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Liverpool will sell Salah for a fortune and Chelsea are the biggest losers

Spare a thought for Chelsea fans forced to look on as club rejects Kevin Bruyne and Mohamed Salah light up the Premier League for Manchester City and Liverpool, respectively. Both players sold under Jose Mourinho’s regime are shining. Given Mourinho’s narcissism, he’s most likely try to pass his errors off as part of a cunning ploy to leave his former employer’s pained. But if he had foresight, Mourinho would have sold them to Manchester United, pushing Old Trafford towards investment in the coming force rather than selfish Alexis Sanchez – made to look better than he was by playing for a palsied Arsenal team – and the vastly overrated Paul Pogba.

News across the media is that Real Madrid rather like Salah. Those Spanish talent spotters have noted that the Egyptian scores lots of goals and looks a joy to be around. So excited are they by their discovery in the Premier League backwaters that Real will invest up to £200m in Salah. But news from Anfield is that Liverpool will spurn any moves for their star turn. They won’t, of course. Every player has a price. And £200m for Salah is an absurd sum  for a £34million summer signing from Roma.

The problem for Liverpool is that Salah is the star of a team which will probably win nothing.




Posted: 21st, March 2018 | In: Chelsea, Manchester City, manchester united, News, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

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


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

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

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

He insists. He will not be swayed.

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

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

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

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

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


Posted: 16th, February 2018 | In: Back pages, Manchester City, manchester united, News, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Manchester City’s artists, Leroy Sane’s leg and Neil Warnock’s ‘broken leg’

It should have been a red card. Joe Bennett’s nasty foul on Leroy Sane during Cardiff City’s 0-2 defeat to Manchester City in the FA Cup earned him just a yellow card (he’d go on to foul again, get a second yellow and be dismissed). Bennett, the Cardiff full-back, has apologised for the foul that could costs City Sane’s presence on the pitch for a month or more.

“For football in general players are the artists. The only thing they can do is protect them,” says City manger Pep Guardiola after the game. “Referees have to protect – not just mine, all players. Sane will be out for a while. Maybe two or three weeks, or a month, we will see tomorrow. It’s his ankle.”





The Bluebirds committed 14 fouls in the match, just two more than the Premier League leaders.

“Did I fear serious injuries?,” continues Guardiola. “Of course. Every team can play how they want. If they decide to play in that way, perfect. But there is one man, in black, and he has to decide what is correct and incorrect. When you say: ‘Why don’t you win the four titles?’ I need the players to win the four titles.”

Cardiff manager, Neil Warnock, replies: “City dished out a bit, as well. He [Guardiola] is in England. What do you expect? I suppose when you’re like that you want everything to be nice and pretty but you don’t get that in England. You get different challenges, don’t you?”

Double standards much. Is the Cardiff manager any relation to the Neil Warnock who after his Crystal Palace side lost to Chelsea opined: “I thought he was influenced by one or two things. John Terry’s (non) booking – if that’s one of my players, it’s a booking. I don’t understand why it’s not an even platform.”

And the Neil Warnock who this season observed: “That’s three or four games where we’ve had crucial decisions go against us. Those are the decisions you want the officials to get right and at the moment they’re getting most of them wrong. It’s scandalous at the moment. I’ve never known it as poor, the officials.”

And what about this in Seeing Red by former referee Graham Poll:

Warnock constantly belittled officials and by doing so and getting away with it he encouraged the climate of abuse and insults which every referee has to suffer.

Everyone who pulls on a referee’s shirt knows criticism is part of the deal but that does not mean it has to be encouraged. By letting the Warnocks of football get away with repeatedly chipping away at referees, the authorities fail in their duty of care…

In Europe, UEFA take a much tougher line with managers and so, in European games, managers and coaches have a less aggressive attitude. They know that if they step out of line UEFA will hammer them. Similarly, UEFA punish any manager who criticises an official through the media. But in England, it is always open season on referees.

Warnock and those like him routinely carp at match officials, their level of performance and even their neutrality. So I hoped he would |be taught a lesson – not for my benefit but for the good of the game. Yet when he was charged with misconduct, he remained unrepentant.

In fact, he said he did not want Premier League officials in charge of his games. He got his way for a few years, because his team lost in the promotion play-off final that season and so stayed in the Football League. Inevitably, he blamed the referee, Steve Bennett, for losing to Wolves in the play-off final.

And so, in August 2003, Warnock was handed a four-game touchline ban and fined &300 – that’s 300 whole pounds – for two misconduct charges. One related to his comments about me; the other was for insulting Steve Bennett during the play-off final.

Fast-forward three years and Sheffield United won promotion to the Premier League. Their next match was against local rivals Leeds United who were pushing for a play-off place. Their manager was Kevin Blackwell who had been Warnock’s assistant at Sheffield United and the manner of his ‘defection’ had angered Warnock.

Blackwell and Leeds coach John Carver were aggressively vocal in the other dug- out but Warnock behaved himself until just before half-time when Craig Short of Sheffield United and Leeds’ Gary Kelly went for a 50-50 ball. Paul Robinson, the fourth official, called me over and reported that Warnock had shouted: ‘Next time I hope he (Kelly) breaks his f***ing leg.’

What a viciously spiteful thing to say about any player. I sent Warnock to the stand – one of the easiest decisions I had to make in 27 years – but he complained that the fourth official had it in for him and refused to go. He was out of control.

Guardiola’s response to a nasty foul on one of his star players is measured. He wants all players to be protected. But when put through the tabloid mincer, the Spaniard comes across like a wally:

According to the Mail, Guardiola flounced and screamed: “Leave My Artists Alone.”


tackle leroy sane


Other papers lead with the nasty foul:

tackle leroy sane tackle leroy sane

As for the tackle, let’s see how the clubs’ websites report it:

Cardiff City official website: not a single word.

Manchester City FC: “Just before the break a rapid Sane counter attacked was ended by Joe Bennett’s poor foul, and the German was replaced at the break by Sergio Aguero.” Plus a story entitled: “PEP CALLS FOR MORE PROTECTION AFTER SANE FOUL ​”

Bias in abundance, then. Which is why the referee is so vital.

Posted: 29th, January 2018 | In: Back pages, Manchester City, News, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Transfer balls: Manchester City race to sign ‘the new Paul Pogba’

Manchester United midfielder and marketing maestro Paul Pogba is 24. In media terms that’s old. The BBC for one is tired of old Pogba and has found “the new Paul Pogba”, aka Boubakary Soumare, 18.

The Daily Mail agrees, reporting that Manchester City, Everton and Leicester are looking at the  “new Paul Pogba”. The Lille teenager is on the market for a mere £20m-rated. That’s a snip for a player who’s made a whopping three starts for the struggling French club.


Boubakary Soumare


The Old Paul Pogba cost Man United around £90m when he joined when from Juventus. So news that the new version is available for much less should appeal to many clubs and brands.

What we don’t learn in the Mail’s story is who first called Soumare “the new Paul Pogba”. The Sun also fails to name a source for the claim in its story “Manchester City step up chase for Lille’s ‘new Paul Pogba’ Boubakary Soumare”.

There’s no word from Soumare. But rumours suggest he fashions himself as “the new Norman Hunter”.

Posted: 22nd, January 2018 | In: Back pages, Manchester City, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Transfer news: Sanchez to Manchester United or Chelsea as Manchester City pull out?

Manchester City will not be recruiting Alexis Sanchez this January. The club run on a trillion dollar shoestring budget say the 29-year-old Chilean is too expensive.

Sanchez wants £400,000 a week. And City feel that giving him that gigantic sum would upset the rest of the squad, who are all be on less.

City say the decision to forgo the man who in the summer they were willing to invest £60m in was taken by Pep Guardiola and the club’s owner Khaldoon al Mubarak.

Which surely means that Sanchez is off to Manchester United, where he’ll be paid in excess of £300,000 a week. United are offering Arsenal £30million plus Henrikh Mkhitaryan, the talented Armenian who joined the club for around £30m in the summer of 2016.

But hold on a moment… Sky are reporting that Chelsea are now in for Sanchez, although reports contain no details.

Posted: 15th, January 2018 | In: Arsenal, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Transfer balls: Sanchez left out of Arsenal squad at Bournemouth as Manchester United wait

The Daily Sanchez: a look at the future of footballer Alexis Sanchez, currently stinking up the place at Arsenal. Let’s kick off with the Star’s scoop that Liverpool have joined Manchester City and Manchester United in the chase for Sanchez.


liverpool sanchez daily star


“Flirty Sanchez,” declares the Star, the headline a pun on ‘Dirty Sanchez’, which according to the “Top Definition” on Urban Dictionary means: “its when a man and a woman engage in anal sex, then the man takes his penis and rubs it on the girls upper lip leaving a moustache.” Is that the bitter taste Arsenal fans taste in the air when Sanchez plays?

The Mirror has the same story. But given that Sanchez wants around £300,000 a week plus a huge signing on bonus, do Liverpool want to upset other players at the club? The paper tells us:

Armed with the cash from the £142million sale of Philippe Coutinho , Liverpool have no worries about meeting the £35m the Gunners want for Chilean Sanchez.

Good for Arsenal. But those wages?

Coutinho was paid around £200,000 by FSG so stepping up to £300,000 would be a big hike — but Liverpool know that’s the going rate for world-class talents.

They do? Because the Mirror also says Coutinho earns £200,000 a week at Barcelona. Isn’t the £142m players world class?

Over in the Mail comes news that desperate Manchester United are “prepared to sacrifice summer moves for Atletico Madrid’s 26-year-old France striker Antoine Griezmann and Real Madrid and Wales forward Gareth Bale, 28, in order to sign Sanchez on wages of £350,000 a week.” But Griezmann and Bale need not panic. United have given Sanchez an ultimatum, says the Express: sign up Friday or the deal’s off.

But a deal looks very much on. Sanchez has been “dropped” (Mirror) from Arsenal squad for today’s match at Bournemouth. Good. The paper adds: “The 29-year-old is now closing in on a stunning transfer to Manchester United after being dropped from Arsenal’s squad.”

In other news, Goal says Sanchez’s family are in London to help him pack. When you see his agent rubbing his hands together and ordering a spare jet, you’ll know the deal’s done.

Posted: 14th, January 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Liverpool, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Will Sanchez leave Arsenal for Manchester City glory of Manchester United desperation?

Would Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez thrive at Manchester United? Jose Mourinho calls Sanchez “phenomenal” as he attempts to woo the player with honey and tons of cash. But Sanchez wants to join Manchester City.

It’s easy to see why. Under Pep Guardiola, with whom he worked at Barcelona, Sanchez would play for a fluid team going places. Under United, he’d be part of a big club’s desperate attempt to catch City.

Phil Neville, says United signing Sanchez would be a coup every bit as big as when Alex Ferguson recruited Eric Cantona from Leeds United. Cantona was the catalyst for United’s resurgence. Would 29-year-old Sanchez have the same effect on Mourinho’s dreary side?

As ever the reporting is based on guesswork.

The Sun (prop. R. Murdoch) says: “Sky Sport Italia [prop. R Murdoch] are now reporting that the Red Devils have agreed a financial package with Sanchez.” On January 9, the same Sun reported: “Arsenal news: Alexis Sanchez ‘agrees deal to join Manchester City’… it’s now just a matter of when.” And over on Fox Sports (Prop. R Murdoch) we are told: “Sanchez to Manchester United.” Beyond the Murdoch bubble, the Indy adds: “Alexis Sanchez: Manchester City ready to walk away from deal even if it means United sign him instead.”

The one thing we can all agree on: Arsenal can’t hang on to their best players and always tease their fans with the hope of a better tomorrow. Here’s Arsene Wenger: “It looks like Sanchez will not extend his contract, but we want to keep Jack and if we have an opportunity maybe to keep Ozil, the rebuild will be less deep than if all three left.”

Yeah, maybe. Or maybe not.

Posted: 13th, January 2018 | In: Arsenal, Manchester City, manchester united, News, Sports | Comments (2) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Transfer balls: Manchester City won’t pay Arsenal star’s wages up front

It’s not just the Mirror online that seduces online readers with news that exists in headline form only. Today’s back page lead is that Manchester City are going to hijack Manchester City’s bid to recruit Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez. And the fee? Well, it’s an eye-popping £124m!


sanchez mirror


And after the headline the facts: Arsenal want £35m for their player. But before you can work it out how £35m becomes £124m, the Bleacher Report has echoed the Mirror’s “exclusive”. “Manchester United ‘Close to Agreeing’ Alexis Sanchez Deal Worth £124m,” yells the website.


How close? The BR doesn’t know. It’s story is based on the Mirror’s story. And over there we read:

Blues are baulking at paying £124million this month for striker who is set to be a summer free agent — and Jose Mourinho is lining up a stunning player-plus-cash deal involving Henrikh Mkhitaryan

On what planet are Arsenal getting £124m for Sanchez? They’re not. The Mirror has added up the “striker’s demand for a three-and-a-half-year contract worth £400,000-a-week” and his “£15million signing-on fee”.

Do all clubs pay the entire wage packet up front?

The other part of the news is that Manchester City “believed a £20m fee and contract worth £300,000-a-week would be enough to land Pep Guardiola’s No 1 target”.

Well, £20m is tad low. And just three days ago the Sun told us: “Arsenal news: Alexis Sanchez ‘agrees deal to join Manchester City’… it’s now just a matter of when.”

And a bit of if. Arsenal have said they will only sell Sanchez if they have a replacement lined up, which is why they didn’t flog him to Man City in the summer.

Such are the facts.


Posted: 12th, January 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Manchester City, manchester united, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Clickbait balls: Arsenal and Man City fans tricked by Daily Express Sanchez fakery

The Daily Express online is clickbait mire. Arsenal and Manchester City fans checking up on news of Alexis Sanchez’s move from London to the champions elect are seduced by the headline: “Transfer news LIVE updates: Sanchez deal agreed; Man Utd, Liverpool, Barcelona, Chelsea.”

The Express appears to have a scoop when you search for Sanchez news on Google News. No other news source has the story that a Sanchez deal has been “agreed”. Indeed, Sky Sports says City haven’t even bid for the Chilean.


Here’s the that Express headline again on the paper’s website:


Stuart Ballard has the scoop! But to save you clicking, we’ll not pick out the words relevant to Sanchez’s transfer to City.

Here’s the first mention of Sanchez is Ballard’s story:

Sanchez ‘no bids’
10.00: Arsene Wenger has claimed Arsenal have received no offers for Alexis Sanchez and he fully expects him to stay until the end of the season .

When asked if the Gunners had received any offers, he replied: “No and I expect nothing.

“I am focused on tomorrow’s game. When solicitations happen you respond to it. At the moment it’s very quiet. I have nothing to add.”

Come on, Wenger, keep up with things. Read the Express. The deal has been “agreed”. But what’s this? Reading on we find no word on the agreed deal.


05:30: Manchester City could complete a deal to sign Alexis Sanchez this week after opening talks over a £30million deal.


Could? What happened to “agreed”?

Express Sport understands the Chile international has been told City will be making a bid for him in the coming days.

What about what readers understand by the phrase “Transfer News: Sanchez Dal Agreed”?

But Ballard has nm’t finished. Let’s not be hasty. What else?

05:00: Arsene Wenger has reignited Arsenal’s interest in Thomas Lemar in the fear they could miss out on him with Alexis Sanchez seemingly on his way out of the club, according to reports…

And with Sanchez constantly linked with a move to Manchester City, Arsenal are prepared to enter the race once again to sign Lemar.


Total balls, then. It might even be fake news.


Posted: 9th, January 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Manchester City, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comments (3) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Manchester United balls: Neville blames everyone but Mourinho for Manchester City’s rise

On Twitter, Gary Neville, Sky Sports’ one-man schedule filler, has been talking about how Manchester United’s dullsville team are not of football mercenary Jose Mourinho’s making. When not winning friends with his warm smile and gallant sportsmanship – Mourinho recently aimed his trademark bitchiness at United great Paul Scholes, opining, “It’s not Paul’s [Pogba’s] fault that he made much more money than Paul Scholes” – Mourinho is making do with an under-powered squad, says Gary Neville:



On United. We should be closer to City irrespective of their incredible run but City did have a better squad than United when Jose came in. The recruitment under LVG / DM all over the place. The club should be signing players that suit the values not being taken from one extreme to another by managers with differing principles. It’s a very costly exercise and means the waste is huge. The players signed by Jose are much better and more aligned to the club’s values. He should be supported in the TM with more players that meet the club ethic.

Compare and contrast those comments with what Neville told Sky Sports on August 14 2017:

You can’t just drop your expectation because they haven’t won it for a couple of years. They have to win the league. Mourinho has to win the league here. The money that’s been spent, his own personal expectations and what he’s always delivered has been titles, so I would say United have to approach this season to win the league.

I don’t think it’s good enough to say ‘they’re going to get back into fourth’. That isn’t an ambition when you’ve spent the money that’s been spent and amassed the players that Mourinho has now amassed.”

There is no excuse for Manchester United not to challenge for the league. That’s not putting pressure on the players or Jose Mourinho, but they have to challenge with the money that has been spent and the players that have been brought in.

The club’s values? Does anyone believe United under Mourinho are a swashbuckling, attacking side of verve and character – or ever will be?

Posted: 2nd, January 2018 | In: Back pages, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports | Comments (3) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

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

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

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 | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

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.


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


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) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Arsenal balls: Sanchez talks progressing well and Manchester City worry

When Arsenal manger Arsene Wenger talks, the tabloids churn his words though the mangle and spit out sensation. Discussing the futures of the team’s Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez – both players in the final year of their current deals – Wenger said:

“The fact we didn’t agree last year doesn’t mean he [Ozil] wants to leave… Both players look happy and overall I hope the situation can be turned round, but at the moment we are not close enough to announce anything. Talks are going well.”

The headline news is that talks to keep Sanchez and Ozil at Arsenal are “going well”.

A journalist than asks if there’s deadline to the talks. “No,” says Wenger, “not at this moment.” The journo asks if it gets to the January transfer window and no deals have been agreed Arsenal will “count their losses” and sell bother players.  Wenger says you “envisage every solution”.  Will they leave? “It’s possible,” says Wenger.

Of course it is. That much is not new. The news is that talks are progressing with both players. Indeed, Ozil’s agent says his man wants to stay in the Premier League.

But in the Manchester Evening News the story that Arsenal are working to keep Sanchez becomes: “Arsenal striker Alexis Sanchez hands Pep Guardiola transfer dilemma.” This apparent dilemma is whether Manchester City should buy Sanchez in January. But it’s not a dilemma in the Mirror, which announces: “Manchester City plot cut-price £20m transfer swoop for Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez in January window.” Neither the Mirror nor MEN cite a single source for their stories.

Over in the Daily Mail, the Chilean has already made his mind up. “Alexis Sanchez set to leave Arsenal in January,” says the paper.  “Arsene Wenger is resigned to Alexis Sanchez leaving Arsenal in the January transfer window,” says the paper.

Is that what he said? No.

Such are the facts.




Posted: 13th, October 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Manchester City, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comments (2) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Manchester City star Aguero fractures rib in car accident

Manchester City’s Argentinean star Sergio Aguero has been injured in a car accident in Amsterdam. The 29-year-old fractured a rib when the taxi he was taking to the airport struck a lamp post. Aguero was in Holland to watch a concert by Colombian singer Maluma.

Reports in Argentina estimate Aguero will be out of action “for at least three months”, noting that the “seat belt saved his life”. The Sun calls it a “horror smash” and says he “cheated death”.


It could have been worse, then. We wish Aguero well, of course. But look out for fans of rival clubs being delighted.


And let’s not forget the jokes:


But don’t worry City:



Posted: 29th, September 2017 | In: Manchester City, News, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Arsenal balls: Manchester United park the bus and Chelsea never lose

Arsenal are on the up. With four wins and one draw from their past five games, and with just one goal conceded in that period, Arsene Wenger’s team have recovered from their early season defeats to Stoke (in which they were unlucky and robbed by poor refereeing) and Liverpool (where they got the thrashing their abject performance deserved). It also behoves a mention to note that following Arsenal’s 2-0 win over a spark West Bromwich Albion, the Gunners have won eight consecutive home games in the Premier League.

But in the Sun, the forecast at The Emirates remains grim. Therein they are “FALTERING Arsenal”. You “could not disguise just how far the Gunners are falling behind their major rivals. While City, United and Chelsea are brushing opponents aside with contemptuous ease, Arsene Wenger’s team are labouring to see off even the most unambitious of rivals.”


Arsenal table

Arsenal “far behind” at one point away from third sport


Arsenal drew 0-0 at Chelsea in a game they could well have won, hitting the post and missing an open goal from inside six yards. And that’s the same Chelsea who lost at home to the mighty Burnley. Manchester City were flukey away to Bournemouth, scoring a very late goal courtesy of Raheem Sterling’s boot and a massive deflection, and drew 1-1 with Everton. Manchester United have drawn 2-2 with Stoke, and last weekend beat Southampton 0-1. Of that match the Sun’s sister paper, the Times, called United’s performance “strangely lethargic”. Adding:

Given the lead by Lukaku, United went into abject retreat in the second half when Southampton had the bulk of possession and most of the chances. At the final whistle, United had six defenders on the pitch, while the home side brought on two attackers, a fair reflection of the balance of power.

Manchester United parked the bus. So much for “brushing aside opponents with contemptuous ease”. United and City have yet to play any of their title rivals.

And what of West Bromwich Albion being unambitious? The Evening Standard reports:

Pulis had employed a more ambitious West Brom lineup than might have been expected, with Hal Robson-Kanu and Rodriguez making for a mobile, high-pressing front two.

It’s hardly perfect at Arsenal, but to ignore the facts and stick to a bogus narrative is poor reporting.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 26th, September 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Manchester City, manchester united, News, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Manchester City balls: soft Ederson shows us his stitches

Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson is soft. Having been kicked hard in the face by Liverpool’s Saido Mane, who has apologised, the Brazilian stayed on the turf for 10 minutes. TV pundit Tony Gale was aghast, telling Sky Sports News on Monday that Ederson isn’t a “proper man”. He’s not like Burnley’s British goalkeeper Tom Heaton, who dislocated his shoulder against Crystal Palace the following day and walked off the pitch with a cheery wave.


We’ve got no photo of Heaton’s shoulder, but we can share this image of Ederson’s face:


Something narcissistic and the antithesis of stoic about showing the world your wound, but it does look very nasty. But it is to his face and not his hands, which in Tony Gale’s book means Ederson could have carried on playing. After all, it is only a flesh wound.

Posted: 12th, September 2017 | In: Manchester City, News, Sports, TV & Radio | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Bias balls: Liverpool robbed by Sadio Mane red card as ref favours Manchester City

Media Bias: Manchester City annihilated Liverpool 5-0 in the Premiere League. A goal down, Liverpool’s cause was not helped when in the 37th minute their striker Sadio Mane was red cared after his raised foot “collided with the face” (BBC) of City keeper Ederson.

City were the better side. But should Mane have been sent off? What say the clubs’ respective websites and local newspapers? The bias is best summed up by the Manchester Evening News, which reports:

Mane was shown a straight red, to the fury of Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and the visiting fans. But City supporters were left in no doubt that the forward had to go.

Manchester City official website: “Mane definitely catches Ederson with a high foot. Dangerous play and the correct decision.”

Manchester Evening News: “…he cannot go into a challenge with a boot that high. It was dangerous, although without violent intent, and for that alone he had to walk.”

Manchester is united. Mane had to go. Referee Jon Moss was spot on.

But in Liverpool…

Liverpool FC official site: “Mane is sent off for a high foot on Ederson. The No.19 was attempting to get on the end of Matip’s long ball – Ederson beat him to it by a fraction and Mane’s boot connected with the City ‘keeper. There was certainly nothing intentional there, but referee Jon Moss has adjudged it to be dangerous play and Liverpool are down to 10 men.”

Liverpool Echo: “Jon Moss has managed to completely ruin what could have been a very good game of football. Presumably a decision for dangerous play for the high foot but ball was there for both to go for.”

Liverpool says: ‘It’s not as if Mane could expect the goalkeeper to be there.’

Such are the facts.

Posted: 9th, September 2017 | In: Liverpool, Manchester City, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Chile star says story of Sanchez to Manchester City is total balls

What really happened with Alexis Sanchez’s aborted move to Manchester City? The papers are unsure. The Sun says Arsenal called Manchester City to “flog” their star player for £60m. Arsenal then called Monaco to buy Thomas Lemar for that £60m plus another £32m. But Lemar “snubbed” the Gunners. So the whole deal was off because Arsenal only said they would sell Sanchez if Lemar agreed to join them.

The odd bit is that Manchester City – who only made their first offer for Sanchez as late as last Tuesday – apparently told Sanchez it was a done deal. He told his Chile team-mates, who – get this – “gave him a round of applause” (Sun). The other less odd bit is that Arsenal maintained they would not sell Sanchez – and they didn’t.

The result is that Sanchez is “disappointed” (Mail) and “furious” (Sun). But the player has made no comment. The fury comes from unnamed sources, who add that Sanchez could now go on strike (Express). He could also decide to knuckle down and play brilliantly, perhaps even signing a new deal at Arsenal and so earning £300,000 week, up from his current £140,000 a week.

The papers are guessing. But one man is willing to go on the record. Bayern Munich and Chile’s Arturo Vidal says Sanchez never did get that round of applause. He says Sanchez was focused on Chile’s game against Paraguay and never mentioned joining Man City. “To whom? No, no, to nobody. Not to me. I don’t think so,” said Vial when asked abut Sanchez. “I think it was all made up because he was very focused on today’s game.”

What price that anonymous source was already counting 10% of £60m until Arsenal stuck to their guns..?

Posted: 1st, September 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Manchester City, News, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Arsenal agree Sanchez to Manchester City deal to get Monaco’s Thomas Lemar

Manchester City can have Alexis Sanchez for £60m. Arsenal have agreed to sell the Chilean star who shone in Arsene Wenger’s mediocre side to Pep Guardiola’s project.

The deal – £55million up front and £5million in add-ons (if City win the Premier League; if Sanchez wins the Balloon d’Or; if Sergio Aguero doesn’t sulk) – will allow Arsenal to sign Monaco’s Thomas Lemar for – get this – £90m.


The Times says it is “understood that Monaco have accepted Arsenal’s club-record bid”.

Of course, not everyone agrees that Lemar will go to the Gunners. No deal is done until the player kisses the badge and books an appointment at a local hairdresser.

The Metro says Lemar wants to join Liverpool. Although their report contains not a single word from anyone saying that he does.



Let’s see what happens…

Posted: 31st, August 2017 | In: Manchester City, News, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Arsenal to swap Alexis Sanchez for £20m and Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling

Yep, lots of Arsenal news and views today. I’m obsessed. That much is clear. But the doom and gloom is being lifted by what might resemble a cunning plan. Having offloaded the bog-standard English footballer Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to Chelsea, who were so in dire need to native flesh and they invested £40m of Russian peasants’ cash  hard-earned moolah in ‘The Ox’, news is that Arsenal are in for his England colleague Raheem Sterling (the ex-Liverpool player who runs like a bearded dragon).

Manchester City want Arsenal’s Alexis Sánchez. Given that Sanchez fancies playing for Arsenal less than he does growing his leg hair out, the Gunners should sell the Chilean pronto. To sweeten the blow of losing their best player, City are offering cash (around £20m of Abu Dhabi’s GDP) plus the exciting Sterling, 22, who cost them £49m in 2015 .

If this deal goes through, then Arsenal win. They get a London-born footballer they have long coveted. They get shot of Sanchez, who will surely only fade at Arsenal. And they inject the dressing room with a dash of the unexpected.


Posted: 29th, August 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Manchester City, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Arsenal balls: ‘no Sanchez news’ excites the Mail and BBC

The BBC is engaging in a spot of clickbait. Below the question”Is Alexis Sanchez heading out of the Emirates?” it writes “Wenger not ruling out new Sanchez deal.”

Readers might well put the two headlines together and concoct the notion that Alexis Sanchez is leaving the Gunners. But that would be wrong. The BBC stokes the fires, noting “speculation linking the forward with a move away from the club”.

So what did Wenger says about that? Nothing.

“I don’t think he’s too much disturbed by all the noise, players at that level are used to it now. He is very focused, very happy and the fact he goes into the last year of his contract doesn’t mean we cant extend it.

“At the moment we haven’t, we just want to focus as a team and not look too much at the contracts of everybody.”

The BBC links to a Daily Mail story, one telling readers:

Manchester City still want Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez, 28, before next week’s transfer deadline.

From the off that story is utter tosh:

Pep Guardiola identified the Gunners forward as a primary target this summer but has been surprised by Arsene Wenger’s resolve in keeping his prized asset.

The Man City manager is shocked that the Arsenal manager wants to keep his best player?

Guardiola is willing to wait until next summer to sign Sanchez for nothing should a transfer fail to materialise.

Unless Sanchez signs for Arsenal, in which case the plan’s foiled.


Posted: 24th, August 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Manchester City, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Arsenal balls: Jack Wilshere hits ‘career low’ as Man City’s Smith auditions for the big time

How much editorial spin can be heaped upon Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere, who last night responded angrily to a late foul by Manchester City’s Matthew Smith as the pair contested an Under 23 encounter. (Wilshere is 25.) Once viewed as the greatest English player of his generation, Wishere has by way of injury and the emergence of brighter talents at Arsenal and elsewhere fallen well down the pecking order.

In the handbags that followed, Wilshere shoved Smith in the chest – the City player went down faster than a Love Island contestant, before clutching his head and laying in the foetal position for some time – and scrapped with Tyreke Wilson. Both Wilshere and Wilson were sent off. Smith was dispatched with a single bullet to the temple.

And the press?

Wilshere sent off for Arsenal after pushing opponent – Evening Standard

Jack Wilshere sent off for Arsenal after flooring Man City player – The Sun

It was a “career low” – The Sun

Jack Wilshere sent off for Arsenal to cast further doubt over his futureDaily Telegraph

After the hype, let’s leave you with the balls. Matthew Smith, take a bow… and keep going down and down and down until your nose hits the turf. (Tip: next time you audition for the Premier League, remember to slap the grass with an open hand as if you’re giving birth and to check the other hand – the one that’s been holding your head on – for signs of blood and brain.)


Posted: 22nd, August 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Broadsheets, Manchester City, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Media bias: Manchester City never dive, Kyle Walker gets the elbow and Everton con the ref

Media bias: When Kyle Walker was sent off on his Manchester City debut, a few voices thought he’d been hard done by, arguing that his second yellow card was harsh. We’ve gone round the publications to see what they thought of it.

What was Walker looking at?

First up, and by way of a benchmark, we go to John Murray (BBC):

It probably wasn’t a yellow card but it was a silly thing for Kyle Walker to do just after he was booked. He’s not looking at the ball, he’s looking at the man. 

BBC match report:

Walker is looking at a high ball in the air, takes a quick peep at Dominic Calvert-Lewin behind him and catches the Everton man with a brush of the arm. It is not an elbow.

Pretty clear, then, that Walker was looking at the man not the ball.

The Sun:

Walker’s dismissal seemed particularly harsh as he appeared to be looking at the ball rather than Calvert-Lewin when he leapt.

Not clear at all, then. He was looking at the man and also ,er, not looking at the man.

What about the clubs’ respective websites?

Everton FC website: “City lose their discipline after falling behind… Walker paid the penalty for receiving two yellow cards.” What he received them for is not enlarged upon.

Manchester City website: “The wing-back’s first yellow came for a sliding challenge on Leighton Baines, and the second left the Etihad crowd bemused after he was cautioned for a collision with Dominic Calvert-Lewin.” Walker committed no fouls, according to City. The first was for a “challenge”. The second was for a “collision”, a coming together.

And the experts?

Graham Poll (Daily Mail)

It was a foul, nothing more. No need for a card. He got it wrong.

Gary Neville:

“He’s backing into him, the amount of times I did this as a full-back, you try and use your body to establish your position. Calvert-Lewin’s gone down, he’s been clever, he’s been effective in the first half.

“He’s held his head and that’s what I think conned the referee. You could say it’s clever from Calvert-Lewin, you could say it’s cute. Personally, it’s a soft second yellow.”

What about the local media?

Manchester Evening News: “Kyle Walker was farcically sent off.”

The paper then accuses the Everton player of acting:

Kyle Walker must feel like one of the unluckiest footballers on the planet right now after receiving one of the most ridiculous red cards you will ever see.

The City right back was rightly booked for a foul on Leighton Baines, but moments later, as he and Dominic Calvert-Lewin jockeyed for position under a high ball, the Everton man bumped into his back and dramatically fell to the deck.

The MEN says “Calvert Lewin makes a huge meal of it”.

Play acting is not what City players do, right? The MEN also reports on City’s match with Arsenal’s Under 23s last night, in which Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere was sent off. The MEN hails his red card: “This will cheer you.” See if you can see any dramatic falls to the ground here?



Liverpool Post: “Kyle Walker was shown a second yellow card following a challenge on Calvert-Lewin and was sent off.”

Such are the facts.

Posted: 22nd, August 2017 | In: Back pages, Manchester City, Sports | Comment (1) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0