Zany intro of the day
‘FERNANDO LLORENTE is off the mark for Tottenham at the 17th attempt – and, just like celebrated archer William Tell, he took out an Apoel with a single shot’ – Mike Walters, the Daily Mirror.
This would have been questionable even if Llorente had only taken a single shot; as it happens, he had three. He’s not even sodding Swiss, for God’s sake.
This is (not) England
Obviously the biggest story in football on the morning after five English clubs have reached the last 16 of the Champions League is that ‘FOOTBALLERS just love getting tattoos, and one London tattoo shop can boast some of the most exclusive customers in the game’, but The Sun website – when not doing favours for mates – also have reaction to English success.
Except it turns out that it’s not English success at all.
‘Football fans celebrated the fact that all five English teams had made it through to the last-16 of the Champions League.
‘But it’s worth pointing out that there were just ten Englishmen in the starting line-ups for Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool, Tpttenham (sic) and Manchester City.’
‘…Or, to put it another way, not even enough to put out a full side.
‘And of those ten, it’s hard to suggest that even half would make the England starting XI.
‘Those home-grown stars on display were Joe Gomez, Phil Foden, Luke Shaw, Gary Cahill, Tosin Adarabioyo, Danny Rose, Harry Winks, Dele Alli, Marcus Rashford and Chris Smalling.’
Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiit. England are absolutely doomed.
Or they would be if we didn’t know that Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Eric Dier, Jordan Henderson, John Stones and Kyle Walker – who all started England’s last meaningful competitive game – were all either rested or injured in midweek.
That was probably worth pointing out.
MailOnline is asking the big question this Thursday morning…presumably because none of their mates is a tattooist.
‘The Premier League has FIVE teams in the Champions League last 16… but who of Chelsea, Man City, Liverpool, Man United and Tottenham has the best chance of going all the way?’
Mediawatch will save you reading the thousands of words penned by Craig Hope. Because it turns out that Manchester City – currently eight points clear at the top of the Premier League – have ‘the best chance of going all the way’ in Europe.
Any Given nonsense
Now Mediawatch appreciates that Shay Given loves Newcastle but…actually we’ll just tell you what he said:
“If the investors come in an d have got endless amounts of money, they could sign [Alexis] Sanchez, for example.
“It depends who these new owners are.”
It really doesn’t.
Won’t somebody think of the kids?
The Daily Telegraph website’s top football story at 12pm on Thursday: ‘Checkatrade Trophy sinks to new low with £33m striker picked to face MK Dons. What happened to supporting young players?’
Eight of Chelsea’s starting XI were Chelsea Academy graduates; we think they will be fine.
Headline on Martin Samuel’s ridiculous retort column on MailOnline: ‘It’s not being controversial saying Paul Pogba’s tackle wasn’t a red – it’s what I think…’
They’re not mutually exclusive, Martin. In fact, the intersection on that Venn diagram is almost a circle.
Take a bow
Three headlines from ‘football’ websites on Wednesday/Thursday:
‘Leroy Sane fuels rumours he’s dating Rihanna lookalike Candice Brook by posting picture of R&B singer in underwear’ – The Sun.
‘Manchester City star Leroy Sane dating Rihanna lookalike and Chris Brown’s ex-girlfriend Candice Brook’ – Daily Mirror.
‘Manchester City star Leroy Sane fuels rumours he is dating Rihanna lookalike Candice Brook on social media’ – MailOnline.
Well she is black.
City: Not good enough
Last month Manchester City beat Feyenoord 1-0 with a much-changed side, having already qualified for the last 16 of the Champions League. This was how that victory was reported by The Daily Mirror’s David Anderson:
‘Yes, the pressure was off because they had already qualified for the Champions League group stages, and, yes, Pep Guardiola made seven changes to rest some of his big names. But that does not excuse this pedestrian display as they just about got over the line to claim top spot against Group F’s whipping boys Feyenoord.’
Miserable bugger. On Wednesday night he was back on City duty as they lost 2-1 to Shaktar Donetsk having made seven changes…
‘Manchester City were brought back down to earth by the Pitmen of Shakhtar Donetsk as they suffered their first loss of the season.
‘But while they can shrug off losing this dead rubber to end their 227-day unbeaten run, they know defeat in Sunday’s Manchester derby would not be so easy to dismiss.
‘They can write off this first loss since being beaten by Arsenal in the FA Cup semi-finals in April because they were already through to the last 16 of the Champions League as group winners.
‘But Guardiola will not be pleased by their poor display and they will need to be 100 per cent better against Manchester United at Old Trafford.’
Well, yes. Which is why they probably won’t play Danilo, Tosin Adarabioyo, Phil Foden, Ilkay Gundogan or Yaya Toure.
Guardiola’s furious reaction? “We needed to lose a game.”
Who else but Duncan Castles could have written this paragraph (on Yahoo) about Manchester United needing a central midfielder in January?
‘Injuries and medical problems suffered by Paul Pogba, Marouane Fellaini, Nemanja Matic, Ander Herrera and Michael Carrick have significantly constrained Mourinho’s midfield strategy on multiple occasions this season, and are again a critical factor as the manager prepares tactics for the derby.’
Games missed by Ander Herrera through injury or medical problems this season: None.
Games missed by Nemanja Matic through injury or medical problems this season: One – the Champions League clash with CSKA he probably would have missed anyway.
Poor Jose. He has only had Manchester United’s reigning player of the year and a double title winner available for pretty much every game this season. Give the poor bugger some money.
How to beat Manchester City
Mediawatch cannot help but think that The Sun’s Neil Custis is underestimating Manchester City, who have won 13 consecutive Premier League games.
‘With Paul Pogba suspended there is a gaping hole in Manchester United’s midfield.
‘Mourinho wants Fellaini in there, he needs the Belgian in there. The manager needs to dismantle Manchester City in the same way he did Ajax and Fellaini was key to that.’
Yep. They’re definitely exactly the same.
Deal me in
Headline on Daily Star website: ‘Transfer News LIVE updates: Arsenal done deal, Man Utd, Liverpool and Chelsea gossip’
Scroll, scroll, scroll….’Arsenal starlet Eddie Nketiah has signed a new long-term deal with the club.’
Recommended reading of the day
Jonathan Wilson on the Manchester derby.
Nick Wright on Cesar Azpilicueta.
Sam Wallace on Theo Walcott.