Solskjaer, Klopp and the ’33-point swing’ that isn’t…

Date published: Thursday 14th January 2021 3:57

Swing out sister
The Sun Online
love a WAG. But what happens when you exhaust all of the WAGs in all of the world?

‘Footballers’ sexiest sisters including Neymar’s sibling Rafaella and Theo Walcott’s bodybuilding relative Hollie’

Mediawatch has just done a little sick in its mouth.


Scar crash
We’re not saying that football news is thin on the ground but The Sun website‘s top story at 10am on Thursday is that Raul Jimenez was at Wolves’ game on Tuesday night and he was ‘showing off’ a scar on his head. This ‘showing off’ consisted of the shamelessly exhibitionist behaviour of brazenly not wearing a hat.


Title tilt
The problem, of course, is that Manchester City won a game and nobody cares about Manchester City, and that Spurs rather predictably drew a game they should have won. It’s all very dull.

Which is why James Nursey decided to sex up Jose Mourinho’s quotes for the back page of the Daily Mirror and claimed that ‘JOSE MOURINHO has warned Spurs to forget the title if they keep failing to kill off opponents’, even though JOSE MOURINHO said absolutely nothing of the sort. Of course he did not mention the title because Tottenham are in sixth place and you can get odds of 26/1 on them winning the damned thing; to mention the title would have been ludicrous. To claim he did for the sake of a back-page story is worse.


Swing shift
In the inside pages of the Daily Mirror, David McDonnell is starting the build-up to Sunday under the heading of ‘THIS TIME IT REALLY MATTERS’ while Brian Reade remembers the Dog and Duck quote from Gary Neville six years ago and claims that the English El Clasico is now back, back, back. Neither thinks to mention the small matter of Manchester City actually being the odds-on favourites. In fact, neither mentions Manchester City at all. That does not quite fit the narrative.

Reade writes: ‘A year ago this weekend, Jurgen Klopp’s men beat United at Anfield to open a 30-point gap on them with a game in hand. Slowly, and impressively, Solskjaer has managed a 33-point swing in his direction.’

Hmmmm. Now Mediawatch has no choice but to agree that Solskjaer has done an excellent job over the last 12 months, but he has not ‘managed a 33-point swing in his direction’. First, you cannot claim a ‘swing’ over two seasons at different junctures when points are re-set. Otherwise, you could have claimed a 30-point swing even before a ball was kicked this season.

And second, the largest part of any ‘swing’ (if we must accept that term) really has come from Klopp himself.

Otherwise, by Reade’s logic, we should be lauding Frank Lampard for slowly and impressively managing an 18-point swing in Chelsea’s direction. Maybe he should try that argument if Roman Abramovich tries to sack him for being ninth.


Blow job
‘Liverpool get double fitness blow ahead of huge Premier League clash with Man Utd’ – Mirror.

Does it really count as a ‘blow’ if a player (Naby Keita) who has started two Premier League games in three months is missing? That sounds like more of a dull ache.


Beek street
But the real clicks are in controversy, U-turns and a certain Manchester United midfielder, so two days after ‘Ole Gunnar Solskjaer makes Donny van de Beek U-turn at Man Utd after “disgraceful” decision’ was Mirror football’s most-read story, James Polden is back with another classic of the genre:

‘Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has last laugh after controversial Donny van de Beek decision’

And what was the ‘controversial Donny van de Beek decision’? He ‘opted against making the £35million signing the focal point of his Manchester United midfield’, of course. We’re not sure anybody expected that but go on. Well, Polden does go on (and on and on, via all the quotes from all the people) and concludes that Manchester United are doing rather well without Van De Beek. That really is the ‘last laugh’, though we are unsure if you can have a last laugh halfway through a season.

This made us have a little middling laugh though:

‘Solskjaer has landed on a winning formula at Old Trafford and his side are firing on all cylinders, with Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay both in the form of their lives.’

Is that the same Scott McTominay who has played 67 minutes of football over the last three Premier League games?


You might think that Liverpool will be worried about Manchester United’s top scorer, top assist-maker and top chance-creator ahead of Sunday’s English El Clasico, but you would be wrong. The Daily Star website is here with a revelation:

‘Bruno Fernandes shouldn’t worry Liverpool as stats suggest Man Utd star could suffer’

It’s not like the Star to get caught up in statistics so we are giddy with anticipation of the detail:

‘The figures show that Fernandes is not as good at making chances when he is doing more pressing that usual.’

And that’s all your detail.

So you are telling us – via these ‘stats’ – that when this particular footballer has less of the ball, he creates less with the ball? We’d be surprised if Liverpool even bother to mark him.

(Maybe just don’t tell them that he created five chances against Aston Villa just two weeks ago).


Imagine all the people…
Meanwhile, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – after weeks of claiming that they can be no title race in January – has made ‘a very honest Manchester United title admission’ (Manchester Evening News).

Not just honest, but ‘very honest’.

‘”If I had asked you three months ago, honestly, would you have dared to dream that Manchester United could travel as league leaders to Anfield in January?” a reporter from Norwegian outlet TV2 asked Solskjaer.

‘”Well, I’m a dreamer you know,” the United manager replied.’

F***. That’s searingly honest.


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