Mo Salah is the best in the world if you ignore all the numbers that tell you otherwise, while Man City have problems.
Mo Salah days
After writing on Monday that ‘there cannot be a more dangerous striker in the whole of Europe right now than Mo Salah’, the Daily Mirror‘s David Maddock obviously thought he had not gone far enough and returns on Tuesday with absolute certainty: ‘Right now, Salah is the best in the world. No doubt. His numbers are off the charts.’
He then details how ‘since the beginning of 2020/21, he’s scored more goals than Lionel Messi and produced more goal involvements than Cristiano Ronaldo’.
And there rests the case for the prosecution, with no mention of any other player across the whole world who could lay claim to the entirely pointless title of ‘best in the world’.
Except, well, it doesn’t, because the Mirror have handily included a little box of statistics that tell us:
* Mo Salah has indeed scored one more goal than Lionel Messi since the start of 2020/21 but he has played seven more games.
* Mo Salah has indeed produced more goal involvements than Ronaldo since the start of the 2020/21 season but he has actually produced fewer goal involvements than Messi, Kylian Mbappe, Robert Lewandowski and Erling Haaland. The Mirror compare six footballers and Salah actually comes fifth on that metric.
* Mo Salah has actually scored fewer goals since the start of the 2020/21 season than Mbappe, Lewandowski, Ronaldo and Haaland. The Mirror compare six footballers and Salah actually comes fifth on that metric.
It’s almost like the statistics do not prove that ‘Salah is the best in the world’ (‘no doubt’, remember) at all, but rather that Salah is currently the best in the Premier League that people in England (and particularly Merseyside) are watching this season.
And what the hell does it matter anyway?
The Sun clearly did not get the memo that Manchester United are this international break’s designated crisis club because they dedicate a double-page spread to Manchester City, who have emerged from away games with Chelsea and Liverpool this week with three goals and four points and yet ‘PEP MAY BE TITLE CHALLENGED’.
‘GUARDIOLA HAS HUGE HEADACHE: HOW TO WIN THE LEAGUE WITHOUT A STRIKER’, apparently. Yes, how will he ever replace the four Premier League goals scored by Sergio Aguero last season, when they won the Premier League by 12 points while scoring a piffling 83 goals?
The question will be ‘nagging away at the Manchester City boss as he spends time with his family’, we are told. Mediawatch actually suspects that Guardiola will remember that after seven games last season, City had scored just ten goals and were mired in mid-table and be rather happy that City are just two points adrift of leaders Chelsea with 14 goals and the joint-best defence in the top flight.
He might also acknowledge that Manchester City have already played away games against the two teams above them in the table and reflect that actually, things are going okay.
Oh but ‘all the signs are that this race is going to be much closer. Just two points separate the top six after the opening seven matches’.
As opposed to last season, when there was a yawning three points separating the strung-out top six. Oh and none of those top six were eventual champions Manchester City.
The only ‘huge headache’ here comes from stretching your mind to believe that City are in any form of crisis.
Kane and unable
Somebody needs to question Alan Shearer on why he believes Harry Kane would have been able to score 40 goals in this Manchester City side when Harry Kane has scored exactly zero goals for Tottenham this season. Spurs are shit but they’re not that shit.
Oh and if it’s so easy to score 40 goals for City, why did Sergio Aguero never come close?
Hit the road, Jack
Mediawatch is amused by Stan Collymore dedicating the bulk of his Daily Mirror column to Jack Grealish and the fact that he should ‘go and tell the manager where he wants to play rather than having it dictated to him’.
That’s Jack Grealish (winner of the Championship play-offs with Aston Villa as a player) who should be telling Pep Guardiola (winner of nine domestic titles and two Champions Leagues as a manager) how to do his job. Because that will go down a bloody storm.
Apparently, he is in danger of becoming ‘a jack of all trades, master of none’ at City.
We are not sure what is more ridiculous – that Grealish should dictate to Guardiola or that Grealish should dictate to Guardiola after he has started seven of his nine Premier League and Champions League games this season exactly where he would expect: on the left.
As for ‘the best players in the world certainly don’t play in three of four positions’…maybe take a look at Kevin de Bruyne, who has happily played in three or four positions under Guardiola without feeling the need to demand special privileges.
Phil yer boots
Stan Collymore also writes that Phil Foden should take more shots because ‘he showed there is no reason why he can’t get 10 or 15 a season for club and country from the positions he gets into’.
No reason at all: he scored 18 goals last season.
One thing has been bothering us since we read of Arsenal’s reported interest in Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Ollie Watkins. Where on earth would they play?
Thankfully, The Sun website have come along to tell us ‘How Arsenal could line up with Ollie Watkins or Dominic Calvert-Lewin’ and conclude that ‘both strikers are most comfortable at centre-forward with it incredibly unlikely they’d ever be shunted out wide’.
Phew. Our only question is why this insight is available for free. We would definitely pay an Athletic-style subscription.