The need for greed
Liverpool were wasteful at Wembley on Saturday (in a 2-1 win over Big Six rivals) but John Cross of the Daily Mirror is clutching at some pretty tiny straws in his match report on Monday morning.
‘Is there an issue between Liverpool’s strikers?’
You mean the strikers who have scored eight goals between them in five games? Those strikers?
‘Or is it simply down to pure greed?’
Personally, Mediawatch would have saved this particular discussion for a time when Mo Salah had not created more chances than any other Premier League player this season…
Cross calls it an ‘intriguing talking point’; we call it sh*t-stirring.
The need for bad news
And talking of finding fault in the midst of victory, we bring you the Daily Mail‘s Craig Hope, who uses the occasion of Mesut Ozil scoring in a 2-1 win for Arsenal to have a massive pop at Mesut Ozil. Because that’s absolutely normal.
‘HE SCORED and won the acclaim of his teammates, but to assume all is right now in the complicated world of Mesut Ozil would be premature.’
Yes but he did score and Arsenal won, so this seems a pretty apt time to maybe back off…
‘There was some good, some bad about Ozil here. One smart Cruyff turn on halfway left his minder floundering. But that is what he does, his ability on the ball acting as deception against his indifference off it.
‘There was one instance where he refused to chase back, seemingly miffed at the non-award of a free-kick after a palm in his face, while his number of attempted passes – 38 – was less than teenager Matteo Guendouzi managed in 45 minutes.’
Excellent use of statistics there, to illustrate the difference between two players who operate in entirely different positions.
Talking of which, how sh*t is Guendouzi? He has created fewer chances in five Premier League games than Ozil managed in one – at Newcastle on Saturday, when Arsenal actually won 2-1.
Hair today, scone tomorrow
Garth Crooks on the BBC website, September 2017, on Paul Pogba: ‘I also want to discuss Paul Pogba’s new hairstyle, which features a red streak. I only mention it because he clearly wants to bring it to our attention. There is so much for the midfielder to do at United and he still insists on behaving like an adolescent.
‘Granted, a hairstyle is not going to determine how well he can control a ball or make a pass, but it does say something about where his mind is at the moment.’
Garth Crooks on the BBC website, September 2018, on Chris Smalling: ‘Chris Smalling, with his new ‘natty dread’ hair style, was outstanding against Watford. The new look oozes swagger and if his goal was anything to go by, the defender’s hairstyle may have something to do with it. Amazing what a new look can do.’
Is he actually trolling us now, the daft old sod?
From The Sun website:
‘CHRIS SMALLING is preparing to sell his £2.5million luxury pad with a giant Jay-Z poster on the bedroom wall.’
We think he’ll probably take the poster.
One hand giveth
Alan Shearer in The Sun on Harry Kane: ‘You can’t take any credit away from him for winning the award in Russia…’
That’s right, Alan. After all, not many players can claim to have won a World Cup Golden Boot.
Oh, you’re not finished.
‘…but of his six goals, three were penalties and one a lucky deflection. His hat-trick came against undoubtedly the weakest side in the tournament, Panama.’
It turns out that you really can take credit away from him for winning the award in Russia.
Bizarre glove triangle
Andy Gray on Burnley’s goalkeeper situation on beINSPORTS: “You’ve got Tom Heaton – a young man. Nick Pope – a young man. You’ve got Joe Hart, who’s what – 35 plus?
“So you have to make a decision, don’t you? What do you do – do you keep one of your young starlets who’s got plenty years ahead of him or do you cash in on both of them and earn your club…”
Joe Hart is 31.
Tom Heaton is 32.
Nick Pope is injured.
No alarms and no surprises
You may or may not have noticed that the Champions League has different kick-off times this season. Joe Ridge of MailOnline has certainly noticed. And has penned a whole piece.
There is an awful lot of banality in there but this was our favourite line:
‘The early kick-off time also makes it easier for fans in Asia and Australia to watch the Champions League, with staying up until 3am slightly more appealing than 5am.’
Because of course the only way to see a game kicking off at 5am is to stay up.
Friendly advice: Don’t ever get an early flight with Joe Ridge.
Unnecessarily confrontational headline of the day
‘Maurizio Sarri orders Eden Hazard to go after Mohamed Salah’ – Metro.
Mediawatch thought that was a little strong for a story about Sarri telling Eden Hazard he can win the Golden Boot. And then we saw the author was one Coral Barry, who is the Metro’s ‘Boxing and MMA correspondent’.
She just wants everybody to scrap.
Is he in the cabinet?
Michael Owen on Lucas Perez possibly refusing to warm up for West Ham against Everton (though that was denied by Manuel Pellegrini): “No matter what you get paid to play. And you get asked to do something you got to do it. We’ll find out, hopefully, what the reason is, so I’d only be speculating. But that’s the line to cross that you shouldn’t cross.”
Indeed. Which is odd because this is what former Newcastle physio Paul Ferris wrote about Michael Owen in his book ‘The Boy On The Shed’, about a crucial Newcastle clash with Fulham in 2009:
‘The doctor and the three physios were sitting to my right in the medical office. Opposite me sat Michael Owen. I liked Michael and regarded him as a good professional. He’d complained of a ‘feeling’ in his groin after training, ‘like it was going to go’. He’d had a career ravaged by muscle injuries so I fully understood his caution. We’d had a scan on the area and it had picked up nothing. That was good news. Whatever it was, it wasn’t a muscle tear, which would’ve ended our best striker’s season and our best hopes of scoring goals in the last two games of it. The doctor relayed the positive news to all in the room.
‘I spoke to Michael first. ‘In light of the clear scan results do you think you’ll be fit to play against Fulham? It’s the most important game of the season. A win might be enough for us.’
‘Michael placed his hand over his groin. ‘Not sure, to be honest. It doesn’t feel too bad. But I’m out of contract at the end of the season. What if I rip my groin on Saturday? I’ll not get a contract at another club if I’m injured.’
‘I was a little taken aback by his reply. I didn’t share his reasoning. ‘But you already have a contract, Michael. You have a career here now with us.’
‘He didn’t like mine either. ‘I want to speak to Alan (Shearer) about this.’
‘I leaned forward and pointed at my chest. ‘You’re speaking to Alan, he’s here.’
‘He looked behind me and pointed. ‘Is he in the cabinet?’
‘It was getting silly now.’
It’s worth noting that Owen has since commented on that extract that ‘the dozens who have been led to believe this rubbish and slaughtered me for it ought to hang their heads in shame’.
Presumably Owen will hang his own head in shame when he is told that his own ‘speculation’ from the West Ham game was completely unfounded.
Recommended reading of the day
Miguel Delaney gets us giddy about the Champions League
David Hytner on the problems at Spurs
Rory Smith on Marseille
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