The worst of all insults?
The fuss from Manchester United fans and sympathisers about Pep Guardiola’s aggressive complimenting of Nathan Redmond after the final whistle is extraordinary. Is it possible for anything to happen in the world without ‘can you imagine if Jose did that?’ spewing from angry red lips.
Imagine if Jose re-tweeted Jayda Fransen’s fake news videos…imagine if Jose got engaged to Prince Harry…imagine if Jose was negotiating Brexit…HE WOULD PROBABLY BE BANNED FOR SIX MONTHS AND SENT TO THE TOWER AND ALMOST DEFINITELY BEHEADED.
But the real hot take comes from the Manchester Evening News’s Manchester United editor…
Watched the Guardiola incident again. He's like a Catalan Keown. Guardiola probably regrets it now but it's unacceptable and managers have been charged for less.
— Samuel Luckhurst (@samuelluckhurst) November 30, 2017
A Catalan Keown? Yes, it’s exactly like that. Because of course Keown was famously telling Ruud van Nistelrooy he was a wonderful player.
And then there is the piece. Yes, that is a comparison between Antonio Conte and Donald Trump.
We turn to The Sun for another Manchester City comparison, with Martin Blackburn claiming that ‘Sterling set off on a mad Emmanuel Adebayor-style dash to the other end of the pitch’.
Clearly we missed the part where Sterling played for Southampton, had a difficult relationship with the fans and so ran the length of the pitch to antagonistically celebrate in front of them. Silly us.
Not so Sterling work
Raheem Sterling’s match rating in the Daily Mirror: 6/10.
Apparently he ‘showed early promise and despite fading he rallied for the winner’.
You might think that would put him ahead of Shane Long.
By the book
Sun headline: ‘Chapter and worse’
Sun sub-headline: ‘IS POCH BOOK TO BLAME FOR SPURS’ REAL SHOCKER?’
Opening paragraph from Mark Irwin: ‘IT IS surely coincidence that since the story of Mauricio Pochettino’s ‘Brave New World’ was published, Spurs’ title dream has died.’
You think? You might want to tell the ridiculous headline-writers, fella.
Mediawatch agrees that the wheels have come off at Tottenham but we think The Sun’s Mark Irwin may be slightly overplaying this fall from grace.
‘From Manchester City’s most likely challengers to a side that has slipped out of the top six in the space of just 35 days.’
Pesky fact: 35 days ago, Tottenham were behind second-placed Manchester United on goal difference having scored just seven goals in five home games at Wembley. Nobody really saw them as Manchester City’s most likely challengers.
Fresh from diagnosing Tottenham’s problems, The Sun’s Mark Irwin hot-footed it to the Emirates to write about Arsenal and the much-maligned Mesut Ozil…
‘MESUT OZIL is finally feeling the Arsenal love after showing that he can roll his sleeves up and fight for the cause.
‘The German playmaker ripped Huddersfield apart with a devastating Emirates master class last night.
‘But boss Arsene Wenger was most pleased with Ozil’s willingness to chase back and put a foot into the tackle after being accused of going missing too easily in the past.’
Another pesky fact: Mesut Ozil did not make a single tackle against Huddersfield Town.
A tale of two halves
Mark Irwin, The Sun:
‘This one was so comfortable, boss Arsene Wenger could even indulge in a light spot of touchline ball-juggling – much to the delight of the Emirates crowd. Time was, not so very long ago, those same season-ticket holders were demanding the 68-year-old Frenchman’s head on a spike. But all that nastiness has been put to one side – for now.
Of course it helps when your team is playing the opposition off the park with beautiful one-touch football. The Terriers, who had run themselves into the ground chasing shadows against Manchester City at the weekend, could not cope.’
Mark Irwin, The Sun:
‘You would think Arsenal supporters would be a bit more enthusiastic to watch their team, considering they have now won 12 in a row at home in the Premier League…It was a good job for Huddersfield that their hosts were in such a generous mood, regularly surrendering possession at the drop of a hat.
‘It summed up Arsenal’s lackadaisical approach that they simply shrugged their shoulders at such sloppiness and continued to look for the Hollywood pass.’
Can anybody spot the paragraphs Irwin wrote before Arsenal’s three goals in four second-half minutes? It’s damned tricky.
Straw man of the day
“People said Rooney won’t have the desire to play for Everton” – Danny Murphy, Match of the Day.
No they didn’t.
Big, Magic Sam
Paul Merson, Sky Sports, November 27:
“If you look at their team at the moment, it deserves to be where they are. I have never seen an Everton team lie down and just accept it. I think they’re in trouble, I think you’ve got to give it to Sam Allardyce.”
Paul Merson, Sky Sports, November 29:
“Sam will definitely get them out of trouble, 100%. With Sam going there, they’re not in a relegation battle. You’re looking at them to fly up the table and, if you’re an Everton fan, probably going on to win the FA Cup. Or at least get a run.”
What a difference two days and one 4-0 win makes.
Quick reminder: Sam Allardyce has never actually won anything other than a Third Division title.
Spot the missing word
How odd that The Sun Online’s URL does not feature the word ‘rehearsal’. A bizarre oversight which will surely soon be fixed.
Ma, I made it…
Mediawatch can only imagine that the ambitions of Sun digital sports reporter Toby Gannon are now truly fulfilled after putting together a series of tweets about the size of David Silva’s cock.
Too much, too Young
‘Ashley Young has been one of Manchester United’s best players for more than three years’ reads the headline over Paul Hirst’s column in The Times. Come again, fella.
Are we just ignoring the fact that Young started just 11 Premier League games in 2015/16? We’re clearly ignoring the fact that he started just eight Premier League games in 2016/17, presumably because the narrative that Jose Mourinho was forced to turn to Young through desperation this season does not back up the idea of the Manchester United manager being a genius.
Hirst’s tale begins nine months ago when Young turned down the chance to double his wages in China…
‘Young had made only two Premier League starts under Mourinho at the time but the England international turned down the move. There were offers from Spain and Italy too but Young said “no”. The message was relayed to the United manager that Young wanted to stay and fight for his place in the team.
‘Mourinho has reaped the rewards of Young’s loyalty – he played in 10 of the 15 matches that followed and had he not succumbed to a hamstring injury playing against Celta Vigo, he would have ended last season as Mourinho’s first-choice left back.’
Well this is awkward because yes, he played in ten of those 15 games. But he started only eight and only four of those eight starts were at left-back. Which is a very odd way to treat a player who is about to become your first-choice left-back.
In fact, Young did not start any of United’s Europa League games beyond the 1-1 draw with Rostov (which he started on the right wing) and that Celta Vigo game in which he got injured saw Matteo Darmian start at left-back and Young come off the bench in the 78th minute to replace Henrikh Mkhitaryan on the wing.
It almost sounds like Mourinho did not see him as his first-choice left-back at all. And certainly Paul Hirst did not see this state of affairs in December 2016, even though at that point he had been one of Manchester United’s best players for more than two years.
Recommended reading of the day
Ed Aarons on Sam Allardyce.
Adam Bate on Eden Hazard.
Paolo Bandini with Gianfranco Zola.