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Sports news, commentary and scores with wit and added value. We compare and contrast the best and worst sports reporting in the mainstream press, blogs, TV and online. We love the English Premier League (Arsenal, Liverpool, Spurs, Manchester United and Manchester City) and all things football but we cover cricket, rugby, the Olympics, tennis, golf, F1 and highlights of the sporting year.

Manchester United’s Lukaku accused of throwing bottle that injured Manchester City coach

Instead of putting his finger to his lips in the manner of a kindergarten teacher quieting a group of toddlers, José Mourinho simply requested that Manchester City’s players celebrating victory over the his Manchester United “keep their music down”.

Mourinho and Ederson, City’s Brazilian goalkeeper who apparently heard the polite request, began to argue. Reports suggest Mourinho accused Ederson of play-acting to waste time and then in English told him, “You fucking show respect. Who are you?” He’s Ederson. It says so on his top. Anyhow, overlooking the older man’s difficulty with names and aversion to loud music, the debate “sparked” trouble.

In the ensuing melee, Mikel Arteta, one of Pep Guardiola’s assistants, was left with blood streaming down his face from a split eyebrow and another member of Guardiola’s backroom staff needed medical treatment. As is the way with Mourinho, the Guardian says the “escaped lightly despite being in the middle of it”.

But who allegedly threw the bottle that hit Arteta? The Mirror announces: “Man United star ‘Romelu Lukaku launched bottle at Mikel Arteta’.”  Well, that’s “according to Spanish outlet Cadena SER on the show ‘El Larguero'”.

Over there, it’s alleged – and this through Google Translate:

Triggers between United and City players after the Manchester derby
Luis Martin told El Larguero that Romelu Lukaku gave a bottle to a member of the coaching staff of the City

We’re not told who Luis Martin is, nor how he knows anything about the incident. Which makes you wonder why he’s seen as a reliable source, and one good enough for the Daily Mirror? The Sun notes:

 

 

But we don’t know who threw the bottle.

Anyhow, after that Mourinho went for a chat with referee Michael Oliver, who booked Ander Herrera for diving in the City box. The Portuguese manager than told press: “It’s a clear penalty and I feel sorry for Mr Oliver because he had a good performance. He’s a human being and tried his best.”

What a lovely, understanding bloke Mourinho is.

Posted: 11th, December 2017 | In: Back pages, Manchester City, manchester united, News, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


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 | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


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 | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Manchester United v Manchester City: Jose Mourinho’s narcissism makes us warm to Pep

Is Jose Mourinho a narcissist?  Of course he is. It’s always about him. Noticing that Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola wears a yellow ribbon – a symbol of protest against the imprisonment of pro-independence politicians in the Spanish region of Catalonia – Mourinho soaks it in his own identity, sniping:

“If the rules allow us to do that, he is a free citizen. My doubt is if the rules allow any political message on the pitch. I don’t think I would be allowed to.”

We’ve been here before.

When Pep went at Southampton’s Nathan Redmond after the final whistle, and was not sanctioned for his outburst, Moutinho snarked:

“Surprised?” said Mourinho. “No, not surprised.”

Asked if that was because he felt he was treated differently to other bosses, Mourinho said: “I can’t answer to the second question.

“You know, if you’re my friends, don’t ask me the question, because you know I get into trouble, so no.”

Poor old, Jose, eh, persecuted for nought. Sure, he belittled a female doctor, sneakily poked a rival in the eye, labelled a rival a voyeur, after a match called West Brom defender Jonas Olsson in the tunnel a “Mickey Mouse player”, allegedly threatened to “break  the face” of a rival manager, escaped censure from the Football Association “despite telling a ballboy…  he could be ‘punched’ if he continued to delay returning the ball”, wrongly accused Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard of visiting referee Anders Frisk at half-time during Chelsea’s 2-1 defeat to the Spanish side, helping Frisk quit the game:

“I have been subjected to things that I couldn’t even imagine,” said Frisk, who describes himself as “a Chelsea fan since boyhood”, yesterday. “I love to referee and I have done it since 1978, but what has happened to me over the last 16 days means it is not worth continuing.

“I won’t ever go out on a football pitch again. I am too scared. It is not worth it. Unfortunately that is the way football looks in 2005. I’ve had enough. I don’t know if I even dare let my kids go to the post office.

“These past 16 days have been the worst in my life as a soccer referee.”

Mourinho and his supporters like to claim he’d have been crucified if he behaved like Guardiola. Trouble is, he’s got form…

 

Posted: 9th, December 2017 | In: Manchester City, manchester united, News, Sports | Comment (1) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Mark Clattenburg: I let Spurs lose the title at Chelsea

Like so many of you, I am a huge fan of the Premier League referees. Sadly, my Mark Clattenburg replica kit is now a ‘vintage’ item on match days following ‘Clatts’ departure to Saudi Arabia.

Clattenburg (‘REF – HERO – LEGEND’) has been on NBC’s Men in Blazers podcast, reliving the glory days when he “allowed Tottenham to self-destruct” in their 2-2 draw with Chelsea in May 2016. Spurs had to win the match to keep their Premier League title challenge alive.

And for such an important match they were awarded Clattenburg, who booked nine Spurs players. Argy-bargy after the match also helped Chelsea and Tottenham receive record fines from the Football Association, and Spurs’ Mousa Dembele was banned for six games for violent conduct.

“I allowed them [Spurs] to self-destruct so all the media, all the people in the world went: ‘Tottenham lost the title’,” says Clatts. “If I sent three players off from Tottenham, what are the headlines? ‘Clattenburg cost Tottenham the title.’ It was pure theatre that Tottenham self-destructed against Chelsea and Leicester won the title.”

Football’s Andrew Lloyd Webber (surely Webber is theatre’s Clattenburg? – ed) continues: “Some referees would have played by the book; Tottenham would have been down to seven or eight players and probably lost and they would’ve been looking for an excuse. But I didn’t give them an excuse, because my gameplan was: Let them lose the title.”

Who needs rules when you have a ref like Clattenburg? All together now for that familiar match-day chant one last time: Whose the w***** in the black? “One FA Cup and three UEFA Finals, do-dah, do-dah.”

 

Posted: 4th, December 2017 | In: Chelsea, News, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


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 | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


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 | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Iran tells fighter to abandon sporting values, lose deliberately and avoid Israeli athlete

Alireza Karimi-Mashiani israel iran

 

Iran has set out to prove that sport is pointless. Iranian wrestler Alireza Karimi-Mashiani was winning a quarter-final fight in the under-23 world championships. Russian fighter Alikhan Zhabrailov looked set to lose the 86kg bout. The winner would take on Israel’s Uri Kalashnikov. A voice calls out, reportedly, “Alireza, you have to lose!”

“In a moment, my whole world seemed to come to an end,” Karimi tells the Iranian Students News Agency. “I was told that the Israeli wrestler defeated his American rival, and that I must lose to avoid facing an Israeli opponent. I have trained hard for months to win a gold medal, and it was easy for me to win.”

Poor sod. But no matter about your sporting prowess. The State loves you. You’re not an athlete. You’re a role model. Iran’s sports ministry posts a statement: “Your noble and heroic action in the world competition in Poland, abandoning the medal and the podium in support of the highest human values, is a source of pride and praise.”

What those values are is not noted. But we believe them to be not a lot unlike the values extolled at the 1936 Olympics. Front Page Mag goes further: “The Mullahs transform international sport into Jew-hate.”

Now those results in full.

 

Posted: 29th, November 2017 | In: News, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


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 | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


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 | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Everton balls: the biggest match ever (until Martin Keown’s next deadline)

Not content with ignoring facts to have a pop at Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil, Martin Keown is making historically incontinent comments about his other former club, Everton. Buying into the hype that everything in Premier League football is of monumental importance, Keown notices that Everton are playing badly, furrows his brown, leans in and tells Match of the Day viewers:  “You think now, Wednesday they play West Ham at home. Is there a bigger game in Everton’s history?”

A bigger game? No. Many bigger games? Yes. Even if you buy into Keown’s bilge that football began in the Premier League era, Everton have had big games. In 1994, they secured a momentous 3-2 win over Wimbledon.

Two goals down, with nine minutes of the season remaining – and needing to win to stay up – Everton scored the winner.

 

 

 

Four years later, Everton endured more last-day drama.

 

1997-98

 

Everton stayed up by way of superior goal difference over Bolton. Everton needed only a point against Coventry if Bolton lost at Chelsea, which they did. Everton were one goal up – then with five minutes to go missed a penalty. With two minutes to go Coventry scored. Tension. You betcha.

 

But none of that nor the glory nights, when Everton won Cups and league titles matters. Because 14 games into the season, Martin Keown says a home match with West Ham is the biggest match in Everton’s history.

Posted: 27th, November 2017 | In: News, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


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 | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


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 | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Come On Effzeh! The Daily Mirror trolls Arsenal and Spurs fans by misreporting FC Cologne song

Come On Effzeh! The Daily Mirror trolls Arenal and Spurs fans by misreporting FC Cologne song

 

At last night Europa League match between Cologne and Arsenal (-0 to the Germans), the Daily Mirror heard fans offering some tag-team anti-Spurs abuse. The headline is unequivocal: ‘”Tottenham are s***!” Arsenal and Cologne fans “join forces to troll Spurs” during Europa League tie”.

 

 

They did? No, of course they didn’t. The Mirror is trolling Arsenal and Spurs fans. But Mark Jones is hearing what he wants to, telling Mirror readers:

Arsenal fans seemingly joined forces with their counterparts from Cologne to troll Tottenham Hotspur during their Europa League tie in Germany on Thursday night… the two sets of fans linked up in perfect harmony at the RheinEnergieStadion, although Spurs fans won’t want to hear it.

Wrong. The Cologne fans chant “Come on FC!” or “Come on Effzeh!” over and over and over at every match. Cologne fans are not trolling Spurs fans. They don’t give a s*** about Spurs fans. But the Mirror’s advertising clicks do.

 

 

Spotter: 365

Posted: 24th, November 2017 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports, Spurs, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Arsenal: every Europa League winner loses

Arsenal were beaten by the mighty FC Cologne in the Europa Cup. The German side was poor, needing a pretty soft penalty to hit the net; but even when faced with the Bundesliga’s worst side Arsenal couldn’t score. But fear not, Arsenal fans. The Gunners can still win the second-rate cup. No team to have captured the trophy since the first winners in 2010 has gone the course undefeated.

The following is a guide to how many matches the eventual winners lost by. Defeats in two-legged knock-out rounds are in brackets.

2010: Atletico Madrid 3 (1)

2011: Porto (2)

2012: Atletico Madrid 1

2013: Chelsea 2 (2)

2014: Seville (3)

2015: Seville 1

2016: Seville 4 (2)

2017: Manchester United 1

Onwards and upwards, Arsenal. One the best players take part it’ll be shoo-in, right. Ozil and Sanchez will fire Arsenal home – unless thy leave the club in January.

 

Posted: 23rd, November 2017 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


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 | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


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 | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Clickbait balls: Daily Mirror tricks Manchester United fans with rehashed FIFA 18 press release

Clickbait balls in the Daily Mirror, the self-styled “intelligent tabloid”, which appears not to have the utmost respect for its readers. The headline is unequivocal: all-time Manchester United great Peter Schmeichel has named an “ultimate XI” that does not include a single players from his former club:

 

 

That’s newsworthy stuff, especially for Manchester United fans. But click on the link and you get the story that Schmeichel wasn’t picking actual players. He was picking virtual footballers made up of code and pixels. It’s a glorified press release from EA Sports, who asked their man to name a FIFA 18 ultimate XI from the game’s current choices, taking in every player in every virtual team in every virtual league.

 


It’s clickbait.

 

 

Why not just name the video game in the headline? Well, it’s all about the clicks…

 

Posted: 22nd, November 2017 | In: manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Liverpool undone by Seville coach’s dramatic half-time team-talk

liverpool cancer seville Manuel Eduardo "Toto" Berizzo

 

Three goals own to a vibrant Liverpool side, Seville were roused to a unlikely 3-3 drawer when the Spanish side’s manager,  Eduardo Berizzo, used his half-time team-talk to tell his players he has cancer. I see your oranges and flying tea cups and rise you a malignant tumour on the prostate.

Sevilla Info explains why Sevilla’s players raced to mob Berizzo after Guido Pizarro completed the comeback in injury time. As ever, I’ve put it through Google Translate for added drama:

Jug of cold water at Sevilla FC: Berizzo suffers from prostate cancer

The hugs senses of Sevilla FC players . his coach Manuel Eduardo “Toto” Berizzo at the end of the match played against Liverpool at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán stadium revealed more than a long-suffering and epic draw against one of the biggest clubs in Europe. The players have thrown caste, courage and pride after a talk in the locker room, when the team, deflated, lost by zero goals to three at halftime. In that talk, as a slab in the environment, the news that the Argentine coach has moved his players and the entire structure of the Club. Berizzo suffers from prostate cancer.

We wish him well. As, clearly, do his players.

Posted: 22nd, November 2017 | In: Liverpool, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Everton balls: diving Niasse ‘s body of evidence

You’ve got to feel sorry for Everton’s Oumar Niasse. The idea is to swan dive after you’ve scored the goal not before. Why no-one told him is beyond reason. Hard cheese, then, that the striker has been charged by the Football Association for diving against Crystal Palace.

Niasse is destined to be a pub trivia having become the first Premier League player to be charged by the FA for “successful deception of a match official”. This is progress.

Trundling into the Palace box, Niasse suffered what appear to be a sudden allergic reaction to Scott Dann’s shirt fabric. The lightest brush and Niasse fell hard enough to make one onlooker expect police to draw a white line about the player and tape it off as a crime scene. Penalty duly awarded, Leighton Baines scored from the spot. To rub Palace’s faces further into the turf, Niasse went on to score the equaliser.

An FA statement reads: “Incidents which suggest a match official has been deceived by an act of simulation are referred to a panel consisting of one ex-match official, one ex-manager and one ex-player. .. Only in circumstances where the panel are unanimous would the FA issue a charge.”

Not that it matters. The damage has been done.

Posted: 21st, November 2017 | In: Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Arsenal balls: why pundits have it in for Ozil

It’s fair to say that Martin Keown is no fan of Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil, offering to to-deadline opinion in October: “I think in some departments he’s already left. Psychologically, mentally, he’s already left the football club.” And on it went, Keown alluding to world Cup winner Ozil being a malign influence on teammates – “I think [Wenger] doesn’t want that sort of player around the youngsters in the group,” – and that Ozil has “downed tools”.

Pundits like to hammer home a point, even if it’s wrong. Ozil played superbly well in Arsenal 2-0 win over Spurs, putting in a man-of-the-match performance and earning a standing ovation from the fans. But Keown spots a hole in his Daily Mail column and offers: “This weekend, we have learned nothing new about Ozil.”

We who spotted Ozil’s record equalling 19 assists in the 2015-16 season, his 12 chances created when Arsenal played Sunderland in May and keeps Arsenal moving forward. But to Keown, Ozil invites the questions, “Will he work as hard on Sunday when Arsenal travel to Burnley?” Probably. Ozil ran further last season than every Arenal player bar Nacho Monreal.  But Keown has the blinekrs on: “This weekend, we have learned nothing new about Ozil. We know he is immensely talented. But if he does not perform and Arsenal fail to get three points at Turf Moor, this victory will have been for nothing.”

No. It’ll have been for three points and bragging rights . Ozil will have been instrumental in defeating Spurs, a team billed as potential Premier League title winners and the coming force in English football. To make that worth nothing is to flush Ozil’s sublime play down the memory hole.

But we’re not looking at Ozil, who remains easy on the yes. We’re looking at Keown, whose opinions tell us much about his attitude to football: scream, shout, go in hard and show off your scars. The difference between Keown and Ozil is acute: whereas Keown was lucky to have a role in a pragmatic Arsenal side; a more progressive Arenal are lucky to have Ozil.

 

 

 

Mesut Ozil needs to be challenged every week to put in as special a performance as he did in the north London derby.
When you play Tottenham, you do not need any motivation. If anything, you have to keep your emotions in check. You have to play with your head, not your heart.
A cynic would say that Ozil’s performance merely guaranteed him his move in January. Will he work as hard on Sunday when Arsenal travel to Burnley?
If both Ozil and Alexis Sanchez perform as they did against Spurs for the rest of the season, they will be able to leave Arsenal with everyone’s blessing. They will have given their all until the last.
Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil fired Arsenal to victory as they beat bitter rivals Spurs 2-0 +5
Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil fired Arsenal to victory as they beat bitter rivals Spurs 2-0
Arsenal are a different animal at home but Arsene Wenger needs to equip his team to win on the road. They have lost four of their six Premier League away games, winning just once at Everton in Ronald Koeman’s last match in charge.
To get into the top four, Wenger needs to map out the upcoming fixtures and keep pushing Ozil to shine in every game.
This weekend, we have learned nothing new about Ozil. We know he is immensely talented. But if he does not perform and Arsenal fail to get three points at Turf Moor, this victory will have been for nothing.

 

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-5098353/Mesut-Ozil-needs-challenged-week-reach-peak.html#ixzz4z3tFfU1x
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Posted: 21st, November 2017 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


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 | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


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 | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Ian Wright: Arsenal great was ‘bullied’ at Crystal Palace

Former Crystal Palace and Arsenal footballer Ian Wright is an ambassador for Cartoon Network’s anti-bullying campaign CN Buddy Network. Helping to promote the cause, Wright is telling media about his own experiences with bullies.

Alyson Rudd writes in the Times:

It is the silence that worries Ian Wright. The silence of those who suffer at the hands of bullies. The former England striker wants children who are picked on to speak up. If they keep their secrets they will, he says, find themselves suffering in the shadows.

We are introduced to Crystal Palace club captain Jim Cannon, there when Wright started out at the London club at the tender age of 21. In 2005, Cannon was part of Palace’s Centenary XI, losing the title “The Player of The Century” to – yep – Ian Wright.

“He was oppressive, a bully and he was nasty,” says Wright, who comes over as a resilient and engaging character. “He was threatened by me for some reason and I don’t know why. He was a horrible bully. It didn’t last long because once I started playing well, my confidence came and I didn’t feel that if I said anything they would let me go. When I told Steve Coppell [the manager] about it, he said he [Cannon] wouldn’t be around for long, that I should carry on doing what I was doing and stand up for myself.”

Cannon gets a right to reply. “I wasn’t a bully, he was just a loud-mouth upstart,” says the 64-year-old. “I was an experienced centre half and I knew he was going to come up against people worse than me so I gave him a little slap one day and that was the extent of the bullying. I’m not interested in Ian Wright, he was an exceptionally good player and if he thinks I bullied him maybe I bullied him into being a good player.”

Not altogether a bad point. For some individuals, being bullied can damage your confidence, leading to depression and isolation. For others, there can be less negative outcomes. It might be even positive, making the victim tougher, better able to navigate society and more self-aware. Professor Dennis Hayes, co-author of The Dangerous Rise Of Therapeutic Education, argues: “The more you talk about bullying, the more it sensitises people to every social slight and the more it becomes a problem.”

So, Wrighty, any more bullying? Wright recalls a lift home with another player, Micky Droy: “He never spoke to me in the car but he knew I needed a lift. It felt like a headmaster driving you home after being in trouble.”

Wright says that he does not know why Droy never spoke but that “deep down he was a good man and knew if he didn’t give me a lift I wasn’t getting home.”

This gives rise to the headlines:

 

ian wright bullying

 

Is bullying the right word? Wright’s experiences suggest a fraught adult relationship, perhaps one based on professional rivalry. Upsetting? Yes. Life-defining? No. If you look for toxic human relationships, surely you’ll find it in many places. How Wright’s story speaks to youngsters suffering abuse is moot. The story and cause seem to be all.

Posted: 16th, November 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


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 | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0