for just one moment.’
In fairness to Hayward, his actual piece is far more balanced than that headline. Have a word.
This kind of thing isn’t going to help, guys
And while we’re on the subject of hyperbolic Daily Telegraph headlines, Manchester City’s home game against Napoli provoked another belter:
‘Can Raheem Sterling really become the saviour of English football?’ it asks. To which the answers are a) almost certainly not, b) who on earth is asking that question?, c) do we really need him to be? and d) if we do need him to be, this kind of thing isn’t going to help.
Not only does Luke Edwards, the author of that piece, not mention the word ‘saviour’, the only thing he even says about Sterling and England is this: ‘All we need now is for him to transfer this sort of form onto the international stage, and we need to help him do that with encouragement rather than criticism.’
Oh and not deliberately placing unrealistic expectations on him that he is bound to fall short of. Absolutely ridiculous.
There is no doubt that Liverpool were mightily impressive in swatting aside Maribor on Tuesday night, and Mediawatch would not want to demean that victory. But we really must take issue with the Daily Mirror’s man on Merseyside David Maddock’s assessment that Maribor are ‘seasoned Champions League performers’.
Alternative description: This is only Maribor’s second Champions League proper campaign since 2000. They have won one Champions League or European Cup game in their history, in September 1999.
Live and learn
Packaging things in manageable (and numbered) chunks is an effective way of selling pieces to readers with short attention spans, but we are in serious danger of scraping the barrel. On Tuesday evening, the Mirror Football website ran the following feature: ‘7 things we noticed from Manchester United training session ahead of Champions League clash with Benfica’.
Witness how Manchester United’s players trained in a circle (1), Jose Mourinho smiled once (2), Luke Shaw laughed once (3), Romelu Lukaku spoke (4), Phil Jones wore a pink vest (other players did too, but apparently that wasn’t ‘noticed’) (5), Juan Mata headed the ball (6) and Ander Herrera also laughed once (7). Apparently that proves that he ‘absolutely loves it at Manchester United’.
Make it stop.
I’m sad to see Craig Shakespeare lose his job. Seems to me there are some fairly deep problems to sort out at Leicester. #staybritish
— Richard Keys (@richardajkeys) October 17, 2017
Brought to you by the man living in Qatar about a club that achieved its greatest triumph under a foreign manager. #StayKeysey.
Hit out of luck
Chelsea have something of an injury crisis, and on Tuesday Antonio Conte spoke about that injury crisis:
“It’s very important to go game by game, the situation is difficult, we have to play every three days and it’s not simple. In this moment we are very thin and same players always have to play. Honestly there is this type of risk to have these injuries. But I hope not.
“I think the best way now for us is to follow, to go game by game, and then to decide in every game which is the best formation, and whether sometimes to take risks or not about our players.
“I think the problem is we are playing always the same players. We have in our team players who are not used to playing three games in a row. Kante it is the first time he has played play three games in a row. Moses it is the first time he has played three games in a row. Morata is not used to playing regularly. When you have a lot of games you need to rotate players, when it is not possible you have to take risks.”
You see Conte’s point. He has injuries in key positions: Alvaro Morata, Kante, Danny Drinkwater, Moses.
Only in The Sun’s world could those quotes be translated as ‘Antonio Conte has hit out at his bosses over Chelsea’s mounting injury problems’. He never even mentioned the poor buggers.
It’s still an addiction, part 3274
‘The Stressful One’ – The Sun.
Headline writing is an easy gig whenever Jose Mourinho speaks.
Weird (and unnecessary) piece of the day
‘Spurs fans have been a bit puzzled over their club’s poor form at Wembley this season. Last Saturday, they did get at last get a Premier League win at their temporary home – against Bournemouth – on an occasion designated ‘Punjabi Day’ by the club to mark local community groups.
‘Mind you, the half-time entertainment of Punjabi dancers, dressed in spectacular Techi-color costumes and sparkly turbans, moving to the sound of ‘Glory, Glory, Tottenham Hotspur’ did leave a lot of supporters confused’ – Andrew Dillon, The Sun.
We’re just not quite sure what Dillon is trying to say here.
As ever when reading his pieces, we recall his answer to the question ‘One sporting event outside football you would love to experience?’ in a Football Writers’ Association interview.
‘A night with BBC newsreader Susanna Reid? Does that count?’ was Dillon’s response.
It does count. It counts as an incredibly revealing insight.
Worst. Tweet. Ever.
— Matthew Syed (@matthewsyed) October 18, 2017
What a man.
Worst headline of the day
‘Barcelona who? Incredible stat proves Guardiola’s Man City are the real deal’ – Metro.
1) ‘Barcelona who?’ makes absolutely no sense.
2) The ‘incredible stat’ is that City have a better goal difference than any other team in Europe. That’s neither surprising nor a bitter blow to Barcelona.
Recommended reading of the day
Archie Rhind-Tutt on Peter Gulasci.
Miguel Delaney on Jose Mourinho at Benfica.
Sasa Ibrulj with Edin Dzeko.