When the Sun Bets bookmakers sponsored Sutton for their home FA Cup match against Arsenal (final score: – 0- 2), they offered odds of 8-1 that the home side’s home reserve goalkeeper Wayne Shaw would eat a pie during the match.
Given that Shaw’s in the ‘big lad’ territory of players, Sun Bets could have offered a spread of how many pies, tubes of Rolos, lamb bhunas and ‘cheeky’ kebabs he’d eat inside the 90 minutes. As chance had it, Shaw did eat a pie, and because the game was being broadcast live on the BBC, we all got to see him do it. Shaw later admitted that ‘pals’ had placed money on the bet, which, says the Sun, were offered at a £5 maximum stake. The Mail says Sun Bets ‘tweeted that it had paid out a five-figure sum after Shaw finished his pie’.
For his (hunger) pains, Shaw was sacked for breaching FA rules concerned with betting on any “aspect of, or occurrence in” a football match. The Sun says on its front page that Shaw was ‘Hung out To Pie’. Shaw was handed his ‘Pie 45’.
The Sun calls it pathetic. So outraged is the paper that nearly all the media are talking about its Sun Bets (the Mirror doesn’t mention the company by name in any of its reports) – that’s S.U… – it calls on some unlikely comrades. Sun readers hear from Piers Morgan – for whom Shaw’s sacking “sums up the pathetically PC-crazed world” – and the BBC’s Gary Linker – “FFS!”.
Sun Bets says its investigating and working with the Gambling Commission, which is doing the same.
Shaw helps them out by noting his ‘pie’ was a ‘pastry’. Sun Bets says a pie is a “filling totally encased in pastry”. So it paid out. But, then, it’s the big winner in a sad story of greed.
To the anti-Trump protest at Whitehall, London. Some people would like the UK to rescind the invitation for Donald Trump to tread the red carpet with Her Majesty. They say Donald Trump being met by the Queen would be embarrassing. No, not for the elected leader of the world’s greatest republic, but for the hereditary leader of the feudal landed gentry.
Anyhow, the best bit of the protest, which has zero chance of achieving its aims, is the Arsenal fan who showed off his anti-Arsene Wenger banner.
Talksis of Wenger lasting four more years, much like Trump. Which one garners the most protests is up to you.
It’s been a few days since Arsenal lot to the world’s third best side in Munich. Experts cited the 5-1 drubbing to Bayern as a sign that Arsenal manger Arsene Wenger had to go. Arsenal were woeful in Germany, a side devoid of guile, diligence, spirit, cohesion and drive surrendered meekly, albeit to stella opponents.Whereas once the Gunner would have sought continuity, a handing of the baton from Wenger to his successor in style and spirit, the only way forward was to trigger wholesale change.
But the clamour for Wenger to do the decent thing and leave at the season’s end, if not immediately, has been hasty and delusional. England club sides to not rule in Europe. Placed in context, Arenal’s thrashing was more of the same, rather than a sudden downward turn. Did any Arsenal fans believe the Gunners were on track to win the Champions’ League? Coming top four in the Premier League is not a passport to the last four of Europeans football’s biggest club competition.
To further realise how palsied the PL has become, you need only look at what happened one night after Arsenal’s undoing. Spurs fans revelling in Arenal’s failure watched their team lose to the mighty Gent, a team sat in mid-table in Belgian’s Division A. Losing to Bayern in Munich or losing to Gent in Belgian – which is worse result? Add to that Spurs early demise in the Champions’ League and Arsenal coming top of group containing Paris Saint Germain and are things so very bleak at The Emirates?
Of course, it’s Sutton in the FA Cup tonight. Lost that and, well, the ground’s not all that far from Gatwick Airport. Taxi for Wenger!
Arsene Wenger will remain Arsenal manager for the next four years. Arsenal have offered Wenger a two-year extension on his current deal, which expires in the summer. So how does the Daily Star know Wenger will sign a four-year deal?
‘Arsene Wenger wants to stay at Arsenal for four more years,’ says the paper.
And what of that growing list of names lined up to replace Wenger when this season ends?
The story is based on a comment Wenger made when asked to compare his career to that of Sir Alex Ferguson. Said Wenger: “Ferguson has some other interests in life and he was older than I am today. He was four years older, he retired at 71 and I’m 67.”
So will Wenger continue to manager beyond 71? “Maybe more, maybe less, I don’t know,” he said.
Stick that through the spin machine and the Star says Wenger will be Arsenal boss until he’s 71.
The Guardian hears that and thunders: ‘Arsène Wenger hints he could stay at Arsenal for at least four more years.’
The Mirror interprets the same Wenger line to mean: ‘Arsene Wenger will carry on managing for another four years – even if he leaves Arsenal this summer.’
If he leaves this summer? The Mirror said he was going.
Such are the facts in the post-truth media.
Arsenal were thrashed in the Champions’ League. Again. Tonked 5-1 by a lively Bayern Munich side, Arsenal were limper than a post-coitus slug. The reporting has been fierce, with much of the chatter concerned with the timing of Arsene Wenger’s departure. The Arsenal manager’s inability to inspire his side is clear.
But Wenger remains the Arsenal owners’ dream man. He delivers big cash pay outs and high returns for the money men that run the club. In the boardroom everything is fine, a mood reflected in the match report on the Arsenal website, which begins thus:
We are facing a mammoth task to turn around our Champions League last-16 tie against Bayern Munich after conceding four times in a disappointing second half in Bavaria.
Arsenal conceded five times in total. The Pollyanna-ish notion that Arsenal will some how ‘turn things round’ is laughable. It was not ‘disappointing’. It was terrible.
The site adds:
Laurent Koscielny’s injury at the start of the second half seemed to disrupt us, and we conceded twice in the space of six minutes.
When Koscielny went off, the entire defence wilted. Kieran Gibbs was made captain. A player with marginally less presence than the sixth official was picked to galvanise the team and keep the defence tight.
And a word on Bayern:
Bayern, meanwhile, were without Franck Ribery and Jerome Boateng, but fielded a star-studded team containing the likes of Lewandowski, Douglas Costa and Robben.
Arsenal fielded the likes of Ozil (£41m), Sanchez (£35m) and two players bought in the summer for in excess of £30m each. Aren’t Arsenal now also star-studded? None of the three Bayern players name-checked cost more than £20m.
So how does Bayern Munich report on the match that Arsenal were ‘disappointing’ in? Their official website tells us:
On-fire Bayern thrash outclassed Gunners
The five goals ‘handed the German record champions a near-unassailable advantage in the first knockout round tie’.
The Gunners’ goal came after a penalty. The Arsenal website says Koscielny was ‘tripped’ . The Bayern site calls it a ‘debatable penalty’.
The other debate is on Wenger. Will he now leave Arsenal – after all, it looks like the players have already left him?
Clickbait: a look at the death of journalism in the national Press. The Daily Mirror has adopted the Daily Telegraph policy of making news out of TV listings. In readiness for Arsenal’s Champions’ League match against Germany’s Bayern Munich the Mirror has produced the following ‘stories’. All were written today:
Scoop 1! ‘What time is Bayern Munich vs Arsenal? All you need to know ahead of Champions League clash’
Scoop 2: ‘What channel is Bayern Munich vs Arsenal on? All you need to know ahead of Champions League clash’
That could be one story, no?
Scoop 3: ‘Bayern Munich vs Arsenal LIVE: All the build-up ahead of the Champions League clash in Germany’
Scoop 4: ‘Bayern Munich vs Arsenal: 11 things you need to know ahead of the Champions League clash‘
The list is great.
1. When is the match and how can I watch it?
Scoop 5: ‘7 things Arsene Wenger could learn from Carlo Ancelotti ahead of Bayern Munich v Arsenal’
Number 1: ‘Winning the Champions League helps your reputation’
Scoop 6: ‘Arsene Wenger is 50/50 over Arsenal stay – the Bayern Munich result could decide his future’
Well, it could do. And, on the other hand, it could not do. Or as the Mirror puts it:
Scoop 7; ‘9 funniest reactions to Arsenal fans watching long-time target Julian Draxler destroy Barcelona’
It really is that bad.
What names are on the ‘shortlist of managers’ to replace Arsene Wenger at Arsenal? The Mirror says there are four names vying to be the next Arsenal manager. They are: Thomas Tuchel of Borussia Dortmund, Max Allegri of Juventus, Bayer Leverkusen coach Roger Schmidt and Monaco’s Leonardo Jardim.
But others have been to the job in the past 12 months. They are:
Eddie Howe: ‘ED HUNTED Eddie Howe being lined up by Arsenal to replace manager Arsene Wenger with Frenchman’s contract set to expire in summer’ (The Sun).
Roberto Martinez: ‘His team to play the sort of passing style that Arsene Wenger has established as Arsenal’s identity and conducts himself with the sort of style and dignity that very much fits with what directors would call the Arsenal way (Daily Telegraph)
Rafa Benitez: ‘Rafa Benitez on Arsenal shortlist to replace Arsene Wenger if he goes – and Spaniard would bring in Thierry Henry.’ (Daily Mirror)
Dennis Bergkamp, Diego Simeone and more possible Arsene Wenger replacements. (TalkSport)
Patrick Vieira: A candidate embedded in the supposed Arsenal Way. Like Bergkamp, his arrival back at the club would be enthusiastically welcomed by supporters.’ (Daily Telegraph)
Ralph Hasenhuttl: ‘A surprise candidate, Hasenhuttl hinted recently that Arsenal had spoken to him about the big job at the Emirates.’ (The Independent)
Ha. This is absolute tosh. When asked is he was heading to Arsenal, Hasenhuttl said: “I have certainly heard of far worse fates than to be lined up as the successor to the longest-serving coach in England.”
Steve Bould: ‘Knows the players and club inside out. Won various trophies, including the Premier League, during his playing career with Arsenal.’ (Daily Mirror)
Joachim Lowe: ‘Proven winner. Led the German side to World Cup glory in 2014 after impressive showings at the Euros two years earlier.’ (Daily Mirror)
‘Arsenal want Manuel Pellegrini to replace Arsene Wenger’. (Metro)
Ronald Koeman ‘is the surprise name topping Arsenal’s list of potential successors to Arsene Wenger’. (The Sun)
Laurent Blanc ‘to replace his compatriot at Arsenal’ (TalkSport)
Brendan Rodgers: ‘His work at Swansea has greatly impressed and is also committed to the sort of football that Wenger has overseen at Arsenal.’ (Daily Telegraph)
Jorge Sampaoli: Chile’s Copa America winning coash signed a two-year deal with Sevilla last years but Arsenal should be able to extricate him for it” – (The Times)
Mauricio Pochettino: ‘The Spurs manger would spend more then Wenger has bene willing to but not more than the club could handle’ (The Times)
Sean Dyche: ‘As the great debacle rages about who will eventually replace Arsene Wenger, it’s amazing that one boss keeps getting overlooked.’ It’s Dyche.
So to that list. What says the Number 1 choice, Thomas Tuchel? It’s “completely fictional”, says the German club’s chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke (Sun).
Such are the facts.
Media Bias: Arsenal beat Hull City 2-0 in the Premier League. The first Arsenal goal went in off Alexis Sanchez’s hand. The second was from the penalty spot – Hull City’s Sam Clucas was sent off for a handball on the line from Lucas Perez’s header.
In another incident, debate raged over whether or not Arsenal’s Kieran Gibbs have been sent off?
What says the media? Is there any noticeable bias in the reporting?
Hull defender Andrew Robertson tells Sky Sports: “The referee apologised to us after half-time and said it was a handball. He obviously realises he was in the wrong.”
It’s been coming, Arsenal deserve it, but it’s handball…. As Sanchez goes in for the ball with Eldin Jakupovic, it bounces up and hits the Arsenal man on the hand, then goes in. Not noticeable at first glance, but clear as day on the replay.
Shamoon Hafez for the BBC:
Sanchez did not look like he purposefully pushed the ball into the net and he had little time to move out of the way after the ball came off Jakupovic.
After consultation with his assistant, referee Mark Clattenburg awarded the goal, but prior to that in the first half, Theo Walcott had a shot blocked by the hand of Clucas inside the area, for which no penalty was given.
Do two wrongs make a right?
Kieran Gibbs saw his low shot cleared off the line, but Alexis tucked home from close range, even if it did appear to bounce in off his hand.
Well, that’s how it ‘appeared’. The Arsenal website does not mention the ref’s apology.
Hull City website:
Report: Key Decisions Go Against Tigers In Defeat At Arsenal
No word on the Walcott handball. But the goal is described thus: “…a fortunate rebound fell to Sanchez and he managed to bundle the ball into the net although replays appeared to show the final touch was with his hand.”
The ref’s apology is mentioned.
Hull Daily Mail:
Arsenal’s heavy pressure resumed after the half-hour mark with Walcott blocked by Sam Clucas, but the visitors’ dam eventually broke in the 34th minute as the Gunners benefitted from a huge slice of fortune.
Not handball as the BBC said of Walcott’s shot, but ‘blocked’. As for the goal:
Panic stations in the City box saw Andy Robertson clear off the line to deny Kieran Gibbs but when Sanchez was initially denied by Jakupovic’s block, the ball bounced up and deflected in off the Chilean’s hand. Mark Clattenburg consulted with his assistant only to inexplicably deem the handball had been accidental.
The Red Card That Wasn’t:
Peter Swan, Hull City defender on BBC Radio Humberside: “Referee! What a dreadful decision! Kieran Gibbs was the last man, no-one near him, and he’s brought Lazar Markovic down. It’s a sending off, simple as. And Mark Clattenburg has recently been voted the best referee in the world? What?”
Hull Daily Mail:
Markovic was a regular nuisance for the Gunners defence and City were again ruing Clattenburg when a run clear on goal was curtailed by Gibbs 35 yards out. A yellow card for the Arsenal full-back was another mystifying call.
Hull Daily Mail:
Arsenal should also have been reduced to 10 men when Lazar Markovic was brought down by Kieran Gibbs as he burst through on goal in a second half controlled by the Tigers
The Arsenal website:
Gibbs followed him [Walcott] into the book after hauling back the breaking Lazar Markovic. The two incidents brought the Emirates crowd to life, and Arsenal responded.
No word on any red card as the official Arsenal website puts a positive spin on the action. Hull were not robbed so much as Arsenal fans were roused.
The red card that was:
Well, he had to go. All news sources agree. But Hull were hard done by.
Transfer balls: the Mail reports that Arsenal are eyeing Joe Hart, the England goalkeeper. Hart, a man with of all the cool of a wasabi enema, is tempting Arsenal because at 29 he’s five years young than Petr Cech, the current Arsenal Number 1. Hart is playing in Turin, having been loaned out by Manchester City.
But why wold Arsenal be looking to replace Cech, let alone with Hart? The Mail says Cech’s days as the Arsenal Number 1 ‘are coming to an end’. But this looks a lot like guesswork based on his age and nothing else.
Cech joined Arsenal on a “long-term contract” in June 2015.
Last season, the Mail was telling its readers, ‘Petr Cech in line to be next Arsenal captain after making huge impact in his first season following summer switch from Chelsea.’
Such are the facts.
Kidd says that following Arsenal’s limp defeat to table-topping Chelsea, Wenger was complaining about the Blues’ first goal. He said it was dangerous play and the goal should not have stood. Kidd thinks Wenger’s operating ‘on Trump-style alternative facts’.
Marcos Alonso, says Kidd, ‘leaped like a normal person rather than pogo-ing with his arms by his side, like us Sex Pistols fans were doing at Manchester’s Free Trade Hall in 1976‘.
In October 2016, Sports Journalists, the website of the Sports Journalists’ Association, noted Kidd’s arrival at the Sun, ‘a return to where his national career started as a freelance 20 years ago.’
“It’s a great honour to follow them,” said Kidd. “My predecessor told me I was only the fourth chief sports writer on the paper and two of them, Steve Howard and John Sadler, were hugely encouraging when I was a rookie. I’m delighted to be going back to the paper where my national career started as a 22-year-old.”
If in 1996, Kidd was 22 in 1976 he’d have been a very young Sex Pistols fan.
Maybe it’s not only Wenger living in a post-Truth world?
Chelsea v Arsenal. Early on in the match, Chelsea’s Marco Alonso scores. In the process he obliterates Hector Bellerin. Should the goal have stood? The media takes a look. It’s all pretty even handed reporting until the Daily Mirror gets in on the act. It sees fit to repeat an ugly tweet linking Alonso clattering Bellerin with a car accident in which a woman was killed – Alsono was driving the vehicle in 2011.
BBC: Bellerin taken off injured – hurt by Alonso’s elbow as Spaniard scores
Phil McNulty, BBC Sport chief football writer at Stamford Bridge:
Lots of debate here at Stamford Bridge about whether that was a foul by Marcos Alonso on Hector Bellerin for Chelsea’s goal. Clearly a collision but that was a natural jumping movement from Alonso and not every collision is a foul…so correct decision for me.
Marcos Alonso bullied the smaller Bellerin in the aerial challenge to bury the rebound.
Alonso all but headed Bellerin into the net there as well. The Gunners’ full-back landed flat on his back. Very painful. He’ll need some TLC. Meanwhile, Gabriel tries a defender’s shot from 22 yards but like my npower dual fuel bill, it’s always rising.
That was a very entertaining half of football. Chelsea lead through Marcos Alonso’s controversial goal
The Mirror calls it a “flying elbow”…
had the challenge been on the goalkeeper the referee would have given a free-kick against Alonso.
The Mirror then does something despicable. In 2011 Alonso was driving a car in Madrid. He was, reportedly, over the alcohol limit. A woman passenger was killed. Pathetic stuff from the Mirror.
Marcos Alonso has battered Hector Bellerin there… barging Bellerin out of contention with his arm as he nodded home.
— ARSENAL VINE (@VineOfArsenal) February 4, 2017
Arsene Wenger will remain at Arsenal for another two years if the fans show him ‘love’. Wenger’s current deal expires at the season’s end, and there is talk of a new two-year contract on the table, says the Mirror. And that’s odd because it wasn’t all that long ago the Mirror and its writer John Cross were telling readers that Wenger was leaving Arsenal in June. He had ‘set the date’.
Now over two pages, Cross says the Arsenal board and Wenger are ‘privately mystified’ why fans are unhappy that their team lost to Watford earlier this week. The Gunners had the chance to close the gap with table-topping Chelsea to 6 points but blew it. So limp was Arsenal’s performance that the Sun says Wenger gave his players’ two days off to recover.
Cross says that’s untrue. The players ‘did not have two days off after the game’. But they did have 45 minutes off during it. The first half was dire.
Over in the Express, Matthew Dunn says Arenal are ‘soft’ in the centre. The bad news for Gunners fans is that at Chelsea this weekend they will most likely field Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in central midfield, one of the game’s politest tacklers.
Since last winning the title, Arsenal have finished an average of 13 point behind the Premier League winners. Lose to Chelsea and they will 12 points behind.
Plus ca change, as they say at the Emirates, where board members made rich and lazy by Wenger’s top-four finishes continue to duck the kind of brave decision that gave brought the Frenchman to the club all those years ago.
Transfer balls: Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has seen enough of Karim Benzema. He wants one of Arsenal, Chelsea or Paris Saint-Germain to buy the Frenchman. Well, so say “reports from Spain” (Guardian). Which reports we’re not told. We could only find one. And it contains not a single quote or fact to support the story.
Live Arsenal transfer news and rumours live updates: Arsene Wenger responds to suggestions Karim Benzema will sign
What did he say?
Wenger responds to Benzema rumours
The Arsenal manager was asked this morning why he is so often linked with a move for Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema. He responded: “Because he is French?”
Cryptic stuff from Arsene.
Not cryptic at all. Just factual.
As for the root of this story, we turn to Diario Gol, the single source, which reports via the wonders of automated internet translation:
Florentino Perez places a Real Madrid crack in the showcase 24 hours after falling in the Copa del Rey
Calling Benzema a “crack” is a bit off. What else?
The president puts foot and a half of a footballer in the street…
The footballer is unofficially on sale, but the phone is already on fire. The first offers were soon to arrive.
The season was not good for the player. The patience of Florentino ended with the elimination of the team Zinedine Zidane at the hands of Celtic in the Cup .
Much more was expected of the striker. Give the team what is claimed. But he disappeared. It was a drag rather than a help and the leader got tired of the situation.
In addition, Cristiano Ronaldo occupy the position of ‘9’ uro sooner or later, and the club does not want the overbooking in the position of striker cause a problem to the team. And it is clear that in the Santiago Bernabeu prefer to stay with CR7 .
But who wants ‘le crack”? Who made an offer for him?
The Paris Saint Germain is the best club positioned to gain the services of Karim Benzema for next season. The white president stepped up negotiations with the French entity. It is one of the few that could take over his card and at the same time pay a transfer.
Next season PSG might want him. So why is this news in the current transfer window?
But PSG is the eternal rival Olympique of Lyon in Ligue 1 , the computer on which the French became a global crack. Respect for his followers could put an end to the transfer.
So Florentino opened other ways. Arsenal and Chelsea are the candidates. If the operation with the Parisian team is not successful, the president already has the alternative. Be that as it may, Karim can not continue in Real Madrid.
Put that utter balls through the Daily Mirror’s Transfer Balls Translator and you get:”Karim Benzema offered to Arsenal and Chelsea?”
That question mark fails to show up on Google News. So the story of a player on his way out of Spain and most likely returning to France is all about Arsenal and Chelsea.
Such are the facts.
Transfer balls: a look at bad football reporting. Having been told for ages that Antoine Griezmann tops Manchester United’s list of transfer targets – and that Chelsea were buying the French striker for £40m and then £50m – the BBC reports that Arsenal will try to get him for £85m.
The BBC’s source is the Mail on Sunday. But its report is very light on facts. Readers are told that Manchester United “believe they are in pole position to land Antoine Griezmann”. Arsenal “are expected” to bid for the Atletico Madrid star. It is “widely expected” rich clubs will bid for Griezmann this summer.
The Sun expands on the ‘what ifs’ and ‘maybes’ by saying that should Griezmann leave, Atletico will buy Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez. This will be – get his – Sanchez’s “escape route” out of Arsenal.
So will Sanchez from part of a cash and flesh deal for Griezmann? No, says the Sun. “The Spaniards are resigned to losing Antoine Griezmann to Manchester United this summer.”
The Sun says Atletico will offer Sanchez £220,000 a week. That’s much better than the “£160,000- a-week deal currently on offer for Sanchez to sign a new contract with the Gunners”.
But Sun told readers back in November that Arsenal will have to “stump up £200,000-a-week each if they want Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez to sign new deals with the club.” That’s a lot of money – but less than the £250,000-a-week the Express reported Sanchez was seeking in October.
In December, the Mail told its readers, “Sanchez wants £250,000 per week, while Arsenal’s current offer is £180,000”. That was Arsenal’s “opening offer”.
Such are the facts.
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has called for Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger to be banned. “Jose call for Wenger ban,” announces the Star’s back-page headline.
Wenger is waiting to learn what punishment the FA will deliver for his sending off last weekend. Rather than vanishing down the tunnel, as he should have done, Wenger dallied by the pitch and then shoved the fourth official.
But did Mourinho, a man known for run-ins with officialdom and his dislike of Wenger, really add his opinion that his rival should be banned? No. He didn’t. What happened was that at the Manchester United press conference ahead of their EFL Cup semi-final tie with Hull City, a journalist asked him about Wenger. Should Wenger be banned? Mourinho replied: “I have no idea.”
Over in the Mail, there’s a different twist on the same no-news story. “As Jose heads for Hull all eyes are on the FA…Can Mourinho keep his cool over Wenger?” asks the headline. We know the League Cup is no great shakes but when it takes second billing to a disciplinary hearing, you’re in trouble. Marketing departments would be better served adding company logos to the FA’s judgements and the leave the un-loved tin-pot alone.
If the Supreme Court can be televised, why not he FA’s? Slap it on the telly and you’ve got must-see TV.
Call me, the FA, I have ideas.
In tabloid-ville there are two strains of racism: would like the “Race Storm” or the “Race Row”? The Star leads it’s sport coverage with a “Race Row”, as does the Mail, reporting on Arsenal FC’s Granit Xhaka. Having left the field early during last Saturday’s Arsenal match with Burnley on account of yet another red card for another stupid foul, Xhaka beat the traffic and ended up at Heathrow Airport.
He wasn’t there for some ghastly tie-in with Arsenal’s Emirates Airline sponsors – ‘Give The Daily Grind A Red Card and Jet Off With Emirates’ – rather to drop off his lover’s brother who was flying home. But oddly for man known for getting away early (two red cards this season already), Xhaka arrived too late. The boarding gate had closed and, as the story goes, the normally cool and calm Swiss became upset and allegedly called a member of British Airways staff a “f******* white bitch”. His English isn’t so good, so he said it in German.
Inside the paper, on Page 76, it’s a “RACE STORM”.
He’s not been arrested. Yeah, the police were called, which seems pretty remarkable in itself. Xhaka went to the station and has been helping police with their enquiries. The Sun (“RACE STORM”) says he was interviewed under caution. What’s the crime, officer? Being a cretin? Being a racist? Is this a – dread phrase – hate crime?
It’s all unpleasant and deeply pathetic. Add in the fact Xhaka is white and it looks a little odd. To brand someone a racist is no small deal.
When Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger called referee Jon Moss a “f****ing cheat” as his side toiled to a very late win over Burnley, he was sent off. Stood in the tunnel, Wenger was regaled with the cry heard at all-seater stadia to “Sit Down!” He refused. The fourth official insisted. So Wenger shoved Anthony Taylor, for it was he.
For his pains, Wenger’s been charged with misconduct by the FA.
Wenger now faces a “massive ban” says the Sun. The Mirror agrees. How big? Two matches and £20,000, says the Sun. The FA must be delighted. Twenty grand for the kind of aggro that was more purse than handbags.
Wenger apologised. “I regret everything,” he says,” I should have shut up, gone in and gone home.” And thereby beat the traffic, we might add.
Nonetheless, Dave Kidd wants Wenger “hit with a lengthy stadium ban”. The FA must send out message that “you must not manhandle referees”.
The Mail says a touchline ban is the most likely outcome. The paper’s tame referee Graham Poll wants Wenger banned for six matches.
The Mirror wants three.
Whatever it is, it’ll be good news of the Wenger Out camp, who will get to watch the match without their target in sight.
What it amounts to is not all that much. The manager coaches his team before the match. There are also mobile phones through which he can talk to his assistants as he watches the game on the telly. And then there was baskets. In 2005, Jose Mourinho circumvented a stadium ban by clambered into a laundry skip to gain entry to the Chelsea dressing room. Ten minutes before the end he was wheeled away to Stamford Bridge leisure club where, according to reports, he spent the night.
Wenger might try a similar move. Although he’ll need a bigger basket. Or there’s always a loud hailor. The Emirates could do with someone making some noise.
Media Bias: In a crazy end to what had looked like a routine win for Arsenal, Burley scored from the spot in the 94th minute. And then Laurent Koscielny was caught in the head by a high Ben Mee boot. Penalty! Arsenal scored it in the 98th minute and the game is won 2-1.
With Arsenal 1-0 up, the Gunners’ Granit Xhaka was sent off for a lunge on Steven Defour. Then his manager Arsene Wenger was sent off for arguing with the officials.
What says the media about Arsenal’s last-gasps penalty?
The BBC: [Referee Jon] Moss penalised Mee for a high foot on Koscielny, who appeared to be offside when the free-kick was flighted in to the back post, but once that was missed, a penalty was a fair result for the challenge.
So the Arsenal man was offside. But the penalty was fair?
The Guardian calls it an “excellent decision from the referee”.
The Burnley Express is less delighted. Its match report harked back to the teams’ previous meeting, when Arsenal scored a winner late on.
After Laurent Koscielny was central to the storm at Turf Moor in October, handling the ball over the line from an offside position late on, the Frenchman was in the thick of it once more.
That goal came in the 94th minute.
The Burnley Express continues:
Referee Jon Moss awarded a penalty… penalising Ben Mee for a high boot on the Arsenal skipper who, for a second time, was stood in an offside position.
The London Evening Standard merely says of the incident, “Laurent Koscielny was kicked by Ben Mee in the area.”
The Burnley FC website calls the penalty “controversial”.
The Arsenal website sees no controversy:
Alexis swung in a cross from the left that arrowed towards the far post, where Ben Mee caught Laurent Koscielny in the face with a high boot. Moss awarded Arsenal the penalty and Alexis, showing incredible composure, sent a panenka down the middle from the spot to seal a precious victory.
Such are the facts.
There’re making a film about that astonishing Friday night at Anfield on May 26 1989 – you know, when Arsenal needed to beat Liverpool by two clear goals to be league champions? Nearly every sports writer gave Arsenal no chance.
You remember, don’t you, when I drew a short straw on the coach up and sat with the Liverpool fans behind the dugouts? And with all hope seemingly lost and the game up and everything just so closer – so bloody close after so many years waiting – in the dying embers of the last match of the season Michael Thomas burst into the mighty Reds’ box and flicked the ball in to score the winner?
And I tumbled down the seats and ended up on the edge of the pitch? And the whistle went. And I hugged Paul Merson and everything just went nuts? And the fans, did I tell you about the fans – not just the delirious Arsenal fans but the Liverpool fans who all stayed in the ground to sing and hymn their team who had endured so much that season and been one minute away from glory? The air fizzed. It was magic.
And I was there. Did I tell you abut it?
Well, it’s going to be made into a film. Universal Pictures are working on it now. Buy your tickets.
Click Balls: a look at dire football reporting designed to trick readers. The Daily Express has news for Arsenal fans. The paper’s headline is a scoop. “CONFIRMED: Arsene Wenger announces new Arsenal deal.” Looks like Wenger will stay at Arsenal for even longer. It’s 20 years and counting.
But wait a minute…
The Daily Star, from the same stable as the Express, has a similar take on the news that defender Per Mertesacker has signed a one-year extension on his current deal. This is how Google sees the story:
And you wonder why the Press is in trouble?
Update: The Express seems to have found an editor who respects their readers and doesn’t seem them as advertisers’ fodder. The headline has now been altered:
So why did Joey Barton never get his “dream move” to Arsenal? Barton has a new book to plug and mentioning Arsenal will help it travel. The Daily Mirror picks up the story of Joey’s punctured “dream”.
In No Nonsense, Barton says he was scheduled to meet with Arsenal in 2011. It never happened because during a match between the Gunners and Newcastle, for whom Barton was playing at the time, the querulous Liverpudlian contrived to get Arsenal’s Gervinho sent off.
“No, intermediaries spoke on their [Arsenal’s] behalf,” says Barton to Four Four Two. “There was definitely some low-level interest, and before I got sent off against Arsenal, when the thing with Gervinho happened, I was due to hold some form of discussions with them. But then it never came to be.”
The “thing” that happened with Gervinho went like this, as the Mirror reported:
The Scouser ensured that Gervinhos Arsenals debut ended with a red card, first by provoking a fight with the Ivory Coast forward, then by giving his best impression of a sack of spuds when the new boy aimed a slap at him.
Barton’s behaviour had been “disgraceful”.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger opined: “He wasn’t hit hard enough to lie on the floor for two minutes.”
So much for being a man who takes ‘No Nonsense’.
Still, at least Barton never tried to exact revenge on Gervinho as he had on Xabi Alonso, who prevented his “dream move” to Liverpool.
Media Balls: Does Arsene Wenger regret allowing Jack Wilshere to leave Arsenal for Bournemouth on a season-long loan? Sky says he does. Injury has left Arsenal shot in midfield (plus ca change). Sky‘s headline thunders:
But Wenger doesn’t regret anything. What Wenger actually says is:
“I could use him now. But if he had not played until now, he would not be ready to play now. What looks unfair at some moments in the season is that you know at some stage you could need the player… And still today I think it was the right decision for him to go.”
Wilshere was rotting at Arsenal. He’s played 17 of Bournemouth’s 20 Premier League matches – missing both games against Arsenal because rules forbid him playing his parent club. Of course Arsenal could use his nous now, his give-and-gos and box-to-box style. But with no recall clause in his Bournemouth deal, the Gunners can’t get him back.
“It’s slightly old-fashioned and a step back in time in terms of other Premier League clubs and he deserves huge credit for that,” said Bournemouth manger Eddie Howe when Wilshere picked Bournemouth over a host of other clubs vying for his services. “The fact he’s willing to come here for football reasons, rather than anything else, speaks volumes.”
Wilshere needed games after getting so little football at Arsenal. He’s thriving at Bournemouth. Would he have made the same progress at Arsenal this season or still be off the pace? Wenger knows the answer to that.
Transfer balls: Is Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez ready to leave the Gunners? The BBC says “Arsenal players fear” he is.
The Mail agrees. Sami Mokbel writes in an ‘exclusive’, “Seething Sanchez blows his top at Arsenal.” The Chilean “threw a tantrum” on the pitch as Arsenal came from 0-3 down to draw 3-3 with Bournemouth. That tantrum amounted to Sanchez throwing his gloves to the turf and… And that’s it.
He was “unhappy” the Gunners hadn’t won, reveals Mokbel . He “sulked” in the changing room. He made is “clear” he was unhappy not to have won. Well, quite. Arenal fans and players want him to be keen on winning, surely. Sanchez plays to win. He has an “ultra-determined nature”.
“GUNNER GO?” asks the Mirror in is ‘exclusive’ on the same Sanchez ‘exclusive’ the Mail delivered. No longer sulking, Sanchez is throwing a “hissy fit” in the Arsenal dressing room as “Arsenal suffered a major blow in their title hopes”. Or as the Mirror put it yesterday: “The Gunners looked down and out on the south coast, but they showed a fantastic desire to get back into the game and created a Premier League first in the process.”
John Cross says Arsenal will buy no new players until Sanchez’s contract is sorted out. Ora s the BBC says today:
Hednesford Town youngster Cohen Bramall is to make the move from non-league to Premier League, by signing for Arsenal. The 20-year-old left-back will leave the Staffordshire-based Northern Premier League side for north London.
Cross is an expert on Arsenal stuff. He tells us that Arsene Wenger is out of contract this summer, “but there is a two-year deal worth £8m a year on the table waiting to be signed.”
Or as Cross and the Mirror put it:
Such are the facts.
Media balls: a look at reporting on Bournemouth’s 3-3 with Arsenal. The third Bournemouth goal came after a clear foul by Ryan Fraser. What say the experts?
Matt Barlow (Daily Mail): ” Fraser tore past Bellerin to reach a pass from Daniels and squeeze a shot through Cech’s legs.”
Ian Baker (Daily Express): “The Spanish right-back has recently signed a new £100,00-a-week contract but that looked far to high on this evidence as he was beaten by Fraser…”
Charlie Wyett (the Sun): “Fraser overpowered Bellerin…”
Alex Crook (Daily Star): “… pint-sized Fraser outmuscled the hapless Bellerin…”
Stuart James (Guardian): “Daniels slid a pass into the inside left channel and Bellerin, who is no slouch, had a headstart on Fraser. Yet Fraser not only caught up with the Arsenal defender but was too strong for him.”
Islington Gazette: “Fraser soon made it 3-0 as he powered down the left flank beating another insipid Bellerin half-challenge before slotting past Cech at the near post.”
Henry Winter (the Times): “The outstanding Daniels lifted the ball down the left and Fraser was off and running, shoving Bellerín out of the way with a challenge that Oliver generously deemed more shoulder barge than a push.”
Graham Poll (Daily Mail): “[Oliver’s] excellent display was only marred when he failed to spot Ryan Fraser’s push on Bellerin before scoring Bournemouth’s third.”
Mark Halsey (the Sun): “It should have been a foul to Arsenal as Ryan Fraser pushed Hector Bellerin.. Michael gave a first-half penalty [to Bournemouth] for the dame offence.”
Bournemouth Echo: “Bellerin looked favourite to reach Daniels’ subsequent pass first, but Fraser bundled his way through the Spaniard…”
And what of the foul that led to a red card for Bournemouth captain Simon Francis?
Graham Poll: “‘Oliver finished the game with another correct call as he dismissed Simon Francis for an over-the-top challenge on Ramsey. Overall a very composed display – well done, Michael.”
Mark Halsey: “‘Michael Oliver got two key decisions wrong – especially the red card for Bournemouth captain Simon Francis. The challenge was not dangerous and it did not endanger the player’s safety. It was a challenge worthy of a yellow card.”
Such are the facts.
Olivier Giroud scored a pretty decent scorpion goal in Arsenal’s home match against Crystal Palace. With the ball well behind him, Giroud stuck out a foot and the ball went in. That it hit the underside of the bar on its way to the net made it look even better.
Jammy? Well, you make your own luck:
WHAT AN AMAZING GOAL.. If Mkhitaryan can do it Giroud can also do it! pic.twitter.com/fjtP66jPy3
— 🌏 (@naqeebhapiz) January 1, 2017