Too much at steak
If you thought Martin Keown had the hottest take on Arsenal’s Europa League semi-final defeat to Atletico Madrid, you would be mistaken. Alan Brazil scoffs in the face of those blaming Mesut Ozil for this latest disappointment.
You see, Arsenal were not knocked out by Atletico Madrid because Arsene Wenger insisted on playing his second-choice keeper, nor because they failed to capitalise on their one-man advantage and glut of chances in the first leg. They were knocked out by Atletico Madrid because of Hector Bellerin’s diet.
“Get a steak down you pal! Bellerin, get that steak down you raw!” Brazil, as good an advert as anyone for eating raw meat, told talkSPORT. “That’ll help.”
Yes. Definitely. Steak will clearly help with Hector Bellerin’s positioning.
“He was a good player but he’s gone…I don’t know what’s happened to him.”
He’s stopped eating or using anything containing animal products, clearly.
When asked directly by guest Ally McCoist whether he truly believes Bellerin’s diet caused his inability to defend against Diego Costa, Brazil replied:
“I do. Look at Costa – do you think he has a Caesar salad every Sunday lunch?
“Vegans don’t say ‘hi, how’re you doing’, they say ‘hi, I’m a vegan’. They get it in first.”
That is what all vegans do. Brazil has pretty much got them all bang to rights there.
One can only wonder what Brazil thinks of Venus Williams, Jermain Defoe, Lewis Hamilton and David Haye, who appear to have carved out successful careers as elite athletes despite possibly eating Caesar salads on a Sunday.
As an aside, the following is from a Guardian article published in summer 2017:
‘Some of the world’s leading footballers, including Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Manchester City’s Sergio Agüero, do not eat meat during the playing season.’
Just imagine how good they would be if they ate raw steak though.
Not that such batsh*ttery should overshadow Keown’s rant on Ozil. The former defender pulled no punches for BT Sport.
“He was on the edge of things today. He seems to get lost in the defensive traffic, you can hide a little bit in that position.”
He did make four tackles, to be fair – more than any Atletico player.
“When Wenger made the change and Wilshere came off, at times I was watching and thinking ‘well are you going to get back for your team, are you actually going to put a shift in?’.”
Four tackles, 67 passes (the third-most of any player) and one chance created (only Jack Wilshere managed more) sounds like a decent enough shift. Not brilliant at all, but worthy of scapegoating?
“You know the great players I’ve played with, your Bergkamps and your Henrys, they worked hard as well.”
When Jermaine Jenas interjected to remind Keown that “tracking back” is not necessarily in Ozil’s remit, and that the German would flourish with a more stable structure around him, that only angered Keown further.
“Yes but I think he can get on the ball, demand the ball, make things tick as a Vieira would have done.”
Which is the equivalent to chastising Danny Welbeck for not playing like Andrea Pirlo.
“I bet he doesn’t play again this season. He’ll have some emotional breakdown and won’t be able to play at the weekend.”
“He wasn’t fit to wear the shirt tonight. And I’ve seen this a lot this season and it needs to be said because he needs to be dug out because we expect more from him.”
A reminder: Ozil was not one of the numerous Arsenal defenders whose individual mistakes combined to concede twice over two legs, nor the keeper partly at fault for both goals. But then he didn’t play like Patrick Vieira, so yes, “he needs to be dug out”.
The Partey line
It was halfway through Neil Ashton’s report on Arsenal’s defeat that Mediawatch got the sense The Sun‘s chief football reporter had thought of one particular line before the game, and was determined to crowbar it in somehow.
‘Then there was the Partey piece, the choreographed volley from the edge of the area from Griezmann’s corner 30 minutes in. Ospina was on to it, shuffling across goal in time [to] stop Atletico’s right-back Thomas Partey giving his side the lead.’
Pesky fact: The referee had already blown for a foul by Diego Godin before Ospina made the save. Decent line, though.
Sutton and sweep
Still, Chris Sutton was on duty for BBC Radio 5 live, and feels that there isn’t too much work to be done to revitalise the Gunners.
“There needs to be a tinkering at Arsenal but they need a whole new defence.”
Fast and furious
Liverpool fans, the MailOnline have some breaking news for you: practicing Muslims will fast during Ramadan.
‘Liverpool stars Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Emre Can set to fast for Ramadan during crunch Champions League final with Real Madrid’ reads the headline to this remarkable story. ‘An interesting development has emerged’, you see. Which is that the MailOnline have noticed Liverpool have three Muslim players in their squad.
‘Set to fast’ really has tickled us. The football vernacular is a wonderful thing.
Que Salah, Salah
The Liverpool Echo have some much-needed insight for us on Salah too.
‘Mohamed Salah explains what his now-trademark Liverpool celebration REALLY means’
Finally, the explanation we’ve all been waiting for. We had been wondering what Salah ‘falling to his knees and pressing his head to the turf’ REALLY meant.
Does he fall to his knees because he’s just a bit knackered?
Does he press his head to the ground for fear of Roberto Firmino accidentally kicking him in the head during his own celebration?
Does he point at the blue sky in an indication that he wants to play for Everton?
“It’s just praying and praying for a win.”
Well colour us shocked.
Trying a little to hard headline of the day
‘Ronaldo v Ribenaho’ – The Sun.
Recommended reading of the day
Ian Ladyman with David Pleat.
Liam Rosenior on Jose Mourinho.
Richard Jolly on Conte v Klopp.
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