Mediawatch: Who can fill that massive Wayne Rooney void?

Date published: Thursday 14th September 2017 8:25

Go compare
‘CALL HIM ROO-MELU’ implores the Daily Mirror. Shall we not? Can we just call him Romelu? Or Lukaku? Or Romelu Menama Lukaku Bolingoli if we insist on formalities?

Mediawatch is finding it difficult to see past that atrocious headline but we really must read the story from David McDonnell…

‘ROMELU LUKAKU has been tipped to fill the void left at Manchester United by the departure of record scorer Wayne Rooney.’

As Lukaku is just one Premier League goal away from matching Rooney’s five-goal total from last season, it doesn’t feel like too much of a void. A crack, maybe, but not a void.

And anyway, who has been going around tipping Lukaku to fill this crack void?

Jesse Lingard, apparently. Let’s take a look at what he has said about Lukaku…

“We saw last year what Rom’s capable of, with what he did for Everton. He scored a lot of goals for them and now he’s carrying on his form there.

“He holds the ball up well, but he also runs in behind defences, which gives the guy on the ball another option. He’s very strong in the box and he’s very good with his head, so he gives a lot of options for the man on the ball.

“Rom’s a very nice lad, he’s got his feet on the ground, he doesn’t let anything faze him. And as long as keeps scoring the goals, he’s going to make the headlines.”

So he’s scoring goals and he runs in behind defences? It doesn’t sound an awful lot like he is replacing a man who has latterly played in an entirely different position and style.



Transfer news!
The challenge for football websites once the transfer window is closed is how to crowbar ‘transfer news’ into a headline. The Daily Express have nailed it…


Slight difference of opinion
From the player ratings in the Daily Mirror on Christian Eriksen: ‘Full of action, running and ideas. Drove team forward.’

From the player ratings in the Daily Mail on Christian Eriksen: ‘Quiet until finding Kane for the third. A telling impact again from the Dane.’

Bizarrely, both gave the full of action/quiet Eriksen 7/10.

For what it’s worth, we think creating more chances than any other player on the pitch makes him anything other than ‘quiet’.


Lies, damn lies and statistics
The Daily Mirror’s Brian Reade is at the ‘heart of football’ and he is here to tell PSG that actually, French football is not all that at all. So there.

He takes a quote from President Nasser Al-Khelaifi – “Everybody is asking, ‘what’s going on in France and in the French league?’ Even people who are not interested in football are saying that” – and my word, does he run with it…

Now Reade would be right were he to argue that Ligue 1 is still not as popular as the Premier League, Bundesliga, La Liga or Serie A, but his argument falls down when he uses deliberate obfuscation to argue that Ligue 1 is actually not even as popular as the Championship. Which is clearly nonsense.

‘I have to say it hasn’t been the first question on my wife’s lips lately, or even people I know who like football. Maybe this is why: Last weekend’s 12 EFL Championship games attracted 278,252 fans, which was almost 40,000 more than the 238,364 who paid to watch all the games in France’s top league.

‘The English second tier’s average gate last weekend of 23,187 was also higher than this season’s La Ligue average of 23,142. That’s despite their top side, PSG, boasting a £420million forward line of Neymar, Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe, while the Championship’s weekend leaders, Cardiff City, had Kenneth Zohore, Nathaniel Mendez-Laing and Junior Hoillet bought with the change from the back of the chairman’s couch.’

Where to start? With the fact that you are comparing the total attendances from 12 games with the total attendances from ten games? Maybe.

Or perhaps we should point out that comparing one weekend’s average attendance in the Championship with the season’s average in Ligue 1 (not La Ligue, Brian. Probably helps to know the name of the thing you are criticising) is a) incredibly unscientific and b) intentionally misleading.

As you have probably gathered, the season’s average in Ligue 1 is actually considerably higher than the season’s average in the Championship. Because Leeds aren’t always at home and PSG aren’t always away.

Oh and as for that ridiculous comparison between PSG and Cardiff, we could perhaps point out the Paris club’s average home crowd is 47,025 and the Welsh club’s is 20,088.

Yes, PSG have bought a place at the European top table. No, they’re not less popular than Championship clubs. And you should have known this when you had to manipulate the numbers to make it ‘true’.

Reade may be ‘at the heart of football’ but at the heart of his argument are ‘facts’ that absolutely deserve the inverted quote marks.


Lost in France
Brian Reade’s final line on French football:

‘So, to everyone in the world asking what’s going on in French football the answer is “outside of Al-Khelaifi’s spending power, nothing new, really.”’

Well, that and Monaco reaching the Champions League semi-finals.


Mystic Arsene
As well as blurring reality to denigrate French football, Brian Reade takes the time to be snide about Arsene Wenger:

‘Arsene Wenger has responded to Martin Edwards’ revelation that Manchester United asked him to succeed Alex Ferguson in 2001.

‘The Frenchman declared that he refused the offer because he was too enamoured with Arsenal.

‘“I love the values of this club and, for me, a club is about values first.”

‘In other words he knew he’d never have lasted anything like 13 years without winning the Premier League at Old Trafford, but at Arsenal he reckoned he’d be fine.

‘And how right he’s been proven.’

Leaving aside the small matter of Arsenal traditionally having roughly half of Manchester United’s spending power so the clubs’ targets are slightly different, Mediawatch cannot help but point out that Wenger has only been allowed to last 13 years without the Premier League title because he won two of the next three titles after 2001, the point at which Reade believes the Frenchman had a premonition about a future barren patch.

As usual with Reade, nothing quite adds up.


Haterz gonna hate
‘Lindelof responds to haters as Mourinho prepares to unleash him in Premier League’ – Metro.

This should be good.

“I have noticed what’s been written, but it’s not something that I have focused on. I try to focus on my game and add as much as I can to the team.”



Punditry of the week
“I’m not sure Joe Gomez is tall enough to be a centre-back” – Michael Owen, BT Sport.

Joe Gomez is 6’2″. Mediawatch is not sure Michael Owen is clever enough to be a pundit.


Going to the zoo tomorrow…
Top of the football sidebar on MailOnline is the ‘news’ that Joe Hart posted a picture of himself with a lion at The Big Cat Sanctuary. They describe it as an ‘unusual way to spend a day off’.

Mediawatch supposes that any day not spent drumming up fear of foreigners and bad weather seems pretty unusual to those who work at the Mail. But we like zoos and sh*t.


Recommended reading of the day
Rob Dawson on Man United’s problem without Paul Pogba

Adam Hurrey on the complexity of managerial handshakes

Adam Bate on the impact of Davinson Sanchez

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