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Sports news, sport betting, featuring football and Premier League teams, players from Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United. And David Beckham. Rugby World Cup. Backpage stories from the newspapers and BBC sport

Biased balls: Everton’s masterplan, Liverpool make a point and Crystal Palace and Bournemouth adjudged

Biased balls: a look at one0eyed football reporting.

Liverpool drew 1-1 with Everton in the Merseyside derby. A goal to the good courtesy of Mohamed Salah’s opener, Liverpool were hauled back by an Everton penalty, converted by Wayne Rooney. Should it have been given?

The Everton website tells us Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin was “pushed inside the area by Dejan Lovren”. Foul by Lovren, then. Everton’s “patience and application paid off when Dominic Calvert-Lewin was felled in the box by Dejan Lovren with 15 minutes to play – and Rooney rifled into the roof of the net from 12 yards.”

But the Liverpool website makes the player benign, says “Lovren was adjudged to have pushed Calvert-Lewin”. It wasn’t a push. It was a judgement. Liverpool’s official website hammers home the point by adding, “Dejan Lovren was deemed to have push Dominic Calvert-Lewin.” And: ” Dejan Lovren adjudged to have pushed Dominic Calvert-Lewin inside the area.”

More adjudgments in the Crystal Palace v Bournemouth match:

The Bournemouth FC website says: “A flick on from Benteke soon found Zaha running free and he was adjudged to have been brought down by Begovic.”

WAs it a foul or not?

But the Palace website see a clear foul: “…a superb flick-on by Benteke allowed Zaha to brush past Nathan Ake and speed into the area, and as he tried to round Begovic he was brought down by the Bosnian stopper for a spot-kick.

Pravda has nothing on this lot.

 

 

 

Posted: 10th, December 2017 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls in the Sun: Ozil talks to Arsenal and agrees to join Manchester United and Barcelona

Transfer balls:  the Sun says Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil could sign a deal to stay at the club. Today’s paper reports:

The German midfielder’s representative have been in talks with the Gunners for more than a year over fresh terms.

Er… Can this be the same paper that told readers on September 13th 2017:

The 28-year-old has not spoken to club officials about a new deal since negotiations broke down in February.

And in July, the Sun told us:

‘MY PREFERENCE IS TO STAY’ – Mesut Ozil to hold contract extension talks with Arsenal in next fortnight

And on October 21 added:

Ozil, 29, has NOT had talks about a new contract with Arsenal since March

So much for the talks. What but the done deals?

October 20th readers were told:

OZMOSIS Arsenal – ace Mesut Ozil reckons Manchester United move is a done deal

November 8th:

OZIL wants Jack Wilshere’s No 10 shirt as part of his terms to stay at Arsenal.

And on November 22:

BARCELONA have agreed a deal to sign Mesut Ozil

And on November 30th:

ADIOZ – Mesut Ozil set to open talks on move to Barcelona with his Arsenal deal set to expire

December 6:

Emirates insiders have suggested a stunning breakthrough in negotiations is “very, very close.”

Such are the facts…

Posted: 9th, December 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Sunderland fan takes poo in the stands as Black Cats lose to Reading

How poor is your side performing? One Sunderland fan allegedly expressed his dissatisfaction with doings at the Stadium of Light by pulling down his trousers and laying a pipe. As the Black Cats toiled to a 3-1 loss to Reading, twitter users claims the man pulled down his pants and pooed on the seat, causing a fan sitting nearby vomit.

Reports abound that police took the site-down protestor away.

 

 

Stadium of shite:

Posted: 3rd, December 2017 | In: Back pages, News | Comment


Arsenal v Manchester United balls: Alexandre Lacazette’s miraculous recovery

The news was unequivocal: Arsenal forward Alexandre Lacazette is out with a groin injury.” He will not play against Manchester United. The BBC publishes that news below the teams for Arsenal v United. Lacazette is at number 9.

 

 

It was Arsene Wenger who said Lacazete will not play – that he’d be “out for a while”.

“He’s definitely out for [Manchester United] this weekend,” said Wenger on Novermber 29. “It looked like a groin injury. He could be out for a while.”

Well, look again.

 

The news of Lacazette’s injury pleased United.

“Alex has been great and at this moment and he is scoring goals and playing well for the team,” United’s Paul Pogba told MUTV. “He is a big player for them and if he is not there I would say it is good for us. I hope for us that he doesn’t play because that will help us. But I also hope he doesn’t have a bad injury.”

Such are the facts…

Posted: 2nd, December 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Spurs balls: Mauricio Pochettino’s Brave New World falls apart

As Tottenham slip to 7th place in the Premier League, the Sun elbows its way to front of the queue to bash team manager Mauricio Pochettino. In “Chapter And Worse”, the paper wonders, “Is Posh book to blame for Spurs’ Real Shocker?” The answer is, of course, no.

In case you missed Pochettino’s book, Brave New World: Inside Pochettino’s Spurs “reveals secrets behind his success”. He reveals: he likes eating crisps; “Whenever I am slightly down, I like to smell Argentinian wine”; “Poch is very keen on building-up an unbreakable team, spirit”; “the ever-professional Poch…likes to quiz his stars on selected topics from their most recent team meeting if he bumps into them in the corridors… just to make sure they were listening”; and he “once dropped a player for eating LASAGNE”. All those killer facts are in the Sun’s review of the book in an article dated October 27.

One month on and, according to the Sun, the book that told of Poch’s “success” and his skill for building team spirit is the catalyst for disaster.

In the online version of the story of the cursed book, the Sun answers its own question with a ‘YES’:

The Spurs boss’ book, Brave New World, appears to have jinxed his title-chasing side since it reached shelves on October 26.

In the paper version (pages 56 and 57), the story begins by answering that same question with a ‘NO’:

It is surely coincidence that since the story of Mauricio Pochettino’s ‘Brave New World’ was published, Spurs’ title dream has died.’

Mark Irwin tells us that five games ago, Spurs were “Manchester City’s most likely challenges”. Fourteen matches into the season, Spurs are seventh. After nine matches played, Spurs were in third place, five points behind Manchester City. Manchester United were second, surely making them the side most likely to topple City.

Reading on we learn that the book “has not gone down well with certain players, who are uncomfortable with some of the manager’s revelations”. The crisps, right? Or was it how he likes to pick the washing powder for the team’s kit?

This is the same Pochettino who was subject to the Sun’s story of September 23 2017, which focused on his talent for team bonding:

MAURICIO POCHETTINO took his Tottenham stars and Daniel Levy out to dinner this week – at a cost of £7,000. The generous Spurs boss picked up the whopping tab after inviting FIFTY of his club colleagues, including chairman Levy, to his team-bonding get-together at posh West End diner Beast on Wednesday night.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 1st, December 2017 | In: Back pages, News, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Transfer balls: Ozil stays at Arsenal unless Manchester United make ‘unbelievable’ offer

At the Arsenal press conference, Arsene Wenger was asked about Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil leaving the club in the January transfer window – both players are in the last year of their current contracts. On the official Arsenal website, his words are distilled into the headline: “Wenger – Ozil and Alexis will stay in January.”

Will Alexis and Mesut Ozil will be here on February 1?
AW: Yes, of course.

Will they be at the club next season?
AW: I am not the only one who can decide that. They have a part to play in that as well. If it’s my decision, yes.

Could he possible envisage them leaving in January?
AW: Unless something unbelievable happens, I can’t see why that would change.

Put that through the clickbait machine and you get:

The Metro: “Chelsea enter race to sign Mesut Ozil from Arsenal.” Not much of a race, considering he’s staying at least until the season’s end. And then this:

Arsene Wenger, meanwhile, sparked confusion over Ozil’s future this week by claiming that the midfielder will not be sold in January.

How did that trigger confusion? It was a clear statement. The utter tosh is amplified in the Manchester Evening News, which having tricked readers with a conniving Ozil to Manchester United story, now trills: “Manchester United told what it will take to sign Arsenal star Mesut Ozil.”

 

 

Did Wenger name a price? No. When pressed he said it would take something “unbelievable” for Ozil to be sold.

Such are the facts.

 

Posted: 29th, November 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Trust Project balls: Arsenal and Manchester United fans tricked by MEN Ozil news

In the twilight zone between fact and fiction, sits football reporting. Today’s Manchester Evening News turns a simple story on Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil’s bout of the sniffles into “positive news” for Manchester United fans. Before we get to Samuel Luckhurst’s story, the headline:

Manchester United get Mesut Ozil boost from Arsenal

Rumours abound that Manchester United will move for the Arsenal star whose contract expires at the season’s end. Notions of pending transfer business is the meat to the story. That’s only reinforced by the teaser:

Mesut Ozil is interested in moving to Man Utd next year and Jose Mourinho has received some positive news from Arsenal.

 

the trust project

 

Can it be that Ozil is on his way to Old Trafford? Are Arsenal and United arranging things? Before reaching the story, we’re told that the MEN is part of the ‘Trust Project’. What’s that?

The Trust Project is an international consortium of news organizations collaborating to use transparency to build a more trustworthy and trusted press.

It’s clear, then. Ozil to Manchester United is on.

The story begins:

Mesut Ozil could be a doubt for Arsenal’s weekend Premier League fixture with Manchester United due to illness.

And… And nothing. The entire story is that Ozil was ill and couldn’t play for the Gunners at Burnley. He might be ill for when  Arsenal play United next weekend. Arsenal have offered no boost for any transfer. The ‘good news’ is that Ozil is ill.

So much for trust, eh.

Posted: 27th, November 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, manchester united, News, Sports | Comment


Biased Balls: Burnley robbed by an easy Arsenal penalty

Biased Balls: a look at bias in football reporting. Today we look at Burnley’s 0-1 defeat at home to Arsenal in the Premier League. Burnley lost to Arsenal in injury-time for the third game in a row. This time it was penalty converted in the 93rd minute.

Was it a foul?

YES! 

The Sun: “For the third successive Premier League game, Arsenal have beaten Burnley thanks to a last minute goal. This time it was Sanchez with the winning goal from the penalty spot after Tarkowski had pushed Ramsey to the floor.”

BBC: “The spot-kick was awarded by referee Lee Mason after defender James Tarkowski pushed Aaron Ramsey.”

Arsenal FC: “The spot-kick was an easy one to give after James Tarkowski shoved Aaron Ramsey as Sead Kolasinac headed across goal. And Alexis was coolness personified with a low finish past goalkeeper Nick Pope.”

London Evening Standard: “A game with a history of late goals brought drama yet again as Tarkowski shoved Ramsey.”

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger: “From outside it [the penalty] looked 100%. I don’t know why he pushed him in the back. I would like to see it again.”

 

MAYBE…

 

arsenal burnley biased

 

Burnley Express:  “Arsenal penalty after Tarkowski is adjuded [sic] to have pushed Sanchez.”

The Guardian (from their ‘Manchester-based correspondent): “Burnley suffered heartbreak right at the end when James Tarkowski came together with Aaron Ramsey in the area and Lee Mason, the referee, gave a penalty.”

Burnley FC: “This was another tough call with the decision not looking black-and-white as Tarkowski was harshly punished.. Kolasinac’s headed ball into the penalty area was aimed for Ramsey and when he went down under pressure from Tarkowski, Mason pointed to the spot.”

Burnley manager Sean Dyche: “It was highly unlikely it [the penalty] wasn’t going to get given on a day like today, that’s all I’ll say.”

Such are the facts.

Such are the facts…

 

Posted: 26th, November 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: when will Liverpool sign Didier Baptiste?

Didier Baptiste liverpool

Dream Team

 

November 24 is the day when Liverpool moved to sign Didier Baptiste for £3.5million. It was an unforgettable moment of Transfer Balls on November 24 1999. The News of the World reported that Liverpool were looking to sign the “French Under-21 international” from Monaco.

Baptiste to Liverpool was on.  The Times and The Guardian agreed, albeit valuing Baptiste at £1million. But Gerard Houllier’s Liverpool would never get the young defender: He didn’t (and still doesn’t) exist.

Baptiste was a character played by the late Tom Redhill in the Sky One football soap opera ‘Dream Team’ who arrived at Harchester United from Monaco in 1999.

The aforementioned papers were all drawn into a hoax that began on an Arsenal fan forum and got rehashed on Liverpool’s Clubcall line (a premium rate phone number supporters could ring to listen to the latest club-related gossip), from whence the News of the World plucked the ‘story’ and ran with it.

The News of the World duly blamed the Hayters sports news agency for feeding them the rumour, though the damage had already been done.

As Chris Wright quips: “The tabloid was ultimately forced to cease publication in 2011, though whether the Baptiste cock-up was directly to blame is still subject to debate.”

Posted: 25th, November 2017 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Arsenal Transfer Balls: Ozil agrees Barcelona deal by Messi wants Liverpool’s Coutinho

Cancel that one-way ticket to Barcelona, Mesut Ozil. It turn out that Barcelona don’t want the Arsenal forward after all. It was only yesterday the paper were saying how Ozil was dreaming of playing for Barcelona and a £20m move in the January transfer window was on the cards. Now we’re told by the BBC that Barcelona’s mighty Lionel Messi has scuppered any moves for Ozil, 29.

The source for this story is Diario Gol, which thunders: “The Argentine star does not want to know anything about the German.” The story contains not a single quote from Messi. We put it through Google Translate:

Leo Messi…has already told Bartomeu and Ernesto Valverde that he does not want it. He considers that he is a very old player – Mesut is 29 years old – and that, in the event that Coutinho does not come now in January, it is better to put up with the put and go for a crack in June…

In addition, one of the things that has characterized the athletic career of the Arsenal player is his lack of regularity. During his time at Real Madrid , Mesut combined great performances with games in which he could not be seen. Just as it is happening in the English club, where he only drops a pearl from time to time but can not get the reins of the team.

So the move is off. No. Today’s Metro says Ozil has agreed to joined Barcelona.

 

 

The Metro cites “reports in Spain” as its source, but declines to mention which they are. The Express carries the same report, but does link to a source, stating: “And Catalan reporter Quique Guasch told Spanish outlet Catalunya Radio that Ozil had agreed a three-and-a-half year contract and is expected to cost around £17.8million.” How they know, no-one’s saying.

And then there’s the Mail, which says no agreement has been reached, and, as the headline tells it, Ozil wants a lot of money: “Arsenal star Mesut Ozil demands Barcelona offer him £330,000-a-week deal amid January interest.” That report is rooted in Spanish site AS, which says: “In addition to the astronomical salary, Özil will ask for a succulent signing bonus.” It also notes that Arsenal want “Leon Goretzka, an allcampists of Schalke 04”.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 23rd, November 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Liverpool, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Barcelona and Manchester United are desperate for Ozil but Arsenal want him to stay

Transfer Balls: Having secured a new talent spotter in the shape of Sven Mislinat from Borussia Dortmund – he helped the Germans recruit Robert Lewandowski, Shinji Kagawa, Ousmane Dembele and their want-away striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (any Gooners think he’s heading to the Emirates?) – news is of players leaving the club. And chief among them is Mesut Ozil.

The Sun says Ozil “is keen on joining Barcelona”. Arsenal are apparently eager to get £20m for the 29-year-old this January. The Manchester Evening News says “Ozil is keen on a move” to Old Trafford for £17.7m. The London Evening Standard says “Arsenal players expect Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez to stay”.

Much blather, then. But one story has roots: the Sun’s story is sourced in a report in Mundo Deportivo – the sports newspaper published in…Barcelona. Just as the Manchester-based paper knows Ozil wants to play for Manchester United, the Barcelona based newspaper knows he wants to play in Barcelona. As for the London-based Standard, well, it’s balls is based on the opinion of Nacho Monreal, who told a rival organ, “I can’t say much about it. It does not depend on me… If the club want them to stay beyond December [the January transfer window] they will follow. Yet, I do not know the club’s intentions.”

Let’s put the not-in-the-least-bit-biased Deportivo story through Google Translate and see what we learn:

Dr. Erkut Sogut , who represents Mesut Özil , has negotiations with Barça . The agent has confessed to the Barça club the tremendous interest of his represented in playing at the Camp Nou, but he has also made it clear that there are six sets more interested in the German international of Turkish origin.

Ozil played for Barcelona’s dread rivals Real Madrid.

In addition to the offer to Özil , they want to know what they will do to Arsenal , their current club. And, above all, the time of the duration of the contract, which would want it to be at least the rest of the season and two more years. The club would want that third season was negotiated between the two parties, taking into account the age of the German, 29 years.

Not exactly chomping at the bit, then.

The advantage of Barça is that Özil has the thorn in the “no” of Pep Guardiola in 2010 and wants to show that he has a place in the Catalan team. He really likes the way Barça played since he was at Werder Bremen .

The advantage? In Ozil’s Die Magie des Spiels, he states:

“Arsenal were interested in signing me after the 2010 World Cup, as were Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Real Madrid. My agent sat down with Bayern to discuss a move. The club told him about their plans with me and how they intended to use me. He had similar talks with the other clubs that wanted me.

“Before I travelled to Barcelona, I was convinced that was my next club. I was leaning toward joining Barcelona. There was no team in the world that played more beautiful football. But Guardiola did not attend talks and he did not call me either the days after. He did not even send me a text. He did not show me that he wanted to sign me as well. My interest in a move to Barcelona quickly decreased.”

Got that? Barcelona’s “advantage” is that they ignored him. Undaunted by fact, the paper continues:

In addition, Özil believes that if he signs for Barça , playing alongside Lionel Messi , he could hope to win, for the first time, the Champions League .

If he wants to win that, his agent should court PSG.

The Arsenal has given the ‘OK’ to Erkut Sogut that Özil can march on the January market to earn some money, which would not happen at the end of the season to be free. They have the direct permission of Arsène Wenger .

Wenger said he can go? No quote to back that up. But Wenger did says last month: “I cannot tell you what is in his mind. I genuinely think he wants to stay. But I am always positive about that.”

Such are the facts.

Posted: 22nd, November 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports | Comment


Arsenal balls: after Mugabe Zimbabwe Gooners demand ‘Wenger Out’

As Robert Mugabe is toppled, protesters in the depot’s native Zimbabwe turn to the next great dictator: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

 

wenger arsenal mugabe

 

Lest we forget:

 

 

“I used to live in Zimbabwe and I’ve watched Robert Mugabe ruin the country, and Wenger is doing the same. He’s the Mugabe of Arsenal.”

 

Seems fair.

Posted: 19th, November 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Money, News, Politicians, Sports | Comment


North London Derby bias: slick Arsenal get lucky, Spurs bemoan the referee and Ozil looks ready to stay

Arsenal 2. Tottenham Hotspur 0. The Premier League match between North London’s biggest football clubs ended in favour of the Gunners, who were feisty, bright, quick, slick and aggressive throughout. The BBC says Arsenal secured a “comfortable north London derby victory”.

As ever, though, the game hinged on moments of controversy. Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino says, “The free-kick for the first goal and the first goal was obvious offside, maybe the second was too.”

Is he right? What say the clubs respective websites?

Spurs: “Davinson Sanchez looked harshly judged to have fouled Alexis Sanchez on the left, Ozil curled in the free-kick and Mustafi rose highest to plant a header home off the far post, opening the scoring.”

No word on any offside, let alone an “obvious” one. But some comment on the foul that gave Arsenal the chance to launch a set piece. The Spurs report is remarkably even-handed.

Arsenal: “We kept knocking on the door though and eventually we made the breakthrough, Ozil curling in a free kick that Mustafi headed across goal and in via the far post.”

No word on the foul that led to the free kick at all. And, again, no word on any offside.

The neutral view is provided by the Times:

Tottenham’s anger was that Mustafi, by a tiny margin, seemed offside when Ozil delivered and that free kick had been awarded dubiously when Alexis Sanchez sprawled as Davinson Sanchez nicked the ball away from him: a clean tackle but Dean judged the Spurs man had tugged his namesake’s jersey before sliding in.

The Arsenal website is notable for one other item: Mesut Ozil is all over it. This is the homepage following that 2-0 win:

 

 

Followed by:

 

 

Ozil and more Ozil, runs the story. It seem pretty clear that Arsenal are at pains to make Ozil feel wanted. After the game, the German said he “really enjoyed” playing up front with Sanchez and Alexandre Lacazette. “We have good quality and they are both very dangerous,” said Ozil. “Today Alexis showed his quality and I am really happy for him.”

Sanchez was a whir of buzz an brilliance. But surely Arsenal cannot hang on to the Chilean. Manchester City want him. And they have money to burn. But Ozil… Well, signs are that he will stay.

Arsene Wenger gave fans the chance to salute the German by substituting him in the 84 minute. The fans stood and cheered. Oil felt the love. Like Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal’s other stand-out performer on the day, Ozil is entering the final six months of his contract. He is free to talk to foreign clubs from January onwards. Arsenal clearly want him to stay. And Ozil seems happy with his lot.

Posted: 18th, November 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Arsenal Balls: Wilshere signs new deal and heads to Spain in Sun clickbait tie-in

Transfer balls: Jack Wilshere, once the saviour of English football, is making his way back to the fore after a trying time with injuries. Having clawed his way back to the Arsenal bench, Wilshere is now being tipped to get his reward: a career at Real Betis.

Well, so says the BBC, which reasons that once Wilshere’s Arsenal contract expires in the summer, Betis are “confident” they will get their man and make him part of Spain’s eighth best side.

Over in the Sun, the story is given added oomph: “BET ON IT Arsenal news: Jack Wilshere set to leave the Emirates as Real Betis ‘believe they are close’ to signing England midfielder on a free.”

Only a loon would bet on Wishere heading to Real Betis. He wants to remain at Arsenal, and the Gunners are pretty keen on keeping him. The Sun’s “exclusive” looks a lot like an advertorial for its betting operation, SunBets. The paper’s scoop comes wrapped around two large calls for readers to sign up to SunBets .

It’s all utter balls. But in the race for clicks, where one news source leads, the other dutifully follow.

 

transfer balls arsenal

 

The Mirror and Mail both cite the Sun, which has no quotes and facts to support its story. At which point the story takes on a life of its own, with ESPN saying a deal is all but done (taking care to namecheck two big clubs for SEO purposes) – “Jack Wilshere set to spurn Premier League giants Chelsea and Manchester City for Real Betis” – and 90mins.com reading the player’s mind: “Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere Could be Interested in Joining Real Betis.”

But hold the bet! The Sun has more news:

 

Arsenal Wilshere the sun

 

Best save your money.

 

 

Posted: 16th, November 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Manchester United Balls: Mourinho accepts defeat

Football moves pretty fast at the Sun, where the paper continues to cheer for Jose Mourinho, currently turning Manchester United into a pragmatic, defence-minded grinding machine. Second in the Premier League, a not inconsiderable 8 points behind Manchester City after just 11 games played, the Sun explain that none of it is Jose’s fault.

On November 8, Sun readers were told:

“JOSE MOURINHO is heading for a clash with the Manchester United board over further backing in the transfer market. Mourinho has spent £300million in less than 18 months — but still wants more to strengthen his squad as they fight on four fronts… Now he is concerned he may not get the funds he needs to boost his squad in the New Year and next summer.”

One day on and United are in a panic. Mourinho’s off to PSG:

 

mourinho the sun psg

 

Things move pretty fast. After all, way back in August, the Sun was telling us that Mourinho was living the dream:

“JOSE MOURINHO has told his Manchester United players to do the Double this season. He said their aim had to be to win the Premier League and FA Cup and at least reach the last eight of the Champions League. But as Sunsport today reveals, Mourinho was so confident of what this squad could do he had raised the bar ahead of the new season”

Nothing a few hundred million can’t fix.

 

Posted: 9th, November 2017 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Media bias: Spurs beat Real Madrid with a vanishing offside goal

In this edition of biased football reporting, we look at Tottenham’s 3-1 victory over Real Madrid 3-1 in the Champions League. Spanish newspaper Marca describes the game’;s crucial opening goal:

Replays showed that Tripper was in an offside position when he received the ball, but there was no call from the linesman and the goal stood.

Now rod of any offside in the official Spurs website’s report:

Dele got the ball rolling in the 27th minute when he tucked home Kieran Trippier’s cross from close range

And the BBC:

Dele Alli gave Spurs the lead after 27 minutes when he turned in Kieran Trippier’s cross from close range

 

Not much bias, as it turns out. A 3-1 defeat for Real Madrid tells its own story. And, well, you make your own luck in a sport where luck plays a role:

 

 

Posted: 1st, November 2017 | In: Back pages, Sports, Spurs | Comment (1)


Arsenal clickbait: Daily Mirror ‘spots’ Sead Kolasinac in a Christmas jumper

How bad is sports writing? Like everyone else who cares – and many more who do not – we too saw the Arsenal squad wearing their Christmas jumpers to highlight the work of Save the Children. Since 2011, the club has raised over £2million for the charity.

But to the Daily Mirror, this is a reason to produce “7 things we spotted from Arsenal’s charity Christmas jumper team photo”.

 

 

The Mirror provides no link to the charity nor does it mention Christmas Jumper Day (December 15), which is why the Arsenal were wearing seasonal sweaters.

Says Arsenal:

Theo “Woolcott”, “Sweater” Cech, “Gra-Knit” Xhaka and the rest of the Arsenal squad have donned festive jumpers for a special squad picture with mascot Gunnersaurus.

To help raise funds for our global charity partner Save the Children, we have created a range of exclusive Christmas Arsenal knits, which each carry a 20 per cent donation of the RRP to Save the Children.

The Arsenal Christmas jumpers are available from ArsenalDirect.com and from the club’s three superstores while stocks last – in sizes for menwomen, children and … dogs!

Swap your kit for a knit and sign up for Save the Children’s Christmas Jumper Day on Friday, December 15.

Weak of the Mirror not to link their dire article to the charity. But they do notice that team manager Arsene Wenger is in the photo (Spot 4 on the paper’s list). That’s the same Wenger who, according to the Mirror, left the club on June 30.

 

Daily Mirror wenger quits Arsenal

 

Such are the facts.

 

Posted: 1st, November 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Tabloids | Comment


Arsenal’s missing striker Gonzalo Higuain hits 100 goals in Italy

Congratulations, Gonzalo Higuain. The Argentinian today scored his 100th Serie A goal, hitting the net twice as Juventus beat AC Milan. Higuain, 29, has scored 101 goals in 153 games in Italy’s top flight since arriving in Italy from Real Madrid in July 2013. You will recall that Higuain joined for €40 million. In 2016 he moved to Juventus for €90 million.

But none of that happened if you read the Sun. According to the paper of record, Higuan plays for Arsenal, who he joined for £23m in 2013.

 

higuain arsenal sign

 

He then went to Liverpool:

 

Higuain liverpool

 

Such are the facts.

Posted: 28th, October 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Carabao Cup balls: Arsenal and Manchester City in fake news epidemic

You can make a story out of anything. Take the Sun’s news that “Arsenal and Manchester City face disqualification from [the] Carabao Cup”.Why?  Well, the Sun says they stand accused of “making too many substitutions in extra-time”. It’s the ‘CARABAO KO”.

 

the sun arsenal carabao cup manchester city

 

Readers are told:”Arsenal needed extra-time to beat Norwich 2-1 and City saw off Wolves in a penalty shootout but both are waiting to discover if they broke rules over subs.”

The rules are, according to the Sun:

‘The Premier League giants made four changes — two in extra-time — and the Canaries will demand clarification from the Football League. Four subs are a novelty for cup ties this season but the rules imply only one can be used after 90 minutes.’

Arsenal and City have ready-made defences should the matter reach the legal stage. Bristol Rovers, Bournemouth, Brighton Burnley, Brentford, Portsmouth and Cardiff City all made two changes in extra-time in the Cup’s earlier rounds.

 

carabao cup arsenal man city

 

A quick look at the rules tell us that Arsenal and Manchester City did nothing wrong:

10 Substitutes

10.1 Subject to Rule 10.2, in all matches, each team is permitted up to seven substitutes of whom not more than three may take part in the match.

10.2 Where any match goes to extra time (in accordance with the provisions of Rules 14.4, 14.5 and/or 14.6), then subject to the League having obtained the prior approval of the International Football Association Board (IFAB) to the application of this Rule, each Club participating in that match will be permitted to use an additional substitute (in extra time only).

And having suggested that Arsenal and Manchester City could be booted from the competition because it failed to understand the rules, the Sun then notes:

‘The Gunners made a total of four subs, making use of the rule that you can use one added change when a tie heads to extra-time. Arsenal made TWO in extra-time, causing some debate among Twitter users to suggest that Arsene Wenger had broken the rule.”

Isn’t new media crap and full of fake news, eh. It’s nothing like the trusty, subjective and truthful old media, is it? (Yes, it is, ed).

 

Posted: 25th, October 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Manchester City, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Media bias: Manchester City Silva’s inconsequential ‘no dive’ cons the ref and pains Burnley

Bernardo Silva will not be retrospectively yellow carded for ‘diving’ when his Manchester City beat Burnley 3-0 in the Premier League. Silva “fell theatrically” in the box “under the slightest of touches from the Burnley goalkeeper”, says the Times.

“If I kicked my kid in the garden, I don’t think he would fall like that,” says Burnley boss Sean Dyche. “For him to get that high off the floor with his arms above his head is almost a skill in itself. I was quite impressed with how far he travelled.”

The Burnley Express says of Silva:

You could question why Pope gave the referee a decision to make, with Silva’s touch taking him away from goal, and his knee did connect with the former Monaco man’s right ankle.

But Silva exaggerated the contact.

Cheating?

Roger East bought it, and after Burnley showed their disgust with Silva

The Manchester Evening News has an odd take on the incident:

Pope tried to withdraw from his challenge and the contact between his knee and Bernardo’s foot seemed inconsequential.

Eh? What does the mean? There was a consequence: City got a penalty that allowed them to score that always vital first goal.

But get a load of how the official Manchester City website reports on the controversial spot kick:

The Portuguese playmaker then won a penalty when Pope brought him down inside the box. David Silva’s sublime throughball for Kevin De Bruyne put the Belgian in on goal, but his effort was parried by Pope. Bernardo, attempting to control the follow up, was then caught by the sprawling Pope, and Roger East pointed to the spot.

 

burnley fc silva dive

 

Over at Burnley FC, the penalty is at the top of the match report, presented as the game’s key moment:

Controversial penalty sets up leaders’ win as Clarets unbeaten away run ends

Adding:

Burnley’s first defeat since the second weekend of the season came with a note of frustration and something of a sour taste for the way City got the all-important opening goal from the penalty spot…

Sergio Aguero scored it to equal Eric Brook’s club-record tally, but the way Bernardo Silva seemingly convinced referee Roger East to award the penalty following a brush with Clarets’ goalkeeper Nick Pope did not go down well in the visitors’ camp.

It wasn’t a dive. The FA will only says it was a dive “where there is clear and overwhelming evidence to suggest a match official has been deceived by an act of simulation”. What’s clear to one is not clear to another…

 

Posted: 23rd, October 2017 | In: Back pages, Manchester City, Sports | Comments (2)


Arsenal: Ozil to Manchester United, 32 million followers and one anonymous source

Germany midfielder Mesut Ozil, 29, wants to join Manchester United when his deal with Arsenal expires at the end of the season, says the Daily Mail. “Ozil will be a free agent for next season after telling Arsenal he will not sign a new contract,” says the paper.

But hold on a moment. Ozil has not told anybody Arsenal he wants to move to Old Trafford, says the Sun. And he’s not rejected a new Arsenal contract. A “close friend of Ozil” has “revealed”:

“Mesut has not had any contract offer from Arsenal. There were talks about a modest pay rise last season but all those talks ended in March. There’s been nothing since then… Mesut is adamant he has never spoken to any player about going to Manchester United. He has no idea if United want him but he wants to stay at Arsenal. Look, he just bought a new house in London.

“Mesut had been renting but he decided to buy a house because he both expects and wants to stay.

“But he is angry that people are briefing against him and feels there seems to be some sort of campaign against him. His intention has always been to remain at Arsenal. Mesut, though, does feel he is being isolated and kept in the dark. He is worried that there is a game going on and he is left in the middle of it.”

You still there? Anonymous sources are ten a penny. Mesut Ozil has a mouth. He has 18.8 million followers on Twitter.

 

 

Ozil has 14.3 millions followers on Instagram.

If only there was some way for poor Ozil to speak for himself and stop all the game playing…

Posted: 21st, October 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Everton balls: Oh, come on, we loved Williams chucking his dummy

Argy-bargy at Everton, where the Toffees lost 1-2 to Lyon in the Europa League. The lowlight features the unforgettable sight of an Everton fan in the Gwladys Street end “trying to shove Anthony Lopes, the Lyons goalkeeper, with his right hand” (Times). The idiot compounded his behaviour by cradling a toddler sucking a dummy at the time. There’s thick and there’s wading into a fight against professional athletes whilst holding a child levels of thick.

We’ll get to know this dangerously thick man is. As the Times notes, “The shame game has begun.”

But before that, what happened? As ever the Press seem incapable agreeing on the most bald fact.

 

Everton fight fan toddler

 

Everton fan carrying a CHILD slaps Lyon goalkeeper on his head – Daily Mail

Merseyside Police investigating Everton-Lyon brawl which saw man throw punche while holiding a kid [sic] – the Sun

An Everton fan who appeared to slap a Lyon player while holding a child during last night’s Europa League game has been banned by the club while police investigate the incident. – Daily Mirror

One fan was seen trying to throw a punch while holding a child. – Daily Express

…a fan carrying a child appeared to aim a punch at Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes. – Daily Telegraph

Punch? Slap? Hit or miss?

 

 

Lyons were unimpressed with the Everton showing:

 

 

As for the shame and the horror, the players have spoken:

Everton captain Williams, who was shown a yellow card, told media: “It’s what happens, it’s football. It is what it is. It’s high emotions. We want to win the game, they want to win the game and stuff happens. That was just one of those times.”

He later told Everton FC’s website – where the incident is a described as a “heated exchange – “We want to show fight for ourselves, but more than anything for the Club and the fans especially. We’re disappointed we haven’t got a result tonight because I thought we showed good attitude in how we went about it.”

And Lopes opined: “I don’t think it is part of the English atmosphere to hit an away player. It was no big deal, it happened and that was it. For me it seemed to wake up the fans and they seemed to love it.”

They did. And so did the media. Fans and media love a mass brawl. Chuck in a streaker, a few red cards and the match would have been yet more entertaining – albeit not up there with Zidane’s headbutt or Cantona’s kung-fu kick.

Posted: 20th, October 2017 | In: Back pages, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Arsenal balls: Sanchez and Wenger meet in secret and all about that handshake

Alexis Sanchez Watch: an at-a-glance look at the Arsenal striker in the media. Today the Mail leads with a question: “Was this the moment Alexis Sanchez ignored his Arsenal manager ahead of training?” We, of course, adhere to Ian Betteridge’s law of headlines, which states: “Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no.”

So, no. And, indeed, after clicking the link, the Mail delivers a further headline:

Alexis Sanchez appears to snub Arsene Wenger at Arsenal training as contract dispute rolls on

The dispute is, of course, nothing of the sort. Sanchez has not gone on strike. Arsenal are not sacking him, nor suing him. The Gunners want him to stay. Sanchez wants a lot more money to play for the Premier League’s fifth best team. Negotiations are ongoing.

Sam Morshead then adds:

Was this the moment Alexis Sanchez ignored his Arsenal manager ahead of training?

No.

The Chilean striker, whose Gunners future remains up in the air, appeared to blank his boss prior to a session at the club’s London Colney facility on Wednesday.

Wenger, who was embarking on his ritual of shaking each of his players’ hands before putting them through their paces, was acknowledged by Nacho Monreal and Mesut Ozil – but a short video clip shows Sanchez apparently walking on by.

Take a video clip. Remove it from context, Stick it into a pre-ordained narrative. And write a clickbait headline. Bingo! And having seduced Arsenal fans with total ball, Morshead then notes:

They saw Sanchez head on towards a group of his team-mates instead of approaching Wenger, though the Gunners manager did not offer his hand to his star striker and appeared to say ‘I’ve already done you’.

To put it another way, then:

“Arsene Wenger appears to snub Alexis Sanchez at Arsenal training as contract dispute rolls on”

Or:

“Wenger does not shake Sanchez’s hand twice”

Or how about:

“Sanchez happy with team-mates and life at Arsenal”

Or as Morshead puts it:

…given reports about a frosty relationship between player and coach in the past, moments like these always give rise to speculation.

What frosty relationship? Oh, the one the tabloids keeps harping on about. Because no sooner has one tabloid conjured total balls from a non-event than the rival organs are reporting the tosh as fact:

 

alexis sanchez handshake snub wenger arsenal

 

We do like the Daily Star’s idea Sanchez is “troubled”, in the manner of a recovering drug addict or a Hollywood wild child is ‘troubled’.

 

And here’s the video of the huge happening that excited the national Press:

 

 

 

So, what really heppened? Well, Sanchez was one of the first players who arrived at training, and Wenger greeted him well before the video was shot.

In other words: “Wenger and Sanchez meet in secret!”

Such are the facts.

Posted: 19th, October 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


The Sun: boring Liverpool have great PR and Mourinho is a genius

Liverpool v Manchester United continues to make news for all the wrong reasons. They game was a dirge. It was very much a Jose Mourinho match: slow, niggly, functional, pragmatic and dull. Over in the Sun, however, there’s a difference of opinion.

Gavin Newsham gets it right in his apprasal:

Do you remember when Sam Allardyce took West Ham to Stamford Bridge in 2014, stuck everyone behind the ball and escaped with a goalless draw and a point? “This is football from the 19th Century,” moaned then Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho.

Fast forward three years…Jose’s United managed just one shot on target in a game when Mourinho’s men did little or nothing to try and win the game, playing the kind of unsightly, anti-football that’s completely at odds with the way they tend to do things at Old Trafford.

Or as the Sun’s Neil Curtis told Sky Sports:

I think he got it absolutely spot on. I can’t remember a time when going to Anfield was a given for any away team, no matter how good they are. This man is supposed to be anti-football but has scored four goals on four occasions in the last seven games…

There were two chances in that game – Manchester United one and Liverpool had one – but it’s Mourinho’s fault that it was 0-0. Mourinho was inviting Klopp to take a risk yesterday – but he didn’t take one…

Where the plan fell down, for me, was with Romelu Lukaku. He couldn’t hold the ball up when it came out. Yes, he had men around him and what have you but if he holds the ball up, he can then feed it off to people and they can play on the break. Lukaku was poor yesterday and Henrikh Mkhitaryan went missing but that’s not Mourinho’s fault.

It’s easy to criticise him, it’s easy to blame him but Klopp wasn’t taking any great risks yesterday either. He’s got a great PR team

He’s not the only one…

How many chances? One each, right, says Curtis. Wrong, says the Daily Mirror:

For all the grim reality of that pragmatic approach, United still should have lost, with David De Gea making a world-class save from Joel Matip and both Mo Salah and Emre Can spurning wonderful chances – while even at the end, Matip and Dejan Lovren had clear headers they put over.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 16th, October 2017 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment (1)


Mourinho inspires Manchester United to another boring encounter at Liverpool

It’s Liverpool v Manchester in the Premier League, which means one thing: 0-0. Before today’s bore drawer – Liverpool were the better side but wasted opportunities in a game the BBC describes as “marginally better” than the “drab stalemate” when Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool last hosted Jose Mourinho’s United in the PL – the Sun was assuring readers it would be a thriller:

“JOSE MOURINHO has warned Jurgen Klopp he will be facing a much stronger Manchester United than 12 months ago. Then Mourinho took the Red Devils to Anfield and shut up shop for a tedious goalless draw to stop a free-scoring Liverpool.”

He shut up shop this time, too. Manchester United managed a single shot on target to Liverpool’s 6; committed 13 fouls to Liverpool’s 7; and just 38% possession. Dullsville stuff from United. But this is how Mourinho’s cheerleaders at the Sun trailed last season’s match that ended 0-0, in which United had 35% possession, committed 20 fouls and had  – yep – one shot on target.

JOSE MOURINHO is desperately trying to rid Manchester United of the memories from the Louis van Gaal era. That is why he will never serve up a borefest like the Dutchman with his much vaunted ‘philosophy’.

A pox on Van Gaal!

Mourinho’s side travel to Anfield tonight where Van Gaal somehow squeezed out a 1-0 win last January. But as so often with LVG it was the way it was done and that is certainly not the Mourinho way.

You know how many shots on target United had that day? One.

Plus ca change at Old Trafford. (Although under Van Gaal the annual shot went in and enjoyed 47% possession. Not quite ‘Bing Back Louis’ but the hype over Mourinho is absurd. He’s George Graham with lots more money.)

Posted: 14th, October 2017 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment