Mediawatch: Coutinho x 27 and Dean Saunders defends…

Date published: Wednesday 3rd January 2018 12:02

This is our league
Where to start with Dean Saunders and his nonsensical guff on talkSPORT? As tempting as it is to start with his insistence on using the words “our league” over and over again like some kind of footballing Farage, we should instead begin with the Pep Guardiola quotes that prompted this outburst.

“We are going to kill them. I think the federation (FA) has to reflect. Here in England, we don’t protect the players and that is a big mistake. You have to look for the quality, not the quantity. You can play every three, four or five days but not play every two days. It is not basketball, it is not tennis. The players need recovery.”

Guardiola is of course right; by any sensible measure, it is ridiculous to expect modern-day athletes to play four games of football in ten or 11 days. It is a view echoed by just about every manager in the Premier League in 2018.

Saunders’ response?

“It’s tradition. Your granddad used to take you to Boxing Day games and the supporters love it. The stadiums are full. The players like it, the fans like it… and the managers like it.”

Mediawatch obviously missed the part where Guardiola raged against the tradition of Boxing Day football (and Saunders’ granddad). But carry on, Dean…

“The FA will decide the fixture list; you just manage your football team and don’t complain about our league. I’ve played in foreign leagues and they are nothing like our league – it’s brilliant.”

Saunders has indeed played “in foreign leagues”; he spent one season in Turkey with Galatasaray and one season in Portugal with Benfica. Almost 20 years ago. Thus he is an expert on all things foreign.

Oddly enough, Mediawatch chooses to place more credence on the opinion of a man who has won 12 league titles as player and manager in Spain and Germany and is about to win a 13th in ‘our league’. We suspect he may have rather more data on the fitness of his own footballers than a man who spends his time embellishing stories about Brian Clough.

Unfortunately for Saunders, he has not managed a full festive fixture list and absolutely not complained about our league for five years; Chesterfield sacked him in November 2015 after four straight defeats.


Coutinho Coutinho Coutinho
We’re not saying that the Daily Express website is obsessed but the word ‘Coutinho’ appears on their homepage 27 times on Wednesday morning.

Our favourite headline:

‘Bookies ‘convinced’ Coutinho is joining Barcelona – and they reveal exactly how they know’

SPOILER: It’s because some people have placed some bets.


Pat Cash
For obvious reasons, The Sun are the one newspaper who were not briefed by Liverpool and/or Philippe Coutinho that a £133m offer from Barcelona would be accepted by all concerned. But they do have a back-page story on the Brazilian…

‘LIVERPOOL are ready to demand £100million up front in CASH for Philippe Coutinho.’

That is one hell of a suitcase.


Football media in 2018
Headline on The Sun website:

‘Steve McClaren slammed for suggesting Liverpool should try and land Arsenal star Alexis Sanchez to replace Philippe Coutinho’

(by two people on Twitter).


Deputy Dawg
Should Liverpool want to begin an entirely pointless pursuit of Alexis Sanchez then they are in luck, because the Daily Telegraph website brings us this headline…

‘Football transfer news and rumours: ‘Arsene Wenger could be open to selling Alexis Sanchez this month”

Now those of a cynical nature might wonder why the Telegraph would quote a piece from the Daily Mirror, who were at the very same press conference as their Deputy Football Correspondent Jeremy Wilson, and relegate Wilson’s own piece from the football homepage. Especially when both Mirror man John Cross and Wilson used exactly the same quotes.

Those Wenger quotes:

“We are open in any position for the exceptional player who can give us a plus, therefore of course it depends a little bit on the injuries and, on the other hand, I must say it depends on who will manage to extend the contracts of the players who are on the end of their contracts in June.”

Silly Jeremy Wilson; he really didn’t come to the clickier correct conclusion when he wrote that ‘Arsene Wenger has admitted for the first time that his January strategy will be shaped by the contract stand-offs with Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil’, entirely failing to notice the subtext.

Which prompts the question: Why keep a Deputy Football Correspondent and bark yourself?


BREAKING: Nothing has happened

Mediawatch eagerly awaits another 63 tweets about this weekend’s FA Cup managers.


Insight of the day
“I sit next to Andy in the changing room every day and I know scoring goals means a lot to him, as it does every striker” – Mark Noble.

Mediawatch literally never sits next to Andy Carroll so we had no sodding idea that he likes scoring goals. Thanks, Mark.


Recommended reading of the day
Miguel Delaney on Jose Mourinho.

Adam Bate on Arsenal.

Mark Ogden on Chelsea.

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