Less is Mour
One of the main talking points to emerge from these most recent Premier League fixtures is the plight of Donny van de Beek. Gary Neville deems his lack of playing time for Manchester United to be a “mystery”. Marco van Basten is not impressed.
But the Daily Mirror website offers an entirely new angle. They know precisely what they’re doing with this headline:
‘Donny van de Beek’s advisor told to “shut his mouth” as Jose Mourinho issue emerges’
How on earth is the current Tottenham manager, who was last in charge of Manchester United almost two years ago, relevant to this situation?
He isn’t, of course. That’s the trick. It is a conflation of about 20 different stories. The “shut his mouth” is from Patrice Evra. And it takes 26 whole paragraphs before Mourinho is even mentioned. That is definitely worthy of headline billing.
After all of the preamble with regards to the recent comments of Sjaak Swart – ‘who represents Van de Beek’ when actually he is simply an agent for the company that represents Van de Beek – comes the first inclination as to what this actual story is about.
‘There are certainly similarities between this situation and one faced by Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford.’
Do go on.
‘Back in 2018, Mourinho had a public falling-out with Paul Pogba – and the Frenchman’s agent was very much involved in the dispute.’
So one manager ‘had a public falling-out’ with one player two years ago, reportedly describing him as a ‘virus’ in front of his teammates – and now a completely different manager has signed but is yet to give a proper chance to a completely different player little over a month into the season. Both had other people publicly discussing the situation.
That is bloody eerie. Enough to send a shiver down the spine.
‘There is no evidence to suggest lightning has struck twice.’
Oh. Then what the sod are we doing here?
‘Solskjaer has been relatively tight-lipped on Van de Beek, but doesn’t seem to have a problem with the midfielder, and certainly doesn’t appear to be punishing him.’
‘Simply, he’s allowing Van de Beek time to adapt to this new surroundings, and apparently working out where he best fits into his system.’
So it is literally nothing like the ‘Jose Mourinho issue’ that has ’emerged’. He ‘had a public falling-out’ with Paul Pogba, whose agent spoke out and annoyed the manager. Two years later, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ‘doesn’t seem to have a problem’ with Donny van de Beek and isn’t ‘punishing him’ because he’s done nothing wrong and someone who isn’t his agent said something a few weeks ago.
Aside from that, history is pretty much repeating itself.
Taking the Mik
Writes Dave Kidd in The Sun:
‘Arteta was in good voice – 90 per cent of his instructions barked out in Spanish. Rodgers, who speaks the Arsenal manager’s lingo, appeared amused by something his opposite number had said. But do Bukayo Saka or Kieran Tierney understand a word of it?’
Maybe not. He presumably speaks English to get tactical messages across to them when he needs to. How revolutionary.
What is it about a man knowing more than one language that members of the media so innately distrust?
Mark Irwin was also on Arsenal duty and spent much of his time discussing someone who was neither on the pitch nor in the stadium. No prizes for guessing who.
‘MESUT OZIL was at it again, tweeting footage of his goal in the 3-1 win against Leicester two years ago ahead of the game against the same opponents.’
What a d*ck.
‘What he failed to mention was that it was just about his last decent performance in an Arsenal shirt before being dumped from the squad by Mikel Arteta.
‘Now the only way he can keep himself at the centre of attention is by trying to embarrass the club on social media at every opportunity.’
Starting your opinion piece on a match for the nation’s best-selling newspaper with a few paragraphs about a player who did not feature, calling him out on his desire to ‘keep himself at the centre of attention’ in the process. That’ll teach him.
John Cross, meanwhile, was busy unearthing this absolute gem for the Daily Mirror:
‘Incredibly, this was the first time Arsenal had lost a home league game in 33 games in the month of October.’
That truly is, by definition, ‘very difficult to believe’. But why stop the caveats and qualifiers there? How about home league games they have lost in October on a Sunday? Or home league games they have lost in October on a Sunday to goalscorers with the initials J.V? Now that would be ‘incredible’.
The statistics bug has even made its way to Martin Samuel of the Daily Mail:
‘They are yet to concede a goal in a game in which Mendy and Silva have started.’
So three games. Great stuff.
‘Solskjaer explains why he blames himself over Pogba’s Man Utd benching’ – Daily Mirror.
Is it because he’s the manager?
Most MailOnline headline of the day
‘Manchester United ‘still targeting a stunning £176m double swoop for Erling Haaland AND Jadon Sancho… with the Norway striker having a £68m exit clause in his Borussia Dortmund contract that can be activated in 2022”
Thirty-five words. Two outside of quote marks that do not denote an actual direct quote. Stunning work.
Football365 shithouse headline of the day
‘Owen tips Cavani for success at Man Utd on two conditions’
Striker will score ‘as long as United have pressure on the opponents’ and ‘they get crosses in’. So if they play well and supply him. Groundbreaking stuff from big Michael.
Recommended reading of the day
Jonathan Wilson on Kevin McCarra.