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Arsenal offload Wenger to China; Manchester United want 9

With all the shock value of a baby with a full nappy, news is that departing Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger will become the highest-paid manager in the world should he move to the Chinese Super League. The BBC says so.

He won’t go, of course. It was only a day or two ago that the tabloids were telling us of Wenger’s “hint” at continuing to coach in European football. China might well own vast chunks of European real estate and capital, but we’re not yet an enclave.

The BBC and Mirror mention not a single club by name to have offered Wenger anything in mangement, only that he has been “inundated” with offers and it is “understood” the deal is worth even more than “Marcello Lippi receives on his £24m-a-year deal as boss of the China national team”. (Lippi’s alive?!)

And then this guff:

But Wenger, who has been earning £8m-a-year, can get even more after being sounded out with a serious offer from China for when he steps down at Arsenal this summer.

Oh, and the Mirror “understands” Wenger would prefer to manager in Europe. The paper “believes” Wenger wants to continue in management. Mirror and BBC readers might well understand that this story has more holes than the Arsenal defence, which is lots.

 

wenger manchester united

Via (The Times)

 

8-2 arsenal

 

As for the actual football, Arsenal travel to Manchester United on Sunday. The game falls between their Europa League clashes with Atletico Madrid. Arsenal fans have no need to wonder what team Wenger will send out at United – it’s not the one that used to fight and scrap and win. It’s the one that follows an 8-2 drubbing; the team of journeymen you get when a palsied board stick with a faded talent in exchange for regular dividend cheques that come with being also-rans.

Arsenal are slipping. Last summer was dominated by the mess over Alexis Sanchez (now at Man United, of course, and playing well) and Mesut Ozil’s contracts. This one will be about a new manager, and Aaron Ramsey and Danny Welbeck when the pair enter the final 12 months of their existing deals in June – when Jack Wilshere will be a free agent. No planning. No vision.

“I always got a great reception at Old Trafford,” says Wenger. “I don’t know what kind of reception I will get but we will be focused on winning the game. We always had some great battles in 22 years.” When was the last one, Arsene?

Manchester United 8, Arsenal 2 (2011). He should have gone years ago.

Posted: 28th, April 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, manchester united, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Spurs Harry Kane goes full Atletico Mince over being ‘bullied’

Spurs striker Harry Kane thinks he’s being bullied. Kane is said to be upset over a joke made by PFA chairman Ben Purkiss (Swindon Town FC) at the recent awards do. Purkiss told the room: “Harry Kane is so prolific that he is able to score without touching the ball.”

And…? And nothing. The reference being, of course, Kane’s sad and desperate – and oddly successful – mission to claim Spurs’ winning goal against Stoke City a few weeks ago. The ball appeared to go directly in from a Christian Eriksen freekick. But Kane felt a draft on his shirt and claimed it;  taking home, presumably, any goal bonus and edging closer to the Golden Boot for the Premier League’s top scorer.

The Daily Mirror notes:

It is understood Kane and his family are furious and see the jokes being made at the striker’s expense as a form of bullying.

Bullying? He’s a grown man, hymned by the masses and reared in a bubble of sycophants and lackays. Suck it up, Harry. You’re looking like a fool.

 

 

Posted: 27th, April 2018 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Arsenal and Atletico Madrid fight in an ‘Orphanage’: Google Translate does the Europa League

When Arsenal contrived to toss away a fantastic opportunity to put Atletico Madrid to the sword in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final, we went to see what Spanish newspapers made of the 1-1 draw. When fans are feeling blue at their team’s shortcomings – and how did Arsenal playing at home, a goal and an extra man to the good following a 10th minute red card in their favour finish the game 1-1? Answer: comical defending – it’s a fun idea to read the match report via Google Translate.

Spanish newspaper El Pais tells us of a fight in an orphanage and much more besides:

In ten minutes he had seen how Arsenal was going over him and the arbitration decisions that put the game uphill were unleashed. The bad deliveries generated an initial decomposition that caused the first bombing of the Arsenal and also the first yellow to Vrsaljko for tripping Wilshere. With this card the French referee Clèment Turpin set the bar very low. Soon, Oblak put a prodigious hand to deflect a header from Lacazatte, who had already hovered the goal after a center past Welbeck. In the middle of the game cascade produced by Özil, Ramsey and Wilshere, Vrasljko arrived late to a dispute with Lacazette and stepped on the French striker. The referee showed the second yellow to the Croatian side and Simeone was demonized. He began to protest with fuss and vociferate. Perhaps he is accustomed to these protests in Spain, but Turpin did not allow them. Atlético stayed with a player less and orphaned coach.

From that orphanage so early in the morning, he had no choice but to be more of Simeone than ever…

Turned into a split pediment, Arsenal fell into the routine and prompted the Atlético take air to play something. Griezmann had a shy shot from the edge before having the clearest chance of the first half. It originated Thomas, who understood that the context of the shock was for heroic adventures…

The start of the second act revived the local offensive thunders from innumerable centers on the sides. He also seemed to adjust better Wenger set to prevent the Athletic could progress and generate kickbacks. Center to center, the harassment and demolition paid off…

It was the Montenegrin center who put a long ball to Griezmann to persist with Koscielny. He tried to control the ball, but was met by the insistence of Griezmann, who slipped the ball and stood before Ospina. The Colombian goal took the first shot, but the rejection no longer forgave the Frenchman…

They still had another drink in a header from Ramsey, but Oblak with another stretched museum certified the resistance of Atlético to fall.

It’s rivalled by AS, whose reporter goes full tonto:

Arsenal came out to win, without trembling. The Atleti, like a flan, at six minutes already added a stick of Lacazette and the first miracle hand of Oblak. But he was 115 years old at the Emirates and could only do so with a game that matched his history . With suffering, epic and blessed madness . Because there was, a lot. Because very soon Vrsaljko would leave with ten of his own . He saw yellow in the 2 ‘to avoid a counter and in the 9’ he stepped on Lacazette without thinking that he already had a card. The referee, Turpin, did not either. To think that the party had not even reached 10 ‘. Yellow, red and to the tunnel. Soon Simeone would follow .

The referee did not punish with yellow a foul on Lucas and that burned him. I would turn off Turpin’s finger. To the tier. For many minutes the Arsenal would not stop raining . It was Lacazette, storm between the lines, it was that deadly Welbeck headbutt. Al Atleti was only held by a redoubt, the goalkeeper of 13 on his back. Second hand miracle of Oblak…

Adding:

It seemed the sentence but, then, when the clock said 81, Welbeck lost that ball that Giménez sent long to Grizi , for 1-1, and Oblak stopped that last time, Ramsey, to leave to Wenger that smell of defeat in clothes . Because there are games that smell like that, like some nights. It does not matter to tie them, you smell them, the clothes, and there it is. The defeat, although his Arsenal did not lose. The Metropolitan will decide.

Or as the Arsenal website outs it: “We CAN do it.”

Posted: 27th, April 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Technology | Comment


Arsenal: Wenger hints at something but not that

What next for Arsene Wenger when he finally closes the door on Arsenal and we can all forget about the nine years without a trophy, signing Marouane Chamakh and watching a side with all aggression of a newborn lamb? Unless, of course, the masterful manager steers Arsenal to the Europa League title and with it Champions League qualification, and we call agree that it’d be right and proper for Wenger to remain at the club for another season. Or longer. Don’t toss way those “Wenger Out’ banners yet, Gooners.

 

arsenal wenger express

 

The Express, though, is a practical organ. Everything it publishes is printed in trusty black and white. Wenger is going. End of. And today the paper delivers the news: “Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger drops big hint over next job: This is where I want to manage.”

 

arsenal wenger express

 

In case you missed it there, the Express’s sister paper, the Star, also thunders: “Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger drops huge hint over where he’ll manage next.”

Where? Bayern Munich? Spurs? England? Says Wenger: “I hope these are not my last European cup games – my target is to play in Europe again.” The hint is that he cole mange for any club in Europe. In yer face, Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao.

Posted: 26th, April 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Why I sold Salah to Liverpool: Roma director relives the horror

“Every time he scores I’m like, ‘Oh, dear God’,” James Pallotta, Roma’s American owner, says of Mohamed Salah, Liverpool’s star player who joined the Reds from the Italians and orchestrated a 5-2 rout of his former club in the Champions League semi-final.  This season, Salah has scored 43 goals in 47 games. He scored two against Roma – the first two – and then served up two more for his teammates.

So why did Roma sell Salah for £36.9 last summer? Liverpool now value the player at close to £200m. Roma’s sporting director, Monch (nee Ramón Rodríguez Verdejo) tries to explain. “I sold him for more than €42m,” he told Spanish radio station Onda Cero. “We had a need to sell. We had no option but to sell Salah before 30 June. Had we not done that, we probably wouldn’t be here playing the semi-final of the Champions League as we had Uefa closely monitoring us.

“We didn’t want to sell him but we had no choice. We had to take an offer before the end of the month. He wanted to leave, but we would have kept him if the regulations weren’t against us. When I arrived, the offer [from Liverpool] was €30m but we managed to get it up to almost €50m with bonuses. That is what we could do. The market then went crazy with Neymar, Coutinho and Dembélé.”

It could be worse, of course. You could be Jose Mourinho and Chelsea, who oversaw not just the sale of Salah but also that of Kevin De Bruyne.

Posted: 26th, April 2018 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, Sports | Comment


Arsenal balls: Elneny vows to walk again

As ever, when a footballer is injured the tabloids shift into full ghoul mode, reaching for the blindfold and shotgun.  It was so when Arsenal midfielder Mohamed Elneny was hurt in his side’s 4- in over West Ham. Peak horror was fanned by the Sun, which told of “tears”, “devastation” and “broken limbs“. Elneny was “broken”. Elneny was not going to play again for Arsenal this season. He was most likely also out of Egypt’s team for the World Cup finals. Two days on and we’re living in the time of miracles. Elneny will will be out of action for three weeks.

The Sun reports:

It’s good news for Arsenal who will hope to have Elneny fit for the Premier League run-in and potentially the Europa League final… many believing his season was over.

No. Only some of those Sun readers believed that – the ones who believe you can offer a diagnosis and prognosis from a screen shot of a turned ankle, presenting a sprain as a “freak injury“.

Update: Elneny will not play for Arsenal again this season.

Posted: 25th, April 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Liverpool striker rewrites history for Mo Salah; Manchester City star never stood a chance

Mohamed Salah is the Liverpool tyro scoring goals with great awareness, no little skill and finishing with elegant panache. He’s been terrific for Liverpool all season. And he’s won an prize, taking away the PFA player of the year award. It was pretty much a toss-up between Salah and Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne, like Salah also flogged for not being good enough by monocular Jose Mourinho’s winning-is-all Chelsea. De Bruyne has been sublime, an imaginative driving force for City’s title victory. I’d have voted for him to win the award. But goal scorers get the headlines – their attributes are measurable in the baldest terms: Salah has an impressive 31 PL goals.

Choosing between the pair is hard. But not for former Liverpool player Stan Collymore, who told his Daily Mirror readers: “Mo Salah was the outstanding choice for the PFA Player of the year award. The sheer variety of goals he has scored in his debut season playing for a club where expectation levels are huge has been phenomenal.”

But were expectations all that high about a player who’d left Chelsea for Roma – a player who in the era of absurd fees came in for £36.9m – just £4m more than Liverpool paid Arsenal for the overrated Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain?

No.

 

Stan Collymore Mirror

 

On February 12, Collymore told his readers: “Harry Kane and Mo Salah have their merits as potential Player of the Year award winners. But that honour has to go to Kevin De Bruyne. He has been weighing in with goals and important assists at important times in games all season. His level of consistency has been outstanding. I saw one article saying they feel up at Manchester City that he should be in the reckoning for a Ballon d’Or shout, and I wouldn’t disagree with that.”

A short while on and Salah is the only choice.

Vote now and vote often!

Posted: 24th, April 2018 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, Manchester City, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Spurs balls: £120m on five new players and just one out

No soon do we read in the Telegraph that Mauricio Pochettino has “hinted” at his imminent departure from Spurs – which he sort of did and sort of didn’t – than the Independent says his club will spend – get his – “at least £120m” on new players this summer.

The player the Indy “understands” Sours will buy are Newcastle United’s Jamaal Lascelles, Ajax’s Matthijs de Ligt, Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha, and West Brom pair Jonny Evans and Jay Rodriguez. All are being “considered”. And where are they all going to play, then? This is utter guff from the Indy, which cites not a single source for its story.

The Indy reasons that Spurs will balance he books with the sale of Toby Alderweireld.

The Indy’s shameless clickbaiting is lampooned by its own lay-out: Zaha stays!

 

independent clickbait spurs

 

 

Says Zaha:

“Crystal Palace is my home town and the support we have here is genuine support with families watching with their kids loving us as players so I don’t really see myself anywhere else. I am enjoying my football here and just focused on us being a stable club and not having to listen to all the speculation about us getting relegated.”

Words on Spurs:  none.

Posted: 22nd, April 2018 | In: Back pages, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Arsenal: Wenger gives a ‘heavy hint’ he’ll stay

The Daily Mirror has been guessing about the timing of Arsene Wenger’s departure from Arsenal for so long, the feeling was that eventually the paper would get it right. The “WE told you so!” headlines would mask the myriad times when the paper got it utterly wrong.

 

daily mirror wenger quits sack resigns arsenal

 

So how did the ‘intelligent tabloid” report on Wenger and Arsenal on the very day when he announced his departure at his season’s end?’ Well, like this:

Wenger gave a further heavy hint he will still be at the Emirates next season when he insisted there were no issues with the Arsenal crowd, despite fans staying away in their droves from recent home matches

 

arsene wenger daily mirror

Daily Mirror fails to nail it – again

 

Ah:

 

arsene wenger daily mirror

In the Mirror on the day Wenger announced his Arsenal departure

 

Oh dear. Even a stopped watch is right twice a day…

 

 

Posted: 20th, April 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Spurs balls: Harry Kane is ‘greedy’ and ‘self-serving’ for telling the truth

“Harry Kane strikes to put Tottenham in front,” says NBC, which broadcast Premier League “soccer” to a US audience. The story continues: “Tottenham’s Heung-Min Son walks the tight rope on the endline [touchline] and lays the ball off to Harry Kane who smashes a shot into the goal to make it 1-0 against Brighton.”

But the need for controversy is all powerful. And so it is that the Sun can watches the same goal and cry on its back page: “Harry Kane claimed another goal in his hunt for the golden boot – despite not getting the final touch.”

 

the sun harry kane

 

What about smashing it in?

The Sun’;s scoop is based not on the goal but on Spurs’ April win over Stoke, which featured a disagreement over the game’;s deceive goal. The BBC reported:

Tottenham’s Harry Kane has been awarded Spurs’ second goal in Saturday’s 2-1 win at Stoke after a successful appeal. The Premier League goals accreditation panel had initially given it to Spurs midfielder Christian Eriksen.

It said the decision had been reversed “after taking the player’s testimony into account and reviewing the match footage”.

England striker Kane’s tally for the season is now 25 – four behind Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah.

So when Kane scored in his next match, the Sun wanted to keep alive the controversy. The story is ridiculous:

His untypically underwhelming performances have suggested he has rushed back too soon from an injury.

Or as the Sun put it on April 2: “Tottenham star Harry Kane reveals he is fitter and fresher than ever after his cameo appearance in 3-1 Chelsea win.”

Back to the Sun’s story of April 19, in which Kane has been expressing a “downbeat demeanour” since his return from injury.

And that goal he claimed – the one the FA agreed should have been credited to him:

England’s star striker, football’s one bastion of decency with no skeletons in his closet and who is revered by housewives and vicars all over the country for being all about the beautiful game, is just like the rest of his greedy, self-serving contemporaries.

So let’s see the Brighton goal – the one Kane didn’t get the final touch on, says the Sun – the implication being that never did scored it:

 


 

Kane;s goal all the way. Such are the facts.

Posted: 19th, April 2018 | In: Back pages, News, Sports, Spurs, Tabloids | Comment


Manchester United: The Sun buries the hatchet in Marcus Rashford’s Cane Corso

PHEW! For a while it looked as if Marcus Rashford, the Manchester United striker, was going to be given time to develop as a top-flight England footballer. But the Sun has reached for the hatchet, just as it did in 2017, when apropos of nothing it told readers about the “£30,000-plus Rashford spends annually on car insurance” and how he “splashed out £14,500 on a Rolex Santos wristwatch for his mother Melanie’s birthday”.

One year on and in “Manchester United star Marcus Rashford needs a reality check… he has the car, the gold and even the dog but is still just a substitute”, we get more spite.

The story begins: “NO wonder Marcus Rashford is confused.” No, he’s not confused because he thought making a career from a leisure pursuit was living the dream. This is all about the marketing, the hype machine that has turned footballers into ‘legends’, ‘icons’ and  – dread phrase – ‘role models’. So wrapped about a few photos and a video of Rashford advertising Nike tat, the Sun constructs the story of a man in moral decline:

They dunked the kid in gold paint, dangling a pair of their latest boots around his neck as part of another extravagant advertising campaign to promote their glamorous range.

Rashford’s presented as a slack-jawed, mentally negligible clothes horse. And he’s guilty. He’s guilty of not being the best footballer in the world and playing for Real Madrid:

This is not Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored in his 11th successive Champions League match with Real Madrid’s last-minute penalty against Juventus at the Bernabeu on Wednesday.

No. It’s Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford wearing “glamorous” man-made fibres.

When Rashford returned to the day job at Old Trafford, he was still a Manchester United substitute. He is living in a bubble, a cosseted world that will seem pretty cool to a kid who grew up in Wythenshawe… Nike are taking full advantage of that innocence.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 16th, April 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, News, Sports | Comment


Clickbait Balls: Manchester Untied fans are not wild about Depay

Clickbait time now, as we read in the Manchester Evening News about Memphis Depay, the Dutch footballer who joined Manchester United for €35,000,000 in June 2015 and on January 20 2017 moved to Olympique Lyonnais for €18.5million. News is that Memphis has been on the phone, a happening retold in the MEN story: “Manchester United fans sent wild after Memphis Depay’s cryptic Instagram post.”

Wild! Well, he is the new Paul Pogba:

Eager to avoid a Pogba-like scenario, when a young talent goes on to flourish elsewhere, United included a buy-back clause in the £22m deal that took Memphis to Lyon in January, 2017.

Why United wold want him is moot. Depay plays on the left of a front three or as a central striker. Where would he play at United? And talk of his United return is astonishing guesswork. The entire story is based around an Instagram post. Memphis is seen walking by a plane. He is on the phone. He writes: “Touch down in….? on the phone with…?”

Is the answer, Syria and Vladimir Putin? Or how about, Orlando and Mickey Mouse? Or how about the guess by ‘Georgeshap’, who noted: “Back in Manchester to get things back on track with United.”

And from that the MEN has its story.

And is buy-back clause is not as the MEN described it when he left for Lyons. Back then the paper told its readers:

It will mean a loss for the Reds who paid PSV Eindhoven £26.3m to take him to Old Trafford in 2015. Because of that United have insisted on a first-refusal buy-back clause and a sell-on clause should they choose to let him go elsewhere.

It’s not him United want. It’s a chance to mitigate the financial loss.

 

Posted: 13th, April 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, News, Sports | Comment


Pep Guardiola is nicking a living at Manchester City

Manchester City were a little unlucky to lose 5-1 to Liverpool in the Champions’ League. Raheem Sterling should have been awarded a penalty in the first game; and City should have been just 3-2 down when the referee wrongly disallowed a goal that had gone in off Liverpool’s James Milner. But to Stan Collymore, a Cup result was all about puncturing the Pep Guardiola bubble:

Tweeting under @StanCollymore, the former Liverpool player notes:

“Changed the game”
“Never seen anything like this ”
“Revolutionary”
“Favourites for the quadruple ”
“Greatest team ever in English football ”

Not one or two, the most sycophantic press pack ever towards one man, desperate for the exclusive 1 on 1 sit down.

Sycophantic cobblers.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 11th, April 2018 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, Manchester City, News, Sports | Comment


Pray 4 Henrikh Mkhitaryan; Arsenal star will play again

In the over-heated,  clickbait-heavy world of online football journalism, any injury is potentially cataclysmic. And so it was when Arsenal’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan injured his knee in the Gunners’ 4-1 Europa League win over CSKA Moscow. Newspapers’ websites were full of news that the Armenian “could” miss the rest of the season. And that was before he’d even had a scan. Many wondered if Mkhitaryan would ever play again. We thought he’d be back in a couple of weeks. But the narrative was very much on the side of doom:

Henrikh Mkhitaryan could miss rest of Arsenal season with knee injury – Daily Telegraph

Arsenal star Henrikh Mkhitaryan could miss rest of the season after fears of knee ligament damage – Daily Mirror

A few days on and Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger tells media: “He’s got knee ligament damage. He will not be available for Thursday and not for Newcastle and certainly not for the week after, when we play West Ham. I think he will miss these games for sure, but he could still play at the end of the season.”

And how did the newspapers broadcast this update? Well, the Mirror and Telegraph said not a word. Bad news is so much more clickable.

But the London Standard notes:

Initial fears had Mkhitaryan out for the remainder of the term after limping out of the Europa League quarter-final first leg on the hour mark, with scans revealing ligament damage to his knee.

However Wenger, who had expressed concern that the Armenian could be sidelined for “several weeks”, now expects Mkhitaryan to only miss Arsenal’s next three games.

That’s quite a change from the paper’s earlier news: “Arsenal star Henrikh Mkhitaryan could face several weeks on sidelines, confirms Arsene Wenger.”

He confirmed nothing of the sort – how can you confirm something that only could or could not happen?

Anyhow, it;s good news. Mkhitaryan walks! It’s a miracle. #pray4Miki

Posted: 8th, April 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports | Comment


Arsenal’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan ‘could’ return in 2 weeks

Injury forced Arsenal’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan to come off early during the Gunners’ 4-1 win over CSKA Moscow. Facing the media after that Europa Cup quarter-final tie, in which Arsenal were sensational in attack and shaky at the back  – better shooting from CSKa would have have hurt them – Arsene Wenger talked of the Armenian international.

This is the full text of that he said about Mkhitaryan:

Micki came off and he will be out for Sunday. He has a scan and the fear is that his medial knee ligament has been touched. We’ll know more about that soon. For how long he will be out, I don’t know.

When pressed if he thought Mkhitaryan could be out for a number of weeks, Wenger told Sky Sports News: “I fear this. I hope I’m wrong.”

Cue the doom-mongers and what “could” happen (none of it’s good):

Henrikh Mkhitaryan could miss rest of Arsenal season with knee injury – Daily Telegraph

Arsenal star Henrikh Mkhitaryan could miss rest of the season after fears of knee ligament damage – Daily Mirror

Arsenal star Henrikh Mkhitaryan could face several weeks on sidelines, confirms Arsene Wenger – Evening Standard

Or else he, you know, could not.

The big fixture for Arsenal is the Europe League semi-final, scheduled to be played on the 26/04/18 and 03/05/18.

And what if it is medial ligament damages, brought about by a clash of knees, as happened to Mkhitaryan? The BBC tells us:

Return?
You can have a minor pull which heals within a few weeks, or a major pull which takes between one and three months.

If it is a medial ligament issue, all could be well in a few weeks.

If it is completely torn you could be out for a year.

It’s not.

Treatment
Most cases do not require operations, but occasionally people run into major trouble.

The medial ligament is linked to the cartilage so further problems can result.

Physiotherapy is used as the medial ligament, being outside the joint, heals more easily than the internal cruciate ligaments.

Not so bad, then.

Cruciate injuries, however, require surgery to repair the damaged ligament and several hundred such operations are carried out on sports stars each year.

By way of comparisons, Manchester City’s damaged his medial collateral ligament on New Year’s Eve. He next played for City’s first team on February 25.

And the NHS tells us: “Most simple MCL sprains will recover in 2-4 weeks”.

So Mkhitaryan could be back in two weeks.

Posted: 6th, April 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Manchester City, News, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Liverpool and the Moses Simon rumour

The BBC gossip page continues to be a haven for fake news and transfer balls. Today the BBC tells us: “Liverpool are considering a move for Gent’s £13m-rated Moses Simon, 22, with Newcastle and Brighton also interested in the Nigeria winger.” Who is Mosses Simon? And why would Liverpool want him?

The source for the Beeb’s story is “HLN – in Dutch”.  I don’t speak Dutch – not even as badly as him – so this is the story put though the Google Translate mincer:

 

moses simon liverpool ball

 

 

Newcastle is interested in Simon

Newcastle has Moses Simon on his wish list. The ‘Magpies’ sent scouts to Nigeria-Serbia, but in that game Simon only started after 77 minutes. On Sunday, Newcastle was present at the Astridpark, where Simon impressed for the rest. Newcastle seems to be cut to size for the 22-year-old Nigerian winger, who last week in an interview with this newspaper said he wants to go to a Premier League club where he is more or less certain that he will play. Simon is aware of the interest. AA Gent is prepared to work on a transfer this summer “at the right price”. (RN / NP)

Mentions of Liverpool: none.

 

liverpool balls

 

Undeterred by the nonsense, the Mirror repeats the story:

Liverpool are said to be considering a move for Nigerian star Moses Simon.

Who says?

Simon is thought to be on the radar of Newcastle and Brighton but Liverpool have now entered the running. Belgian outlet Het Laatste Nieuws claim the Premier League trio are all monitoring the winger, who could make Nigeria’s World Cup squad.

Simon is likely to cost around £13million, should he move on.

Nope. The Mirror links to the story on HLN – the same story we can see above. HLN makes no such claim.

Total balls, then.

 

Moses Simon balls

 

But here it is again in the Sun. The paper’s source? The same HLN article that makes no mention of Liverpool.

And the nonsense spins and spins. Website HITC notes:

Why Moses Simon would benefit from choosing Newcastle over Liverpool

He’s wanted by Liverpool? Says who?

Although, after claims made by the Sun, this could happen anyway. Because it is understood that Liverpool are also very interested in a player who could provide a test of Mike Ashley’s ambition due to his £13 million price-tag.

A link directs readers to the Sun’s article – the one based on the non-existent story on HLN.

And here’s the same balls on ESPN:

 

Moses SImon transfer liverpool

On ESPN

 

 

And apart from the bit about the report on Het Laatste Niews linking Moses to Liverpool, it’s all true.

And here’s the same balls on teamTalk:

 

liverpool trasnfers

 

And website The Sport Review adds:

Belgian outfit Het Laatste Nieuws, as quoted by the Daily Mirror, is reporting that Liverpool FC are one of a number of Premier League clubs interested in Simon.

But HLN never said anything about Moses Simon joining Liverpool. The Mirror’s story is bogus.

But never minds the facts – get a load of the clicks.

Posted: 5th, April 2018 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment


Raheem Sterling v The Sun: Manchester City and England star attacked

Manchester City and England forward Raheem Sterling is “obscene”. Well, so the Sun told us. The same paper wants us to know: “RAHEEM STERLING has urged England fans to ‘give love’ and cut out the negativity.” England fans, like, the Sun?

The plea for unity continues: “The Manchester City star was battered by Three Lions fans at Euro 2016 – there was even an internet hate campaign to bring him home early from the tournament.” And it wasn’t just on the Internet where the former Liverpool player was getting attacked.

 

obscene-raheem-the-sun sterling

 

To the Sun, Raheem Sterling was a”hate figure”. The paper went studs up on the young athlete. “England failure steps off plane and insults fans by showing off blinging house,” thundered the paper.” Leave House & Garden and Hello! stuff for the newspaper editors end media barons, Sterling. Know thy place! And unnamed “source” opined: “Any normal person would hang their heads in shame after how they performed in France but these guys come home and show off about how rich they are.” He’s abnormal.

A “friend of Sterling” told the MEN newspaper:

“Raheem and his family are really upset that the fact he’s bought a nice house for his mum is being used to hammer him by the media and make him the scapegoat for England’s failure… He bought her the house as a thank you for all her support and help. Now to have his mum’s private life and house being mocked and thrown into the public spotlight has left him furious and frustrated.”

Law-abiding, tough, resilient, hard-working, talented athlete buys mum hard times who knew house. The basta…

And it got worse. Much worse. In 2016, the Sun – yep – told readers:

FOOTIE DRUG DEALER Semi-professional footballer turned to drug dealing so he could match the salaries of Prem stars

Which Premier League star do you think the Sun used to illustrate the story of an idiot, who lives in Bristol? We’ll give you a clue: the player is not mentioned once in the story. Yep, it’s Raheem Sterling.

 

Sterling-Social-Media-drugs

Spot the obscenity

 

What is it about Raheem Sterling that annoys them so?

Here’s what Sterling told BBC Radio 5 Live:

“I feel sometimes there is too much negativity. I’d love to hear some positive notes coming in, just to let the boys know everyone is behind them. Make the boys go off to the World Cup with a clear head knowing everyone is behind them and, trust me, you would see a better England. If we get behind those players, give them love, you wouldn’t know how much that would boost their confidence. It’s disappointing when you put on a shirt and get negative feedback but it’s what the fans want — to see you perform well.”

He’s right.

Posted: 3rd, April 2018 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, Manchester City, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Manchester United are not getting rid of 10 players this summer

Fancy making a guess at how many players are heading out of Manchester United this summer? The BBC says it’s ’10’. the source for the Beeb’s news of this mass exodus of talent is the ever-trusty Daily Express. The Express, of course, is riding high on the back of its scoop that this winter would feature cold weather and snow. Sure enough, the UK was gipped by the ‘Beast from the East’. Yes, the paper forecasts bad weather on its front page around twice a week but this time it was right. It might well be right again – Madeleine McCann will be found; dementia will be cured with rhubarb; the summer will bring a heatwave; and ten footballers will leave Old Trafford at the end of the season.

 

daily express clickbait manchester united

 

The Express lists the players heading to the exit: Luke Shaw, Juan Mata, Ander Herrera, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Daley Blind, Matteo Darmian, Marouane Fellaini, Michael Carrick and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. It then tells us that the ten will be replaced with just five: Gareth Bale, Toby Alderweireld, Danny Rose, Willian and Fred. Will that happen? Reason says no. But we did have that snow…

 

daily express clickbait manchester united

 

Of course, in the clickbait world of online journalism, pretty much any claim, however outlandish, can be countered by another outlandish claim, So here’s the Metro to tell us that Fred has already agreed to join Manchester City:

 

fred manchester city

 

And if you don’t believe the Metro, well, you know who else told us Fred is on his way to City? Yep. The Express:

 

Daily Express, Feb 9 1018

 

The Express offers no source for its story of ten players leaving United. But over in the Sun, we read: “Manchester United reportedly set for summer clear out with Luke Shaw, Ander Herrera, Chris Smalling and Anthony Martial among NINE facing axe’”. The Sun does cite a source: the Daily Mail. And it reports:

Luke Shaw may as well start planning a joint leaving-do with Matteo Darmian and Daley Blind this summer…

Ander Herrera, Anthony Martial, Juan Mata and Chris Smalling are among those who cannot guarantee they will be at Old Trafford beyond this summer, when United will also have to replace Marouane Fellaini and Michael Carrick.

And from that the Express got its scoop of ten players leaving Manchester United.

Now… anyone know if it’s going to be sunny this July?

Posted: 19th, March 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Danny Welbeck has now dived for Arsenal and Manchester United – now for England

‘The dive gets a big fat 0. Nothing can excuse it, embarrassing,” wrote the Daily Mirror’s John Cross in his awarding of player scores at the end of Arsenal’s Europa League victory over AC Milan. The Sun gave Welbeck 9/10, not mentioning what Cross called Welbeck’s “blatant dive to win a penalty”. Italy’s Corriere della Sera delivered its match verdict: “Affondati da un tuffo” (“Sunk by a dive”).

Welbeck will discover tomorrow whether he will face any retrospective action for that alleged dive. Uefa hold an option to act if the match referee or delegate raise concerns. But there is no word that anyone has done. The Football Association has the power to review the cheating and ban divers for two games. More power to the FA. But they matter not in this instance.

It’s all rather dispiriting. England players diving is all the rage. Gareth Southgate’s latest England squad features the following forwards: persistant diver Dele Alli, Raheem Sterling (“We know that Raheem Sterling dives well, he does that very well” – Arsene Wenger), Danny Welbeck, slippery-booted Jamie Vardy and Marcus Rashford.

As Daniel Taylor notes: “Raheem Sterling and Jamie Vardy have made an art form of initiating contact with the defender and then going down in the penalty area. Marcus Rashford’s dive to win a penalty against Swansea last season was one of the reasons why the FA beefed up its rules.”

Here’s Welbeck playing for Manchester United against Wigan in 2012:

 

 

Diving is a horror. But not enough is being done to end it. The players don’t care. The media admires it – Corriere dello Sport actually made Welbeck man of the match. And the clubs just see it as a marketing opportunity:

 

 

Carry on diving, then.

 

Posted: 18th, March 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports | Comment


Liverpool balls: no comment from United Nations On Carragher spit – yet

The Daily Mirror leads with a photo of former Liverpool player Jamie Carragher gobbing at a 14-year -old Manchester United fan. And it will not rest until every molecule of water in Carragher’s spit has earned its own headline on the paper’s clickbait-heavy website. There are 1.674 x 1021 molecules of water in a drop of water. That’s a lot. But the Mirror has embarked on its mission with gusto.

There is no word on the incident – yet – from the UN, the Pope, Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn, Prince William and other great moralisers on how Carragher’s flob epitomises the great societal ills at the heart of football, the working-class people who still follow the game and society. But when they do comment, the Mirror will top and tail the words into sensation.

The following news stories have been broken on the Mirror’s website:

Sky Sports to hold talks with Jamie Carragher after Liverpool legend’s “unacceptable behaviour” in spit storm

”Inexcusable!” – Liverpool fans condemn Jamie Carragher after Reds legend caught up in spitting storm

”Vile and disgusting” Jamie Carragher’s previous comments about spitting come back to haunt him after incident with Man United fan

Spit row pundit Jamie Carragher needs to learn that with great privilege comes great responsibility, says Alison Phillips

Lorraine Kelly slams ‘horrible’ Jamie Carragher after he was filmed spitting at 14-year-old football fan: “It’s not acceptable”

Jamie Carragher breaks cover for first time since spit storm as he prepares for showdown talks with Sky Sports

“Filth!” Vinnie Jones wants Jamie Carragher sacked and reveals what he’d have done if he spat at his daughter

“I didn’t see her”: Jamie Carragher claims girl was out of sight after he was filmed spitting at 14-year-old and her dad

Jamie Carragher backed by former Liverpool team-mate after spitting at Manchester United fan and young daughter

“You couldn’t make it up!” Football fans take aim at Joey Barton as he hits out at Jamie Carragher for spitting at fan

Danny Murphy reveals conversation with Jamie Carragher following Liverpool legend’s spitting storm

Richard Keys reacts to Jamie Carragher spit storm after former Sky Sports anchor was sacked for sexist remarks

Jamie Carragher arrives in London ahead of Sky Sports showdown talks after spitting at fan and 14-year-old daughter

Big debate: Who should replace Jamie Carragher as MNF pundit if he gets the boot after his spitting shame?

Jamie Carragher is removed from first TV pundit role after spitting at Manchester United fan and 14-year-old daughter

Billy Joe Saunders blasts Jamie Carragher for spit shame, branding former Liverpool star a “sick w*****”

Jamie Carragher fans trying to justify his spitting are the worst sort of football supporters – you can’t excuse the inexcusable

Gary Neville backs Sky Sports colleague Jamie Carragher after spitting shame and insists it “shouldn’t stop us working together”

Jamie Carragher forced to watch moment he spat at football fan and 14-year-old girl during Sky interview

Jamie Carragher suspended by Sky Sports after spitting at football fan and 14-year-old daughter

Manchester United fans make brilliant Michael Carrick suggestion as Jamie Carragher is suspended by Sky Sports

Jamie Carragher apology: Full transcript as Sky Sports pundit admits ‘disgust’ with himself over spit shame

Why Sky Sports have cut Monday Night Football by half an hour after Jamie Carragher spit storm

Monday Night Football without Jamie Carragher – live updates as Sky Sports suspend pundit following spitting video

Police to quiz father of Jamie Carragher spitting victim because he filmed football pundit while driving

Sky Sports presenter Dave Jones’ cheeky last remark as MNF FINALLY reference Jamie Carragher spit storm

Gary Lineker’s Jamie Carragher tweet sparks row with Sky Sports’ Geoff Shreeves

Body language expert analyses Jamie Carragher’s live TV apology following spit shame

Jamie Carragher spits at football fan and his 14-year-old daughter in shocking video following Liverpool’s defeat to Manchester United

Jamie Carragher’s former Liverpool teammate hints at personal turmoil behind spitting shame

John Arne Riise urges people to “move on” following Jamie Carragher’s spit shame

Spotter: Football 365

Posted: 13th, March 2018 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Arsenal balls: Ramsey ready for Carabao Cup final

The Daily Express has news form the twilight zone of spots journalism: “Aaron Ramsey to miss Man City Carabao Cup final because of Arsene Wenger.” Jack Otway has news on just what Wenger has done to Ramsay, dealing a “hammer blow” to Arsenal’s chances of winning the trophy.

Reading on and we discover that Wenger has done…nothing. But we do get this:

The Sun say Arsene Wenger has already decided Ramsey will not be risked against Guardiola’s men.

Over in the Sun, then, for news of the “RAMBLOW”. Ramsey is “set miss Carabao Cup Final”. It’s an “exclusive”.

So Ramsay is out. But, hold on. Whose that training with the Gunners?  The Express identifies him:

 

Spotted? The Express is happy to quote the Sun’s “exclusive” that Ramsay is out – defo – but forgot to mention the bit where the Sun says: “And though he has been working hard in training to prove his fitness for Wembley, boss Arsene Wenger is unwilling to gamble on the Welsh star.”

As the Express mines two clickbait stories from one Sun “exclusive”, Wenger tells media: “Ramsey is not in the squad for tomorrow [Arsenal’s Europa League Cup match]. He had a good training session but he is short for tomorrow. We will see how his evolution goes now until Sunday. I don’t rule him out yet. It depends how well he can improve the intensity of training.”

Such are the facts.

Posted: 22nd, February 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Arsenal want Fekir now before he realises his ‘dream’ and plays in Spain

Transfer balls: The BBC says Arsenal have “identified” Lyon’s Nabil Fekir as their “number one summer target”. The bad news for Gunners fans who want Arsene Wenger to be replaced as club manager this summer is that it’s Wenger who has picked the player.

This news is echoed by the Mail, which says Wenger “wants a deal agreed before Fekir reports for World Cup duty”. The story is backed by not a single source nor quote. It just is. We’re also told that the Lyon “midfielder” has been “compared to France legend Youri Djorkaeff”. By whom? Dunno. But in the Sun, we read: “The Gunners chief has been keeping tabs on the Lyon forward, who has been compared to France legend Youri Djorkaeff.”

At least the papers can agree on who Fekir reminds someone of, if not what position he plays.

The Sun then pads out a story based on nothing with this:

Djorkaeff inspired his nation on home soil in 1998 and won the European Championships two years later And Fekir will be hoping to do the same in Russia.

You think?

And why Arsenal? Well, Fekir’s father did say in 2015: “If he leaves, it will be for Arsenal. It’s the only club that can enable him to progress, with Arsene Wenger.”

Does he still think that? We can’t be sure because in 2017, Fekir told RTL his “dream” is to play in… Spain. He also said Manchester City interests him.

In other words: get your wallets out.

 

Posted: 17th, February 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Talking balls: Manchester United and Manchester City fans duped by Owen on de Bruyne and Scholes

 

Kevin de Bruyne is a terrific player. Watching the Chelsea reject play so well at Manchester City is Michael Owen, the former Manchester United and Liverpool striker, and sometime pilot. The Manchester Evening News picks up his thoughts and thunders: “Kevin de Bruyne has surpassed Manchester United greats, insists Michael Owen.”

Better than Best, Edwards, Law and Giggs? De Bruyne’s good, but is he that good? The story continues:

Michael Owen insists Kevin de Bruyne has surpassed Manchester United legends Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and David Beckham.

He insists. He will not be swayed.

One day on and the MEN has a follow-up scoop, thundering: “Manchester United fans blast Michael Owen over Paul Scholes claims.”

Paul Scholes is hailed by many as the best passer there has ever been.

Barcelona legend Xavi described him as the finest central midfielder he had ever seen – and many a former teammate has praised his pinpoint accuracy. But, Michael Owen has other ideas.

United’s former No.7 claims Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne is a level above the United great.

Controversial stuff – and it would have been had Owen said it. Over on the Premier League’s official website, Owen says de Bruyne is not the best passer but the best at “assists”. The MEN’s story is utter bunkum.

 

Posted: 16th, February 2018 | In: Back pages, Manchester City, manchester united, News, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Real Madrid move for Manchester United’s Paul Pogba

Doubltess inspired by Paul Pogba’s ability on the ball, match-winning performances and the remorseless marketing campaign that turned a Manchester United reject dreaming of a lucrative return ‘home’ to the club that recruited him from Le Havre in 2009 into the world’s greatest midfielder, Real Madrid are going to try to sign the Frenchman in the summer.

Well, so says the Sun, which says Pogba is part of the Real “plan” to rescue Pogba from the “field of broken dreams”. When Pogba signed for Juventus in 2012, the then Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson told MUTV: “I don’t think he showed us any respect at all so, to be honest, I’m quite happy.”

A more desperate less assured United were later “happy” to spunk £89m on the player they thought not worth the £30,000-a-week he was seeking in a new United contract in 2012.  In any case, United say they have “no intention” of selling their priciest player – although the Sun says £120m should seal the deal. And the Mirror leads with news that Pogba is at “war” with the club.

Why would Real Madrid pay a fortune for a player whose not performed all that well? And what of all that guff Pogba spouted when he signed his new super-lucrative deal.

“I came here because I have targets, it’s a big challenge for me,” Pogba said. “I could have also gone to Real Madrid or Barcelona, they were interested. I chose to return, because I had that in my heart. It was my feeling that brought me here. I want to win with Manchester United, I’ve never won with them. I had always said that I would return – I didn’t know when – because it’s a club that I like a lot. I hadn’t finished, I left because I wanted to play. I hadn’t done what I had wanted to do here. I want United to become the great United again. That’s my challenge here.”

The feeling is that United will only flog Pogba should his marketing powers wane. Manchester United are a voracious money-making machine. According to Sports Direct, the three biggest selling shirts this year are: Alexis Sanchez – Manchester United; Paul Pogba – Manchester United; Harry Kane – Tottenham. Pogba leaving only work is United can replace him with bigger star. And you’ve got to wonder Harry Kane would chose to leave Spurs to join Jose Mourinho’s underwhelming United…

Posted: 16th, February 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Talking balls: Arsenal sink as Spurs became the new Barcelona

Spurs fans rejoicing after their 1-0 victory over Arsenal are further buoyed by the fact their their club’s rise is coinciding with the Gunners’ fall. But Spurs fans must surely realise that lying fifth in the Premier League, and a whopping 20 points behind Manchester City, is not the mark of champions. Well, not unless you read the Sun it isn’t.

Either Neil Ashton is a work of parody or else he’s lost the plot. The story begins:

Tottenham were so much better than Arsenal it was like watching Barcelona vs Espanyol

It is if you know nothing of Barcelona – top of Spain’s La Liga and with a packed trophy cabinet – and Espanyol – 15th in the table, who drew 1-1 with Barcelona in February, beat them 1-0 in the first leg of the Copa del Rey in January and got tonked 5-0 in September; have never won La Liga; but have, like Spurs, won one major trophy this Century.

A derby, yes, but all a bit manufactured, given the dominance and superiority enjoyed by Barca down the years.

Is he saying that Spurs have enjoyed dominance over Arsenal down the years?

Wenger, the man who won three Premier League titles with Arsenal, is now out of tricks. He is also behind the times.

All true. Wenger must go. He inspires neither players nor fans.

A young and vibrant Tottenham have finally caught them up, overtaking them on Saturday with a polished performance at the national stadium.

Arsenal are sixth. They were first three times under Wenger. Spurs have not been first since 1961. Spurs have risen. But it is Arsenal who have dropped.

PS: Football 365 report that Ashton’s column once said:

EVERY once in a while, English football enters a golden age. Think Busby Babes, the great Liverpool side built by Bill Shankly or Sir Alex Ferguson’s swashbuckling United teams. At this rate, in years to come, everybody will want to say they got to watch Tottenham live.

Where were you when Harry Kane scored in a 1-0 in over a sub-standard Arsenal side?

Posted: 13th, February 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Spurs | Comment