If I Fell…
Predictably, Neil Ashton goes all bombastic in The Sun, writing that ‘the great Manchester United, boasting some of the most expensive players on planet football, were a joke’.
But why on earth would you write that ‘there was embarrassment for Marouane Fellaini, sent on as a 63rd-minute substitute and bizarrely replaced by Ander Herrera just seven minutes later’ when the most obvious explanation was an injury?
The rather massive clue is that Fellaini has not started a Premier League game since September because of a recurring knee injury but that massive clue – along with Fellaini holding his actual knee and heading straight down the tunnel for treatment – was ignored in favour of the all-important narrative as Ashton wrote:
‘Fellaini fell victim to one of Mourinho’s famous mood swings with the substitute substituted when the United boss lost his cool.’
Alternatively, Fellaini fell victim to one of Fellaini’s famous knee injuries.
You’ve got Mail
Mediawatch thought that was poor until we opened the homepage of the MailOnline at 12pm on Thursday – to see that the biggest story in football is still…
‘From super sub to super snub! Fellaini hauled off just SEVEN MINUTES after being sent on to rescue United at Wembley’
If you are screaming ‘but he was sodding injured’ then you are not alone. And the most damning thing is that they bloody know. They bloody knew that when Jose Mourinho explained exactly that after the game – about 14 hours before we clocked that headline.
The story even says as much:
‘Marouane Fellaini’s Manchester United career took another turn for the worse after he was brought on by Jose Mourinho only to be hauled off again just seven minutes later against Tottenham.
‘The Belgian midfielder was exchanged for Jesse Lingard after 63 minutes and with Manchester United trailing 2-0. But he barely had time to make an impact before leaving the pitch for Ander Herrera on 70 minutes.
‘Originally, it was speculated that Mourinho had taken him off in a tactical switch, but the manager later confirmed the change was enforced after Fellaini suffered a problem in his knee.’
Yes and it is at that exact point when this ceases to be a ‘snub’.
Shameless does not even come close to covering it.
Neil Ashton called Alexis Sanchez ‘a piece of work’ last week so he clearly delighted in the Chilean’s non-performance at Wembley…
‘The Chilean was a little boy lost out there, wondering when to make his runs, when to time his runs and wondering whether he would ever get another touch.’
Pesky fact: Only one other Manchester United player (Ashley Young) touched the ball more.
A Pog’s life
Never mind Alexis Sanchez, you know who is big business, clicks-wise? Paul Pogba that’s who. Little more than 14 hours after Pogba had played (badly) for Manchester United at Wembley, the Daily Mirror website had published the following four stories…
‘Manchester United fans have a tactical problem with Paul Pogba following 2-0 loss at Tottenham’
‘Jose Mourinho explains decision to withdraw Paul Pogba during Manchester United defeat to Tottenham’
‘Frank Lampard explains why Jose Mourinho substituted Paul Pogba in Manchester United’s defeat to Tottenham’
‘Man United fans think they know what sparked Jose Mourinho and Paul Pogba’s animated touchline spat’
Shall Mediawatch join the queue of people explaining what happened between Jose Mourinho and Paul Pogba during Manchester United’s defeat to Tottenham?
Chapter and Merse
‘Manchester City can pretty much just go out and get what they need.’
At’s at this point that you wonder whether Sky Sports asked Paul Merson for his January window transfer grades last week. Or whether he was simply distracted by something shiny.
Coming the morning after City (graded A) very publicly failed to sign Riyad Mahrez, that really is quite some claim from Merson.
Other highlights include:
* Bournemouth getting an F because, well, ‘what grade can you give to the kid who doesn’t turn up at school?’
What if he turns up but does nothing because he finished all his work last term, Paul? What grade do you give that kid?
* Chelsea getting an A+. An actual A+. It’s worth noting at this point that Merson is a Chelsea fan.
‘To get Giroud for that price, it’s a cup of tea, that is,’ says Merson.
* ‘How many teams get quality like Alexis Sanchez in January? They needed that x-factor and they’ve definitely been missing a spark to give them a little bit extra in tight games.’
‘Tight games’ like Tottenham away, Merse?
* On Stoke: ‘I don’t know any of those players, so I can’t rate them high. They didn’t buy anybody at the start of the season really and that’s why Mark Hughes struggled. He was left out to dry.’
Which is odd because Merson himself said on September 1 – after Stoke had signed seven players – that ‘they have had a go’.
* On Watford: ‘Didier Ndong? I don’t get that one. Deulofeu was at Barcelona and now he’s coming to Watford in a relegation battle. He can be first class on his day but I’ve also seen him off his day. You’ve got to tell him to go out wide and do what you’ve got to do, but if you ask him to do other stuff? I don’t think so.’
We suspect that Watford will not be asking winger Gerard Deulofeu to do ‘other stuff’, Merse. They haven’t bought him because he can make a lovely raspberry flan.
C-c-c-c-called a u-turn
“I would have tried to get rid of Lacazette and kept Giroud,” Merson told Sky Sports when asked about Arsenal’s transfer business. “They have no plan B now, it’s completely gone. If they’re losing a match, Giroud would come on and score goals. I find it shocking.”
Literally minutes later, Merson was asked to give Arsenal a grade for their transfer business: ‘I’ll give them an A for attacking.’
And we give Merson a U.
Did you think that Arsenal had spent approximately £56m on Wednesday?
The Times’ search for ever-greater numbers means that Arsenal actually paid ‘£152m to seal double coup’.
£55.4m for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
£32.7m for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s wages.
£63.7m for Mesut Ozil’s wages.
Because of course they were given all of that money on Wednesday.
Presumably Manchester United fans will be fuming on Arsenal’s behalf that the media have added fees together. They were under the impression it only happened to them.
Troll with it
‘RB Leipzig ‘troll Liverpool for failing to sign Naby Keita’ early by posting cheeky video of the midfielder dancing’ – Daily Mirror website.
Putting inverted quotes in a story which quotes nobody is a special kind of way of admitting that you are writing a load of old sh*te.
Take a vow
How do you generate excitement in the transfer of an unknown Norwegian striker to Crystal Palace? Well, if you’re the Star you crowbar Chelsea into the headline.
‘Alexander Sørloth vows to emulate Chelsea legend at Selhurst Park’
Does he? Or does he just mention that he admires Didier Drogba and, when pressed about emulating said Chelsea legend, answers: “I don’t know about that, I have to show it first.”?
Mediawatch looks forward to seeing Mrs Mediawatch’s face when we ‘vow’ to forsake all others while mumbling that we “don’t know about that”.
— Allie Hodgkins-Brown (@AllieHBNews) January 31, 2018
Quotes from Riyad Mahrez?
You know the answer.
Recommended reading of the day
Amy Lawrence on Arsenal.
James Kelly on George Weah.
Jonathan Liew on Manchester United.