Push it really good…
No surprise that Garth Crooks named Wayne Rooney in his team of the week on the BBC. And no surprise that he named him in midfield. But his reason?
‘If you blinked then you would have missed it. Wayne Rooney’s ‘hand off’ on Stoke midfielder Joe Allen as he ran into the box to score Everton’s winner was simply genius.’
Yes, there’s nothing that says ‘genius’ more than pushing a 5’6″ midfielder out of the way.
The word on the street
Even Matthew Syed, who writes over 1000 words on Wayne Rooney in The Times, did not notice this moment of genius.
He did notice, though, that Rooney again ‘resembled the street footballer who played with pure joy’, noting that he was ‘almost smiling during the game at Goodison Park, surrounded by love and totally absorbed in the battle’.
Which is odd because The Sun’s Dan King writes that ‘ten minutes before his magical, emotional goal, Rooney was throwing his hands up in frustration as his new/old team struggled to gel’.
Silly Dan King must have missed the part when he ‘was playing with joy, the street footballer coming to the fore’. Presumably that was when he blinked as Rooney shoved Joe Allen.
Man v boy
Garth Crooks named him in his BBC team of the week and the Daily Mirror’s John Cross said ‘Newcastle simply could not contain him’ and declared him ‘priceless’, but there is no greater fan of Dele Alli than Jamie Redknapp. He ‘writes’ in the Daily Mail:
‘PAUL POGBA and Dele Alli were simply sensational yesterday. These two will be battling it out to be the Premier League’s top midfielder.’
Even if we ignore the small matter of Alli basically playing as a No. 10 in a 4-2-3-1 while Pogba played as a deep-lying midfielder in the same formation, let’s take a look at the statistics from Sunday…
Goals: Pogba 1 Alli 1
Chances created: Pogba 2 Alli 0
Pass completion rate: Pogba 87.1% Alli 77.4%
Dribbles: Pogba 6 Alli 0
Dispossessed: Pogba 2 Alli 3
Tackles: Pogba 0 Alli 2
Clearances: Pogna 2 Alli 0
Touches: Pogba 85 Alli 48
One of those players was ‘simply sensational’; crucially, the other was English.
Question of the day
Is a headline of ‘WIN-BACKS’ really so astonishingly clever that The Sun could feel justified in entirely ignoring the fact that Tottenham did not actually play with wing-backs, to the point of claiming that Mauricio Pochettino’s ‘wing-backs stole the show’?
We’re going ‘no’.
Left, right, left, right…
Mind you, at least they spotted that Kyle Walker-Peters is a right-back. Arsenal fanboy John Cross wrote in the Daily Mirror: ‘Mauricio Pochettino will be particularly happy with debutant Kyle Walker-Peters as the 20-year-old was terrific at left back, coping and battling with Newcastle’s best player Christian Atsu.’
Is it 2012?
Aaron Ramsey scored on Friday night so of course the Daily Express ran this story in gallery form:
‘Will ‘The Curse of Aaron Ramsey’ strike again? 12 stars who died after Arsenal ace scored’
That list includes ‘stars’ Osama Bin Laden and Colonel Gadaffi. Things have certainly changed since the days of Gene Kelly and Doris Day…
Oh and the answer is ‘no, because it’s an absolute load of bollocks’.
Mediawatch agrees that Chelsea have left themselves with a rather small squad but we cannot stand by and watch another journalist suggest that Antonio Conte has ‘overseen the exit of 17 players this summer with just four senior stars signed’. This time it is Darren Lewis of the Daily Mirror. We cannot help but think he may have simply copied the Daily Mail.
Actually, according to this page, Antonio Conte has overseen the exit of 19 players. Of those 19 players, only one – Nemanja Matic – started more than six Premier League games last season. You can probably add the exiled Diego Costa to that ‘list’, so what Conte has done is ‘oversee the exit’ of two key Chelsea players and quite a lot of fringe players. Probably too many, but to suggest that 17 Chelsea first-teamers have left the club is plain ridiculous. Is Lewis really suggesting that Matt Miazga, Michael Hector, Jamal Blackman and Christian Atsu were sorely missed on Saturday?
The clue that Lewis actually knows this is ridiculous comes in the line: ‘Nemanja Matic, Oscar and John Terry have gone…’
Yes, Oscar went in January having started five Premier League games last season. They seemed to cope okay without him.
Mediawatch is not saying that The Sun’s Neil Ashton has got a tad carried away after one game, but he writes that ‘there is something sinister going on at Stamford Bridge’ and that ‘something is very, very wrong around here’. After one game that Chelsea lost 3-2 having been reduced to nine men.
The fever has clearly affected his memory as he writes: ‘Never in the history of the Premier League has the after-glow of a title win worn off so quickly.’
A gentle reminder: Champions Leicester began last season by losing 2-1 to Mike Phelan’s Hull City.
And yes, that does still sound really sodding weird.
One moment in time…
While Neil Ashton struggles with his memory, his Sun colleague Mitch Henry struggles with the concept of time. He wrote about Manchester City’s 2-0 win over Brighton:
‘That it took until the dying stages and TWO Brighton blunders for City to get over the line should be a minor cause for concern…
‘…Sergio Aguero spared their blushes with a second-half strike before Lewis Dunk nodded into his own net moments later.’
‘Dying stages’: 70th minute.
‘Moments later’: 75th minute.
Don’t know much about…
While Neil Ashton struggles with his memory and Mitch Henry struggles with the concept of time, The Sun’s comedy Cockney Paul Jiggins struggles with geography.
‘AT Selhurst Park on Saturday we heralded the arrival of the striker who could become the Premier League’s next African superstar.
‘Steve Mounie is already being dubbed ‘The Drogba of the Dales’…’
We will stop you there, Paul, with a couple of small points.
a) No he isn’t. Or at least he isn’t by anybody but you. Quick searches of Google and Twitter confirm that.
b) Huddersfield isn’t in the Dales.
Busy doing nothing
The Daily Mirror came up with a list of winners and losers (wherever did they get that idea?) from Friday night’s clash between Arsenal and Leicester.
Mesut Ozil, as is traditional, was a ‘loser’ despite Arsenal winning 4-3, with Marc Isaacs writing:
‘With Alexis Sanchez missing through injury, this was a big night for Mesut Ozil to take centre stage but he failed to make any impact on the game.
‘The German superstar went missing for large parts of the game and failed to create any goalscoring chances for Alexandre Lacazette.’
Alternative spin: No player in the Premier League created more chances than Mesut Ozil (6) this weekend.
Warning of the day
According to the Daily Mirror, ‘PEP GUARDIOLA has warned Raheem Sterling he will have a “problem” unless he accepts being a regular substitute.’
Actual quotes from Pep Guardiola: “All of them are going to play. Last season I rotated the team a lot and I will do that again. They will all be involved. After that it depends on them and whether they accept my decision or not. If they don’t accept it, it will be their problem not mine.”
Mediawatch suspects that Raheem Sterling – and others, for Guardiola’s comments were aimed at multiple players – will accept being told by a multi-title-winning manager that he might not play every game. He was probably paying attention last season when he started only 29 Premier League games.
The ‘problem’ seems to be that John Cross was struggling for a story.
Quote of the weekend
In which Tim Sherwood takes almost total credit for Harry Kane:
“He’s had to fight his way up the hard way. He’s waited for his opportunity and had numerous loans where he was average at best.
“But it was the belief of me, to be fair, that I needed to stop the fears of the managers who were managing at the time, like Harry Redknapp and Andre Villas-Boas.
“And tell them that this boy has got such good character and his strongest attribute is between his ears… that he will be a player no matter what happens because he knows where he wants to go and he doesn’t know how to get there.”
Yes, Sherwood deserves massive credit for persuading Andre Villas-Boas to give Kane 13 minutes of Premier League football. You made the man, Tim.
Recommended reading of the day
Rory Smith on the spend, spend, spend culture of the Premier League
Nick Miller on Jonjo Shelvey and Dele Alli
Adam Crafton talks to Diego Costa