How odds-on title favourites ‘blew it’ v Liverpool…

Editor F365
Riyad Mahrez misses chance for Manchester City v Liverpool

Manchester City were definitely better than Liverpool but did they ‘blow it’? Did they balls.

 

Counter-claim
One thing that frustrates Mediawatch is that tabloid newspapers are obsessed with quotes, even when those quotes really aren’t very interesting. The big story from Sunday should have been that Manchester City and Liverpool produced 90 minutes of phenomenal entertainment; the story was not – as The Sun back page suggests – that ‘PEP GUARDIOLA claimed Manchester City let rivals Liverpool off the hook in their title slugfest’.

The ‘claimed’ is bizarre as that suggests either controversy or some degree of bluster when City clearly did let Liverpool off the hook, giving up a lead twice and having almost twice as many shots and 32 touches in the opposition box to Liverpool’s 19. By most measures, City were the dominant side and will have come away with some regrets about not killing off the game. Indeed, Charlie Wyett writes on the inside pages that ‘the German knew that his team had got away with one’.

Despite what John Nicholson writes, people are interested in the actual football; there is no needle here nor any need to create any.

 

Blew is the colour
That said, Liverpudlian Andy Dunn takes things a tad too far in the Daily Mirror as he writes that Manchester City ‘blew it here’. Did they? They edged the game on xG by 1.31 to 1.14 so a draw was hardly a surprising result. And they are still 4/9 favourites to win the title.

‘With Kevin De Bruyne running the show, City had enough chances and half-chances to win with a smidgeon of comfort.’

Hmm, we’re not sure they did. They definitely edged it but as Pep Guardiola himself said: “I wanted to win but it doesn’t matter. It was so good.” But never mind that, Dunn has his narrative, which has absolutely nothing to do with his own allegiances, of course.

‘When De Bruyne gave him the chance to give City a hefty nudge towards the title, Mahrez blew it.

‘As did City. They may well still win the title but, if they do not, this was a day they will be left to regret.’

Pretty sure if they fail to win the title, it will be points dropped against one or more of Brighton, Watford, Leeds, Newcastle, West Ham, Aston Villa or Wolves they will be left to regret.

 

Getting glary
We don’t often quote Martin Samuel as the voice of reason but he actually summed up the game when he described an entertaining 2-2 draw as ‘a brilliant rollercoaster of a game in which Liverpool levelled from behind twice, and that Manchester City shaded on points. But not by enough to get more on the day’.

So quite what the Daily Mail were thinking with the front page of their pull-out is unclear.

They describe Riyad Mahrez’s chance at the end as a ‘glaring miss’ and say that he ‘fluffed his lines’ while the headline reads ‘Moment Mahrez should have sealed the title’.

Now we have watched this passage of play several times and there is absolutely no chance that counts as a ‘glaring miss’ unless you are desperate for a certain narrative. xG can be misleading but that chance had a value of 0.09. Here’s where he was standing when he attempted the lob:

We read the Guardian match report in an attempt to get a more balanced view and it begins thus:

‘The talk has been of trebles and quadruples, of a historic kind of plunder and, plainly, something will have to give – only not yet.Β Manchester CityΒ will probably be the happier with this draw as it keeps them above Liverpool, with one more Premier League game chalked off, although Pep Guardiola’s team had the chances to have been out of sight at half-time…and to have pinched it at the end.’

‘Probably be happier’? Do they not know they ‘blew it’ and Riyad Mahrez ‘fluffed his lines’?

 

Inspirations
So how did Liverpool get a point from this one-sided game that Manchester City ‘blew’? Over to the Mirror:

‘Jurgen Klopp discloses inspired strategy he used with Liverpool stars at half-time’

And this ‘inspired strategy’ was – in Klopp’s words – “we obviously showed the goal, as it was a really good footballing situation”.

Can something be both ‘obvious’ and ‘inspired’? It can when you are trying to pretend that something exciting happened that wasn’t the actual, you know, football.

 

Tell me what you don’t want…
But never mind what happened in the Liverpool dressing-room at half-time, what happened in the City dressing-room at full-time?

‘I don’t want’ – Pep Guardiola reveals dressing room request to Man City squad after Liverpool draw’

The Liverpool Echo really have tried desperately here, using the increasingly used and increasingly annoying cryptic part-quote.

So what did Guardiola say? What did he not want in the dressing-room? Half-hearted love affairs? To hear Ed Sheeran? To see John Stones’ cock? Even better than that….

‘I don’t want one second sad, go and announce to everyone how good you have done and how proud you are’

Wow.

Is there any chance at all that we can stop pretending that anybody at all said anything at all interesting after what was a brilliant football game?