Mediawatch: How Wenger cheated by being French

Date published: Thursday 4th May 2017 4:56

Not having it
In the light of the Aaron Lennon story, we pledged to be a little nicer to people. So when we read the latest insight from Graeme Souness, we thought ****-*** but then we wrote nincompoop.

Souness has been talking to the Irish Independent about Arsene Wenger and basically, he is ‘not having it’ that the Arsenal manager made any real impact on English football. Don’t even try and argue because he’s just ‘not having it’.

“Can anyone tell me how Arsene Wenger changed the game? Pray tell me.”

Well, he changed the way English football dealt with nutrition and alcohol and…

“I’m not having this stuff about fitness or diet of whatever else, not having it.”

Oh okay. Pretty much all the English players who Arsene Wenger inherited credit him with changing their careers but, well, if you’re ‘not having it’, how about the fact that he won three titles in seven seasons?

“Are you telling me his early success at Arsenal had nothing to do with inheriting the best back five in world football? That had to help him a little I would say.”

Odd then that this ‘best back five in world football’ had just finished 12th and fifth, before winning the title in Wenger’s very first full season. But that is absolutely nothing to do with Wenger and his ideas about fitness or diet, no?

You may also note that Wenger’s final title – won by the Invincibles, you may have heard of them – barely featured any members of that ‘best back five in world football’ at all; by that time only Martin Keown remained and he played only a bit part. But do carry on…

“Also, are you telling me it had nothing to do with French football having its golden period and him knowing more about French players coming through at that time than anyone else?”

Ah. So now we come to the crux of the matter: Being foreign was a little bit cheaty. How were good old British managers supposed to know about Thierry Henry at Juventus or Patrick Vieira at AC Milan?

“You hear this stuff about Wenger being a genius and doing things no one else ever did, but the idea that he changed the face of English football, do me a favour.”

Do us a favour, Graeme. Shush.


The Lennon obituary
Perhaps wary of following the Daily Mail and Daily Mirror in getting things badly wrong on Aaron Lennon, the Daily Telegraph’s Chris Bascombe wrote this.

He’s not dead, fella, just poorly.


It’s not about the money…
Mediawatch returns briefly to the subject of Aaron Lennon as we read Chris Sutton’s intelligent column in the Daily Mail which begins: ‘IT’S nothing to do with money, or how much you earn. It’s nothing to do with the next Bentley or Mercedes or size of your swimming pool. It doesn’t matter if you earn £100,000 a week.’

Unless you’re Sutton’s employers…

£55,000-a-week England footballer Aaron Lennon is detained under Mental Health Act after stand-off with police

– Daily Mail U.K. (@DailyMailUK) May 3, 2017


I don’t want to mention Chelsea
Chris Wheeler of the Daily Mail is a living example of what happens when you lazily believe what Jose Mourinho says.

According to his report in the newspaper:

‘He spoke here about ‘closing the circle’ by making United only the fourth team – after Ajax, Juventus and Bayern Munich – to lift all four major European trophies.’

And now on the website after a Thursday morning edit:

‘He spoke here about ‘closing the circle’ by making United only the fifth team – after Chelsea, Ajax, Juventus and Bayern Munich – to lift all four major European trophies.’

Who could ever have known that Mourinho could not be trusted and blindly believed on facts, especially pertaining to the club that sacked him twice?

Oh. Everyone. Well, everyone but the Manchester correspondent of the Daily Mail.


A Long story short
Mediawatch is reluctant to show sympathy to anybody who works for The Sun, but spare a thought for digital bod Alex Terrell, who exclusively wrote on the The Sun’s website about Manchester United agreeing personal terms with Antoine Griezmann…

…only to see his story on the back page of The Sun newspaper with the byline of Carl Long, who does not actually exist.

Mediawatch suspects it is guff designed to fill a back page on a difficult news day, but it is Alex Terrell’s guff designed to fill a back page on a difficult news day.


Talking ’bout a revelation
The back page of The Sun also contains a REVEALED, and who doesn’t love a REVEALED? And what are they REVEALING? That ‘Pep predicted City would end the year potless’. Wow. He really should have bloody mentioned it.

On page 52 we are told that ‘Pep knew he would fail this year’, with the opening paragraph reading: ‘PEP GUARDIOLA predicted before he arrived his first season could be traumatic and trophyless.’

It seems an odd thing to predict, considering that there are four trophies up for grabs and Manchester United – no better than City – have already won one, but who are we to argue with one of football’s most decorated managers?

Over to ‘THE MAN WHO KNOWS HIM BEST’, his biographer and close friend Marti Perarnau:

“I remember an anecdote from last year, when Bayern Munich knocked out Benfica in the Champions League quarter-finals.

“It was his seventh consecutive semi-final but at dinner he told me, ‘Next year the run will end’.

“He was very clear he was going to a club whose squad was not as good as Barcelona and Bayern.”

Ah. Right. Okay. So he did not predict Manchester City would end the season ‘potless’ at all. Or indeed ‘traumatic and trophyless’. Just that City would not reach the Champions League semi-finals, like almost every other club in Europe.

REVEALED: The Sun are getting more and more ridiculous every sodding day.


The new Roy Keane?
And so to the Metro and their new writer Ewan Roberts, whose first job was to write a piece about Ander Herrera. Obviously, just writing about Ander Herrera does not garner the clicks so it’s ‘Who needs Paul Pogba? How Ander Herrera has become Manchester United’s main man’.

The answer to Roberts’ question is ‘well, Manchester United as they have drawn the last four games which he has missed’, but we will let that pass. Roberts wants us to know that Jose Mourinho has changed United using Herrera.

‘The Red Devils are unbeaten in their last 25 Premier League matches – albeit drawing almost half of those games – and the side are infinitely more combative and organised than at any point since Sir Alex Ferguson retired.’

Which is odd because United are actually tackling less than in either of Louis van Gaal’s seasons as manager. It’s almost like being combative and organised was the Dutchman’s actual thing.

Crucially though, Mediawatch is – like everybody else in football – using ‘tackles won’ as a metric.

Whereas we can see that the Metro, in an effort to make Herrera look superhuman, decides to tell us that the Spaniard (‘far closer in spirit to Roy Keane’) has made 144 tackles this season. That’s a f***load.

It sounds pretty impressive until you see that Herrera has actually only won 82 of those 144 tackles. For comparison, N’Golo Kante has won 113 of 154.

He might not be the new Roy Keane after all.


Yellow ticker time

Recommended reading of the day
Sam Wallace with Paul Lake on the struggles of footballers.

Paul Wilson on Huddersfield and weakened teams.

Rich Jolly on Granit Xhaka.

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