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Premier League news. Stories from the newspapers and BBC sport – sports news from tabloids Daily Mail, Daily Express, Daily Star, the Guardian, Daily Mirror, the times, daily telegraph

Aston Villa balls: Stan Collymore rewrites the story of Jack Grealish’s move to Spurs

Stan Collymore continues to disabuse the claim that journalism should be based on sound research. The Daily Mirror columnist has been talking about Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish. Collymore wants to tell Mirror readers how proud he is of Grealish for “rejecting” Tottenham in 2018.

“He made the right decision not moving when Spurs wanted him,” says Collymore. “He’d have just been in their squad at that point.”

One problem with Stan’s comment is that relish did no such thing. Grealish did not snub Tottenham. Spurs tried to get him on the super cheap and failed. Grealish was gutted opining to the Telegraph in September 2018:

“Of course, there’s going to be disappointment there. You’ve just got to look at what Spurs have done this season. They’ve beaten Manchester United 3-0 at Old Trafford, they’re playing Barcelona in the Champions League next week. I felt that if I’d gone there I could have maybe been in the England squad by the end of the year. I would never have gone there just to make up the numbers. At the start of the season my head was swivelled, it was all over the place. Even after the transfer window closed, until the end of August, I wasn’t right. At that time it could have got done, but for whatever reason it didn’t. They weren’t willing to pay what Villa wanted at the time.”

Collymore could read about in one other paper, should he be bothered to:

Such are the facts.

Posted: 13th, October 2020 | In: Back pages, Tabloids | Comment


Talking Balls: Lamela the Spurs hero as Manchester United are robbed

Manchester United 1 – Spurs 6. To reuse a quote by former United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, one he used to dismiss the potency and threat of his side’s opposition: “Lads, it’s Spurs.” In this post, we’ll take a look at reporting on the match. With United trailing 2-1, United’s Anthony Martial was sent off in the 29th minute after an off-the-ball incident involving Erik Lamela.

The Manchester Evening Post says the incident “saw the Spurs player drop to the deck despite having instigated the altercation himself”. The altercation says Lemala aim an elbow at Martial, who responded with a tetchy brush of Lemala’s next. Lemala went down in stages. He then got up and sank to the floor again. To many observers it was an egregious act of playacting.

The Spurs website reports the mater thus:

Then came the sending-off incident in the 28th minute, Martial raising his hands into the face of Lamela and the referee awarded a straight red card to the United man.

No word on any altercation, of what went before.

Posted: 5th, October 2020 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Arsenal Transfer Balls: Lucas Torreira, Daily Mirror lies and the truth at Atletico Madrid

Has Lucas Torreira left Arsenal for a new dawn in Spain with Atletico Madrid? The Mirror says he has:

The Mirror’s URL read by Google News declares: “Arsenal agree loan transfer for Lucas”

After the Google bots have picked up the Mirror’s story, the paper writes:

Arsenal have reportedly agreed a loan deal with Atletico Madrid for Lucas Torreira.

Reported by?

Says the Mirror:

La Liga giants Atletico moved to the front of the queue to sign the midfielder for the season, and according to Spanish publication AS, have now agreed a deal with Arsenal.

We click the Mirror’s link and head over to AS. We read:

Lucas Torreira, a punto
El centrocampista uruguayo está muy cerca de convertirse en nuevo jugador del Atleti. Sin embargo, la operación está sujeta a salida de Herrera.

Which translates as:

The Uruguayan midfielder is very close to becoming a new Atleti player. However, the operation is subject to Herrera’s departure…for the signing to take place, Hector Herrera’s exit must first be closed.

So AS has not reported the deal is done. The Mirror is talking rubbish. But the Googl bots like it so lots of easy traffic for the self-styled “intelligent tabloid”.

Posted: 1st, October 2020 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Spurs sign Gareth Bale for £13m but Dele Alli ruins Mourinho’s jigsaw

Spurs Bale

“Gareth Bale completed his emotional return to Tottenham on Wednesday night in a move that was driven by Jose Mourinho.” So declares the Daily Mail in a story that in the Express is reduced to the status of strong rumour.

The Express says Bale joining Spurs for £20m (the Mail says the loan fee from Real Madrid is £13m) completes the “jigsaw” and makes Spurs complete. The Star agrees that Bale is the “final piece” in the jigsaw. There’s Bale just slotting in below Spurs and England player Deli Alli – the player the Mail says is to leave the club.

And in the Guardian, there’s Bale looking up as Alli departs, doubtless wondering how Jose Mourinho will react to discover someone has removed a big bit of his jigsaw:

Such are the facts.

Posted: 17th, September 2020 | In: Back pages, Sports, Spurs, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer balls: Bale to Spurs because Jose Mourinho failed to get him at Manchester United and Real Madrid

bale manchester united

Who made the call that 31-year-old Gareth Bale should go back and play for Spurs? His agent, Jonathan Barnett, who tells the BBC: “Gareth is closer to leaving Madrid than at any time in last seven years”? Was it Spurs chairman, Daniel Levy, who now presides over a club £1bn in debt for a stadium emptied of fans; a team that looked bereft of direction in an opening day defeat to Everton; a transfer policy that failed to buy Jack Grealish from Aston Villa; and who could be blinded by the sun glinting off the trophies won by local rivals Arsenal? Or how about Jose Mourinho, the manager who is at pains to make himself the centre of the story of Bale to Spurs? Get a load of this self-aggrandising guff when Mourinho was asked about signing Bale:

“He is a Real Madrid player and I don’t comment on players from other clubs. I have to respect that. It’s better not to speak.”

Better, yes. But not what Mourinho chooses to do:

“I tried to sign him for Real Madrid, which was not possible to do during my time there. But the president followed my instinct and my knowledge and the season I left he brought Gareth to the club. It’s not a secret, even Gareth knows that. A squad is a puzzle and when a new signing completes the puzzle it’s great for the team.”

Only Jose Mourinho can save you from Jose Mourinho. Remember when he was using his influence to et Bale to play for Manchester United?

bale manchester united

Such are the facts.

Posted: 16th, September 2020 | In: Back pages, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Transfer balls: When Spurs signed Jack Grealish

Jack Grealish has signed a new five-year contract to remain at Aston Villa. That should come as something of a shock to Spurs fans who get there news from the Bleacher Report:

We read:

…the club is set to make a bid the Villans will be unable to turn down, according to the Mirror’s James Nursey.

And according to Nursey: “Tottenham have won the race for Jack Grealish.” And according to an expert the Standard considers in the know, Grealish to Spurs is still on – it’s his “only” option:

Grealish spurs

Spurs bid £25m for Grealish, says the Mail. Although some reports suggest the opening bid was £3m, rising to £6m before Spurs pulled it back to £4m at the 11th hour. Villa wanted closer to £40m. Whatever the value the Spurs bid was or wasn’t, Villa rejected it.

“It was really close,” Grealish told the BBC at Bodymoor Heath in 2019. “I thought the Hull City game was going to be my last game [for Villa] but one thing led to another and I didn’t end up going.”

So much for Spurs having “won the race” for Grealish.

Posted: 15th, September 2020 | In: Back pages, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Transfer balls: Ceballos rejoins Arsenal

Dani Ceballos is all set to rejoin Arsenal for a second season-long loan from Real Madrid. The Guardian says Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta called the player to convince him to play for the Gunners once more. So much for The Metro’s news that Ceballos “snubbed a potential return to Arsenal and has told Real Madrid that he wants to join Real Betis”. He hasn’t. He didn’t. The Mail said he “asked Real Madrid to return to his boyhood club”. That too is balls. Mundo Deportivo, the Spanish site, told us that Ceballos has “made his decision clear” – it is Betis or nothing. As ever, we can read the Spanish news through the Google Translate mangle:

…his participation in the next European Championship could be a chimera, so he wants go to a team in which he can play regularly and Real Betis is his favorite, as he has made known in the offices of Concha Espina in the event of being on loan again.

In other news: Gabriel Magalhães is soon to arrive at Arsenal from Lille.

Posted: 1st, September 2020 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Transfer Balls: Gareth Bale back to Spurs (not Manchester United) and Gabriel to Arsenal (soon)

Arsenal are “closer than ever” to agreeing a deal with Lille’s Brazilian defender Gabriel Magalhaes, 22, says the BBC. The source for this story is L’Equipe. The website offers no source for its information, stating only that the “southpaw and the Gunners have never been so close to an agreement, which is due in the coming hours.’ How may hours is unspecified. and that’s just as well for the Sun which is playing both sides of the story.

August 19: the deal is agreed at £27m.
August 20: No deal is agreed for the player rated at “£22m”.

On the blue bit of North London, Spurs are looking to re-sign Gareth Bale from Real Madrid, says the BBC.

Or as the Manchester Evening News put it on March 8 2019:

Gareth Bale has reportedly bought a house in Manchester and agreed personal terms with Manchester United ahead of a potential transfer this summer.

And in May 2018 the Daily Express told us of a bold “claim” – presented as an SEO-friendly fact:

And as the sun out it in January 2020:

Bale has not agree to rejoin Spurs. He also hasn’t agreed to join Manchester United, Liverpool or Yeovil. Yet.

Posted: 20th, August 2020 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, manchester united, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Transfer balls: Coutinho agrees to join Arsenal who don’t want him; Higuain set for debut

You know the routine by now, of course. The newspapers report that a A-list player (Reus / Benzema / Zaha) is on his way to Arsenal for a huge fee. We reached peak balls with the Sun’s story that Arsenal had actually signed Gonzalo Higuain from Real Madrid. It was utter tosh. The story is still live on the Sun’s website. The papers are shameless in their pursuit of clicks. Bad reporting – fake news – is part of the process. Shout out enough rumours as fact and eventually you should be right once. You can then advertise yourself as the paper with the inside track on transfers. You read it here first. So to the news that Philippe Coutinho to Arsenal is done! He has agreed.

higuain arsenal

The papers say Coutinho has “agreed” terms to join Arsenal from Barcelona. The Mirror, Sun and talkSport agree on news of his agreement.

And having said Coutinho has agreed to be a Gunner, the Mirror invites Matin Keown to tells readers his “three reasons why Arsenal are making correct Philippe Coutinho decision”. That decision is explained: “Mirror Sport understands Arsenal have opted to sign only the latter as soon as his contract at Chelsea expires at the end of the month.” What readers can “understands” from reading the Mirror is that you can say pretty much anything and pass it off as fact.

Daily Mirror balls
August 8 in the Mirror: Coutinho agrees to sign for Arsenal who, er, don’t want him

The nonsense is so ripe that if you can play Google, you can pass off a fake photo of Coutinho in the Gunners kit as fact and shout, “Philippe Coutinho – Welcome to Arsenal 2020”. Such an image is one of the key search results for ‘Coutinho Arsenal’ on Google:

And in place of no news, other news sources can say because Coutinho has not signed, any deal has been cancelled. Get this in the Mail:

On August 8, the Mail said Arsenal have ended their interest in Coutinho. The same day as the Sun was reporting: “The £145m former Liverpool star will arrive at The Emirates in a season-long loan deal – after a whistle-stop tour of their training ground.”

Such are the facts.

Posted: 9th, August 2020 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Jorginho to quit Chelsea; Lampard wants Rice; West Ham seek £60m; Arsenal sign Willian

It’s transfer season and Chelsea midfielder Jorginho wants to be with people who love him. “Everyone knows there is a very strong rapport between [Juventus manager Maurizio] Sarri and Jorginho after five years working together, I’d be a hypocrite to deny that,” the players’a agent, João Santos, tells the Telegraph. “But I also want to remind you that Jorginho has three years left on his Chelsea contract.” Thanks for reminding us.

Declan Rice’s agent has yet to go public with how many years are left on the player’s contract at West Ham (it’s 4), or that he is on the relatively miserly sum of £30,000 a week. But Chelsea and their manager, former Hammer Frank Lampard, want the player and will need to offer around £60m to get him.

That a footballer on the kind of weekly wage some Chelsea players earn in a day can command such a huge transfer fee will surely not have escaped Rice’s agent. Another four years at West Ham would potentially cost his man a fortune. The transfer season is not just about the players – it’s that time when players look at what other players are getting and wonder about getting a new agent.

Rice may well flutter his eyelashes at Willian’s Mr 10%. The brilliant Chelsea and Brazil winger, 31, has agreed a three-year deal with Arsenal worth £100,000 per week, says ESPN. That’s not too shabby. You could get around 55 non-playing staff for that mind of money.

Posted: 7th, August 2020 | In: Back pages, Sports | Comment


Bias Balls: Arsenal and Chelsea contest the FA Cup final facts

Media Bias: A look at biased football reporting. Arsenal won their 14th FA Cup with a 2-1 win over Chelsea. The game featured a penalty (VAR approved) and a red card, both given in Arsenal’s favour. What say the clubs’ websites.

The Penalty:

Chelsea: “a good Arsenal pass from the back sent Aubameyang away behind the Chelsea defence and onside this time. Azpilicueta gave chase but was judged to have fouled the Arsenal skipper as he entered the box and a penalty was awarded.”

Arsenal: “Kieran Tierney put Aubameyang away with a fine ball up the left. The Gabon international was hauled down by Cesar Azpilicueta in the box – penalty.”

The Red Card:

Chelsea: “Our Cup final prospects took another blow soon after when Kovacic was booked for a second time and was therefore sent-off. It was hugely debatable whether his contact with Xhaka’s foot warranted a yellow.”

Arsenal: “Matteo Kovacic was sent off for a second bookable offence”

The Hot Debate

Chelsea: “Another question was whether the Arsenal keeper later handled the ball outside of his penalty area when claiming a ball during the second half. He went unpenalised.”

Arsenal goalkeeper Martinez did not handle outside the area – which is why it wasn’t penalised.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 2nd, August 2020 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Sports | Comment


CNN obituary to Jack Charlton is US soccerball wrong

RIP Jackie Charlton. Stalwart of the mighty Leeds United, a World Cup winner with England in 1966, leader of the raucous Green Army when he took the Republic of Ireland into Italia ’90, defying the odds and making a country believe that maybe – just maybe – they could do it, and all-round good bloke. He gave many people a lot of joy. So how to pay tribute to the ‘Big Giraffe’?

Virtually all the newspaper front pages lead with a picture of ‘Our Jackie’. “Forever a hero,”says the Sunday Telegraph. And for millions of us who love football he was. Americans love football too. Well, the marketing says they do. This is how CNN hails the great player and manager:

Jack Charlton CNN fail

If only there was something out there, some kind of electronic database, perhaps, where a US researcher could working for the news station of record could find out what the figure dominating the headlines did.

Posted: 12th, July 2020 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, News, Sports | Comment


Transfer Balls: Partey wants Arsenal move, agrees terms but prefers Manchester United

In today’s look at the twilight world of football reporting, the BBC says Arsenal are in the box seat to sign Atlético de Madrid’s Ghanian midfielder Thomas Partey. Is he turned on by the change to play with Musatfi and Xhaka and hang out with Gunnersaurus? Not quite and not all. The Gunners have offered to triply Partey’s wage, says AS. The Express says Arsenal want to pay the £45m transfer in instalments. The Sun says Partey is “ready to come” to Arsenal. The Mirror says his is a “massive boost” to Arsenal. The Express says Partey “wants to play for Arsenal”.

Partey agrees; Partey does not agree

And then the news gets shaky. The web is full of news that Partey has and has not agreed personal terms with Arsenal. TeamTalk says: “Thomas Partey has told Atletico Madrid he wants to leave this summer and that his preference is to sign for Manchester United”. “Arsenal target Thomas Partey prefers Man Utd transfer,” says the Express – the same paper that says he dreams of playing for Arsenal.

Does the player know what he wants? JJ Sport, the agency representing the player, posted on Instagram a picture of Partey alongside the words “pick his club” and the colours of Manchester United, Arsenal, Bayern Munich, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain. How long before he kisses the badge at one of those clubs remains to be seen.

Posted: 4th, July 2020 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Transfer Balls: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang stays at Arsenal, leaves for £30m and Chelsea swap him for Willian

No football, but no end of transfer balls as the BBC tells us that Arsenal “will sell Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, 30, for £30m”. The team captain who scores around half of all Arsenal goals will be sold because next September he enters the final year of his current deal. The Sun agrees that £30m will get your club one of the world’s best strikers. Says the paper:

ARSENAL are looking to sell Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for just £30million. Mikel Arteta is desperate not to lose his 20-goal top scorer for nothing next year.

Logic be damned. Arsenal manager Arteta wants Aubameyang to stay so will sell him. We’re also told Arsenal will swap Aubameyang for Chelsea’s Willian. “Arteta is facing a major issue to overhaul his squad — and with a severely restricted transfer budget,” says the paper. But the Sun told us Arsenal are lining up a £45m bid for Thomas Partey.

Partey arsenal

Maybe the Daily Express can shed some light on the facts? The paper’s headline screams: “Aubameyang ready to sign new Arsenal contract despite Man Utd, Chelsea transfer proposals.”

Aubameyang

Such are the facts.

Posted: 29th, April 2020 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Rashford puts together a decent and dependable plan to get Jadon Sancho to Manchester United

Jadon Sancho Manchester United

England striker Marcus Rashford says he is “desperate” to play with Borussia Dortmund’s English forward Jadon Sancho, 20, at Manchester United next season. So says the BBC. The source for news of Rashford’s desperation is the Sun, which conjures the absurd headline: “Marcus Rashford desperate for Man Utd transfer target Jadon Sancho to form dream trio with him and Anthony Martial.” Apparently Rashford made a “plea” to play with Sancho.

What did Rashford actually say? Well, a fan asked him if he’d like to play with Sancho. Rashford answered:

“It would be good, Sancho’s a great player and he’s like a new generation player. It’s definitely exciting to watch him become the player he’s become. Hopefully we can all play together, that would be good. He plays off the cuff, he’s creative and imaginative, these are the things you need to be world class.”

The BBC and Sun’s stories are utter balls, then. Much like the earlier message about what Rashford told the Manchester United management. The Irish Independent claims Rashford told Solskjaer that Sancho is “decent, dependable and very much likes the idea of what the manager has been putting together”.

More utter balls as the papers try to keep their desperate organs alive every day…

Posted: 2nd, April 2020 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Arsenal ‘delight’ at Upamecano talk gets lost in translation

Upamecano

A bit of Arsenal transfer news in the BBC. The Gunners are “on course” to recruit Dayot Upamecano from RB Leipzig”. The 21-year-old French defender is “keen to move on this summer”. Well, if the BBC says he is, he must be. The source for the Beeb’s news is the Daily Star. “Arsenal target Dayot Upamecano informs RB Leipzig of transfer decision,” says the Star. And the decision will “delight” Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta.

The Star’s story is very short on facts. But it does cite its source, which is German newspaper Bild. “So Upamecano is planning his summer change,” says Bild, guessing that the Frenchman could head to Bayern Munich, Barcelona or Arsenal. And what did he say? “I will now focus first on RB Leipzig and then on what I want to do afterwards. But there are some clubs that like me. I will talk to my advisor and my parents about it at the end of the season. We will make the right choice.”

Bild’s source is Spanish site Mundo Deportivo. Its story was published on February 18. It took over a month to reach the Star. And MD’s story was based on something Upamecano told French radio station RMC on February 17. Mentions of Arsenal that will “delight” Arteta: nil. In fact Upamecano was invited by the journalist to talk about his future and merely said he was flattered to be linked to other clubs as happy at Leipzig. Listen to it here.

Posted: 26th, March 2020 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Arsenal boss Arteta survives Coronavirus virus and has a Partey for £45m; Chelsea and Spurs resume Willian fight

Good news for Arsenal fans. Firstly, the Premier League looks like being cancelled. Having grossly underachieved this season under the likeable but hapless Unai Emery. Secondly, new manager Mikel Arteta says he’s “feeling better already” after contracting Coronavirus. And lastly, Arsenal are preparing to invest £45m for Atletico Madrid’s Thomas Partey, 26. The Gunners will also try to nab Chelsea forward Willian. Spurs also want him. In 2013, the Brazilian looked set for Spurs until Chslea hijacked the deal. This is hiw the Guarfdian repor6ted gthe move:

José Mourinho made little attempt to hide his delight at hijacking Tottenham Hotspur’s move for Willian as the north London club raged behind the scenes about Chelsea’s £32m capture of the Anzhi Makhachkala forward representing a vendetta against them…

Mourinho’s gloating will have done little to soothe Tottenham’s anger. Rather than apologise for disrupting their plans, he revelled in snatching Willian from under their noses. He was initially vague, simply saying that he believed that the player had made his decision but when he was asked if that meant that Willian had chosen Chelsea, he made no effort to keep up the pretence. Instead he laughed and nodded…

“The best thing you can do is do the medical in secret” [said Mourinho].

The former Real Madrid manager was unable to resist one last dig at Tottenham. Asked whether he expected the deal to be completed without any complications, a mischievous grin spread across his face. “We have to do a medical,” he said.

Jose Mourinho is now manager at Spurs.

Posted: 13th, March 2020 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Arsenal balls: Mustafi will walk again

Mustafi injured
Tosh.com

When Shkodran Mustafi was substituted as Arsenal toiled to eventual Europa League defeat at the hand of Olympiacos, the vultures reported on his “hamstring injury”. The Arseblog blog saw a “hamstring strain”. The Evening Standard saw Mustafi depart the pitch with a “hamstring complaint”. The BBC said “Arsenal also lost defender Shkodran Mustafi to a hamstring problem”. Kenya’s The Star says “he did his hamstring”.

The Mirror milks it

The pick of the medial minds comes in the Mirror which reported on the injury “blow” and very soon after the injury “boost”. Yes. Mustafi is fine. He had cramp.

PS: No journalists behind the health bulletins are thought to have treated Mustafi.

Posted: 1st, March 2020 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: New Chelsea signing dreams of playing for Arsenal and picked Bayern Munich over Liverpool

“Well, I have two clubs. They are Arsenal and Barcelona. That is my ultimate dream.” So said Hakim Ziyech, the Ajax wing whose just agreed to join Chelsea for (£33.3m).

That’s not to say Ziyech won’t one day live his dream – nor is it to suggest that reporting on the Moroccan players is of any use. Here are some other things we’ve read about Ziyech in the trusty media:

“Ajax playmaker Hakim Ziyech has an agreement to leave the club this summer amid links to Everton and Liverpool” – HITC.com, 2018

“Liverpool boosted following Hakim Ziyech transfer revelation – Liverpool target Hakim Ziyech has agreed to leave Ajax for an unnamed club” – The Metro, July 2018

“Hakim Ziyech Agrees Personal Terms With Bayern Munich” – 90minutes.com, May 2019

“Ajax sensation Hakim Ziyech available for £25m as Moroccan star reveals move to Arsenal is his ‘ultimate dream’ so he can link up with idol Mesut Ozil” – Daily Mail, May 2019

“Ajax confirm Hakim Ziyech to leave” – May 2019, The Official Liverpool FC website

“Ajax boss confirms Roma will sign Hakim Ziyech” – Calciomercato.com, June 2019, –

“Hakim Ziyech Signs Ajax Contract Extension Amid Bayern Munich Transfer Rumours” – Bleacher Report, August 2019

February 2020 – Hakim Ziyech signs for Chelsea. Such are the facts.

Posted: 13th, February 2020 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Liverpool, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Media bias: Arsenal deflected glory, Pepe falls over and Sheffield United ‘fire’ home

Arsenal v Sheffield United in the Premier League. The game ends 1-1 and the clubs’ respective websites compile their match reports. Compare and contrast:

The Sheffield United Equaliser

Sheffield United website:

With 14 minutes remaining, Besic replaced Basham, United’s final change. And those positive switches reaped their rewards shortly afterwards, as FLECK fired home at the back post, after Sharp had fought hard to keep Robinson’s deep cross alive, a goal which sent the away end into bedlam.

Arsenal website:

Oli McBurnie had a clear chance with 10 minutes remaining when he climbed highest from a corner, but planted his header straight at Bernd Leno – but moments later John Fleck equalised with a shot that took a deflection on its way in.

The Guardian:

John Fleck’s superbly taken equaliser, lashed in seven minutes from time

Sky:

However, they were back on level terms three minutes later as Sharp flicked a Callum Robinson cross into the path of Fleck, whose shot skipped off the turf and flashed into the corner of Leno’s net to secure a deserved point.

Sheffield Star:

and it’s John Fleck who gets it, smashing high into the top corner of Leno’s goal via the turf – a superb finsih [sic]

BBC:

Fleck hit a deflected shot into the far corner

The Penalty Shout

Arsenal:

We soon had a penalty shout as Pepe looked to have been taken down in the box, but after the referee waved play on and a VAR check, nothing was given as the tension rose further.

Sheffield United:

When Arsenal broke at pace through Pepe there were some concern for the Blades as VAR checked a potential penalty but replays clearly showed there was no connection from O’Connell’s challenge.

Make your own minds up:

Such are the facts.

Posted: 18th, January 2020 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Ibrahimovic and Bale to Spurs

Who will Jose Mourinho sign now that Daniel Levy, the parsimonious Spurs chairman, has hired the man who likes to spend? Well, steady yourselves Spurs fans, the Telegraph says Spurs are ready to “hijack” AC Milan’s attempt to re-sign Swedish forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 38, on a free transfer. Take that, Liverpool and Manchester City. You don’t stand a chance.

Mourinho signed Ibrahimovic on a free transfer for Manchester United in 2016. It was a success. The man with the ego bigger than Mourinho’s scored 26 goals in 46 appearances. But why Spurs? The Tele tells readers, because it “may appeal to his ego and sense of drama to join Spurs”. His ego will be sated by joining a team who have won the league title less times than Huddersfield Town and are £1bn in debt over a new stadium? Someone call a therapist, the man’s on the wane.

Better news for Spurs fans in the shape of Gareth Bale. if Spurs can find the £600,00-a-week he earns at Real Madrid, their former star can make a welcome return. And Real are very keen to get shot of him. Former Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon says Spurs and Bale are an ideal fit.

So who first? “The best gift for me, I don’t need players,” says Mourinho. “I am happy with the ones I have.” Until he isn’t. Which could arrive as early as Sunday after their match with West Ham. “I just need more time with them. I know them well from playing against them, but you never know them well enough.” So says the man sacked twice by Chelsea and once by United. What can go wrong?


Posted: 22nd, November 2019 | In: Back pages, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Arsenal balls: Granit Xhaka to AC Milan and Cole Bassett flys in

When Ivan Gazidis, the hapless Arsenal chief executive tucked his “catalyst for change” into his Gridiron knickers and headed for another American-run project at AC Milan, we hoped he’d take a few unloved Arsenal player with him. And now comes news that unpopular Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka, 27, is looking for property in Italy ahead of his mooted transfer to AC Milan in January. Well, so says the Star.

Stripped of the Arsenal captaincy after an on-pitch hissy fit in which he told fans to “f**k off”, before offering an apology constructed around the kind of sympathetic back story Hollywood producers would appreciate.

In other news to thrill the Gooners, Arsenal have given a week-long trial to Colorado Rapids midfielder Cole Bassett. Yay Cole! Dude! Woo! The 18-year-old American could join the Gunners in January, says the Sun. The Mirror, predictably enough, labels young Cole a “wonder kid”. As do the Sun and the Mail. Why is he so wonderful? Well, he’s 18 and have a trial at Arsenal. What more proof do you need?

PS: you know who own the Colorado Rapids? Yeah, Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke. World domination cannot be far away.

Posted: 13th, November 2019 | In: Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Manchester United: Solskjaer’s ‘Cultural reboot’ and other tosh

Don’t panic, Manchester United fans. News is that you’ll have Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at the wheel for some time to come. The Norwegian, once sacked by Cardiff City, has been reassured that his future at United is safe, even if his side are murdered when they play their next match, which is against Liverpool.

Reports point to Solskjaer being given time to push the huge marketing machine that used to be football club into the big time. And in the new year the owners will give him four news players to polish the manager’s “cultural reboot”.

What does it all mean? Henry Winter tells Times readers:

The recruitment of Aaron Wan-Bissaka from Crystal Palace for £50 million was an extensive process, with United looking at hundreds of right backs around the world, taking input from their 32 scouts in more than 30 countries, with data on each player being analysed by 15 people.

And then after employing scores of experts to check out “hundreds’ of right backs, United bought for £50m the Crystal Palace right back who everyone was talking about because the Englishman had made third highest number of tackles in the Premier League.

Never mind the plodding football, just marvel at the mind-boggling science…

Posted: 10th, October 2019 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Transfer Balls: Mustafi is ready to leave Arsenal

Vilifying one footballer for a team’s poor performances is brutal. And Shkodran Mustafi hasn’t been all bad for Arsenal. Or maybe the take away from the The Sun’s Top Trumps-style compare and contrast with Manchester United’s £85m recruit Harry Maguire sheds light less on the German’s abilities than Maguire’s hugely inflated fee. Both played 31 games for their respective sides. Their record for last season is as follows – both players featured in 31 games for Arsenal and Leicester City, respectively:

A more telling stat is that Arsenal new-boy David, Luiz completed more successful passes per 90 minutes than Mustafi. When you’re playing the passing game, Mustafi’s slow, misplaced passes hinder the team. Arsenal are better without him.

A statement from his father and representative Kujtim Mustafi gives points to an imminent transfer: “Shkodran had a great time with Arsenal. We still have a contract for two years and can imagine to stay in London. However the best for both sides is probably to work on a transfer. But for that it also needs market-driven transfer-fees.”

Arsenal may care to present the Sun’s findings in their sales package. And if the buying club only looks at those stats and not his tendency to wander out of position and lump the ball to no-one in particular, Mustafi could go for a fortune.

Posted: 24th, August 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Arsenal to flog Shkodran Mustafi to Roma for £23m and a year of relief

Arsenal are fighting to keep hold of their brilliant Germany international defender Shkodran Mustafi, 27. Roma want to take the brutally underpaid player (£90,000 a week) on a year-long loan with the obligation to buy for ja ridiculously low fee of just – JUST! – £23m. (How’s that Josh Kroenke, any good? The over-priced big lummox has been stinking up the place for ages.)

The better new for Arsenal is that Josh will splash the dosh this January in the hope to improve the squad reeling from Mustafi’s departure (ok – enough, already – ed).

“As for January,” says Josh, “I don’t want to get ahead of ourselves. We’ve got to evaluate some things in the short term and figure out where we might need to address going forward, so when January does roll around we’re going to be proactive again.”

A vast and fast centre-back, Josh, and a Patrick Vieira clone in midfield.

Posted: 20th, August 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


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