Mediawatch: Hazard warning: ‘Man boobs’

Dear Sun, was a first European meeting between Liverpool and Manchester United simply not exciting enough? You had to manufacture a ‘penalty row’ on your back page, describing a ‘second controversial penalty’ despite your own match report not mentioning the incident until the 28th paragraph, when Steven Howard nonchalantly writes that Memphis Depay ‘merely succeeded in bringing down Clyne just inside the box’. It really doesn’t sound very controversial at all.

It’s almost like The Sun know they have no readers in Liverpool to p*** off.


I have a dream…
‘GOD knows what Manchester United would do without David De Gea,’ writes Steven Howard in The Sun.

Is that the same David De Gea awarded 6/10 for his efforts in The Sun’s Dream Team ratings? Which puts his performance exactly on a par with that of seven other members of Manchester United’s starting XI. But slightly better than Marouane Fellaini. Of course.


Grim reading
The top story on the football page of MailOnline at 12pm on Friday?

‘Cheer up Louis…grim-faced Manchester United boss returns to training ground as he bids to lift flops after Liverpool horror show.’

Or ‘man arrives at work’.

Oh and it was a Mercedes. Shameless.


Worst opening paragraphs ever?
‘LOUIS VAN GAAL ought to have a cat in hell’s chance of progressing to the Europa League quarter-finals after this battering. Fortunately for the Manchester United manager. He possessed a cat in hell last night – as the feline reflexes of David De Gea at least saved his side from mortal damage at Anfield.’

Ouch. And that’s the Daily Mirror’s ‘Chief’ Sports Writer. Not enough Indians, we say.


The boys from Brazil
‘If the Brazilian duo of Firmino and Coutinho were breathtaking, then England’s Adam Lallana looked even more Brazilian still as United were thoroughly outplayed,’ writes Dave Kidd, for he is incomprehensibly that Chief Sports Writer.

He perhaps should have had a word with his colleague, Merseyside man David Maddock – relegated to quotes and marks out of ten because the big Kidd was in town – who gave the ‘breathtaking’ Coutinho 6/10, Firmino 8/10 and Lallana 7/10.

Even. More. Brazilian.


Tackle this
‘There were very few tackles flying in last night,’ complains Jamie Redknapp in his ‘BIG MATCH ANALYSIS’ in the Daily Mail.

Just the 43.


Feast of Eden
Did you see footage of Eden Hazard swapping shirts with Angel Di Maria at half-time on Wednesday night…

…and think…

a) Oh for f***’s sake, somebody is going to get their knickers in a right wad about this.

b) The b***ard. What a b***ard. For shame.

c) My word, Eden Hazard is looking a tad weighty.

If you answered b), you probably wrote The Sun’s back page on Thursday. If you answered c), then commiserations, you are Jeff Powell of the Daily Mail.

His take: ‘The tell-tale elements of that picture are the roll of blubber around the belly and the first signs of man boobs on the young Belgian who we elected as this country’s Footballer of the Year last season.

‘At only just 25, Hazard looks as if he would be more at home propping up saloon bars along the King’s Road than kicking a ball around the pitch at Stamford Bridge.’

Man boobs? Mediawatch suspects the word Powell is looking for is ‘pecs’. And if that is a roll of blubber, then Mediawatch is hiding a whole whale under this over-sized jumper.


Humpty dumpty had a great fall
‘Guus Hiddink has embarked on a personal crusade to discover what’s wrong with Eden Hazard,’ writes Sami Mokbel in the Daily Mail.

‘The Belgian’s disastrous season hit a new low on Wednesday night when he was booed by his own fans and heavily criticised for swapping shirts with Angel Di Maria at half-time.
‘Here, Sportsmail reveals the truth behind Hazard’s slump…’

What follows are 824 words on the subject. Silly Sami. All he really needed to do is venture into the foisty corner of the office with the Bobby Moore photographs and Gracie Fields on the gramophone.

It’s because he’s a fat b***ard, silly.


Hips don’t lie
For an alternative explanation, see Eden Hazard’s father Thierry, as quoted in Le Soir: “Eden’s lack of form is due to an injury, an inflammation in the hip, that he’s been carrying now for three or four months.”

A moment on the lips…


Go Gary. Go Gary


To be fair to Neil, we do all get a big grizzly when we’re hungry.


We love 2003
It’s a bold/ridiculous call from Steven Howard in The Sun when he writes that ‘as of this morning, Chelsea are in a worse state than they were’ when Roman Abramovich took over in 2003.

‘No Champions League’ he says of today’s Chelsea. Because of course Chelsea had Champions League football when Abramovich took over. They had a mountain of debt, Mario Stanic in midfield and Winston Bogarde on their books, but they had Champions League football, having just finished fourth behind Newcastle. Oh for those glory days of 2003 when Mario Melchiot and Jesper Gronkjaer were Chelsea regulars.

Back in 2003, as well as John Terry, ‘there were FOUR other Englishmen in a well-balanced squad including Frank Lampard. The future looked bright.’

Hmmm. The future looked bright because Abramovich was about to spend £120m in one summer, not because ‘there were FOUR other Englishmen in a well-balanced squad including Frank Lampard’. The reason Howard pointedly doesn’t name the other three Englishmen is because they were Graeme Le Saux, Jody Morris and Carlton Cole. Two of those players would leave that summer in the aftermath of the Abramovich takeover. Chelsea then bought 14 new players – a bizarre amount of business for a club with a ‘well-balanced squad’.

Now? ‘When Costa was forced off on Wednesday, he was replaced by Bertrand Traore, a 20-year-old from Burkino Faso.’

If only they still had Carlton Cole…


Recommended reading of the day
Barney Ronay on Roberto Firmino
Luke Ginnell on the 1978/79 season
Richard Jolly on the defensive dilemmas at Chelsea