Anorak

Sports | Anorak - Part 4

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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.

Former Arsenal player invited to join pale and shadowy World Economic Forum

World_Economic_Forum

 

Former Arsenal midfielder Mathieu Flamini, 34, has been invited to join the World Economic Forum’s community of Young Global Leaders (YGL). We know what that is – and what it aims to be – from the group’s website.

The YGL was “established in 1971 as a not-for-profit foundation and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.” No profits and it’s based in Switzerland, with a big annual meeting in Davos? What are the wages and perks like? Why do they host their shindig away from other humans and flowers – are they scared they petals will wilt and fall as the selfless do-gooders walk by?

The Transnational Institute describes the World Economic Forum’s main purpose as being “to function as a socializing institution for the emerging global elite, globalization’s ‘Mafiocracy’ of bankers, industrialists, oligarchs, technocrats and politicians. They promote common ideas, and serve common interests: their own.” Bono calls them “fat cats in the snow”.  It is the “most exclusive private social network in the world”.

A look at the Board of Trustees reveals not a single black face – which seems a peculiar oversight for an outfit keen to improve the entire world and the lot of its peoples. There is also not a black face on Managing Board. There is one on the Executive Committee. So that’s one black face in 82 leading positions in an institution that will “bring attention to challenges that affect the future of global society”.

One hundred of the world’s most promising artists, business leaders, public servants, technologists and social entrepreneurs have been asked to join the World Economic Forum’s community of Young Global Leaders. They are joining a community and five-year programme that will challenge them to think beyond their scope of expertise and be more impactful leaders. They were nominated because of their ground-breaking work, creative approaches to problems and ability to build bridges across cultures and between business, government, and civil society.

They want Flamini. But why would Famini want them? He works with GF Biochemicals, which works to develop technology to produce sustainable alternatives to oil-based products. His company produces levulinic acid, which could be an alternative to petrol. But not air fuel for private jets – not yet.

Posted: 10th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Money, News, Sports | Comment


Arsenal website’s biased report after record-breaking Leicester defeat

Arsenal are the only team in English football without a point in 2018. Arsenal have lost 7 Premier League games in a row away from home in 2018. Tonight they lost 3-1 to Leicester City – their first defeat to the Foxes in 24 games. This is how the Arsenal website reported the latest defeat. Key moments are picked out. On each occasion Arsenal produce a wholly biased sympathetic back story.

The First Goal:

Kelechi Iheanacho gave Leicester the lead against the run of play…

Leicester scored after jut 14 minutes.

The Red Card

Our woes were compounded moments later when Dinos Mavropanos was sent off. The Greek defender got caught on the ball by Iheanacho and hauled the Leicester striker down as he prepared to race through on goal. Rob Holding was the covering defender but referee Graham Scott clearly thought Mavropanos was the last man.

Holding was not covering. He’d have to be a lot quicker than he looks to catch Ihenacho.

The Arsenal Goal

Petr Cech kept us in it with a string of fine saves but, after weathering that storm, our response was gutsy and classy.

Arsenal carried on in the same vein. They made no adaptations in their style of play – lots of pretty passing – when reduced to 10 men. and theta’s ok when the game is young an everyone is pretty fresh. But a lot of energy is being expended. Can they keep it up for 90 minutes away from home?

Sead Kolasinac hit the post and then Aubameyang hauled the 10 men level, crashing a rebound into the roof of the net after Eldin Jakupovic had saved his first effort from Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ cross.

It was a good team goal.

2-1

…Mkhitaryan tripped Demarai Grey and Jamie Vardy found the top corner from the penalty spot.

It was dire defending. Grey was going nowhere when he was sucked to the ground.

3-1

And Riyad Mahrez made the game safe in the last minute.

When he latched onto a booming over the top ball and outpaced and out thought a tired Holding.

Arsenal lost. But according to the club they were “classy in defeat and “gutsty”, too. They were unlucky to lose a player.

What says the Leicester Mercury newspaper:

…the sucker punch came in the 53rd minute when City were opened up down their left flank and Aubameyang scored the equaliser at the second attempt after Jakupovic brilliantly saved his first effort.

Ok. It’s not just Arsnaal who are biased. The save was not brilliant. The ‘keeper palmed a shot back out into open play.

Puel sent on substitute Demarai Gray with 18 minutes to go and within a minute he earned a penalty when he drew a foul from Mkhitaryan inside the box, and Vardy dispatched the spot kick into the top corner to put City back in front.

Drew a ful with his dolkey skills? No. He was in the box, had run into traffic, and then Mkhitaryan running in from behind him touched his boot. Grey went own like, well, Vardy does: quickly and dramticallty.“A very creative, imaginative aspect from the referee,” said Wenger. “It is a nice dive.” Wenger then went giddy: “The spirit is exceptional and they will play for the Premier League next season. I am convinced they will be one of the challengers.” Shut the door on the way out, mate.

To wrap a famous night for City and first win over the Gunners for 24 years, Mahrez broke free in the last minute to cap a superb display with the third.

No word on a covering player for the red card.

The London Evening Standard has its version:

After Mavropanos’ red card the back four became more of a notion than a system as time and time again the defence abandoned their most fundamental requirements, from positioning to discipline.

That had been the undoing of the young Greek centre-back, who was beaten by Iheanacho to a 50:50 and then grabbed the striker’s shirt as he hared away. Mavropanos could have no complaints when referee Graham Scott invited him to leave the pitch.

Arsenal were dire in defence. This report is fair.

And how superb were Leicester?

Arsenal had more chances to win it but their execution was sloppy. A driving run from Ramsey ended with Mkhitaryan giving the ball away too easily. Similarly Leicester’s final pass was invariably anywhere but where it needed to be.

A mistake from either defence seemed the most likely route to a third goal. It was no surprise it came from Arsenal’s. Maitland-Niles was too easily beaten by Demarai Gray. Mustafi’s clearance gave the ball straight back to the winger. Mkhitaryan left a boot hanging.

Arsenal have conceded more goals in 2017-18 than in any other Premier League season. They are woeful in defence. Arsene Wenger’s leaving. He lost his way years ago.

Posted: 9th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Betting on Morata cost Chelsea £60m and Diego Costa

Arsenal fans are not the only one bemoaning Olivier Giroud’s move to Chelsea. The Frenchman is making Álvaro Morata look limper than a three-legged donkey.

It all looked so promising for Chelsea when Morata arrived from Real Madrid last summer for a club record fee of £60m. “Alvaro has proven class at the highest level and his quality will be a huge asset,” said Chelsea technical director Michael Emenalo. Pat Nevin said Chelsea fans would be “smiling and punching the air” at getting Morata. They weren’t being glib. The season before he joined Chelsea, Morata scored 15 goals from 55 shots in La Liga. That works out to an impressive 27% conversion rate – the highest of any striker to score 10 or more goals in La Liga in 2016-17. He scored one goal for every 89 minutes playing time.

Now you look at him and wonder where it all went wrong. Chelsea sold Diego Costa – feisty, angry, galvanising and solid – and bought Morata – flaky, subdued and uninspiring. In October 2017, the striker told Italy’s Gazzetta that he did not see himself living in London “for very long”. He later panicked and said he’s sign a 10-year contract if he was offered one. He won’t be.

But Juventus, where Morata played with no little success, want him back. News is that Juventus have £60m earmarked for Morata’s transfer. Will Chelsea accept? And what does Morata leaving mean for manager Antonio Conte, of whom Morata said:

“Conte is the manager who most ‘bet’ on me, without even ever having had me in his team. I’m very conscious of that. He bet on me for Juventus but left before I arrived, then he wanted me at Chelsea come what may. He knows me better than I could imagine, I’m sure, and that’s important. It motivates you to work hard, train well.

“I feel indebted to him because he’s the coach that most trusted in me, most wanted me, who made me feel I could perform at the highest level. And yet I’ve never had the fortune to actually work with him. I’m sure sooner or later I will.”

It’s a bet Conte lost.

Posted: 9th, May 2018 | In: Chelsea, Sports | Comment


Arsenal: Ozil’s ‘invisible’ injuries, spiteful Keown and mocking mental health

Arsenal’s players are “frustrated” at Mesut Ozil’s injury problems. Well, so says the  BBC in a view echoed by the Mail. Given the Gunners season after season of injury woes, it’s odd to think of Arsenal players being irked by Ozil’s misfortune. Jack Wilshere,  Aaron Ramsay, Santi Cazorla, Laurent Koscielny and Danny Welbeck have each been injured for months at a time. What is it about Ozil’s problems that upsets them?

Might this story have something to do with Martin Keown, the former Arsenal player now talking on cue for the BBC, BT Sport and the Mail? Only last week, Keown was saying that Ozil was “not fit to wear the shirt” and shedding “crocodile tears” after Arsenal’s defeat to a good Atletico Madrid side in the Europa League. Keown’s imprudent opinions and characteristic grabs for the headlines have make him a ubiquitous presence on football chat shows.

So when Keown guffed from his vantage point sat on office furniture about a shiny coffee table, a story brewed. Said Keown of Ozil:

“I haven’t been happy with him for some time and it seems as if he picks and chooses his games…

“I bet he doesn’t play again this season. He’ll have some emotional breakdown and won’t be able to play at the weekend. I don’t know how many illnesses he’s had this season, but the fella is not kidding me. That is not a proper performance.”

Aside from Keown’s grubby view being narrowed by his need to use Arsenal’s best player to promote his to-deadline views – Ozil was one of Arsenal’s better players in Madrid; only Aaron Ramsey won more tackles for either side on the night than Ozil; the Mail marked Ozil as Arsenal’s joint second-best player on the night; Ozil’s performance was far from being wretched – we wonder if Keown only cares about obvious physical conditions and not mental health – in late 2017 Keown wrongly stated that Ozil “psychologically, mentally” had “already left the football club”. Shame if Keown doesn’t think mental health is a vital part of an athlete’s wellbeing. After all, this is what Keown had to say about mental health on May 4 2017 in the Mail:

Q: Do you think mental health issues are taken seriously enough in football?
Martin Keown: There is a stigma attached to mental health that means people do not necessarily feel as comfortable asking for help. It can be doubly difficult as a footballer. Just because players earn huge salaries does not mean they do not suffer from the same issues and problems as everyone else… We need to recognise issues surrounding mental health as an illness, not a weakness.

 

Keown Arsenal Ozil Sanchez

Martin Keown might be talking nonsense, but he is setting the tabloids’ new agenda?

 

And so to the Mail’s story on Ozil. This is it pretty much the crux of it in full:

MESUT OZIL has angered Arsenal players with his shocking prima donna attitude. A number of the Gunners squad suspect Ozil is being allowed to pick and choose which games he plays in.

Isn’t that what Keown said?

Arsenal players are reported to be losing patience with top earner Mesut Ozil, after it was confirmed the Germany international is to be ruled out for the remainder of the Premier League campaign.

We are told of Ozil’s “mystery illnesses”. We’re not told where the story of dressing room disharmony was first reported. But something very similar was said in the Sun yesterday. The Sun reported:

SICK OF OZ-ILL – Arsenal players fed up with Mesut Ozil ‘injuries’ and prima donna attitude of Gunners’ highest-paid man. Winger is the highest-paid player at The Emirates after finally signing a new £350,000-a-week contract earlier this year..

It has not gone unnoticed that Ozil’s contribution has dramatically tailed off since he signed his new £350,000-a-week contract at the end of January.

Having your health discussed publicly must be horrible. And has it occurred to Keown and Ozil’s attackers that not all “injures” are visible…

Posted: 9th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Arsenal’s Ozil and Stoke City’s Shaqiri give pundits a reason to be

Can it be that pundits lambaste top players like Arsenal’s Mesut Oil and Stoke City’s Xherdan Shaqiri because they know it will garner more headlines and promote their opinion far and wide? Take Martin Keown, the former Arsenal player now guffing to-deadline opinions for the Daily Mail, BBC and BT Sport, who said of Ozil after Arsenal were knocked out of the Europa League:

“He was on the edge of things today. He seems to get lost in the defensive traffic, you can hide a little bit in that position. When Wenger made the change and Wilshere came off, at times I was watching and thinking ‘well are you going to get back for your team, are you actually going to put a shift in?’.”

Ozil was far from brilliant. But Keown is wearing blinkers. Ozil won four out of four tackles. He made an impressive 31 successful passes in the final third, as Atletico packed their defence and pressed. Keown, of course, is impervious to fact, and realises that his job is to say something definitive, entertaining and controversial, so he ploughs on:

“He wasn’t fit to wear the shirt tonight. And I’ve seen this a lot this season and it needs to be said because he needs to be dug out because we expect more from him.”

According to Keown, Arsenal players who are fit to wear the shirt are: Ospina |(who is well below par for a top side’s ‘keeper), Bellerin (does anyone teach him how to defend?), Xhaka (failed to put in so much as cursory tackle in the build up to the game’s only goal),  Monreal (squandered good opportunities to put in a good cross), Chambers (weak header in build up to Atletico’s goal) and Ramsay (largely ineffectual; failed to convert a good chance).

And so to Xherdan Shaqiri, of Stoke City, now relegated from the Premier League. Here’s Martin Samuel in the Mail:

George Graham had a maxim on which he built his Arsenal team. ‘Never buy a player who is taking a step down to join you,’ he would say. ‘He’ll think he’s doing you a favour…

Yet watching Shaqiri bung vital corners into the first man, or lose his balance in the box as Stoke chased the game against Crystal Palace, it was hard to reconcile how much higher he thinks he should be playing. He looked every inch a Stoke player, every inch a relegation candidate

This is what the Stoke Sentinel says of Shaquiri, who he paper tips to be the fans’ player of the season:

Stoke’s seven-goal top scorer has enjoyed his best personal season in the Premier League in difficult circumstances. The Swiss star has carried the side’s attacking threat for much of the campaign and when he finds the net it’s usually a contender for goal of the month.

442 magazine says Shaquiri is too good to go down. He is identified as Stoke City’s best player: “The winger is the only worrisome thing about a once-frightening Potters side, and he knows it.”

Why do pundits pick on the best players with the highest profiles and largest number of followers on social media ? Why..?

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


Premier League fixes schedules to give Arsenal, Liverpool Manchester United and rest of big six easier starts

The Premier League doesn’t pull a fixture lit at random from the hat. The schedule’s fixed so that none of Arsenal, Spurs, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United and Manchester City – the so-called ‘Big Six’ – meet on the opening or final weekends of the season. This secret agenda means fans watch matches between the biggest clubs throughout the season and attendances for the final matches remain higher than if everyone was tuning in for a title decider between two heavyweights  – all matches on the final weekend kick off at the same time. The season’s opening games are in the summer, when many people are on holiday. Less people tuning in means less advertising cash. As with everything in the Premier League, it’s all about the money.

And the new scheduling stymies the effect of unusual results, like Leicester winning the title or Liverpool finishing 8th. Clubs are arranged over their “highest average finishing positions in the Premier League competition over the three seasons immediately preceding that season”.

Sad to think you’ll never see a thrilling finale again, like when Arsenal played Liverpool in a title decider on May 26, 1989. There will never be a winner takes all match.

 

arsenal-liverpool-1989

I was there!

 

A spokesman for the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust (AST) tells us: “We are very concerned about this apparent designation of an elite group of top-six clubs. Every Premier League club should be treated equally, and we also do not agree with this push for them to receive a bigger share of television money. The AST would like the focus to be on organising fixtures and kick-off times that are convenient for fans who go to matches, rather than what best suits domestic or overseas TV viewers.”

Kevin Miles, chief executive o f The Football Supporters’ Federation, adds: “This is certainly news to us and we look forward to holding discussions with the Premier League about the pros and cons of it.”

 

Pros: money. Cons: treating fans like lab rats.

Posted: 8th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Arsenal go for Massimiliano Allegri or former Barcelona coach Luis Enrique

The identity of the next Arsenal manager occupies minds in the Press. The BBC says Arsenal want to hire Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri or former Barcelona coach Luis Enrique to be their next manager. Sky Sports says both are interested in taking the job but have reservations about working within the club’s management structure.

In 2017, Arsenal altered their set up. In came: Raul Sanllehi – Head of football relations; Sven Mislintat – Head of recruitment; Huss Fahmy – Contract negotiator; and Darren Burgess – Director of high performance.

The Mirror says Enrique, who flopped at Roma, wants to manage Arsenal so badly that he’s willing to work for just £15m a year after tax. It was only a week ago that the media was talking of his demands for a £200m budget for new players. The Times (prop. R Murdoch) told its readers that Arsenal had seen the demands and were no longer considering Enrique. Now Sky (prop. R. Murdoch) says they are.

Whatever Arsenal do or so not do, the clock is ticking. The BBC says Arsenal are confident of naming a new manager before the World Cup starts on 14 June. The BBC’s list of people features: former Arsenal players Mikel Arteta and Patrick Vieira; Monaco manager Leonardo Jardim and three-time Champions League winner Carlo Ancelotti. To say nothing of Liverpool coach Zeljko Buvac, who has reportedly already agreed to take over at The Emirates.

The upshot is that we’ll know who it is when Arsenal make the announcement.

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


Transfer balls: Fekir news and Klopp’s Dembele to Liverpool confession

Is the job of a journalist to talk truth to power or to spin a story from ether? The BBC says Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp “admits he would be interested in Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele became available”. Admits? It’s a confession that also interests the Sun, which declares: “‘NOW I’M INTERESTED’ – Ousmane Dembele: Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp admits interest in transfer for Barcelona star.”

Lots of admitting from Klopp in his admiration for a player who joined Barcelona from the German’s former club Borussia Dortmund for £135m.  Says the Sun:

…Dembele has been linked with a move away and Klopp got the ball rolling on a deal when asked, after his side’s disappointing loss to Chelsea, that he will be bidding.

It was during the post-match press conference that Klopp was asked about transfers. Had Liverpool signed Lyon captain Nabil Fekir for £60m? “During the game, we agreed a deal?” said Klopp. “I would be surprised about that to be honest. No comment.”

How about Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele?

“Who was the second name? Dembele? Oooh, is he on the market? Now I am interested!” said Klopp. “I never comment on transfer rumours. I have already said much more than I usually do.”

Klopp laughed off the questions. But tbis is how it a reported in the Mail, Mirror and Express:

Daily Mail: “Jurgen Klopp keen to bring in Barcelona £95m flop Ousmane Dembele.”

Daily Express: “LIVERPOOL boss Jurgen Klopp has confirmed he would love to sign Barcelona star Ousmane Dembele.”

Daily Mirror: “Liverpool ready for talks to sign Barcelona star Ousmane Dembele”

Total balls.

Such are the facts.

 

Posted: 7th, May 2018 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Mahrez to Arsenal is clickbait

The BBC says Leicester forward Riyad Mahrez is “keen to join Arsenal”. The 27-year-old Algerian is on his way to the Emirates, says the Sunday Express in what it hails as a “transfer exclusive”.

 

mahrez leicester arsenal transfer

Daily Express – EXCLUSIVE

 

The story contains not a single new fact. But we do learn that “Express Sport understands” Mahrez “favours a move to Arsenal”. Apparently, Mahrez “has a house in the capital and would prefer a switch there over a move to Manchester”. So not withstanding Mahrez’s shock realisation that people live in houses in Manchester and, unlike in London, anyone on a mere £100,000-a-week can afford one, Arsenal it is, then.

Maybe. Because the Express also ‘understands’, “Tottenham and Chelsea remain alternative options”, to say nothing of West Ham, Crystal Palace and Watford, which the Express doesn’t.

Of course, this guesswork is based on previous reports linking Mahrez to Arsenal. You might have read them in the Express:

 

mahrez leicester arsenal transfer

Another Express scoop

 

Not that the Express is the only newspaper to have told us that Mahrez to Arsenal was a done deal:

 

mahrez leicester arsenal transfer

The Daily Mirror poses the story as question – but Google doesn’t recognise question marks – so the story is presented as fact to any readers searching for Mahrez, Leicester City and Arsenal news.

 

mahrez leicester arsenal transfer

Teamtalks opts for invested commas

 

mahrez leicester arsenal transfer

The Telegraph also opts for inverted commas

 

mahrez leicester arsenal transfer

The Metro

 

Mahrez to Arsenal it is, then…

Posted: 6th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Manchester United Alex Ferguson ‘fights for life’ and privacy

The red-top tabloids agree on one thing: former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is “fighting for his life”:

 

alex ferguson brain surgery

 

The Sun on Sunday, Mirror and Star all  lead on Sir Alex Ferguson’s emergency operation for a brain haemorrhage. The former Manchester United boss is in intensive care at Salford Royal Hospital.

The news is peppered with good will wishes from many, including Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo. It’s unlikely Fergie is reading them. But such public displays of support serve to pad out the single-thread news and cast a light on the tweeters and Instagramers.

Ferguson’s family have asked for privacy – which is presumably why the news media is camped outside the hospital. Sky News’ man in the car park told us this morning that Fergie is “in the best place”.  You think?

Amidst much guff, credit, then to Everton manager Sam Allardyce who rather than shining a light on himself, offered instead: “I hope he’s in good hands and I hope the operation is a major success.”

Well said. And well said too, Man United’s Ashley Young: “Gutted to hear the news tonight about Sir Alex. Don’t really know what else to say other than thoughts and prayers with you and your family, boss.”

A bit less well said was is what former United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar noted: “Devastated about the news about Sir Alex and knowing all too well about the situation ourselves. Stay strong and hope together with everyone you recover.”

He is alive, Edwin.

 

alex ferguson brain surgery alex ferguson brain surgery

Posted: 6th, May 2018 | In: manchester united, News, Sports | Comment


Manchester United great Alex Ferguson is very ill

Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has undergone emergency surgery for a brain haemorrhage. We all wish him well.

Ferguson led Manchester United to 13 Premier League titles, two Champions League and FA Cups over 26 years. When he did finally retire in 2013, he told us: “The decision to retire is one that I have thought a great deal about. It is the right time.”

He did, of course, plan to quit in 2002. “My first run at retirement was a textbook case for how not to do it,” he wrote. “I was turning 60, which in my father’s time was a watershed age, but these days has far less significance. I could not help but think of what happened to Jock Stein and Bill Shankly after they had retired from Celtic and Liverpool, and I was determined that would not happen to me.”

When he did call it a day, Ferguson’s his wife Cathy was instrumental in making up his mind. He called it a “watershed moment” when Bridget, Cathy’s twin, died in late 2012. He wrote: “I felt that, after all those years during which Cathy had put me first, it was time that I took care of her needs.”

In his 2015 book, Leading, Ferguson told us about his new routine: “Now, after a lifetime of getting ready for work at six in the morning, I like waking up at eight, having breakfast with Cathy (which I had not done for 30 years), reading the paper, and going to have lunch in the village… For the first time in my life, I was in charge of my life in a way that I had not been since the school holidays of my childhood. It was a liberating experience and has allowed me to do things that I could never have done while at United.”

 

Posted: 5th, May 2018 | In: manchester united, Sports | Comment


Crystal Palace player apologies for scoring against Stoke

Patrick an Aanholt says he’s sorry for scoring a goal for Crystal Palace in the South Londoners 2-1 win over Stoke City. Van Aanholt has never played for Stoke. So it’s not yet another example of that sad, pathetic and po-faced non-celebration celebration enacted by players who score against a former club. Van Aanholt is sorry because his goal means Stoke City are relegated from the Premier League.

 

stoke city aarnholt tweet

 

Van Aanholt scored when he took full advantage of Ryan Shawcross’s calamitous under-hit backpass. A more cogent argument for Stoke’s demise than the vibrant opposition trying to score, and succeeding twice, would be to point the finger at Shawcross and then point lots more fingers at the rest of the Stoke side who failed to protect a 1-0 lead in a vital match.

Stoke fans can shake a fist at a club that forgot how to beat a team – winning once since January – that in Xherdan Shaqiri, have a single capable of posing a threat, and are overseen by board that took too long to sack the wildly overrated Mark Hughes.

Paul Lambert, Stoke’s manager, says relegation is a “change to rebuild”. Although he’s yet to tweet a word of thanks to Van Aanholt.

Posted: 5th, May 2018 | In: News, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Arsenal’s £200m budget for £25m-a-year-Enrique

How much money will the next Arsenal manager be given to splurge on players? The coach who replaces Arsene Wenger should read the small print on any contract because the newspapers and the trusty BBC are very confused.

The BBC says “Arsene Wenger’s successor at Arsenal will be given a £200m transfer budget”. That’s a huge amount of money. Wenger could have bought 5 Granit Xhakas for that.

 

wenger arsenal transfer budget

 

The source for the BBC’s story is the no less trusty Daily Star. It reports the headline figure as an “exclusive” but offers not a single shred of proof to support the story – not even an unnamed “insider” is coughed up to say it’s all true.

 

budget arsenal

 

It’s wrong, of course. We know the £200m figure is wrong because on April 23 the Daily Telegraph said the next Arsenal manger will have a transfer kitty of…£50m.

 

arsenal players budget

 

 

That lower figure sounds more in keeping with Arsenal’s history than the £200m. So how did it come about? Well, a few days ago, the Sun said former Barcelona manager Luis Enrique wants £200m spending money to take over at Arsenal. But Arsenal don’t have that sum so it’s no deal.

Did the Star just see the figure and echo it?

As for the uninspiring Enrique arriving at Arsenal, the Sun of May 2 noted: “ARSENAL target Luis Enrique’s staggering £25million wage demands could rule him out of the running to replace Arsene Wenger.”

Only ‘could’? On April 29, the Times told its readers:

Arsenal have stepped away from making Luis Enrique the managerial successor to Arsene Wenger… The Sunday Times understands that senior executives consider Enrique an inappropriate fit to the position.

In short: no-one outside the club knows who Arsenal will appoint, let alone what the transfer budget will be.

 

Posted: 5th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Transfers: Arsenal, Soyuncu and the truth about Turkish football

Arsenal have seen off a bid from Bayern Munich to sign 21-year-old Turkish defender Caglar Soyuncu, says the BBC. Not that it requires much thought for a hungry defender to pick the Gunners – any defender with even a modicum of pace, power, poise and positional awareness will walk into the current Arsenal team.

But the Beeb is wrong. Soyuncu hasn’t signed. He remains on the books of Bundesliga club Freiburg. News of his arrival at Arsenal is fanned by Altinordu president Seyit Mehmet Ozkan.

Who?

Well, Soyuncu used to play at Turkish club Altinordu. “Caglar Soyuncu is set to join Arsenal,” Ozkan is reported to have told the “International Football Economic Forum”.

The what?

“Arsenal demanded his youth information from us,” says Ozkan. “We’ll earn from him, if he joins Arsenal. Bayern Munich wants him too, but he’s on the way to the Premier League.”

 

 

 Turkish defender Caglar Soyuncu

 

Back to the International Football Economic Forum, something introduced to readers by the Standard, which is the source for the Beeb’s ‘fake’ news on Soyuncu signing for Arsenal. Not much information on this body appears on the web.

But a bit of digging reveals that it was held at the Grand Tarabya Hotel, Istanbul. Sabah newspaper, which hosted the event, lists the international names on the rostrum:

Youth Sports Minister Osman Aşkın Bak, TFF President Yıldırım Demirören , TFF 1st Vice President and Member of UEFA Board of Directors Servet Yardımcı, G.Saray President Mustafa Cengiz , Beşiktaş President Fikret Forest , Başakşehir President Göksel Gümüşdağ,  Altınordu President Mehmet Ozkan, former director of Manchester United and Chelsea Peter Kenyon, star players Gomis, Adebayor, Babel, Rodallega, SABAH Sports Manager Murat Özbostan, Fotomaç Newspaper Editor-in-Chief Zeki Uzundurukan, İnteltek AŞ. General Manager Ahmet Sezer, Passolig General Manager Ceyhun Kazancı, Aktif Bank General Manager Assist. Ahmet Erdal Güncan, Director of Türk Telekom Services Özlem Kalkan Karabulut, G. Saray Commercial Operations Director Kerem Ertan, F. General Manager of Communication Services Hakan Demir, writer Levent Tuzemen, Bülent Timurlenk and Spanish journalist J. Castro Nogale.

The only non-Turks on the panels appear to be: 4 “star players”, Peter Kenyon and a Spanish journalist.

It’s aims:

The International Football Economy Forum… aims to increase knowledge and awareness by creating rational, visionary, creative, sustainable and qualified targets and to increase the brand value of Turkish football by creating public opinion…

Fikret Orman tells the lads:

“Taking a glance at the star players’ perceptions about Turkey; It seems to be a stop before going to the Middle East. If we increase the brand value of the Super League, we can transfer the appropriate players to more economic conditions…

“If we increase the traceability, as in the case of Cenk Tosun [now at Everton], soccer player sales will come at a high price, all of them related with traceability and if we can increase this, the revenue rights of broadcasting rights will increase too. The majority of the sponsors in the league are doing it to become a world brand ..

In light of this marketing drive, are Arsenal really looking to sign Soyuncu for a fee as high as £40m? Ozkan’s words to the Forum are sieved through the wonders of Google Translate:

Speaking at the International Football Economy Forum… Özkan stated that they will continue to trust and provide young players with “We have won Çağlar Söyüncü and Cengiz Ünder for Turkish and European football. I will go to Germany for Sunday and to follow Chelsea to England on Sunday, and I’m going to sell football to both of them.”

And on Arsenal:

Of Turkey in the world take place in the football market, emphasizing that it is linked to the universal Seyit Mehmet Ozkan, “beginning of last season we sold Freiburg Ages Söyünc is to be transferred to Arsenal.”

Well, maybe… Only to the trusty BBC is Soynucu to Arsenal a done deal. And look out for the BBC’s scoop that Roma’s Cengiz Ünder has joined Chelsea. He hasn’t.

Posted: 4th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Chelsea, Key Posts, News, Sports | Comment


Arsenal’s pouting ninnies outdone by Costa’s fight and focus

Arsenal were limp, lacklustre, weak in front of goal, lacking in desire, poor in the final third, insipid around the box, strangers in defence and, above all, bereft of passion. Atletico Madrid, their opponents in last night’s Europa League semi-final, fought from first to last. Atletico centre back Diego Godín was magnificent. Anyone doubting why Arsene Wenger is leaving the club after a decade too long at the helm was a given 90 minute explainer. Arsenal were a team that didn’t look like they wanted it badly enough.

Does anyone at Arsenal want it? This is how the club’s website describes the game’s only goal:

It had been a low-key half, but right on the stroke of the interval the home side took the lead as Griezmann picked out Costa, who raced in on goal and beat David Ospina.

Needing to score an away goal, the only thing low key on the pitch was Arsenal. Atletico paced themselves. Arsenal never got going. There was no mad dash to score. It was pretty stuff that promised little and delivered nothing.

The Arsenal website omits to mention the fact that Hector Bellerin, a defender in name only, always needs an extra touch before crossing the ball (badly), lost Diego Costa, a move akin to not spotting King Kong sat on the big building. Faster than Costa, Bellerin sportingly gave the former Chelsea player a head start. Shoulder to shoulder there would be only one outcome. Bellerin, all hairbands, tattoos and tops knots, landed on his arse. The ball landed in the net. The next manager should teach Bellerin how to defend. Has anyone ever bothered to?

If only Arsenal had a player blessed with Costa’s aggression and focus instead of their gaggle of jogging journeymen and guileless ninnies.

“We knew it was very important to get to the final. Atleti needs it because it’s a big club,” said Costa after the match.

Atletico needed it. Like the moribund team they have become under a tired, cosseted and ideas-free Wenger, Arsenal just turned up, assumed the position and waited for the anticlimax.

One Aranel fans sums up best: “In a way, ending on a massive avoidable letdown is a fitter ending [to Wenger’s time] than actually winning the Europa League would have been.”

Whatever comes next, it can only be better.

Posted: 4th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


The ridiculous pundit: Buvac to Arsenal and Giggs To Manchester United

Proving that being a football  pundit is a doddle is Danny Murphy, who tells Sky Sports News of his deep upset that Liverpool’s coach Zeljko Buvac is in line to become the next Arsenal manager. Buvac has 17 years as a coach under his belt, taking in league titles and big European finals.

Says Murphy:

“I would find it unbelievable to appoint someone who has never, ever managed as a number one at a club like Arsenal. I think that would be ridiculous for a club like Arsenal. It doesn’t matter how intelligent he is or what he’s done because doing it as a number two is nothing like doing it as a number one.”

It must have been a different Danny Murphy who opined on November 2015 about the next Manchester United manager?

“I would give it to Giggs. At least until the end of the season to see how it goes. He looks like he wants it, he is passionate and he knows how United fans want them to play.”

Consistency is all, right, Danny. Giggs to Arsenal it is, then.

Posted: 3rd, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Subbuteo and the FA still still women’s football as a marketing gimmick

subbuteo-women game

 

In readiness for the 2018 Women’s FA Cup final between Chelsea and Arsenal, Subbuteo have produced a limited edition first all-female set. Marzena Bogdanowicz, the FA’s head of marketing and commercial for women’s football, tells us:

This new, all-female Subbuteo set is a reflection of the rapid growth that women’s football is seeing in the UK right now.

It is? Does anyone still play Subbuteo?

We aspire to greater equality all the way from board games to boardrooms, and every day we are striving to transform the future of the women’s game on and off the pitch.

 

The very first #Subbuteo advert ever seen in #Shoot! 1969-08-16

Subbuteo advert – Shoot! magazine – 1969

 

James Walker, of Hasbro, which make the table-top football game, adds:

We are incredibly excited to work with the FA to place focus on female footballers in this special edition of Subbuteo. Subbuteo has a rich heritage that reflects the nation’s love of football and this all-female playset is recognition of the vital role that women’s football has in our culture.

This is a little undermined by the fact that the set is not being offered for sale. You can only get it via competitions on the FA’s social media channels. The feeling is that Hasbro and the FA see women’s football not as a viable sport, rather as an opportunity to blow their own horns about equality, and that ‘women’s football’ is something apart from ‘football’.

Posted: 3rd, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Chelsea, News, Sports, The Consumer | Comment


Manchester United should wish Fellaini a bon voyage to China

The two words Manchester United should tell Belgium midfielder Marouane Fellaini, 30, as he haggles over a new deal are “zài jiàn”. The Sun says Fellaini has “warned” United that unless they offer him huge money he will consider moving to China.

It comes to something when an average Premier League footballer – albeit one who makes full use of his height and reach; but lacks pace, technique and poise – is firing shots across the bows of one of the world’s biggest clubs. The question is not what United should do to please Fellaini but how he ever played for United in the first place?

The Sun says it would cost £50m to “replace” Fellaini. Which invites another question: why would you want to?

It’s also utter tosh. Fellaini joined a desperate United from Everton in 2013 for £27.5m. Since then, United have splashed out on the following talents:

Juan Mata (Chelsea) £37,100,000 – 25 Jan, 2014
Ander Herrera (Ath Bilbao) £29,000,000 – 26 Jun, 2014
Luke Shaw (Southampton) £27,000,000 – 27 Jun, 2014
Andreas Pereira (PSV Eindhoven) – 01 Aug, 2014
Marcos Rojo (Sporting) – £16,000,000 20 Aug, 2014
Angel Di Maria (Real Madrid) – £59,700,000 26 Aug, 2014
Daley Blind (Ajax) – £13,800,000 01 Sep, 2014
Victor Valdes (Barcelona) – Free 08 Jan, 2015
Memphis Depay (PSV Eindhoven) – £25,000,000 11 Jun, 2015
Matteo Darmian (Torino) £1 -2,700,000 11 Jul, 2015
Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich) – £14,400,000 13 Jul, 2015
Morgan Schneiderlin (Southampton) – £25,000,000 13 Jul, 2015
Sergio Romero (Sampdoria) – Free 27 Jul, 2015
Anthony Martial (Monaco) – £36,000,000 01 Sep, 2015
Regan Poole (Newport Co) – £100,000 01 Sep, 2015
Eric Bailly (Villarreal) -£30,000,000 08 Jun, 2016
Zlatan Ibrahimovic Paris St-G. Free 01 Jul, 2016
Henrikh Mkhitaryan (B Dortmund) -£26,000,000 06 Jul, 2016
Paul Pogba Juventus (£89,300,000) – 08 Aug, 2016
Victor Lindelof Benfica (£31,000,000) – 14 Jun, 2017
Romelu Lukaku (Everton) – £75,000,000 10 Jul, 2017
Nemanja Matic (Chelsea) – £40,000,000 31 Jul, 2017
Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal) – Player plus cash – 22 Jan, 2018

And in that same period: Manchester City bought Kevin De Bruyne for £55m in 2015; Liverpool bought Mo Salah for £39m in 2017; and Spurs bought Del Elli for £5m in 2015.

But for £50,m you can get another Fellaini. If you’re not careful you can, yes.

Here’s Fellaini:

“I went to see the manager last year, and said I wanted a new contract. I then had a second meeting, but I’m not going to ask ten times. Since then I have become important for the team – and it costs £50m minimum to buy a good new player.”

No. It doesn’t. As Jose Mourinho put it on May 1:

“My Player of the Year has to be Scott McTominay.”

He cost United nothing in transfer fees. He’s 21. He’s dynamic. He’s hungry. And never once has he sounded as if he was doing the club a favour.

Best of luck in China, Marouane. Close the door on the way out…

Posted: 3rd, May 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, News, Sports | Comment


Joe Mourinho admits something is wrong with De Gea at Manchester United

How are things progressing for Manchester United with Jose Mourinho in charge? Pretty good. Second in the table, albeit a mile behind Manchester City, and in the final of the FA Cup, United are competitive. Mourinho will have been two years in the job this May 27. Has progress been made under his pragmatic methods?

This is what Jose said in January 6 2017:

“I think when a goalkeeper is a player of the season, it’s because something is wrong. Of course I would love goalkeepers to be recognised, to win the golden ball (Ballon d’Or), to be player of season in the Premier League because goalkeepers are lonely guys with a different shirt to everybody else.

“When they play phenomenal people forget, when they make a mistake, everyone remembers. That’s why I hugged David at the end of the West Ham game because no save, Antonio goal, no three points.

“Season after season the goalkeeper is player of the season, it means that something is wrong. Hopefully he’s not player of the season this season but hopefully he keeps making important saves for us like he did in last week”

And so to today’s news:

David De Gea has been crowned the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year for 2017/18. The coveted award is certainly in safe hands as the Spanish stopper has now won it more times than any other player in United’s history. It’s the fourth time in five seasons that De Gea has claimed the historic accolade.

De Gea is the only goalkeeper to have won the award. He’s won it in both season’s Mourinho has been in charge.

This is the list of all the winners to date since the award was first given in 1988:

1987–88 Brian McClair, Forward
1988–89 Bryan Robson, Midfielder
1989–90 Gary Pallister, Defender
1990–91 Mark Hughes, Forward
1991–92 Brian McClair
1992–93 Paul Ince, Midfielder
1993–94 Eric Cantona, Forward
1994–95 Andrei Kanchelskis, Midfielder
1995–96 Eric Cantona France Forward
1996–97 David Beckham, Midfielder
1997–98 Ryan Giggs, Midfielder
1998–99 Roy Keane, Midfielder
1999–2000 – Roy Keane
2000–01 Teddy Sheringham, Forward
2001–02 Ruud van Nistelrooy, Forward
2002–03 Ruud van Nistelrooy, Forward
2003–04 Cristiano Ronaldo, Midfielder
2004–05 Gabriel Heinze, Defender
2005–06 Wayne Rooney, Forward
2006–07 Cristiano Ronaldo
2007–08 Cristiano Ronaldo
2008–09 Nemanja Vidić, Defender
2009–10 Wayne Rooney
2010–11 Javier Hernández, Forward
2011–12 Antonio Valencia, Midfielder
2012–13 Robin van Persie, Forward
2013–14 David de Gea, Goalkeeper
2014–15 David de Gea
2015–16 David de Gea
2016–17 Ander Herrera, Midfielder
2017–18 David de Gea

And next year’s winner is…

Posted: 2nd, May 2018 | In: manchester united, Sports | Comment


Clickbait balls: Arsenal’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan crawls to Madrid

Henrikh Mkhitaryan is back training with Arsenal ahead of their do-or-die Europa League match with Atletico Madrid. The Armenian has emerged as a key figure in Arsenal’s season. Last weekend, he scored on his first return visit to Manchester United, with whom he won the Europa League last season. Good news for Arsenal, then, that Mkhitaryan is fit.

Of course, he isn’t fit – well, not if you get your news from the Daily Express and Daily Star he’s not. In both tabloids, Mkhitaryan hasn’t played since April 11:

 

Henrikh Mkhitaryan injury

The Star

Henrikh Mkhitaryan

The Express

 

Shameless clickbait we expect from the Star and Express, of course. The Express operates in the twilight zone between fact and fiction. You don’t need Facebook for fake news – you just need an editorial staff run by the advertising department and Google News to play ball and promote your rubbish on its front page…

Posted: 2nd, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Spurs striker Harry Kane is still stressing over that tweet

Someone should tell Tottenham striker Harry Kane that no comment is still a comment. He’s still stressing over that tweet sent from the FA Cup account, you know, the one posted after Manchester United’s 2-1 FA Cup semi-final victory over Spurs. “What’s in your pocket?” asked the FA of United defender Chris Smalling. A short clip played of him replying: “Harry Kane.”

“I talked to the gaffer about it and all he was saying was, ‘Would other countries do that to their own players?’ Probably not,” says Kane. “The FA tweet was a silly tweet, we all know that. It is something that has gone, it was two weeks ago or whatever it was, I am over it.”

So about the…

“The gaffer said I was sad about it, but I am focused. I am a guy who gets on with things. If it happens, it happens, I move on, I look forward, I look forward to the next game, that’s all I worry about, getting out on the pitch and doing my job.”

Good job that claiming scoring goals as if his daughter’s life depended on it is the only thing on his mind…

Posted: 2nd, May 2018 | In: Sports, Spurs | Comment


Arsenal to recruit Liverpool’s Buvac on the cheap

Is it “bizarre” for Liverpool assistant manager Zeljko Buvac to be linked with the Arsenal manager’s job? The Liverpool Post says it is. Buvac, the Bosnian who has coached alongside Jurgen Klopp for 17 years until a recent schism, would make a decent fist of managing the Gunners; far better than Arsenal Wenger’s current Number 2, the uninspiring Steve Bould.

The source of the story linking Buvac with Arsenal is Pravda BL – the publication that was earlier than most to confirm Klopp’s appointment at Anfield. Pravda BL says Buvac has agreed to replace Wenger. The deal is done. If it is, Arsenal fans should be pleased. The man nicknamed ‘The Brain’ is a talented coach. He’s untainted by failure and high expectation that comes with a bigger name. And he’ll come relatively cheap.

“Zeljko is football expertise incarnate,” Klopp said of his assistant. “I learn every day from him.” Dortmund midfielder Nuri Sahin described him as “basically Klopp’s twin”.

Arsenal seem to have been making plans to get Buvac for some time. The Londoners recruited Sven Mislintat, as Arsenal’s head of recruitment in December 2017. He and Buvac worked together at Borussia Dortmund during Klopp’s time at the German club. Klopp made Mislinat Dortmund’s chief scout.

Colin Bell, who was reserve-team coach at Mainz under Klopp, told the Times about Buvac:

“Zeljko reads the game very well, he has great footballing ideas and is always looking at finding new ways on how to play and train.

“When Mainz started to play 4-3-3 it was different to the Dutch way, where you have a central striker and two out-and-out wingers. Zeljko wanted the players to keep moving around, interchanging, coming inside.

“Andriy Voronin [who would later join Liverpool] scored 20 goals for Mainz [in 2002-03] and he was all over the pitch, working really hard from central striker or right wing and left wing and it was so difficult for opponents to stop him and others. I can see those sorts of aspects in the Liverpool style now, especially with the quality of the player they have.

“Closing down, surrounding opponents, going hunting for the ball — that all started in Mainz. That was one of Zeljko’s big things and he did specific training forms for that.”

Kuvac for Arsenal is it is, then. The more you consider the idea, the more sensible it looks.

Posted: 2nd, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Liverpool, Sports | Comment


Liverpool fans in Rome warned to expect blood on the bridge

We’ve heard a lot about medical facilities in Rome recently. Apparently they’re excellent, offering therapies and treatments the NHS can’t. Some comfort, then, for the 5,000 Liverpool fans arriving in Rome for the club’s second Champions League semi-final match with AS Roma. The Reds on tour have been warned to expect attacks from local ‘ultras’ and other thugs.

At Anfield in the first encounter, a gang of uniformed “fucking morons” attached to Roma beat a 53-year-old Liverpool fan into a coma. A banner held by Roma fans at Anfield declared “DDS Con Noi” (“Daniele De Santis is with us”). De Santis murdered a Napoli fan before the Italian cup final in 2014.

One likely black spot in Rome is the Duca D’Aosta bridge over the Tiber to the Stadio Olimpico. In 1984,  after Liverpool had defeated Roma to win the European Cup on the Italians’ home turf, there was blood on the Ponte Duca D’Aosta. “George Sharp, a friend’s father, was knifed in the kidneys and nearly bled to death,” recalls Tony Evans. “When his 16-year-old son Ian tried to get a policeman to help, the man smashed his baton across the teenager’s nose instead. Only the prompt action of another officer saved his dad’s life.”

Now Liverpool are back. “These are two sets of fans who don’t back down, so we have work to do,” says Giampietro Lionetti, head of city’s special branch. Italian football journalist Alessandro Catapano, warns: “Real violence at the stadium is difficult but there could be small groups going hunting for Liverpool fans on Tuesday night – that’s the danger moment.”

And then you’ve got to worry about the police…

Posted: 1st, May 2018 | In: Liverpool, Sports | Comment


Liverpool: Klopp isolated after his ‘master of training’ leaves

Liverpool will be moving on without Zeljko Buvac, the sallow one with the indy band hair sat next to Jurgen Klopp in the dugout. Liverpool’s 56-year-old assistant manager has left until the end of the season for “personal business” – it’s personal and it’s none of your business.

Although the Daily Record says Buvac (aka ‘The Brain’) and Klopp fell out. The Sun notes: “The relationship had broken down, and the players have been told Buvac is gone.”

Buvac, who became Klopp’s assistant at Mainz in 2001, has made no comment. Liverpool says he’s still employed by the club.

It’s an odd time to change the hierarchy. The pair were so tight having been at three clubs together over 17 years. Buvac once told the Sunday Express: “Both of us were looking to become managers and we promised each other, ‘If I am the first manager, I will take you and if you are the first manager you will take me’.” Klopp called Buvac the “master of every form of training”.

Who next?

Posted: 30th, April 2018 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, News, Sports | Comment


Biased Reporting: Jose’s ‘masterstroke’ helps Manchester United block Arsenal

Manchester United’s “never-say-die streak” saw them beat a much-weakened Arsenal side at Old Trafford – it was the Gunners’ youngest Premier League starting XI. The official Manchester United website says Jose Mourinho “outsmarted” Arsene Wenger by bringing on the very tall Marouane Fellaini late on and lobbing the ball towards his bonce. It was Jose’s “masterstroke” that Fellaini scored with his head against two young Arsenal centre backs who’d never played together before, including one making his debut.

The official Manchester United organ’s blinkered match report makes no mention of the fact that Arsenal’s goalscorer, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, used to play for the club – also not noting that Jose Mourinho shunted him out, just as he got shot of the Kevin De Bruyne and Mo Salah, when he thought neither of this season’s star turns for Man City and Liverpool, respectively, was good enough for his Chelsea.

But there is this on the opening goal:

It didn’t take long for United to make Wenger’s last time as Gunners boss initially uncomfortable when taking a 16th-minute lead. Pogba started and finished the move. The France midfielder stroked a pass to Romelu Lukaku and went driving on into the area. Lukaku’s cross was met with a header from Alexis Sanchez. His hopes of a dream goal against his former employers were dashed as his effort hit Hector Bellerin and came off a post, only for Pogba to volley home.

It hit Bellerin?

The Daily Telegraph saw this:

Unmarked, Sanchez’s diving header was diverted onto the post by Hector Bellerin at full-stretch only for the ball to rebound to Pogba who simply volleyed it into the unguarded net.

As for the official Arsenal website, it went like this:

Alexis looked certain to score with his head at the far post, but Hector Bellerin made a superb diving block to divert his effort onto the post. Unfortunately the ball fell straight to the waiting Pogba to tap home.

What say the papers?

The Islington Gazette adds:

…the goal itself was slightly fortuitous as Hector Bellerin’s block from Alexis Sanchez’s header diverted the ball onto David Ospina’s right hand post.

The Ham & High needs a lesson in human anatomy:

Excellent block from Alexis Sanchez’s header deserved better than for it to hit the post and rebound back for Pogba to head home.

And the Manchester Evening News shoves Bellerin down the memory hole:

Great counter attack by United. Pogba out to Sanchez on his right who floats in a great cross, Sanchez header at the far post comes off the post and Pogba’s there to finish it and put United 1-0 up.

They say “volley”. You say “tap”. They say “hit. You say “superb diving block”.

One thing the Arsenal website fails to mention is the dire fact that Arsenal have now lost six successive away fixtures in the league for the first time since Billy Wright was their manager in 1966. But, yep, Jose’s the master.

Wenger OUT!

Posted: 29th, April 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, manchester united, News, Sports | Comment