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

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

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

But there is this on the opening goal:

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

It hit Bellerin?

The Daily Telegraph saw this:

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

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

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

What say the papers?

The Islington Gazette adds:

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

The Ham & High needs a lesson in human anatomy:

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

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

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

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

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

Wenger OUT!

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


Eden Hazard ‘fell’ in the box as Chelsea come back to draw at Arsenal

hector bellerin chelsea

Wishful thinking on the Arsenal website, whereon readers are invited to “Watch Bellerin’s Winner” against Chelsea. It was nothing of the sort. Hector Bellerin’s late goal tied the scores at 2-2.

Of more interest is that first Chelsea goal, scored from the penalty spot when Bellerin was adjudged to have fouled Eden Hazard. The Arsenal website reports the incident thus:

…the visitors were awarded a controversial penalty after Hazard fell in the box. Coming so soon after that late spot kick at West Brom, it was tough to take – even more so when Hazard slotted it home himself.

Hazard was not fouled. Hazard “fell”.

And on the Chelsea website? The penalty looks like this:

The penalty was awarded for a foul by Hector Bellerin on the twisting and turning Hazard, who converted conventionally with a firm shot past Cech.

“Eden Hazard: Did Chelsea star dive to win penalty against Arsenal?” asks the Express. Yes. And no. He was touched lightly on the foot. And he did fall, face contorted in agony as his hands searched for signs of missing limbs. The brave soldier dragged himself to his ruined feet to score.

The Times sums up well:

Taylor got this call right. Bellerín kicked the base of Hazard’s foot. That the Chelsea No 10 then fell theatrically, clutching a different part of his anatomy, does not diminish Bellerín’s offence.

 

Posted: 4th, January 2018 | In: Arsenal, Chelsea, Sports | Comment


Media bias: Arsenal robbed, Stoke imperious and three penalties

Media Bias: a look at bad reporting in Stoke City’s 1-0 win over Arsenal in the Premier League. Stoke scored a perfectly good goal, a swift strike on the counter attack that ws waved on by Arsenal’s lacklustre and horribly overrated Mesut Ozil. But should Arsenal have had a penalty or three? What say the reporters?

The Arsenal website has the figures: “Seventy-seven per cent possession, six shots on target, one big penalty shout and one disallowed goal – but ultimately no points from Saturday’s Premier League clash with Stoke City.”

Seems fair. Arsenal manger Arsene Wenger offers his appraisal of the match. He says Lacazette’s “goal” was “one hundred per cent” a good goal. “I’ve just watched it and it’s not offside at all. Even his foot was not offside. We have to swallow that and we should have scored despite that.”

Managers have their own views. But the Arsenal website has more on the Lacazette goal:

Alexandre Lacazette did have the ball in the net with 20 minutes to go, only to be flagged offside when replays suggested he was level.

Over on the Stoke City website, no word on how the Potters were overran in possession. Indeed, they were the team that always looked more likely to score.

Hughes’ men started the second half in scintillating fashion when Berahino did well to find Jese inside the box and the attacker finished brilliantly past Cech to give City the lead they thoroughly deserved.

The Stoke win was emphatic:

City remained comfortable for the remainder of the match, with the Gunners hardly threatening.

Stoke City readers might wonder why if the Potters were such easy winners the team’s goalkeeper, Jack Butland, was Man of the Match, which he was.

What about the penalty Arsenal thought they should have been awarded in the first half?

No word on the Stoke City website, but as one write on the Stoke Sentinnel website Wenger a moaner and the “boy who cried wolf”, another notes “the referee’s failure to spot Mame Diouf’s first-half challenge for what should have been an obvious penalty“.

On BBC’s Match of the Day, pundit Jemaine Jenas says Arsenal should have had – get this – three penalties.

Such are the facts.

 

Posted: 20th, August 2017 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports | Comment


Media Bias: Chelsea stretch the truth as Burnley win

Media Bias: a look at biased football reporting. Today’s match at Stamford Bridge saw reigning champions Chelsea defeated 2-3 by the mighty Burnley.

Gary Cahill’s sending off

Chelsea FC Website:

Then, on 14 minutes, proceedings swung in Burnley’s favour. Cahill, stretching after a heavy touch, missed the ball and caught Steven Defour high.

The sympathetic back story – “stretching after a heavy touch” causing him to “miss the ball” – becomes on the Burnley FC website:

Cahill over-ran the ball and lunged towards Defour in an effort to win it back

The Lancashire Telegraph calls Cahill’s foul a “studs-up tackle”.

The BBC’s Martin Keown says of the foul:

“I think it was a red card, without a doubt. He has gone over the top of the ball. He has almost broke his leg…  I can see why the referee has sent him off. It is dangerous… he is out of control.”

The BBC’s Pat Nevin (formerly Chelsea):

There was no doubt in my mind that as soon as I saw it that challenge deserved some colour of card. My gut? A strong yellow. 

And Cesc Fabregas’s red card?

Chelsea FC:

…the Blues were reduced to nine men, Fabregas the man shown a second yellow for a challenge on Cork. The midfielder was incandescent at the decision.

A challenge? Not exactly, says Burnley FC:

Fabregas collecting a second yellow card for a foul on Cork eight minutes from the end

The Mail reveals how Fabregas earned his first yellow, something not mentioned on the Chelsea FC website:

Fabregas is booked for sarcastically applauding the match official after awarding Burnley a free-kick.

Should a Burnley player have been sent off?

Chelsea FC:

Mee went crunching through the back of Morata and was only booked, much to the disgust of the home faithful and the Chelsea players.

Burnley FC have not a word on that. Mee’s yellow card is not mentioned at all. How does the BBC see it?

More screams from Chelsea fans and players as Ben Mee slides in late on Morata. It was clumsy but not as dangerous as Cahill’s earlier, hence the yellow card.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 12th, August 2017 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, Sports | Comment


Chelsea website sees injustice as Arsenal win Community Shield

The football season is underway. Arsenal have beaten Chelsea to win the Community Shield on penalties. The game was largely flat and riddled with errors. And two incidents stand out. Chelsea’s Pedro was sent off for a “filthy challenge” (Times) on Arsenal’s Elneny. No argument there. And then there was the dive.

The Dive

In the first half, Chelsea’s Brazilian Willian was, says the BBC, “tripped by his own feet”. He fell in the box. Willian wanted a penalty. The referee gave him a yellow card for cheating.

What says the official Arsenal website? Nothing. There is, however, this message:

 

arsenal community shield

 

The Chelsea FC website.. Well, let’s wait a moment and first see what more mainstream media has to say on the incident.

The Telegraph:

PENALTY! NO! It’s a dive! That is very interesting. Willlian is onto a mistake by Bellerin, dribbles into the box and then trips himself up… Bellerin doesn’t touch him..

The Indy adds:

It looks as though he actually tripped over his own leg

The Guardian:

He…trips himself by kicking his own calf;

The Daily Mail:

Penalty to Chelsea? No! Instead Willian is booked for diving after evading a challenge from Bellerin and going to ground after clipping his own heels. Excellent decision from the referee.Reviewing the decision for BT Sport,

The Times:

Mark Clattenburg ruled simulation as Willian tripped himself up, his left leg coming over and catching his right.

And on Chelsea FC’s website?

Willian’s booking for simulation in the first half when replays suggested he had been fouled.

More looking at biased reporting throughout the season.

Posted: 6th, August 2017 | In: Arsenal, Chelsea, Sports | Comment


Media Bias: Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford ‘dives’ in Swansea but soars in Manchester

Congratulation to the talented actor and Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford for redefining the phrase “honest English footballer” and in the words of Swansea City manager Paul Clement going “down way before there was contact” and “deceiving” the referee. Rashford’s performance earned United a penalty, and with it another goal for Wayne Rooney. Thankfully, Rashford’s slippery shoes did not cost Swansea City too dear, as the Swans scored late on to tie the match.

So how did the clubs’ respective websites see the incident?

Swansea City FC: “Marcus Rashford got in behind, prompting Fabianski to race off his line. The Swans keeper slid out only to stop himself making contact with Rashford, yet the young striker stuck out a foot to catch Fabianski and then tumbled to the turf.”

Manchester United FC: “…Lingard unleashed a rasping effort which flew wide of the far post, before he then played in Rashford, who was brought down by Fabianski in the box after poking the ball past him.”

What about the local Press?

Wales Online: “Replays showed Lukasz Fabianski had pulled out of his challenge on Marcus Rashford, and that the United striker was already falling to the deck before making contact with the Poland international.”

A dive, then.

The site delivers “Chris Wathan’s verdict”:

Well that is a disgraceful decision and you only fear how costly that will prove. A horrible dive from Rashford who made the decision to go down before Fabianski pulled out. Referee Swarbrick seemed to take an age to point to the spot and the linesman in Swansea’s half was the opposite side of the pitch, blinded by bodies.You can’t say this is what Clement would have wanted because somehow Swansea find themselves behind to a hugely controversial decision when they probably should be ahead.

Manchester Evening News: “PENALTY!”

Rashford frustrated by lack of passes to run onto but first time he really does and Swansea defence panicked.

 

manchester united bias

 

 

Of course, Rashford’s English and an England player, which means he’s not a diver. Take this from Michael Owen, formerly of Manchester United and England, as quoted on the MEN’s live blog:

“The keeper has made a bad decision and you think,’I’m going to find the contact somewhere’. You see Rashford – his knees buckle and he realises Fabianski’s pulled his arms away. Yes. It ends up a dive. Your waiting to be hit. You’re never going to plant your foot that situation. I’ve done it before and had my foot broken. If your foot’s off the ground, you’re not going to get hurt – you just ride the challenge. It’s a situation where you don’t want to get hurt however you still want a penalty. It ended up a dive but your sort of protecting yourself.”

It’s not cheating. It’s being sensible. Unless you’re a dirty foreigner, in which case, it’s disgusting.

 

Posted: 30th, April 2017 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Media Bias: Arsenal praise the referee but Manchester City are robbed

Media Balls: a look at biased football reporting. Today Arsenal beat Manchester City 2-1 to make it into the FA Cup final, where they will play Chelsea.

Should Manchester City have been awarded a penalty?

Arsenal website:

The game had been free of any controversy, but soon the officials were in the spotlight as Koscielny poked the ball in beyond Bravo – but was flagged offside.

It may have disappointed the Arsenal fans, but replays showed it was the correct call – as was referee Craig Pawson’s decision to wave play on when Raheem Sterling went down in the box after a tangle of legs with Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Manchester City website:

Aguero tripped by Oxlade-Chamberlain inside the area. Clear penalty – nothing given.

What about Manchester City’s disallowed goal?

Arsenal website:

…as Sane raced on to a through ball and chipped the ball back across goal from the left byeline, which was knocked back in by Aguero only to be saved by Cech. Sterling knocked the loose ball home, but the flag was up – much to our relief. Replays highlighted that Sane’s cross may – or may not, depending on whether you’re red or blue – have gone out of play…

Manchester City website:

The officials got it wrong but it was very tight, in fairness.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 23rd, April 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Manchester City, Sports | Comment


Media Bias: Arsenal hand it to their fans as sorry Hull get unlucky

Media Bias: Arsenal beat Hull City 2-0 in the Premier League. The first Arsenal goal went in off Alexis Sanchez’s hand. The second was from the penalty spot – Hull City’s Sam Clucas was sent off for a handball on the line from Lucas Perez’s header.

In another incident, debate raged over whether or not Arsenal’s Kieran Gibbs have been sent off?

What says the media? Is there any noticeable bias in the reporting?

The Goal:

Hull defender Andrew Robertson tells Sky Sports: “The referee apologised to us after half-time and said it was a handball. He obviously realises he was in the wrong.”

BBC website:

It’s been coming, Arsenal deserve it, but it’s handball…. As Sanchez goes in for the ball with Eldin Jakupovic, it bounces up and hits the Arsenal man on the hand, then goes in. Not noticeable at first glance, but clear as day on the replay.

Shamoon Hafez for the BBC:

Sanchez did not look like he purposefully pushed the ball into the net and he had little time to move out of the way after the ball came off Jakupovic.

After consultation with his assistant, referee Mark Clattenburg awarded the goal, but prior to that in the first half, Theo Walcott had a shot blocked by the hand of Clucas inside the area, for which no penalty was given.

Do two wrongs make a right?

Arsenal website:

Kieran Gibbs saw his low shot cleared off the line, but Alexis tucked home from close range, even if it did appear to bounce in off his hand.

Well, that’s how it ‘appeared’. The Arsenal website does not mention the ref’s apology.

Hull City website:

Report: Key Decisions Go Against Tigers In Defeat At Arsenal

No word on the Walcott handball. But the goal is described thus: “…a fortunate rebound fell to Sanchez and he managed to bundle the ball into the net although replays appeared to show the final touch was with his hand.”

The ref’s apology is mentioned.

Hull Daily Mail:

Arsenal’s heavy pressure resumed after the half-hour mark with Walcott blocked by Sam Clucas, but the visitors’ dam eventually broke in the 34th minute as the Gunners benefitted from a huge slice of fortune.

Not handball as the BBC said of Walcott’s shot, but ‘blocked’. As for the goal:

Panic stations in the City box saw Andy Robertson clear off the line to deny Kieran Gibbs but when Sanchez was initially denied by Jakupovic’s block, the ball bounced up and deflected in off the Chilean’s hand. Mark Clattenburg consulted with his assistant only to inexplicably deem the handball had been accidental.

The Red Card That Wasn’t:

Peter Swan, Hull City defender on BBC Radio Humberside: “Referee! What a dreadful decision! Kieran Gibbs was the last man, no-one near him, and he’s brought Lazar Markovic down. It’s a sending off, simple as. And Mark Clattenburg has recently been voted the best referee in the world? What?”

Hull Daily Mail:

Markovic was a regular nuisance for the Gunners defence and City were again ruing Clattenburg when a run clear on goal was curtailed by Gibbs 35 yards out. A yellow card for the Arsenal full-back was another mystifying call.

Hull Daily Mail:

Arsenal should also have been reduced to 10 men when Lazar Markovic was brought down by Kieran Gibbs as he burst through on goal in a second half controlled by the Tigers

The Arsenal website:

Gibbs followed him [Walcott] into the book after hauling back the breaking Lazar Markovic. The two incidents brought the Emirates crowd to life, and Arsenal responded.

No word on any red card as the official Arsenal website puts a positive spin on the action. Hull were not robbed so much as Arsenal fans were roused.

The red card that was:

Well, he had to go. All news sources agree. But Hull were hard done by.

Posted: 11th, February 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comments (2)


Media bias: Everton get lucky as Manchester City are robbed in Liverpool

Everton thumped Manchester City 4-0 in the Premier League today. As ever, we’re on the look out for biased reporting. In the first half, with the scores 0-0, City’s Raheem Sterling went down in the Everton box. No penalty given. But were City robbed?

The BBC says it was a good tackle: “Leighton Baines slid in to deny Raheem Sterling an opening early on.”

The Guardian blames Sterling: “Sterling misses a sitter, and wants a penalty!… He tries to take the ball round the keeper, Baines slides in to block it, and Sterling goes over Robles’ trailing leg!”

So much for the neutral viewpoint. What about the publications with a vested interested in the match?

Manchester Evening Post: “With Robles rushing out, and Baines making a last-ditch challenge, the winger chooses to take a touch and trips over.”

He trips over what? “It’s the slightest of touches from Robles that ultimately brings Sterling down,” the report continues.

So it was a foul. He was tripped.

The Liverpool Echo: “Raheem Sterling went down in the area, with replays seeming to confirm he had been tripped by Joel Robles.”

Replays only “seemed” to show that Raheem Sterling had been fouled.

Everton FC (official website): “Leighton Baines kept a cool head and combined with Joel Robles to thwart the City forward, but the Spanish goalkeeper may have taken the legs of Sterling.”

Only “may”? Was Sterling fouled? Does anyone have a clear answer?

Manchester City (official site): “TV replays proved he’d been caught.”

It was definitely a foul, then – but only if you read the official City website.

 

Posted: 15th, January 2017 | In: Back pages, Manchester City, Sports | Comment


Israel Gives Every Palestinian A Key

palestinian-tear-gasTHIS image of Israel is from the Associated Press – and lest you mistake it for a shot of a sleeping man, it is captioned as follows:

A Palestinian passed out from tear gas fired by Israeli troops, holds a key symbolizing the keys to houses left by Palestinians in 1948, during a demonstration marking the 61st anniversary of ‘Nakba,’ Arabic for catastrophe, in the West Bank village Bilin, near Ramallah, Friday, May 15, 2008. The rally marked the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who either fled or were driven out of their homes during the 1948 war over Israel’s creation.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 18th, May 2009 | In: Photojournalism, Reviews | Comment