The most astonishing sentence we have read today
From The Sun’s Chief Sports Writer and Chief Ostrich Dave Kidd:
‘Remarkably, this was United’s first defeat in 25 Premier League matches, a stat often forgotten given the vast number of depressing home draws that run has contained.’
They’ve been unbeaten? WHY DID NOBODY MENTION THIS?
(Oh and it’s their first defeat in 26.)
Also from our friendly neighbourhood Chief Sports Writer:
‘With a staggering lack of self-awareness, Mesut Ozil posed for a dressing-room selfie as if Arsenal had actually won something.’
A couple of things…
1) They had actually ‘won something’ – a game against Manchester United to end their ‘remarkable’ run.
2) That picture is for him, his teammates, his friends and his fans; it’s not for you.
3) Catch up, Granddad.
Reasons to be cheerful…one…erm, that’s it
Excellent work from Kidd’s colleague Charlie Wyett who is searching for positives from Manchester United’s abject Premier League season and comes up with this:
‘There is still room for optimism at Old Trafford, even though Mourinho has under-achieved in the Premier League – especially after the amount spent last summer.
‘Marcus Rashford, 19, unable to make an impact off the bench at the Emirates, has everything to become a truly outstanding player for the club.
‘Jesse Lingard, 24, needs to become more consistent…’
Right. So you came up with one thing to be optimistic about. Obviously nobody at The Sun had been informed of United’s ‘remarkable’ unbeaten run.
Please somebody think of the children
Mediawatch, honest to goodness, laughed out loud at Garth Crooks and his section on Axel Tuanzebe in his BBC Team of the Week:
‘I had never even heard of this lad before this fixture.’
Well, he had only been on the Premier League bench several times and played in the FA Cup. How could anybody reasonably expect a football pundit to have heard of him?
‘The approach from the 19-year-old was just perfect. He did exactly what his senior professionals in the United line-up told him to do and played everything simple.’
Well, you don’t really know what they told him, do you? Wait, is this Garth crediting Wayne Rooney again?
‘We’ve already seen Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard come through at United. Where are they getting these kids from? It’s great to see a Premier League club bringing through home-grown talent. I was beginning to think we’d forgotten how.’
Firstly, Southampton want a word.
Secondly, Marcus Rashford is 19 and Jesse Lingard is 24. That’s a five-year difference. One first-team player every five years hardly merits a hysterical ‘Where are they getting these kids from?’. They’re getting them from the Academy. Very occasionally.
Thirdly, Jose Mourinho sold four homegrown, academy players.
Sorry but we can’t leave it there. We have to bring you these snippets:
‘Whatever decision Wenger makes about his future at Arsenal in the days and weeks ahead, the manager can look back at a career where his countrymen have never let him down. And, for that matter, he hasn’t let them down either.’
Because obviously that’s what matters. Those contracts given to Jeremie Aliadiere and Yaya Sanogo are an important legacy.
‘This lad (Ryan Bertrand) has become a top-class performer. To watch his development at Southampton has been a real pleasure. We all knew that he was a player as a youngster at Chelsea – the question was: What sort of player?’
A left-back, Garth.
‘The suggestion that Mahrez could follow Ranieri out of the King Power Stadium door to play Champions League football next season may be posed by the player’s agent.
‘However, the reality is that, whilst he has the quality to be effective in that competition the question is: Does he have the mentality to cope with the requisite demands? Having the ability is great but it’s the courage and consistency you need most to play at that level.’
Well he did score four goals and claim two assists in an unlikely run to the Champions League quarter-finals so yes, we would say he has the courage. Oh, and he was named Player of the Year when Leicester won the Premier League.
‘What Burnley have done is provide teams coming up into the Premier League with a template for survival. Which is, if you get relegated don’t sack your manager, keep your players, add one or two more to your squad and retain the same regime that got you promotion in the first place. Brighton take note.’
Except, well, Burnley did sell their top scorer, their right-back and their captain. But maybe Crooks had never heard of those lads.
‘PEP GUARDIOLA has claimed Manchester City are the best team in the Premier League…’ begins Jamie Redknapp in the Daily Mail.
We’ll stop you there, Jamie.
What Pep actually said:
“Even the next champions, Chelsea, we create more chances here than even at Stamford Bridge, but in the boxes we are not good. We are the best in the league at doing that, we create more chances than anyone, but we are not always able to score the goals.”
As you were.
Snakes on the train
You may remember the rampantly hyperbolic headline on Martin Samuel’s column in the Daily Mail when Claudio Ranieri was sacked:
‘Leicester City’s owners were snakes claiming to support Claudio Ranieri…his dispiriting, depressing sacking marks the day the game lost its soul.’
Obviously, Samuel completely ignored the fact that most Leicester fans reluctantly supported the decision and that the Foxes were on their way to relegation just a year after winning the title.
The decision really has been proven correct – with Leicester picking up more points per game than any team but Tottenham since Ranieri’s sacking – yet Samuel is still not ready to step down from his high horse (poor horse).
‘Having returned to the ranks of the also-rans, it appears Leicester will face a fight to retain some important players this summer. Goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel has been linked with a move to a bigger club and, now he has started playing well again, so has Riyad Mahrez, who wants to remain in the Champions League.
‘Leicester’s owners took heed of performances and ditched their title-winning manager Claudio Ranieri for Craig Shakespeare in February, but how much loyalty has that bought them? Not enough to placate players who as good as dictated the policy.
‘If a summer of upheaval now occurs regardless, an important lesson is learned: backing the players against the manager is the shortest of short-term moves.’
Do you know what has guaranteed less upheaval this summer? Staying in the Premier League, that’s what.
Yes, they will likely lose Schmeichel and Mahrez, but they might not also lose Vardy, Okazaki, Ndidi, Huth, Morgan, Simpson, Fuchs, Drinkwater, Albrighton…
‘ONE cannot help thinking that if Marcus Rashford was in the form he is in now, and playing for Monaco, Manchester United would bid £72m for him.’
You’re right of course, Martin Samuel. Two goals in 26 Premier League games is definitely the kind of sparkling form that earns you a £72m move.
If only the British kids were given a chance…