Mediawatch: World champ, but no big-game player

Date published: Thursday 5th November 2015 1:14

A reminder
The Metro on September 16: ‘8 reasons why Arsenal can top their Champions League group ahead of Bayern Munich.’

Mediawatch laughed back then, and Mediawatch is still laughing now.


Special delivery
‘It wasn’t the best night to judge Mesut Ozil,’ begins the piece from Rob Draper on MailOnline. That qualifier didn’t stop him judging Mesut Ozil for the next 692 words.

In fairness to Draper, it isn’t quite of the ‘nicking a living’ proportions achieved by his Mail colleague Neil Ashton, but it’s still a strange critique of the German.

Draper’s gripe with Ozil emanates from the midfielder’s apparent inability to perform in the bigger games, with Arsenal’s 5-1 defeat to Bayern Munich the latest example. Quite how Draper expected Ozil to stop the defence conceding five times to an irresistible Bayern outfit, nobody really knows. But the clash at the Allianz Arena provided Ozil the opportunity to ‘deliver something special’ in the face of his ‘sceptics’, one which Draper feels the German spurned.

‘His only significant contribution was elbowing in the Nacho Monreal cross on 11 minutes,’ writes Draper, who wonders ‘why he didn’t at least attempt to stoop to head it’. Draper continues: ‘Because, had he scored that would have been a genuinely game changing moment, where Bayern relentless flow might have been halted. Instead, 1-0 became 5-1.’

It’s more than a slight leap to attribute Ozil’s ‘handball’ to Bayern increasing their lead from 1-0 to 5-1, but the strangest part of Draper’s article is the timing. Ozil currently leads the Premier League assist charts with nine, six clear of his nearest challenger. As for the ‘big game’ argument…

  • Ozil scored in the victory over Manchester United.
  • He started all seven games as Germany won the 2014 World Cup.
  • He starred in both of Arsenal’s FA Cup wins in 2014 and 2015, missing just one cumulative game over both campaigns.
  • He was voted in the Euro 2012 Team of the Season after helping Germany to the semi-finals, starting all five games, scoring one goal and providing three assists.
  • He was La Liga’s top assist creator (17) in Real Madrid’s title-winning campaign of 2011/12, with only Cristiano Ronaldo, Iker Casillas and Xabi Alonso making more appearances.
  • He was a 2010 World Cup Golden Ball nominee and made a tournament high three assists after starting all seven of Germany’s games on their way to third place.

But because Ozil ‘disappointed’ against Bayern, he will ‘never’ be in the company of the game’s top players – it’s almost as if the article had been lined up before the game.

If only there were an example of Ozil scoring against Bayern in the last two weeks…


Luck ahead
‘Roy Hodgson has seen his England plans torn apart by injuries to THIRTEEN of his squad,’ writes Charlie Wyett in The Sun. The list of 13 injured players includes Fraser Forster (has featured in two of England’s 10 games in the last year), Ben Foster (two of the last 10), Tom Cleverley (two of the last 10), Leighton Baines (one of the last 10), Danny Ings (one of the last 10) and Daniel Sturridge (zero of the last 10).

Less ‘torn apart’, more ‘mildly affected for a friendly’. Mediawatch wonders whether the story would have been approved if it wasn’t an ‘unlucky 13’ absentees, as per the headline.


Pep talk
November 4, 2pm: “This is my biggest fear that someone like Pep Guardiola will become the next Manchester United manager. Guardiola has a way of playing, he has a system and he sticks to that. He has changed Bayern Munich from what I thought was a fantastic treble-winning team under Jupp Heynckes. They played quick football, through the middle, using the width of the pitch, but they were passing the ball and killing everyone they played against. He started to make them pass the ball sideways and I don’t think they are as exciting as what they were.” – Peter Schmeichel to Sky Sports

November 4, just before 10pm: Bayern Munich 5-1 Arsenal.

Nailed it.


Fight the power
The latest results from the Boaz Myhill testimonial are out; the Sky Sports Power Rankings have made their triumphant return. The best bits:

  • Manchester City, top of the Premier League, have only one player (Aleksandar Kolarov) in the top 10.
  • Five Arsenal players have outperformed Santi Cazorla so far this season.
  • Harry Kane has been the 16th best player of the season so far, above team-mate Toby Alderweireld and 14 places higher than Sergio Aguero (eight goals in 11 to Kane’s five in 15).
  • James Milner has been Liverpool’s best player so far this season, with Martin Skrtel a close second.
  • The highest goalkeeper (Petr Cech) ranks 26th, with Joe Hart the only other keeper in the top 50 players of the season so far.

We’re still not sure of just what the ‘Power Rankings methodology’ actually is.


Absolute Gold

Yes, West Ham co-chairman David Gold retweeted (and has since deleted) this. Yes, it is a picture of West Ham winger Michail Antonio.


Prediction of the day
“The way that Arsenal are defending, I am confident that it won’t be one of these games where Bayern are 3-0 up at half-time and it’s just save face from there, because this lot can do that against the very best.”

Excellent work from Sky Sports‘ Charlie Nicholas just eight minutes before kick-off.


Insight of the day
Said Mark Lawrenson on BBC Radio 5 live: “This Bayern team are in a different league to Arsenal. Well, they are in the Bundesliga but you know what I mean.”


Headline of the day
‘MULLERED’ – Simple but effective from the Daily Mirror.


Recommended reading of the day
Andi Thomas on boring, boring Manchester United

David Preece on the return of crosses

Bobby Gardiner on Chelsea being ‘found out’


Thanks to today’s Mediawatch spotter Sean Horan and Brian Dunwoody. If you see anything that belongs on this page, mail us at, putting ‘Mediawatch’ in the subject field.

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