There are numerous different routes a football outlet can go down when reporting on a goal like that scored by Harry Winks on Thursday evening.
You can let it speak for itself and simply keep referring to how he was 56 yards out, capitalising the distance and putting it in bold font, like The Sun.
You can ask whether he meant it or not despite the fact he blatantly didn’t and admitted it as such, like the MailOnline.
You can turn it into a selection of random Twitter posts from fans, like Football.London.
Or you can use it to pretend there is some sort of issue between a player and a manager because nothing sells quite like controversy, even in the aftermath of a comfortable 4-0 victory for the current Premier League leaders, who could afford to rest pretty much everyone while maintaining their recent excellent form.
Credit, then to Goal.com for this:
‘Mourinho unhappy with Winks after goal admission’
And also to the Daily Mirror with this dreadful offering:
‘Only Jose! Mourinho unhappy with Winks following Spurs star’s admission’
The removal of the word ‘goal’ changes the entire dynamic and they know it. No longer is it a manager’s jovial, light-hearted comment but an expression of annoyance towards a player who recently admitted his own frustration at a lack of opportunities.
When even talkSPORT can stick ‘jokes’ in the headline, there really is no excuse.
Imagine watching that game, listening to those words and deciding to pretend there is a problem between Mourinho and one of his players. This is one of those incredibly rare scenarios where a ‘Twitter reacts’ piece is preferable. And somehow less lazy.
Paul Jiggins paragraph of the day
‘Harry Kane started on the bench which was a shame because the visitors had Anicent ABEL in their line-up for this clash of hardly biblical proportions.’
Mark Lawrenson looks further ahead for Tottenham in his BBC Sport predictions: to their game this weekend against Chelsea.
‘Spurs put on a Jose Mourinho masterclass when they beat Manchester City last weekend,’ he says.
‘It was a great performance and they are playing well, but I do feel with Tottenham that they have to score first for that gameplan to be successful.’
Their two biggest wins of the season – at both Southampton and Manchester United – came after they went behind. As much of a qualifier as ‘that gameplan’ is, conceding first clearly isn’t of the utmost importance to this team.
Return of the Mc
Congratulations to Duncan Wright of The Sun for managing to misspell the surname of Steve McClaren three times in as many paragraphs in his story about Wayne Rooney taking sole interim charge of Derby.
McLaren, if you were wondering. Shame he didn’t go for the old-school McClaridge.
Mediawatch quite likes the description elsewhere in The Sun of Alexandre Lacazette as a ‘once-prolific finisher’.
He has scored about once every three games since joining Arsenal. The man was ‘once-prolific’ in Lyon but certainly not at any point since.
Bridge the gap
‘Man Utd warned “deep-rooted problems” could lead to Bruno Fernandes’ exit,’ reads the headline on the Daily Mirror website.
The warning comes from Wayne Bridge, privy to everything Bruno Fernandes and Manchester United. And the club would of course have no say in whether a player contracted to them until at least 2025 leaves or not.
United were fifth in the Premier League, level on points with seventh place, and 36 points behind Liverpool when Fernandes joined. Their most recent league result was a 2-0 home defeat to Burnley. He was probably aware of the club’s “deep-rooted problems” from the start.
MEN at work
The Manchester Evening News are here with the latest episode in a recurring series:
‘Manchester United have found two undroppable midfielders’ – November 26. The players: Fred and Scott McTominay.
‘Manchester United have two undroppables for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s perfect approach’ – November 16. The players: Bruno Fernandes and Fred.
‘Manchester United fans think they might have four new undroppables’ – September 24. The players: Mason Greenwood, Donny van de Beek, Eric Bailly and Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
‘Manchester United confirm new undroppable after harsh reality check’ – August 18. The player: Luke Shaw.
‘Manchester United have a new undroppable from unbeaten run’ – June 28. The player: Luke Shaw.
‘Manchester United fans name new undroppable after Sheffield United win’ – June 26. The player: Nemanja Matic.
‘How Manchester United have discovered a new undroppable in their attack’ – April 21. The player: Daniel James.
‘Manchester United have discovered six undroppables’ – April 12. The players: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw, Fred, Bruno Fernandes and Anthony Martial.
‘Manchester United have new undroppable for Man City derby fixture’ – March 7. The player: Nemanja Matic.
‘Manchester United might have a new undroppable in Eric Bailly after Chelsea performance’ – February 18.
‘Manchester United player Scott McTominay is undroppable claims Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’ – December 4, 2019.
‘Manchester United’s undroppable restores their identity in win vs Tottenham’ – December 4, 2019. The player: Marcus Rashford. But also Scott McTominay.
‘Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has another Manchester United undroppable after Norwich win’ – October 28, 2019. The player: Scott McTominay.
‘Manchester United have a new undroppable in Axel Tuanzebe’ – October 16, 2019.
‘A Manchester United player has become undroppable again’ – February 7, 2019. The player: Nemanja Matic.
‘Manchester United have nine undroppables under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’ – January 8, 2019. The players: Phil Jones, Ander Herrera, Nemanja Matic, Anthony Martial, Victor Lindelof, Luke Shaw, David de Gea, Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard.
The idea that Manchester United ‘have found’ Fred (‘undroppable’ as far back as April) and McTominay (‘undroppable’ last October), is excellent. Haven’t they been a fairly regular midfield partnership for about a year?
F365 shithouse story of the day
‘Berbatov explains the one way Man Utd maestro can improve’
Attacking midfielder whose “only weakness” is defending. It’s also a little bit David Moyes at Manchester United to boil down a player’s “defensive side” to a single deficiency.
Recommended reading of the day
Barney Ronay on Diego Maradona.
Miguel Delaney on Mourinho v Lampard.
Jack Lang on fantasy football. (£)