Anorak

Sports | Anorak - Part 8

Sports Category

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.

Pray for broken Arsenal ‘star’ Mohamed Elneny

So how was Arsenal’s “star” player Mohamed Elneny injured playing against West Ham?

The Express: “Elneny crumpled to the floor after a challenge from Mark Noble, and caused a lengthy delay as he received treatment…. The Egyptian star was visibly devastated by the incident which could have put his World Cup participation under threat.”

Bad foul, then? And he’s out for weeks?

The Sun: “Arsenal ace Mohamed Elneny in tears on stretcher with ankle in brace and fears World Cup hopes could be dashed.” It’s the Egyptian’s “Injury El”. It “appeared to be a freak injury in a challenge for a high ball with Mark Noble”.

A freak injury! Will he walk again? “There was no word whether Elneny had broken any bones. Although he will need to go for scans on his ankle ligaments and an A-Ray to confirm there are not any broken limbs.”

He’s broken his leg? His arm? His arms and legs?

No.

“It’s an ankle problem that is very painful,” said Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger after the game. “Overall I believe that we have to wait until the X-ray to know a little more about it. But Thursday will be too soon for him.”

Why mention broken limbs?

And now for an update on Jack Wilshere, Mesut Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan ahead of Thursday’s Europa League match at the Emirates.

“Jack had a training session today and he looked positive so he has a good chance to be available for Thursday. Ozil was sickness so I cannot tell you much more about that. We will have to see how he recovers tomorrow. But Mkhitaryan won’t be available on Thursday.”

That would be the Mkhitaryan who is now back in training and of whom the papers said two weeks ago: “Henrikh Mkhitaryan could miss rest of Arsenal season with knee injury” (Daily Telegraph) and “Arsenal star Henrikh Mkhitaryan could miss rest of the season after fears of knee ligament damage” (Daily Mirror).

Anyone else thing Ozil and Wilshere are just being rested for the game with Atletico Madrid, Mkhitaryan is not being rushed back so that he can play in the second leg in Spain and – well, Elneny – pray for him. Sky says he “rolled his ankle”.

They shoot horses…

Posted: 22nd, April 2018 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


When Joe Strummer ran the London Marathon?

Did Joe Strummer run the London Marathon in 1983 and the Paris Marathon a year earlier?

 

trummerParisMarathonrace1982theclash

 

As a boarding school lad, The Clash front man was a talented and enthusiastic runner. So maybe he did…

In the documentary Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten, we get to see and hear Joe talking about athletic pursuits in Paris before the release of The Clash’s Combat Rock (1982). Legend has it that Bernie Rhodes, the band’s manager, wanted to create intrigue to boost interest and thus ticket sales by having Strummer vanish for a while. The plan was for Strummer to get lost in Austin, Texas. Strummer was warm to the idea but instead of Austin went to Paris, without telling anyone. And whilst there he ran the Paris Marathon in just under three and a half hours. His keep-fit regime for success: “Drink 10 pints of beer the night before the race. Ya got that? And don’t run a single step at least four weeks before the race.”

 

 

The Paris story remains unsubstantiated. But Strummer did run the London Marathon, completing the course in 4hours 13minutes.

 

Joe strummer London marathon

 

 

Chris Salewicz (Redemption Song: The Ballad of Joe Strummer) quotes Gaby Salter revealing: “He hadn’t trained. He just bought some shorts and said, ‘Let’s run a marathon.”‘.Antony Genn, who worked with Strummer in the Mescaleros, recalls the runner telling him: “I didn’t fuckin’ train. Not once. Just turned up and did it.”

Spotter: Reddit, Flashbak, OpenCulture

Posted: 22nd, April 2018 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, Music, Sports, Strange But True | Comment


Spurs balls: £120m on five new players and just one out

No soon do we read in the Telegraph that Mauricio Pochettino has “hinted” at his imminent departure from Spurs – which he sort of did and sort of didn’t – than the Independent says his club will spend – get his – “at least £120m” on new players this summer.

The player the Indy “understands” Sours will buy are Newcastle United’s Jamaal Lascelles, Ajax’s Matthijs de Ligt, Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha, and West Brom pair Jonny Evans and Jay Rodriguez. All are being “considered”. And where are they all going to play, then? This is utter guff from the Indy, which cites not a single source for its story.

The Indy reasons that Spurs will balance he books with the sale of Toby Alderweireld.

The Indy’s shameless clickbaiting is lampooned by its own lay-out: Zaha stays!

 

independent clickbait spurs

 

 

Says Zaha:

“Crystal Palace is my home town and the support we have here is genuine support with families watching with their kids loving us as players so I don’t really see myself anywhere else. I am enjoying my football here and just focused on us being a stable club and not having to listen to all the speculation about us getting relegated.”

Words on Spurs:  none.

Posted: 22nd, April 2018 | In: Back pages, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Pochettinho: ‘Tottenham needs more time – with me or another manager’

Hard cheese on Spurs, then, losing their 8th FA Cup semi-final in a row. Their last victory at that stage of the FA Cup came 27 years ago. Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino has now presided over two semi-final defeats in consecutive seasons. After the match he said “to create that [success] doesn’t take a few years, Tottenham needs more time – with me or another [manager].”

Is he thinking of leaving the club? Pochettino is contracted to Spurs until 2021. He told BeIn Sports:

“To compete in this type of game, I think we are ready to compete – but win is different. The most important [thing] is that we are in this process, that after four years we can compete and that is fantastic. But the disappointment and frustration is that we are close but we cannot reach. I told your colleague before that with me or another coaching staff the club needs to push on, working in this direction and will be fantastic one day for Tottenham to reach the same level as the clubs like Manchester United and Manchester City. But a long way to work to arrive at this next level.”

Dele Alli, who scored the opening goal at a time when Spurs looked to be in control of the match and were well on top of Man United, summed up his feelings to the BBC:

“We let ourselves down, it’s very disappointing. We have to try and pick ourselves up and finish the season strongly. You can’t go 1-0 up and then 2-1 down against a team like Manchester United. We can’t put ourselves in that situation. We were dominant from the first minute and it only looked to be going one way. Everyone talks. We want to win trophies, we have the staff that want to win. We can’t keep doing this. We can’t throw it away. We have got to improve.”

But how can they?

Posted: 22nd, April 2018 | In: Sports, Spurs | Comment


Arsenal: sacked Wenger gets £11m compensation

Arsenal are paying Arsene Wenger – get this – £11m to leave at the end of the season. Well, so says the Sun. It’s pretty much what he would have earned for the final year of his contract – which implies he was more pushed than we realise.

Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov said: “It’s a day of great sadness.” But it isn’t for the club’ s fans how have been watching Wenger’s ‘end of an era’ football for years. His years of changing things and winning the league have long departed. His aura of menace vanished years go. Usmanov’s emotions maybe more to do with his lack of control over hiring and firing at the club that despite his big stake won’t give him a seat on the board.

The decision to let the always classy Wenger go was Stan Kroenke’s, Arsenal’s absentee owner who fears that another season without Champions League cash and all those fat dividends will hurt his huge bank balance – and reduce the club’s value. And then season ticket renewal time is looming. Last season Ivan Gazidis, Arsenal’s CEO,  handed Wenger another two-year contract, a move possessed of a lazy pragmatism; if not Wenger, then who? Arsenal had no clue. Wenger has gone from mainstay to stop gap. Gazidis blathered about another two years of the same old being a “catalyst for change”. Change came: Arsenal got worse.

So what next? The paper talks is of familiar faces: Juventus boss Max Allegri; ex-Barcelona boss Luis Enrique; Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers; and gun-for-hire Carlo Ancelotti. None of them excite the fans. They all represent playing it safe – people who have managed at big clubs and done well.

But Arsenal need bravery and courage. They need to get the figure who inspires. Why no Monaco’s Leonardo Jardim, a man who manages a team ever other club wants to recruit from? Be brave, Arsenal. Give the fans something complicated, daring and new to be intrigued and interested by. Give us new forms of keep-fit and training; give us new ways for players to express themselves; give us an end to the culture of playing “a little bit with the handbrake on’; give us a team of skilled tough-nuts and fighters. Give us another Wenger – you know, the one who should have gone in 2008!

Posted: 21st, April 2018 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports | Comment


Arsenal: Wenger gives a ‘heavy hint’ he’ll stay

The Daily Mirror has been guessing about the timing of Arsene Wenger’s departure from Arsenal for so long, the feeling was that eventually the paper would get it right. The “WE told you so!” headlines would mask the myriad times when the paper got it utterly wrong.

 

daily mirror wenger quits sack resigns arsenal

 

So how did the ‘intelligent tabloid” report on Wenger and Arsenal on the very day when he announced his departure at his season’s end?’ Well, like this:

Wenger gave a further heavy hint he will still be at the Emirates next season when he insisted there were no issues with the Arsenal crowd, despite fans staying away in their droves from recent home matches

 

arsene wenger daily mirror

Daily Mirror fails to nail it – again

 

Ah:

 

arsene wenger daily mirror

In the Mirror on the day Wenger announced his Arsenal departure

 

Oh dear. Even a stopped watch is right twice a day…

 

 

Posted: 20th, April 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Arsenal: Gazidis outlines his vision for life after Wenger; he hasn’t got one

Ivan Gazidis, the hapless Arsenal CEO, has a few words to say on the identify of the next Arsenal manager. He’s no idea who it’ll be. He’s had few years to be bold, identify a target and get his man. But instead Gazidis has sat on his wallet and lazily rewarded Arsene Wenger’s decline with new contracts and empty talk of sticking with the same old representing a “catalyst for change”. Wenger has a year left on his current deal. Season tickets are to be renewed soon. Arsenal fear apathy and fans not coughing up. Empty seats don’t sell food and drinks on match day.

Says Gazidis on being asked who the next manager will be: “Someone who plays exciting and progressive football. But I think there is also a significant thing at Arsenal in how the candidate represents the club. We need to make sure we don’t lose his qualities and his values.”

Balls, of course. The only thing Arsenal’s hierarchy value is money. The next manger will be expected to secure one thing above all else: income that comes with Champion’s League football and a full ground.

Does any Arsenal fan think Gazidis has the nous to appoint a manager of vision, one for the long-term? “This has been an emotional day for all involved at the club,” Gazidis adds, “his achievements are extraordinary… there’s an affection for him across the whole sphere of football. Arsene changed the game, he set a totally new standard, to make art out of football.”

Art? Has he been watching the last few seasons. Unless Gazidis means that functional, boring art of the type that fails to inspire, the stuff used to hide a stain on the wall? What tosh.

Blessedly, Gazidis and the club’s absentee American owner Stan Kroenke have recruited promisingly. Gazidis adds:

“We have a tremendous amount of experience at the football club. [Head of football relations] Raul Sannlehhi has seen several Barcelona coaching changes and [head of recruitment] Sven Mislintat has been at Borussia Dortmund for changes while on the board we have those who have been around for long enough to see even changes at Arsenal. That said, no one here has been through a coaching change like this.”

The best thing about it all is that now Arsenal fans can say farewell to Wenger in style. The bad news is that the money men who have overseen the decline are still in charge.

Posted: 20th, April 2018 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports | Comment


Arsenal finally get shot of Arsene Wenger

Rejoice, Gooners! Arsene Wenger will leave Arsenal at the end of this season. He was fantastic for Arsenal, who before his arrival were moribund. But now he too is stalled and out of ideas. It’s been like that for years.

The 68-year-old Frenchman will leave in May after 22 years at the club – 12 months before his latest contract was due to end. His record is impressive: three Premier League titles, seven FA Cups, the Double in 1998 and 2002 – and runners up in the: Champions League, Uefa Cup, FA Cup (all once), the Premier League (6 tim3s) and League Cup (3). And who can forget that entire league season without defeat. Just incredible.

Wenger changed everything. Out went the booze and the late nights. In came diet, data, athleticism and belief.

The hope must be that the flaky team galvanise to give the manger a great send off and win the Europa League, and with it qualify for next season’s champions League. Don’t bet on it. The current Arsenal side is weak, lazy and slipshod.

The fact remains: Wenger should have gone years ago. His tenure has been endured and endorsed by absentee owners and a palsied board grown fat and rich on the back of Wenger’s uncanny ability to make Arsenal into perennial Champions’ League also-rans. When that cash ended with failure to qualify last season, the owner opened an eye and ran his his tongue over it. This is about money and greed.

Arsenal are now slow. Their recruitment policy is deeply flawed – what price now Granit Xhaka and Shkodran Mustafi, two big money buys who look short on skill, aggression, ability and desire. they are a club lacking cohesion. And for that the remote and money-mad owners must share a large slice of blame.

What next? Who cares? It can only be more interesting. Arsenal under Wenger have been treading water for years. He’s going. Good. Rejoice!

Posted: 20th, April 2018 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Spurs balls: Harry Kane is ‘greedy’ and ‘self-serving’ for telling the truth

“Harry Kane strikes to put Tottenham in front,” says NBC, which broadcast Premier League “soccer” to a US audience. The story continues: “Tottenham’s Heung-Min Son walks the tight rope on the endline [touchline] and lays the ball off to Harry Kane who smashes a shot into the goal to make it 1-0 against Brighton.”

But the need for controversy is all powerful. And so it is that the Sun can watches the same goal and cry on its back page: “Harry Kane claimed another goal in his hunt for the golden boot – despite not getting the final touch.”

 

the sun harry kane

 

What about smashing it in?

The Sun’;s scoop is based not on the goal but on Spurs’ April win over Stoke, which featured a disagreement over the game’;s deceive goal. The BBC reported:

Tottenham’s Harry Kane has been awarded Spurs’ second goal in Saturday’s 2-1 win at Stoke after a successful appeal. The Premier League goals accreditation panel had initially given it to Spurs midfielder Christian Eriksen.

It said the decision had been reversed “after taking the player’s testimony into account and reviewing the match footage”.

England striker Kane’s tally for the season is now 25 – four behind Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah.

So when Kane scored in his next match, the Sun wanted to keep alive the controversy. The story is ridiculous:

His untypically underwhelming performances have suggested he has rushed back too soon from an injury.

Or as the Sun put it on April 2: “Tottenham star Harry Kane reveals he is fitter and fresher than ever after his cameo appearance in 3-1 Chelsea win.”

Back to the Sun’s story of April 19, in which Kane has been expressing a “downbeat demeanour” since his return from injury.

And that goal he claimed – the one the FA agreed should have been credited to him:

England’s star striker, football’s one bastion of decency with no skeletons in his closet and who is revered by housewives and vicars all over the country for being all about the beautiful game, is just like the rest of his greedy, self-serving contemporaries.

So let’s see the Brighton goal – the one Kane didn’t get the final touch on, says the Sun – the implication being that never did scored it:

 


 

Kane;s goal all the way. Such are the facts.

Posted: 19th, April 2018 | In: Back pages, News, Sports, Spurs, Tabloids | Comment


Manchester City in marketing horror show: two videos reveal the fantasy of being a fan of ‘the project’

Manchester City have won the Premier League. In case you haven’t seen these two videos, they provide a sobering contrast between fantasy and reality. Enjoy!

 

The Fantasy of Manchester City:

 

 

 

The Reality of Manchester City:

 

If you’re celebrating now, clap your hands – (who says that?)

If you’re extras for the UAE, say ‘Mike Summerbee?’

If you think modern football’s rubbish, shrug your shoulders.

If you pity Man City, pity Man City, if you pity Man City, well, you’re only jealous…

Posted: 18th, April 2018 | In: Manchester City, News, Sports | Comment


Manchester United Transfers: Paul Pogba touted to Manchester City and, well, anyone

Paul Pogba was going to be the world’s greatest midfielder when he re-signed for Manchester United. He’d become the pulsating heart of United’s post-Ferguson return to the top. Former United star Rio Ferdinand told us Pogba was “on the right track ” to becoming the best player on the planet.

“This is the right club for me to achieve everything I hope to,” said Pogba in 2016. Pogba, who left United for free in 2012 – joining Juventus, where he won four league titles – was coming ‘home’. United manager Jose Mourinho told us Pogba could be “the heart of the club for the next decade and beyond”.

The money was huge. Pogba was recruited for £89m. The Times heard that Pogba’s agent, Mino Raiola, was taking £41million from the deal. The same paper claimed Pogba was being paid an initial £165,588 a week by United, with an additional payment of £2.87 million for image rights. Reportedly, this season his salary was enlarged with a “loyalty bonus” of £3.46 million.

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Posted: 18th, April 2018 | In: manchester united, News, Sports | Comment


Manchester United: The Sun buries the hatchet in Marcus Rashford’s Cane Corso

PHEW! For a while it looked as if Marcus Rashford, the Manchester United striker, was going to be given time to develop as a top-flight England footballer. But the Sun has reached for the hatchet, just as it did in 2017, when apropos of nothing it told readers about the “£30,000-plus Rashford spends annually on car insurance” and how he “splashed out £14,500 on a Rolex Santos wristwatch for his mother Melanie’s birthday”.

One year on and in “Manchester United star Marcus Rashford needs a reality check… he has the car, the gold and even the dog but is still just a substitute”, we get more spite.

The story begins: “NO wonder Marcus Rashford is confused.” No, he’s not confused because he thought making a career from a leisure pursuit was living the dream. This is all about the marketing, the hype machine that has turned footballers into ‘legends’, ‘icons’ and  – dread phrase – ‘role models’. So wrapped about a few photos and a video of Rashford advertising Nike tat, the Sun constructs the story of a man in moral decline:

They dunked the kid in gold paint, dangling a pair of their latest boots around his neck as part of another extravagant advertising campaign to promote their glamorous range.

Rashford’s presented as a slack-jawed, mentally negligible clothes horse. And he’s guilty. He’s guilty of not being the best footballer in the world and playing for Real Madrid:

This is not Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored in his 11th successive Champions League match with Real Madrid’s last-minute penalty against Juventus at the Bernabeu on Wednesday.

No. It’s Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford wearing “glamorous” man-made fibres.

When Rashford returned to the day job at Old Trafford, he was still a Manchester United substitute. He is living in a bubble, a cosseted world that will seem pretty cool to a kid who grew up in Wythenshawe… Nike are taking full advantage of that innocence.

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Posted: 16th, April 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, News, Sports | Comment


Clickbait Balls: Manchester Untied fans are not wild about Depay

Clickbait time now, as we read in the Manchester Evening News about Memphis Depay, the Dutch footballer who joined Manchester United for €35,000,000 in June 2015 and on January 20 2017 moved to Olympique Lyonnais for €18.5million. News is that Memphis has been on the phone, a happening retold in the MEN story: “Manchester United fans sent wild after Memphis Depay’s cryptic Instagram post.”

Wild! Well, he is the new Paul Pogba:

Eager to avoid a Pogba-like scenario, when a young talent goes on to flourish elsewhere, United included a buy-back clause in the £22m deal that took Memphis to Lyon in January, 2017.

Why United wold want him is moot. Depay plays on the left of a front three or as a central striker. Where would he play at United? And talk of his United return is astonishing guesswork. The entire story is based around an Instagram post. Memphis is seen walking by a plane. He is on the phone. He writes: “Touch down in….? on the phone with…?”

Is the answer, Syria and Vladimir Putin? Or how about, Orlando and Mickey Mouse? Or how about the guess by ‘Georgeshap’, who noted: “Back in Manchester to get things back on track with United.”

And from that the MEN has its story.

And is buy-back clause is not as the MEN described it when he left for Lyons. Back then the paper told its readers:

It will mean a loss for the Reds who paid PSV Eindhoven £26.3m to take him to Old Trafford in 2015. Because of that United have insisted on a first-refusal buy-back clause and a sell-on clause should they choose to let him go elsewhere.

It’s not him United want. It’s a chance to mitigate the financial loss.

 

Posted: 13th, April 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, News, Sports | Comment


Arsenal’s Elneny has red card revoked

The FA does not agree with Mark Hughes, the red-card hungry Southampton manager, nor the referee for Arsenal’s 3-2 Premier League over The Saints last weekend: Mohamed Elneny’s red card has been revoked. The Egyptian was sent off in the game’s dying moments.

Hughes put on the blinkers and opined after defeat to Arsenal: “Elneny has raised a hand to Cedric’s face. That’s a sending off clearly.” Hughes it not alone is being unaware where the face ends and body begins. Referee Andre Marriner also thought a powder puff push on Cedric Soares’ shoulder worthy of a straight red.

The FA statement tells us: “Mohamed Elneny will be available for Arsenal’s next three games after an Independent Regulatory Commission accepted that he was wrongly dismissed for violent conduct against Southampton on Sunday, April 8, 2018.”

 

 

But still Hughes can’t work out where the face is. He moans: “Elneny raised his hands to an opposition player’s face. In the letter of the law he should have gone.” No he did not. That was not his face.

“For them to appeal that and it to be rescinded surprised me to be perfectly honest.” Honest?

“There were other incidents as well where there needs to be continuity and consistency with the referee’s decision making and it seems to be at odds with what you would expect in certain situations.”

It’s hard to be consistent and honest when one of us seems unaware what the face is and isn’t.

Hughes is the proverbial broken record. Having supported the case for Elneny’s red card and called for Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere to be sent off for ‘moving his knee‘, this was Hughes when his Stoke City side drew with Southampton in December 2016:

“The ref wasn’t great on the night. He missed a number of decisions and clearly missed an elbow from Shane Long on Bruno Martins Indi. That needs looking at again. If you’re going to make game-changing decisions like that, then all the other key moments and decisions he has to get right too.”

He’s been moaning for years. This was Hughes in 2012, when he was at QPR:

“The key thing from my point of view is you have to be 100% right to give the decisions and at the moment I think people are guessing and hoping that they get decisions correct.

“Listen, it’s difficult. I’m not here to castigate the referee. All we want is referees and officials to get the big decisions right and unfortunately this weekend they haven’t covered themselves in glory… these are massive decisions affecting people’s livelihoods.

“I think the [decisions] this weekend are certainly down to the competence of the referee and his performance level. They don’t mean [to get it wrong] but surely the level needs to be higher than it is at the moment. They are a professional body now and they have the opportunity to review performances. I just think at the moment it’s a numbers game and possibly they haven’t got enough numbers of the right quality.”

And till he gets hired. Why?

Posted: 12th, April 2018 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports | Comment


The Sun finds drink-driving ‘amusing’

Is driving over the speed limit a lark? Government figures tells us that in 2013, “3,064 people were killed or seriously injured in crashes where speed was a factor”. Adding: “The risk of death is approximately four times higher when a pedestrian is hit at 40mph than at 30mph.”

 

the sun jon boon

 

So here’s the Sun to deliver: “SPEED DEMONS – Footballers speeding: Mario Balotelli, Roberto Firmino and Yaya Toure are just some of the names caught by cops for driving offences.”

The sorry feature begins: “If you’ve got a fast car, you’re always going to want to test the brakes, right?” No. Wrong.

In the recent aftermath of Lee Catermole getting a driving ban for accumulating too many points on his license, join SunSport in sharing other offenders.

License? In the UK, it’s a driving licence. You are licensed to dive. But the Sun isn’t listening. “[Nathan] Redmond was officially clocked at driving 71mph in his £80,000 Range Rover and given a £1,000 fine,” we’re told. “However, he escaped with six points in his license and his license wasn’t suspended.” Anyone else remember when the Sun was the apogee of the sub-editor’s craft?

 

the sun jon boon

 

But that’s not the worst of it. The Sun adds:

Amusingly enough, some of these lads aren’t best known for their pace on the pitch…

 

the sun drink driving

Drink-driving kills – but it an be “amusing”

 

drink driving the sun

“Amusing”?

 

Speeding is amusing? Driving over the speed limit is funny? What about drink-driving? Is that good for a joke? The Sun notes:

Yaya Toure
Talk about being made an example of.

The Man City midfield stroller/player was handed the biggest driving fine ever – £54,000 – for drink driving in 2016.

You can’t blame Facebook for everything wrong in journalism.  Dire. Truly dire stuff from the Sun.

Posted: 12th, April 2018 | In: Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Pep Guardiola is nicking a living at Manchester City

Manchester City were a little unlucky to lose 5-1 to Liverpool in the Champions’ League. Raheem Sterling should have been awarded a penalty in the first game; and City should have been just 3-2 down when the referee wrongly disallowed a goal that had gone in off Liverpool’s James Milner. But to Stan Collymore, a Cup result was all about puncturing the Pep Guardiola bubble:

Tweeting under @StanCollymore, the former Liverpool player notes:

“Changed the game”
“Never seen anything like this ”
“Revolutionary”
“Favourites for the quadruple ”
“Greatest team ever in English football ”

Not one or two, the most sycophantic press pack ever towards one man, desperate for the exclusive 1 on 1 sit down.

Sycophantic cobblers.

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Posted: 11th, April 2018 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, Manchester City, News, Sports | Comment


Arsenal cheats inspired by Mark Hughes’ noble Southampton

A pattern has set in with Mark Hughes. The Southampton manager reacted to defeat at Arsenal by arguing that his side had been short-changed by the referee. Southampton’s Jack Stephens was sent off in the 93rd minute for shoving Jack Wilshere, who’d ripped his shirt. Moments later, Arsenal’s Mohamed Elneny was sent off for a mild shove on Cédric Soares. Hughes wanted three red cards – two was not enough.

“I think there should have been another one. I think Wilshere should have been sent off,” opined the manager possessed of a remarkable ability to survive in the Premier League – Southampton is the fifth Premier League club Hughes has managed on the spin. Having produced teams routinely bereft of guile, style and hope, chairmen can press f9 on the emergency keyboard and hire Hughes.  “If you look at it again, Jack Stephens has obviously reacted to being pulled back for about 20 yards, which is understandable,” he went on. “It’s not correct, but it’s understandable to a certain extent. But I felt, well, if you’re going to send Jack off, you have to send Wilshere off for bouncing up. I thought I saw a definite movement with his knee towards Jack, so the referee should have just seen that [and] should have sent them both off.”

A move of the knee is a red card?

He then aded: “Elneny has raised a hand to Cédric’s face, so that’s a sending off, clearly. So maybe there should have been three.”

Hughes likes the opposition to be sent off. He wants more of it. This is what he’s said this season:

“The referee has made a call on Alonso. He could have been sent off” – Mark Hughes following Stoke City’s 4-0 defeat to Chelsea.

“I don’t see why he should be refereeing this weekend” – Mark Hughes wanted Liverpool’s Simon Mignolet to have been sent off in Liverpool’s 3-0 win over Stoke. Fair-minded Hughes also wanted ref Martin Atkinson taken off a Premier League game by way of punishment.

It’ll only be right and proper when team facing Hughes’ noble toilers start two men down and have to earn extra players for displays of virtue. The man’s commitment to fairness is an inspiration.

Posted: 9th, April 2018 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports | Comment


Pray 4 Henrikh Mkhitaryan; Arsenal star will play again

In the over-heated,  clickbait-heavy world of online football journalism, any injury is potentially cataclysmic. And so it was when Arsenal’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan injured his knee in the Gunners’ 4-1 Europa League win over CSKA Moscow. Newspapers’ websites were full of news that the Armenian “could” miss the rest of the season. And that was before he’d even had a scan. Many wondered if Mkhitaryan would ever play again. We thought he’d be back in a couple of weeks. But the narrative was very much on the side of doom:

Henrikh Mkhitaryan could miss rest of Arsenal season with knee injury – Daily Telegraph

Arsenal star Henrikh Mkhitaryan could miss rest of the season after fears of knee ligament damage – Daily Mirror

A few days on and Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger tells media: “He’s got knee ligament damage. He will not be available for Thursday and not for Newcastle and certainly not for the week after, when we play West Ham. I think he will miss these games for sure, but he could still play at the end of the season.”

And how did the newspapers broadcast this update? Well, the Mirror and Telegraph said not a word. Bad news is so much more clickable.

But the London Standard notes:

Initial fears had Mkhitaryan out for the remainder of the term after limping out of the Europa League quarter-final first leg on the hour mark, with scans revealing ligament damage to his knee.

However Wenger, who had expressed concern that the Armenian could be sidelined for “several weeks”, now expects Mkhitaryan to only miss Arsenal’s next three games.

That’s quite a change from the paper’s earlier news: “Arsenal star Henrikh Mkhitaryan could face several weeks on sidelines, confirms Arsene Wenger.”

He confirmed nothing of the sort – how can you confirm something that only could or could not happen?

Anyhow, it;s good news. Mkhitaryan walks! It’s a miracle. #pray4Miki

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


Arsenal’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan ‘could’ return in 2 weeks

Injury forced Arsenal’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan to come off early during the Gunners’ 4-1 win over CSKA Moscow. Facing the media after that Europa Cup quarter-final tie, in which Arsenal were sensational in attack and shaky at the back  – better shooting from CSKa would have have hurt them – Arsene Wenger talked of the Armenian international.

This is the full text of that he said about Mkhitaryan:

Micki came off and he will be out for Sunday. He has a scan and the fear is that his medial knee ligament has been touched. We’ll know more about that soon. For how long he will be out, I don’t know.

When pressed if he thought Mkhitaryan could be out for a number of weeks, Wenger told Sky Sports News: “I fear this. I hope I’m wrong.”

Cue the doom-mongers and what “could” happen (none of it’s good):

Henrikh Mkhitaryan could miss rest of Arsenal season with knee injury – Daily Telegraph

Arsenal star Henrikh Mkhitaryan could miss rest of the season after fears of knee ligament damage – Daily Mirror

Arsenal star Henrikh Mkhitaryan could face several weeks on sidelines, confirms Arsene Wenger – Evening Standard

Or else he, you know, could not.

The big fixture for Arsenal is the Europe League semi-final, scheduled to be played on the 26/04/18 and 03/05/18.

And what if it is medial ligament damages, brought about by a clash of knees, as happened to Mkhitaryan? The BBC tells us:

Return?
You can have a minor pull which heals within a few weeks, or a major pull which takes between one and three months.

If it is a medial ligament issue, all could be well in a few weeks.

If it is completely torn you could be out for a year.

It’s not.

Treatment
Most cases do not require operations, but occasionally people run into major trouble.

The medial ligament is linked to the cartilage so further problems can result.

Physiotherapy is used as the medial ligament, being outside the joint, heals more easily than the internal cruciate ligaments.

Not so bad, then.

Cruciate injuries, however, require surgery to repair the damaged ligament and several hundred such operations are carried out on sports stars each year.

By way of comparisons, Manchester City’s damaged his medial collateral ligament on New Year’s Eve. He next played for City’s first team on February 25.

And the NHS tells us: “Most simple MCL sprains will recover in 2-4 weeks”.

So Mkhitaryan could be back in two weeks.

Posted: 6th, April 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Manchester City, News, Sports | Comment


Raheem Sterling v The Sun: Manchester City and England star attacked

Manchester City and England forward Raheem Sterling is “obscene”. Well, so the Sun told us. The same paper wants us to know: “RAHEEM STERLING has urged England fans to ‘give love’ and cut out the negativity.” England fans, like, the Sun?

The plea for unity continues: “The Manchester City star was battered by Three Lions fans at Euro 2016 – there was even an internet hate campaign to bring him home early from the tournament.” And it wasn’t just on the Internet where the former Liverpool player was getting attacked.

 

obscene-raheem-the-sun sterling

 

To the Sun, Raheem Sterling was a”hate figure”. The paper went studs up on the young athlete. “England failure steps off plane and insults fans by showing off blinging house,” thundered the paper.” Leave House & Garden and Hello! stuff for the newspaper editors end media barons, Sterling. Know thy place! And unnamed “source” opined: “Any normal person would hang their heads in shame after how they performed in France but these guys come home and show off about how rich they are.” He’s abnormal.

A “friend of Sterling” told the MEN newspaper:

“Raheem and his family are really upset that the fact he’s bought a nice house for his mum is being used to hammer him by the media and make him the scapegoat for England’s failure… He bought her the house as a thank you for all her support and help. Now to have his mum’s private life and house being mocked and thrown into the public spotlight has left him furious and frustrated.”

Law-abiding, tough, resilient, hard-working, talented athlete buys mum hard times who knew house. The basta…

And it got worse. Much worse. In 2016, the Sun – yep – told readers:

FOOTIE DRUG DEALER Semi-professional footballer turned to drug dealing so he could match the salaries of Prem stars

Which Premier League star do you think the Sun used to illustrate the story of an idiot, who lives in Bristol? We’ll give you a clue: the player is not mentioned once in the story. Yep, it’s Raheem Sterling.

 

Sterling-Social-Media-drugs

Spot the obscenity

 

What is it about Raheem Sterling that annoys them so?

Here’s what Sterling told BBC Radio 5 Live:

“I feel sometimes there is too much negativity. I’d love to hear some positive notes coming in, just to let the boys know everyone is behind them. Make the boys go off to the World Cup with a clear head knowing everyone is behind them and, trust me, you would see a better England. If we get behind those players, give them love, you wouldn’t know how much that would boost their confidence. It’s disappointing when you put on a shirt and get negative feedback but it’s what the fans want — to see you perform well.”

He’s right.

Posted: 3rd, April 2018 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, Manchester City, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Stoke City’s Xherdan Shaqiri blames his team-mates for relegation woes

With relegation looming, Stoke City need a galvanising force to stir team. Stoke are currently 19th in Premier League. They are circling the Premier League plug hole. So step forward, Stoke’s Swiss international Xherdan Shaqiri to tell his team-amter how rubbish they are.  The 26-year-old (!) attacking midfielder told Swiss magazine Sport:

The feeling that even a Ronaldinho could do little in this team is sobering.

I had to realise that it’s a bit different when you have players like (Franck) Ribery and Thiago (Alcantara) at Bayern or (Mauro) Icardi and (Mateo) Kovacic at Inter.

Here at Stoke I can not exert too much influence, simply because there is a lack of quality around me.

I can not just Löffel verwerfen (down tools) but it would take something extreme for Stoke in the transfer market this summer to revive my enthusiasm.

It’s not me. It’s them. What a great bloke.

Some stats on the player’s PL season to date:

Matches played: 29
Goals: 7
Shooting accuracy: 47%
Big chances missed: 2
Passes Per Match: 29.93
Duels Won: 93
Duels Lost: 124
Aerial Battles Won: 5
Aerial Battles Lost: 14

Shaqiri the Legend – the movie will be great.

Posted: 1st, April 2018 | In: News, Sports | Comment


Ray Wilkins: Chelsea to the core

Ray Wilkins, the former England captain who played for Manchester United, AC Milan, Paris Saint Germain, Ranger, QPR, Crystal Palace and Chelsea (debut at 17 and club captain a year later; assistant manager at Chelsea under no fewer than four different managers; two terms as caretaker manager), is unwell. Wilkins is in a London hospital. He is critically ill. His wife says things are “very bad” with the 61-year-old.

‘Butch’ Wilkins, a media mainstay, has been a favourite ever since when he explained his love for football as being payed to do his hobby.

Until his sacking in 2013, Wilkins represented continuity at Chelsea, a rare quality for club that treat staff as sundries.

 

 

 

And not forgetting this:

Get well soon, Ray.

Posted: 31st, March 2018 | In: Chelsea, News, Sports | Comment


Steve Smith quits Australia cricket captaincy role

Smith Smith is no longer captain of the Australian cricket team. His deputy David Warner has also stepped down. Both players cheated and got found out. Smith admitted that the team’s “leadership group” had discussed a plot to tamper with the ball in the Test series against South Africa. Cameron Bancroft was caught on camera on the third day of the third Test between in Cape Town taking a yellow tape from his pocket before rubbing the ball. Aware he;d been spotted, he then stuffed the tape down his trousers.

 

Down Under Press

 

“We had a discussion during the [lunch] break and I saw an opportunity to use some tape, get some granules from the rough patches on the wickets and change the condition,” said Bancroft. “It didn’t work. The umpires didn’t change the ball. Once I was sighted on the screen I panicked quite a lot and that’s why I shoved it [a piece of sticky tape] down my trousers.”

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was upset. “I am shocked and bitterly disappointed by the news from South Africa,” said Turnbull. “It seems beyond belief the Australian cricket team have been involved in cheating. Our cricketers are role models and cricket is synonymous with fair play. How can our team be engaged in cheating like this? It beggars belief.”

Role models. Haha. No. They’re not. But they are cheats.

Posted: 25th, March 2018 | In: News, Sports | Comment


Zlatan Ibrahimovich hails his move from Manchester United to LA Galaxy with full-page ad in LA Times newspaper

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has paid for a full-page advert in today’s LA Times newspaper to hail his arrival in the US of A. Earlier this week, Manchester United ripped up Zlatan’s contract, allowing him to sign a two-year deal with LA Galaxy. He’s still’s full of swagger, but is the 36-year-old Ibra worth it?

 

Zlatan-la-times-advert-galaxy

 

He might well be. With 33 top trophies in his cabinet, Ibrahimovic has aged well. Since his 30th birthday, Zlatan has scored – get his – 251 goals. Didier Drogba scored 141. Teddy Sheringham scored 124. Before turning 30, he scored 232. Ibrahimovic has scored ten or more league goals in every season from 2006/07 to 2016/17.

All hail, Zlatan, then.

 

Posted: 23rd, March 2018 | In: manchester united, News, Sports | Comment


Liverpool: James Milner tweets his ironing

James Milner, the Liverpool player, has tweeted a photo of himself doing a very James Miler thing: he’s ironing a T-shirt. It really is James Milner and not the famous joke Twitter account “Boring James Milner” that updates its hundreds of thousands of followers with news of him sorting his cupboards, lining up his socks and, yep, ironing.

 

 

Looks like Milner, the super-focused footballer has a sense of humour.

He’s also a lesson in now drive and ultra-professionalism can take a player to the top of the game. Here are few words from people who’ve worked with ‘boring” James Milner:

Roy Hodgson: ”We know what James will do. James isn’t and doesn’t pretend to be as exciting as some of the wingers we sometimes use these days.”

Steven Weeks, who taught Milner at school: ”James is still exactly the same really nice, calm, quiet, totally unassuming, popular lad he was at school but I always thought that, inside, he had the sort of controlled aggression that takes people to the very top.”

Glenn Roeder: “James can seem a goody two shoes but he deserves every bit of success going. Unlike the vast majority of professional footballers he works to his maximum and extracts every last ounce of ability.”

 

Posted: 23rd, March 2018 | In: Liverpool, News, Sports | Comment