Anorak

Sports | Anorak - Part 8

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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 Liverpool star Jamie Carragher cops a suspension for Manchester United fan attack

Photos of Jamie Carragher, the former Liverpool defender, spitting at a teenage girl are all over the media. Given his tongue chewing, whale-voice way of speaking, we first thought the huge spray was Carra’s mouth wrestling with “Ryan Sessègnon scores screamer”. But then the story came that after Liverpool’s defeat to Manchester United, Carragher had been the target of banter as he drove home. Sat in traffic, a passing United fan wound down his window and reminded Carragher of the final score: “Unlucky Jamie lad – 2-1!” The driver was with his 14-year-old daughter. Carragher showed that he’d lost none of his old bile and gobbed at the girl sat in the passenger seat.

It’s all on camera.

 

jamie carragher spitting

 

What happens next is a sign that football punditry is not as far removed from the on-field action as first appears. Team Sky Sports have suspended Carragher. He calls it “a moment of madness” – “four or five seconds I can’t explain”, calling to mind the “It’s not the kind of thing he’d do” defence favoured by manager’s explaining ‘Chopper’s’ studs-up challenge on the opposition nimble midfielder.

Carragher adds:

“It’s devastating for the family involved and I’m sorry for my actions. I called the family, obviously they were upset last night. That is my biggest regret, that a 14-year-old girl was caught up in the middle of this.”

Not in the middle. More full in the face.

And just like in actual football, after the suspension, comes the expert punditry. So here’s former England and Manchester United defender Gary Neville to review the action. “I’ve just watched Jamie Carragher say sorry,” he said. “No excuses, he’s made a big mistake… I’ve been on TV for three years with him and, in my opinion, this isolated incident shouldn’t stop us working together.”

But where are you both going to work?

 

Posted: 12th, March 2018 | In: Liverpool, manchester united, News, Sports | Comment


Former Arsenal star sent off as life imitates Wotsits

Referee Dean Hulme asked former Arsenal player Sanchez Watt for his name. Watt, playing for Hemel Hempstead Town in a National League South game against East Thurrock United was going into the ref’s book.

“Watt,” said the 27-year-old. Hulme believed he was saying “what?” and sent him off for dissent. The card was soon rescinded.

“It was a human error,” Hemel Hempstead chairman Dave Boggins told BBC Sport. “The referee was man enough to rectify it. I think everybody found it amusing afterwards – including the referee. He came into the boardroom after the game and explained how he had made the mistake. He was very apologetic and saw the funny side of it. He was a good ref on the night to be fair to him.”

Watt a Wally:

 

Posted: 7th, March 2018 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports | Comment


Arsenal shocker: 12% of Gooners want Wenger to stay

Don’t open those eyes yet, Arsenal fans: Arsene Wenger is still there. But the Arsenal Supporters Trust (AST) has done its bit to defenestrate the manager and prick a supine, greedy board and absentee owner into action. AST members voted overwhelmingly against the Frenchman remaining as manager beyond the end of this season.

A whopping 88% of fans responded to an AST survey saying that they do not support Wenger continuing in charge for another season – last year it was 78%, and Arsenal still gave him a new two-year deal.

As Arsenal FC go full ostrich, we can marvel that 12% of Gooners want Wenger to stay. The same 12% also consider that dream of being tied naked to Nelson’s Column and forced to watch Gary Linker discuss Spurs matches to be the best they’ve ever had. Masochists, eh, they’ve never suffered enough.

Meanwhile, the Times says Wenger spent the hours after Arsenal’s defeat to the mighty Brighton telling his coaching staff that he is “the best man to take Arsenal forward”. He will not break his contract. So Arsenal will have to sack him.

Over to the hapless Ivan Gazidis, then, the Arsenal chief executive. The AST will hand him the results of its survey at a fans’ forum ahead of the match against Watford on Sunday. The meeting promises to be more interesting than the match.

Posted: 6th, March 2018 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports | Comment


Betting on Germany to win the World Cup

SPONSORED POST: Can Germany win 2 World Cups in a row?

Germany is one of the most powerful teams in the world. In Brazil they proved to be an unstoppable machine. The players were on a level superior to any other team. The work that Joachim Löw has done all these years with Germany has been incredible, since Germany did not win a world cup since 1990. When Germany won in Brazil, it was shown to the world that the team was back and in the best shape. But can they do it again for the World Cup 2018 in Russia?

Reviewing the story: Germany and the World Cups

Germany has won the FIFA World Cup 4 times. The first was in 1954 (in Switzerland) against Hungary 3-2; the second World Cup at home was in 1974 (in Germany) against Holland 2-1; the third one was in 1990 (in Italy) against Argentina 1-0; and as we all know in 2014, Germany returned to beat Argentina 1-0 to stay with another World Cup.

The real possibilities of Germany: An impressive squad

Germany has almost completed the list of players that will be in the World Cup, thanks to the diversity of players that Germany has the possibilities of building a solid team strategically based on the best players in the country, for example we can build a team with: Neuer, Hector, Hummels, Boateng, Kimmich, Kross (who may join Paris and Neymar next season), Khedira, Reus, Ozil, Muller, Werner or Gomez. This option is one of the most likely with some modifications.

The game of Germany has always been solid, this year, the team had some friendlies matches in March 2018. The first was against Brazil, the surprise of Germany was having lost by a single goal against Brazil, but the advantage was in favor of Brazil since Germany did not have the best players available, they are only trying new strategies and different players, despite everything they could keep the result 1-0.

The last friendly was against Spain, the match ended 1-1. This match was more leveled, since Germany and Spain used most of the players that will be available in the World Cup. Spain had in the field of play Iniesta, Isco, Pique, among others.

Joachim Löw did not want Germany to show all its power in the friendlies, after finishing third in Eurocup, the mystery has been increasing in terms of the line-up that Germany showed in the World Cup.

The group of Germany in the world cup: Easy to move to the next round.

Germany is very lucky in Group F, it is a relatively easy group, but the teams within the group do not want to lose the matches, since Mexico and Sweden usually play with everything until the last minute, especially Sweden, the Swedish team is one of the most dangerous with 11 participations in the world cup, in addition they were the culprits of which Italy remained without World Cup after more than 50 years.

In Bet365 and other bookies Germany is offered with an average of 1.33 in odds, it is an offer for Germany to finish first in the group or winner of Group F. The other interesting bet is whether Germany would pass to the next round Yes / No, 1.08 and 8.00, the option of Do not pay up to £ 800 pounds if Germany does not move to the next round, but it is unlikely.

The odds in the bookies: Germany is almost favorite

Germany is offered as the winner of the world cup with 5.50 in odds. It is not the first option in most of the bookies since Brazil is a renewed team that has shown power and has better strategy. The only problem is that Germany is a much better team than Brazil. The third team is Spain with 7.00 odds, France with 7.50 and Argentina with 10.00.

The best betting options for Germany in the World Cup.

Straight Winner: 5.50 in odds, Germany has high potential to win the world cup, this offer in odds is one of the highest for Germany in the world cup.

Runner Up: 6.50 second place is not a bad idea, the offer is in almost all bookies like Bet365, Ladbrokes and William Hill, but losing the final is below 50% chance for Germany.

Group 1-2: This option is tempting, the combination goes from Germany – Mexico or Sweden – Germany, among other combinations. The punter must predict who will be the first and second place in Group F where Germany is. The most likely is Germany – Sweden in 3.25 odds.

To reach the finals (Finalists): Germany – Brazil is one of the likely ones, with 13.00 in odds it is one of the most likely options to become a World Cup final, the second option but less likely is Germany – Argentina with a price of 41.00 in odds.

Reach the final (single team): Similar to the previous bet, but the punter should only predict if Germany reached the final, with 3.25 in odds is a reasonable option, Germany can reach the final, win or lose is a matter of result final. Another similar option is Reach Semifinals, with 2.00 in odds for Germany.

Reach Quarter Finals: This possibility is one of the most likely; reaching quarter finals is something that Germany has done many times, and prices are only above 1.50 in odds. They could face Belgium in the 1/4 finals. This match could be one of the most impressive of the World Cup as both team are filled with great players at every position on the pitch.

Can Germany win two world cups in a row? Sure, they can do it.

Germany has a 69% chance of winning another World Cup in Russia, according to casinogutscheincodes.de, a specialized website. The factors are in their favor: they are in Europe, while the South American teams will suffer from the cold weather and their performance will surely fall below, so Brazil does not have more than 60% chance to win the world cup, Argentina does not have a chance either, it is a team that has the best player in the world, but they do not have a strategy.

Germany will surely win this world cup, 5.50 odds seems a good price take it while it’s priced above 5.50 because when Löw shows the final line-up before the world cup starts it can go lower than that.

Posted: 3rd, March 2018 | In: Sports | Comment


Arsenal balls: Wenger threatens to stay for one more season

Arsenal players are “turning” on Arsene Wenger says the Mirror. The Frenchman is being “Frozen Out”. He’s also being paid a huge £10m a year to oversee a mediocre team. Blame Wenger by all means, but the board hire him. The absentee owner is unable to see beyond the next jackpot dividend.

If the owners had a clue they’d have sacked Wenger when Arsenal were beaten 8-2 at Old Trafford or lost 10-2 against Bayern Munich or went down 2-1 to Östersund Football Club – a Swedish team from a town whose population is smaller than the capacity of the Emirates stadium. “We could not compete on conventional terms in Swedish football, said Östersund’s manager Graham Potter. “We’ve got no history, no tradition, no culture [of football] here. You’re looking for the ones that have been discarded, the ones that conventional football has regarded as being not good enough.” You know, the kind of players Arsenal reject by the dozen.

Potter had more to say. For all those who say Arsenal outside the Champions’ League will struggle to recruit the top talent and thus compete, well…

“We’re up here in the woods. It’s very, very difficult to attract players from the south of Sweden… We’re not going to have the resources, we’re not going to have a reason for people to come here. Then we started to get players that were maybe either released or not considered good enough for the conventional sort of way. Pick those guys up, and then to do that you have to play to their strengths So we got the ones that were maybe too small or not strong enough to play typical, conventional football if you like. That helped us evolve towards more possession, more controlling game.”

Belief and vision can do wonders. Arsenal have neither. Under Wenger, the team of entitled, cosseted mouth-breathers possess less presence than Lord Lucan. They’d be outfought and outthought by the zip on Wenger’s jacket.

Why are Arsenal so lacklustre and witless given that the team earn fortunes and throughout their careers must have shown some signs of skill and drive? Is it to do with trial by transfer fee, whereby average players, especially the English ones – £40m for the limited Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain!; Jack Wilshere thinks £120,000 a week not enough to sign a new deal he is, we are told, desperate to agree!!! – think they’ve won before a ball has been kicked.

And at the top of the flaccid, gilded lump is Wenger, a man rewarded for perennial Premier League failure. Look, his longevity says, you can be a bit stylish, talk a good game and come nowhere near winning the title and still earn shedloads of cash and new contracts. This current Arsenal side of journeymen are the embodiment of the manager’s last decade in charge.

The test is now. Wenger says he has always honoured his contract. The current deal has a year to run after this summer. The paper talks is that Arsenal will once more turn to Monaco, where Wenger managed. Leonardo Jardim is the name in the frame. Arsenal, if they’re serious about change, should get him now.

 

Posted: 1st, March 2018 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports | Comment


Ian Wright: when the Arsenal striker tore a Man City star’s foreskin

As a powderpuff, toothless, guile-free, limp Arsenal lose 3-0 to Manchester City in the League Cup final, minds turn to how it used to be when players actually ran and looked like they were living the dream. You know, when Ian Wright played for the Gunners.

Wright is the player who grow up on Honor Oak council estate in Brockley, south London, whose mother told him “I should have had a termination”;  who left school at 14; who at age 18, whilst working as a labourer, became a father; who after countless rejections became at 22-years-old a professional footballer with Crystal Palace; who ran and ran and ran and ran.

“I spoke with Arsène for a few hours during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil,” says the former Arsenal star. “He is such a fascinating man to talk to. During our conversation he said he accepts whatever criticism I make comes from a place of love. Watching him now is like witnessing the ageing Muhammad Ali against Larry Holmes, or watching Brazil’s Ronaldo when he got fat. You are watching the greats in their demise. The problem with Arsène is that there is no one in his corner prepared to throw in the towel.”

Arsene Wenger’s time was up years ago. A combination of loyalty to the man who moulded the club in the modern era, and an asinine board and absentee owner grown fat and complacent on big dividends from the club’s role as perennial Champions’ League also rans, have kept Wenger in situ. His current team are woeful.

Do any of them want it as much as Wright did? Talking to the Sunday Times, he tells a story, which is undoubtedly the most entertaining thing Arsenal fans will have seen today:

“First time I got called up for England. I am amongst the greats. Bryan Robson, Shilton, Butcher, Barnes, Lineker, Beardsley, Gascoigne, Platt. But I’m losing the ball in training and Steve McMahon’s giving me a hard time.

“’F*****g useless, how do players like you get into the squad?’” Horrible he was, and it got me down. Years later he [McMahon] is playing for Man City and we both slide into a tackle. He had to go off. It’s at Highbury and after the game he’s in the doctor’s room being stitched up. It’s his foreskin that is being stitched.

“He says ‘Wrighty, you caught me in the wrong place,’ but is OK about it. I apologise and wish him well for the rest of the season. After we retire I meet him somewhere and he’s saying that every time he pees or has any form of arousal, he feels a little pain and thinks of me. And I’m thinking, ‘ah man, that’s sweet.’”

If you’ve got the time, this is great: Ian Wright meets Mr Sidney Pigden, his old teacher who made him believe he could do it:

 

And this:

Posted: 25th, February 2018 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports | Comment (1)


God’s own Alan Pardew gives West Bromwich Albion an easy ride and a prayer

Ever since Maradonna attributed his cheating to God, sceptics and religionists have been debating the divine one’s role in the beautiful game. Is Deli Alli lysing down a lot because he’s a modern day Lazarus, rather than a persistent cheat? Are the Red Devils scared of crosses? And here’s Alan Pardew reacting to West Brom’s team-building jaunt to Barcelona last week, which featured four senior players going on the lash, nicking a taxi in the early hours of the morning and joy-riding to McDonald’s before dumping it outside their team hotel.

Gareth Barry (36), Jonny Evans (30), Boaz Myhill (35) and Jake Livermore (28) were each fined two weeks’ wages for breaking the midnight curfew. Such is the tough line at West Brom that Barry and Evans were picked to play in the next match. Pardew explained all:

“He (Evans) has paid a heavy price for [his conduct]. Trust me. It’s like all things in life, if you make a mistake does that mean you are going to have to pay for it for the rest of your life? I don’t think so. I think God teaches us to forgive. On this occasion I wouldn’t say he’s been forgiven. But he’s paid a price and he’s still paying a price with you guys [the media], so he’ll learn that that was an event he deeply regrets as he lives on.

West Bromwich Albion are bottom of the Premier League, five points behind their closest rival. You’d think that arrogant players larking about, boozing and eating junk food less than ideal. But with the Rev. Pardew at the helm, the lads have a prayer.

Posted: 23rd, February 2018 | In: News, Sports | Comment


Former Arsenal and Spurs star: ‘I’m one of the greatest minds in football’

Sol Campbell has been overlooked for the Oxford job. No, not the Oxford job that involves big lunches, bigger dinners and students. The other Oxford job – the one as manager of Oxford United FC. Although the former Spurs and Arsenal defender could have done both, probably. As he tells one and all: “I can’t believe some people. I’m one of the greatest minds in football and I’m wasted because of a lack of experience or maybe he talks his mind too much.”

Instead Oxford are looking at former Wales and Liverpool player Craig Bellamy.

“I did go [for the Oxford Unietd job] and they didn’t accept me,” Sol told Highbury & Heels. “Maybe it was a lack of experience, things like that, but it’s a full circle. Experience? How do I get experience? Well I need a job to get experience. I don’t want to go too low that it’s a struggle, and I don’t want to go too low that I’m under someone and thinking ‘what am I doing here?’ I would rather be managing a club myself.

“I’m confident and it’s not like it’s rocket science to run a football club, especially when you get to that level. If you’re intelligent enough and a quick learner you will learn pretty soon, within two or three games, what the team needs, training-wise, to survive in that league, get better in that league, to get in the play-offs or even win the league.

“I’m intelligent enough, it’s not like I played on a fox and dog pitch all my life. I can’t believe some people, I’m one of the greatest minds in football and I’m being wasted because of a lack of experience or ‘maybe he talks his mind too much’. Go to Germany, they love people who speak their minds. They got the jobs. I’m sorry that I’ve got a mind, but don’t be scared of that. That should be something you want at your club, but obviously not.”

 

 

Glenn Hoddle is away.

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


Arsenal balls: Ramsey ready for Carabao Cup final

The Daily Express has news form the twilight zone of spots journalism: “Aaron Ramsey to miss Man City Carabao Cup final because of Arsene Wenger.” Jack Otway has news on just what Wenger has done to Ramsay, dealing a “hammer blow” to Arsenal’s chances of winning the trophy.

Reading on and we discover that Wenger has done…nothing. But we do get this:

The Sun say Arsene Wenger has already decided Ramsey will not be risked against Guardiola’s men.

Over in the Sun, then, for news of the “RAMBLOW”. Ramsey is “set miss Carabao Cup Final”. It’s an “exclusive”.

So Ramsay is out. But, hold on. Whose that training with the Gunners?  The Express identifies him:

 

Spotted? The Express is happy to quote the Sun’s “exclusive” that Ramsay is out – defo – but forgot to mention the bit where the Sun says: “And though he has been working hard in training to prove his fitness for Wembley, boss Arsene Wenger is unwilling to gamble on the Welsh star.”

As the Express mines two clickbait stories from one Sun “exclusive”, Wenger tells media: “Ramsey is not in the squad for tomorrow [Arsenal’s Europa League Cup match]. He had a good training session but he is short for tomorrow. We will see how his evolution goes now until Sunday. I don’t rule him out yet. It depends how well he can improve the intensity of training.”

Such are the facts.

Posted: 22nd, February 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports | Comment


Arsenal balls: Lacazette’s talking knee changes time

With Trinity Mirror’s purchase of the Daily Express and Daily Star, football fans who get their news online can expect a tag-team movement of total balls. All titles use their websites as clickbait farms. The latest tosh involves Arsenal’s Alexandre Lacazette, who has, says the Mirror,  “given an update on his recovery from a knee injury”.

In its dash for clicks, the Mirror tells readers approaching via Google’s bots that Lacazette is bidding “for a quick recovery” (as opposed to hoping for a slow recovery and lots of sick pay and daytime telly?), illustrating the teaser with a photo of Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin and, er,  Robbie Lyle, presenter of the entertaining Arsenal Fan TV

 

lacazette arsenal

 

Clicking into the story and readers are told Lacazette will be sidelined for “up to five weeks”. Arsene Wenger’s words to BeIn Sports that Lacazette could be out for “four or five weeks” are repeated. There’s no word on any “quick recovery”. That much is utter balls.

And then this spot some time illiteracy:

A return date on the pitch could occur against either West Ham on April 21 or Manchester United on April 28 with a return to first team training likely to begin at the start of April.

Lacazette underwent surgery on February 12. Four or five weeks after that take us up to mid March. Even if you add on a few days from the operation until Wenger spoke, Lacazette still looks likely to return well before April.

But having spun a nonsense story from a single photo of Lacazette’s poorly knee as he work out in the Arsenal gym – one taken by the player and posted to his Instagram page – the Mirror’s clickbait expert needs to hit his word count. So we get this:

Until Lacazette’s return, Wenger will put his faith in Aubameyang, though the Gabon striker is unable to help in their quest to win the Europa League. Despite overcoming Ostersund 3-0 in the first leg of the round of 32 tie, a probable last 16 tie will occur on March 8 and 13, with a potential quarter-final on April 5 and 12.

That means Arsenal’s most probable route back into the Champions League will rest on Danny Welbeck’s form.

No. It won’t because Arsenal are not a one-man team and Lacazettte will be back in March. In addition, the last 16 ties will be played on March 8 and 15. March 12 is a Monday. Europa League ties are played on Thursdays.

Apart from the story being factually inaccurate and based on total balls, it is spot on.

PS: But there is good news. Cop a load of the ads that wrapped around the balls. We counted – get this – 23 ads on this one story.

 

 

 

It’s almost as if the words are just a trick to make you see lots and lots and lots of ads…

Posted: 21st, February 2018 | In: Arsenal, Key Posts, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Wigan beating Manchester City is football at its chaotic best

The Manchester City website leads with a photo of referee Anthony Taylor showing City defender Fabian Delph a red card following the England man’s foul on Wigan Athletic’s Max Power. City says the “red seemed harsh”. The Wigan website doesn’t agree. Over there,Delph was given his marching orders for a late challenge on Power”. No controversy.

Wigan’s manger Paul Cook offers his take: “The dismissal gave us a massive lift. It was a huge factor in the game and I thought the referee got it right.”

The game ended 1-0 to Wigan. The dismissal surely help Wigan’s cause. But Man City failed to score. “Undoubtedly the decision to send Fabian Delph for an early bath was the game’s key moment,” says City. But surely the biggest moment was Will Grigg’s goal.

Pep Guardiola was more circumspect than his club’s press office. He didn’t claim the dismissal had been a decisive factor. “I don’t think it was,” he said. “We played well in the second half. We created more than enough chances to go through but in the end the result speaks for itself. We didn’t score any goals and Wigan did.”

What it all  as, of course, was a stirring reminder of how chaotic and brilliant football is. Away from all the post-match guff, analytics and leading edge software packages operated by IT-illiterate ex-pros, the most expensive squad in football was turned over by a team in which Will Grigg is the Latics’ most expensive player at £1.3m.

Grigg – the best thing to have come out of Wigan since Limahl.

 

Posted: 20th, February 2018 | In: News, Sports | Comment


Rochdale defy Alli’s dive to earn FA Cup replay with Spurs

Delight for Rochdale as the latest of late goals secured a 2-2 draw with Spurs in the FA Cup. Rochdale fell behind when Harry Kane converted a penalty ‘won’ by the slippery-shoed Dele Alli.

The midfielder has form when it comes to tumbling in the box.

Alli has been booked three times for diving. His is the worst record in the Premiership. He is a persistent cheat. But what about other players not booked for diving outside the box? Pretty much every match features moments when the lightest physical contact sees a player fall theatrically to the ground. Is it fair to pick out Alli?

When Alli burst into Rochdale’a penalty area there was an inevitability about him ending up on his backside. Was it a foul? Should this have been given? Get a load of his legs as he falls over.

 

 

Rochdale manager Keith Hill says Alli was “looking for” the penalty.

“I’m led to believe he [Alli] was looking for it, but why not?” Hill opined. “If players feel there is an opportunity to be gained then brilliant, I don’t hold it against him. I don’t blame him and I don’t have a problem with it. Whether it’s him, Harry Kane or (Rochdale striker) Ian Henderson, it doesn’t matter who does it. If he does that for England in the World Cup this summer then I will definitely be supporting him.”

How times change, eh. There used to be pride in staying on your feet.

The odd thing is that if you cheat and the penalty is given, the FA can ban you for two matches. But the result secured by a converted penalty kick unfairly earned stands. Cheat and fail, and you get a yellow card. Chris Sutton muses: “There are two many players who are looking for contact. Alli is one, Wilfried Zaha is another. They need to be fearful of what punishment they will face.”

So what punishment fits the crime? A red card? A penalty for the other team? Points deducted?

Posted: 18th, February 2018 | In: News, Sports, Spurs | Comments (3)


Transfer balls: Arsenal want Fekir now before he realises his ‘dream’ and plays in Spain

Transfer balls: The BBC says Arsenal have “identified” Lyon’s Nabil Fekir as their “number one summer target”. The bad news for Gunners fans who want Arsene Wenger to be replaced as club manager this summer is that it’s Wenger who has picked the player.

This news is echoed by the Mail, which says Wenger “wants a deal agreed before Fekir reports for World Cup duty”. The story is backed by not a single source nor quote. It just is. We’re also told that the Lyon “midfielder” has been “compared to France legend Youri Djorkaeff”. By whom? Dunno. But in the Sun, we read: “The Gunners chief has been keeping tabs on the Lyon forward, who has been compared to France legend Youri Djorkaeff.”

At least the papers can agree on who Fekir reminds someone of, if not what position he plays.

The Sun then pads out a story based on nothing with this:

Djorkaeff inspired his nation on home soil in 1998 and won the European Championships two years later And Fekir will be hoping to do the same in Russia.

You think?

And why Arsenal? Well, Fekir’s father did say in 2015: “If he leaves, it will be for Arsenal. It’s the only club that can enable him to progress, with Arsene Wenger.”

Does he still think that? We can’t be sure because in 2017, Fekir told RTL his “dream” is to play in… Spain. He also said Manchester City interests him.

In other words: get your wallets out.

 

Posted: 17th, February 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


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

 

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

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

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

He insists. He will not be swayed.

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

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

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

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

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

 

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


Transfer balls: Real Madrid move for Manchester United’s Paul Pogba

Doubltess inspired by Paul Pogba’s ability on the ball, match-winning performances and the remorseless marketing campaign that turned a Manchester United reject dreaming of a lucrative return ‘home’ to the club that recruited him from Le Havre in 2009 into the world’s greatest midfielder, Real Madrid are going to try to sign the Frenchman in the summer.

Well, so says the Sun, which says Pogba is part of the Real “plan” to rescue Pogba from the “field of broken dreams”. When Pogba signed for Juventus in 2012, the then Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson told MUTV: “I don’t think he showed us any respect at all so, to be honest, I’m quite happy.”

A more desperate less assured United were later “happy” to spunk £89m on the player they thought not worth the £30,000-a-week he was seeking in a new United contract in 2012.  In any case, United say they have “no intention” of selling their priciest player – although the Sun says £120m should seal the deal. And the Mirror leads with news that Pogba is at “war” with the club.

Why would Real Madrid pay a fortune for a player whose not performed all that well? And what of all that guff Pogba spouted when he signed his new super-lucrative deal.

“I came here because I have targets, it’s a big challenge for me,” Pogba said. “I could have also gone to Real Madrid or Barcelona, they were interested. I chose to return, because I had that in my heart. It was my feeling that brought me here. I want to win with Manchester United, I’ve never won with them. I had always said that I would return – I didn’t know when – because it’s a club that I like a lot. I hadn’t finished, I left because I wanted to play. I hadn’t done what I had wanted to do here. I want United to become the great United again. That’s my challenge here.”

The feeling is that United will only flog Pogba should his marketing powers wane. Manchester United are a voracious money-making machine. According to Sports Direct, the three biggest selling shirts this year are: Alexis Sanchez – Manchester United; Paul Pogba – Manchester United; Harry Kane – Tottenham. Pogba leaving only work is United can replace him with bigger star. And you’ve got to wonder Harry Kane would chose to leave Spurs to join Jose Mourinho’s underwhelming United…

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


The Sun teaches football fans how to look like fools

The Sun’s website continues to break new ground. A series of articles by By Shiela Subyr teachers readers how to look like a young multi-millionaire seeking new ways to spunk his cash.

The other day, Neymar, the PSG star, “paired his snakeskin biker jacket with skintight leather trousers complete with racy lace-up sides.” Shiela tells readers where they can how much for get the look and how much for in the paper’s ‘Sports’ section.

 

By Shiela Subyr the sun fashion football

 

An there’s more. Lots more. And when Sheila’s gone through the wardrobe’s of player who look like extras from Rich Kids of Instagram, she’ll doubtless work down the leagues until we find out what Barnet’s substitute ‘keeper is wearing.

By Shiela Subyr the sun fashion football

 

By Shiela Subyr the sun fashion football

 

In other sports news: Arsene Wenger’s jacket unzips.

Posted: 14th, February 2018 | In: Fashion, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Olympics balls: BBC says Elise Christie is ‘one of the bravest people ever’

At a time when everyone’s a hero, the BBC watches speed skater Elise Christie crash out of a final and declares: “In the face of Olympic heartbreak, Elise Christie is one of the bravest people we’ve ever seen
#WinterOlympics2018 #bbcolympics.”

 

 

The BBC needs to see more people.

Posted: 14th, February 2018 | In: Sports | Comment


Talking balls: Arsenal sink as Spurs became the new Barcelona

Spurs fans rejoicing after their 1-0 victory over Arsenal are further buoyed by the fact their their club’s rise is coinciding with the Gunners’ fall. But Spurs fans must surely realise that lying fifth in the Premier League, and a whopping 20 points behind Manchester City, is not the mark of champions. Well, not unless you read the Sun it isn’t.

Either Neil Ashton is a work of parody or else he’s lost the plot. The story begins:

Tottenham were so much better than Arsenal it was like watching Barcelona vs Espanyol

It is if you know nothing of Barcelona – top of Spain’s La Liga and with a packed trophy cabinet – and Espanyol – 15th in the table, who drew 1-1 with Barcelona in February, beat them 1-0 in the first leg of the Copa del Rey in January and got tonked 5-0 in September; have never won La Liga; but have, like Spurs, won one major trophy this Century.

A derby, yes, but all a bit manufactured, given the dominance and superiority enjoyed by Barca down the years.

Is he saying that Spurs have enjoyed dominance over Arsenal down the years?

Wenger, the man who won three Premier League titles with Arsenal, is now out of tricks. He is also behind the times.

All true. Wenger must go. He inspires neither players nor fans.

A young and vibrant Tottenham have finally caught them up, overtaking them on Saturday with a polished performance at the national stadium.

Arsenal are sixth. They were first three times under Wenger. Spurs have not been first since 1961. Spurs have risen. But it is Arsenal who have dropped.

PS: Football 365 report that Ashton’s column once said:

EVERY once in a while, English football enters a golden age. Think Busby Babes, the great Liverpool side built by Bill Shankly or Sir Alex Ferguson’s swashbuckling United teams. At this rate, in years to come, everybody will want to say they got to watch Tottenham live.

Where were you when Harry Kane scored in a 1-0 in over a sub-standard Arsenal side?

Posted: 13th, February 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Anti-Semitism expert Jeremy Corbyn wants to ban Spurs Yid Army

spurs yids

 

Jeremy Corbyn is something of an expert on anti-Semitism – which given his role as leader of the Labour Party, ‘friend’ of Hamas and a former presenter on Iran’s Press TV is no great shock. Corbyn has spotted something anti-Jewish in the ranks of Tottenham Hotspur fans. No, he’s not swapping allegiances from Arsenal to Spurs. He wants Spurs fans to sing what he tells them to and stop cheering for the ‘Yid Army’.

He told the Guardian before Spurs and Arsenal played each other yesterday: “There has been racist abuse at past matches between Arsenal and Spurs – instances of antisemitism and homophobia. Yes, football fans get very passionate but that is not acceptable and not allowed.”

“Yid chants are unacceptable,” adds Corbyn. “It plays into something that’s not very good and we should be saying: ‘We’re the Spurs’ or ‘We’re the Arsenal’. Stick to your club; it’s your club that unites you. The idea of adopting a term to neutralise it doesn’t really work because it is identifying a club by an ethnic group or faith, whereas you should be identifying clubs through supporters.”

You might at this point suppose the Guardian has been duped by an arch-satirist. You’re looking for Shami Chakrabarti to pop up and say that she’s never heard a thing – and for Corbyn to nationalise Tottenham and install Dame Shami as the club’s new striker. But the real Corbyn is no fan of Yid Armies, so it is very probably him doing his bit for his core electorate.

Image: A Labour campaign slogan?

Posted: 11th, February 2018 | In: Arsenal, News, Politicians, Sports, Spurs | Comment


KFC ‘wanker’ exposed and possibly inspired

NT news australia wanker tosser front page

 

Basil Corrigan, 47, the masturbator who “fell asleep mid-wank” on the lawn beside the KFC eatery on Trower Rd in Casuarina in Australia’s Northern Territory has earned the front-page screamer in his local paper: “WANKER GETS OFF LIGHTLY.”  Corrigan gave “a cheery thumbs up” when the judge set him free on account of time served waiting for trial.

 

NT news australia wanker tosser front page

 

Corrigan seems happy enough. And you wonder what being branded a “wanker” will do to his vigour.

Australians were fond of calling one New Zealand cricketer, the great all-rounder Sir Richard Hadlee, a “wanker”, often giving full throat to “Hadlee’s a wanker” during the match. When Hadlee was knighted in 1990, Australian cricket star Sir Don Bradman sent him a letter of congratulations and a cartoon of an Australian fan yelling “Hadlee’s a wanker” from the stands. Hadlee was pictured replying: “It’s Sir Wanker to you.” Greg Chappell, another Aussie cricketer, told Hadlee the chant was “a mark of respect. The people here rate you and fear you”.

Corrigan may embrace his fame as enthusiastically as he embraces his knob. Watch this space – and grassy knoll by the KFC.

Posted: 11th, February 2018 | In: News, Sports, Strange But True | Comment


Manchester United’s Sanchez accepts a 16-month suspended jail sentence for tax fraud

How’s Alexis Sanchez fitting in at Manchester United? Pretty good. The new Manchester United striker has accepted a 16-month suspended jail sentence for alleged tax fraud. This means he’ll avoid a trial. He will repay the full amount plus interest.

The BBC:

The ex-Barcelona player faced going to trial in Spain over unpaid taxes amounting to around 1m euro (£886,000). The unpaid taxes derive from image rights deals in 2012 and 2013. When Sanchez, 29, was first accused in 2016, his agent said the Chile forward had “fully obeyed” laws and his image rights income “has been declared”.

Sanchez now earns £14m a year after tax. United pay his tax bill so any future alleged miscalculations might be best avoided.

You wonder how playing a man with such a record impacts on Manchester United’s brand values. We looked up what those values are. On the always entertaining Red Cafe, a conversation headlined “What are Manchester United’s ‘values’?” tells us:

Personally for me it’s hard to look at the modern iteration of United without seeing commercialism written all over it. They must be the only club in the world with an “official noodle partner” for Christ’s sake.

This idea of United being “different” is a bit pretentious for me given they are probably the most commercial football club in the world and commercialism is seen by many as the biggest issue in football behind corruption.

Agree with the OP that the club is entirely about profit and it will remain that way I’m afraid.

We are different because of our history. From Munich to the Busby Babes, to the 70s and 80s of the club. Then the 26 years of SAF. We are a unique club. We have done things differently with our attacking football, our breading of youth, which has continued with the call up of Lingard into the squad. We do have ethical values. We won’t sack LVG if we feel he is doing a good job just because a shiny new manager (Ancelotti/ Pep in this case) has come along. We really tried with Moyes even though after just a few months we all knew he was out his depth. That season could have been saved but we stuck to our guns and kept faith in him.

Now we have coaching staff with Giggs and Butt in it. We have ambassadors such as Charlton, SAF, Robson, Cole. We have kept with traditions and have tried to maintain the culture throughout the club.

It’s what makes me proud to be United.

That was then. But it’s something to hold on to next time the ‘keeper bypasses the defence and smacks it long to the front players. For many people, football’s all about the money. Now pass the official prawn sandwiches round…

Posted: 7th, February 2018 | In: manchester united, Money, Sports | Comment


Spurs: Pochettino is right, Alli’s cheating is just part of the game

Watching live sport is thrilling. TV does not come close to capturing the experience of being there. TV offers new and multiple angles of the game, but it’s a directed, edited, desk-based view that comes loaded with problems. When a player cheats, in the ground it’s a trigger for outrage and a vociferous celebration of values that the injured party’s side is essentially nobler than the opposition. The atmosphere builds. We love it. But on the telly it’s a catalyst for debate, none of which shines the merest glimmer of light on anything but the pundit’s vanity.

When Liverpool took on Spurs at Anfield, the visitor’s Dele Alli dived in the box. He wanted to trick the referee into awarding him a penalty. Cheating. It was blatant and punished – Alli got a yellow card and cemented his reputation as a nasty so-and-so. That Spurs did get two penalties during the match, neither of which was clear cut, only added to the spectacle. The post-game chatter contributes nothing.

And three days after the match, the hollow debate guffs on. The Mail leads with Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino, who has had the temerity to say that footballers should “congratulate the player when he tricks the referee…. Football is about tying to trick your opponent. Yes or no? The problem is that we are too sensitive about the situation… It was a yellow card, the referee was right…. If you dive and the referee saw you, you are punished and he deserves it. But don’t go more crazy.”

Spot on. Sport is about rules. You know them by pushing them to the limit and breaking them. Some rules are more rigorously enforced than others. For example, in how many games does the goalkeeper handle the ball when kicking from hands? Lots of them. But the goalkeeper still handles outside the area because he can get away with it. In December 2016, following another fall by the slippery shoed Alli, Pochettino said, “when I was a player always it was part of training to try to cheat. At Newell’s, many, many years ago it was part of practice.”

Pushing the rules is all part of the cut and thrust of a live game. It’s only in the TV studio where every 90-minute match must produce 24-hours of deathless rolling-news that every trick, feint, dive, offside and foul is forensically examined until all the fun, drama and spontaneity have been sucked out of it.

Posted: 7th, February 2018 | In: Back pages, Sports, Spurs | Comment (1)


Referees confused over Liverpool v Spurs penalties prove VAR is rubbish

More reaction to Liverpool’s 2-2 draw with Spurs. No VAR was used in the match, which featured two penalties for Spurs. It might have been three pens had the referee not spotted that Dele Alli dived. Liverpool were aggrieved by the decisions. Spurs were elated. Would VAR have helped? Well, that depends on which referee is sat in a sealed box reviewing the action on the telly.

NO pens says retired ref Mark Halsey in the Sun:

“HARRY KANE was in an offside position for the first penalty. Yes, the ball has come off Dejan Lovren before falling to Kane, but the Liverpool defender has tried to clear the ball knowing that Kane is behind him – and not knowing if the Spurs striker is offside or not. So Kane has clearly impacted on the Liverpool man, thus interfering with an opponent. The assistant should have flagged at this point so the Loris Karius foul is immaterial.”

YES pens says former ref Graham Poll in the Mail: “Assistant Eddie Smart got Tottenham’s penalty decisions spot-on… it topped a good afternoon for referee Jon Moss and his officials at Liverpool.”

Well done Eddie Smart. The assistant got involved in both penalty decisions and he was right to do so. For the first penalty, he called for Jon Moss because Harry Kane was in an offside position and Smart could not be clear whether a Liverpool player had touched the ball before the Tottenham striker was fouled.

They discussed the situation and Moss decided that Dejan Lovren had played the ball, which meant Kane was onside before being taken down by Loris Karius…

And then Smart persuaded the referee, deep into stoppage time, to award the second penalty to Spurs.

To the naked eye it looked as if Erik Lamela had dived. People who had seen it numerous times on TV replays could not be sure, but Smart was. And he was right.

YES pens says former ref Dermot Gallagher on Sky:

“In the debrief after the game, they’ll be told that they made the big, match-changing decisions correct on the day.”

NO pens says ref Mark Clattenburg on the Times:First penalty

Pen 1. Was it offside?
This should not have been a penalty because it was offside….Second penalty

Pen 2.

This a tough decision. I believe that there is a suspicion of offside in the build up to the penalty. The ball is touched by Fernando Llorente and into Érik Lamela, who is fractionally offside in my opinion. As we have seen with VAR now, offside is a matter of fact and no benefit is given to the attacking team. Therefore, the penalty should not have been allowed. Once the offside is missed, It looks as though Virgil van Dijk goes to kick the ball and then tries to pull away his leg, but there is a still a bit of contact. It is a soft penalty, but not definitely a wrong call.

Clear as mud, then. Just the way we like it.

Posted: 5th, February 2018 | In: Back pages, Broadsheets, Liverpool, Sports, Spurs, Tabloids | Comment


Why Sanchez gets kicked at Manchester United but not at Arsenal

Redknapp jamie man united

 

Jamie Redknapp tells his Daily Mail readers that Alexis Sanchez “was born to play for Manchester United”. After that kind of guff, you know you’re in for a cavalcade of nonsense. And in “kicking little devil Sachez is the only way to stop him!” we get it in spades.

Sanchez is, you will recall, the player so good that he was let got by Barcelona, joining Arsenal, where he thrived, earning plaudits for his dynamism and skill. Now aged 29 and apparently reborn three matches into his new career at Man United, Redknapp is seeking signs of messianic homecoming.

Redknapp says Sanchez has been fouled “15 times” during his United career. That, we’re told, is a foul every 17 minutes. “Against Huddersfield alone he was fouled seven times, the most for a single player in a Premier League game this season.”

Or as the ,er, Daily Mail note in January:

Seven against Crystal Palace, four against West Brom, then three against Chelsea – Jack Wilshere knows how to draw a foul.

But never mind the facts because Redknapp has a to-deadline point to make, asking:

“Are opponents deliberately targeting the Premier League’s best-paid player?”

No, not Wilshere. He’s talking about Sanchez.

Figures have been updated, and Sanchez is now the PL’s fourth most-fouled player (56 times fouled), one ahead of Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace; £60,00-a-week) and behind Watford’s Richarlison (Watford; 1st place; £22,000-a-week), Dele Alli (2nd place: Spurs; £50,000-a-week); and Jordan Ayew (3rd place; Swansea City; £50,000-a-week).

Redknapp then gets tautological:

“Players are not going out to kick Sanchez because he earns £350,000 a week. It is simply because nobody can get near enough to get the ball off him!”

But they do get near him. You have to be very near a player to foul someone (unless you’re Dele Alli).

And foul’s only occur when Sanchez isn’t being fairly dispossessed:

 

Redknapp’s not finished:

“It is no coincidence that Sanchez was fouled just four times in his last three games for Arsenal. His head was turned by the prospect of a move and he lacked the desire to get on the ball”

Arsenal’s farewell performance came as a 66th minute substitute (Chelsea away). The two matches before that he played the full 90 minutes in each (West Brom away and Chelsea at home). Did he lack desire? Sky, which also employs Redknapp, says he was Arsenal’s most vibrant and best player during the Chelsea game. The Mirror says Sanchez “looked dangerous” throughout when Arsenal took on West Brom.

Other highlights from Redknapp’s insightful column: Arsenal need to “build a team who can deliver these wonderful performances every week.” You think?

“Eddie Howe ticks every box” for “any owner” of a top 6 side looking for a manager. Although the boxes marked ‘Big Cups Won” and “Availability” do look a little empty.

 

Posted: 5th, February 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comments (4)


Biased Balls: Spurs and Liverpool club websites at odds over penalties in 2-2 draw

Liverpool and Spurs drew 2-2 in a vibrant Premier League match in which the Londoner were awarded two penalties, scoring one in the 95th minute. shold they ahve been given? Let’;s see what the locals papers and clueb’s webiste says of things:

Liverpool FC:

First, Kane was felled in the area by Karius before Liverpool’s goalkeeper read the striker’s intention to put the resulting spot-kick down the middle and palmed it away.

Kane was fouled for the first penalty, which he missed, says the official Liverpool website. What about the second, which he scored from?

….Kane converted his second penalty of the match – given after Van Dijk had been adjudged to have fouled Erik Lamela – deep into added time to earn a point for Spurs.

Not so clear that time, then. Although one opinion on the Liverpool website – the only one – says Liverpool were robbed:

Here’s what ex-Red John Aldridge made of an incredible game at Anfield – he was on co-commentary duties for us at Anfied today.

“An unbelievable ending and, for me, that is never a penalty, so it’s a hard one to take.

And in the live blog:

Lamela goes down in the box and linesman awards a penalty to Spurs. That looked soft, you have to say.

Tottenham Hotspur FC:

…when Kane was tripped by Loris Karius and referee Jon Moss awarded us a penalty, even after extensive consultation with his linesman, the striker looked odds-on to score his 100th Premier League goal and give us a rare win at Anfield.

Karius saved it, though…

First penalty: nailed on.

But you can never write off this team! We kept pushing and after Virgil van Dijk’s foul on Erik Lamela was spotted by the assistant referee

Second penalty: also nailed on.

What about the clubs’ local papers?

Liverpool Echo:

Eyebrows were raised when Kane was given a penalty late on, despite appearing to be in an offside position

Eyebrows? Spurs fans were surely rising hands and fists.

Virgil van Dijk was judged to have upended Erik Lamela in the fifth minute of injury time after initially seeing the appeals waved away by Jon Moss.

So much for the judgement. What about the first Spurs penalty?

That was incident [sic] wasn’t the first controversial one of the day however after Spurs were given a penalty minutes earlier with the game finely poised at 1-1.

Kane was in an offside position as he latched on to a through ball from Dele Alli before going down under a challenge from Loris Karius inside the area.

The paper then notes that because of the rules – those pesky rules – Kane wasn’t offside.

London Evening Standard:

Penalty 1:

Kane was…brought down in the box by Karius.

The Tottenham and Wood Green Independent:

Van Dijk caught Lamela with an attempted clearance

Bias? Yes. and no VAR, which would have made the decisions no clearer.

Posted: 4th, February 2018 | In: Liverpool, Sports, Spurs | Comment