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Back pages | Anorak - Part 16

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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

Arsenal balls: missing Ozil is the fourth best player on the pitch

The modern media trick is to report a football match and cover all the angles in a scattergun of clickbait and ‘debate’. And so it is for the Sun’s reporting on Stoke City’s 1-0 win over Arsenal. The trouble begins when readers notice the corruption of facts.

In one story, the paper slams Arsenal star Mesut Ozil’s “lifeless performance”. Another story on the game is punctuated with “Should Arsenal get rid of Ozil now?” Yet another story tells readers: “Ozil, indeed, played like a deserter, hiding in plain sight.” Steven Gerrard, the former Liverpool captain now working as TV pundit, was “100 per cent right” to call Ozil a “liability”, says the paper’s Ken Lawrence.

 

ozil ken lawrence arsenal the sun

 

And that’s odd because in the Sun’s round-up of the match, Ozil scores a 7 out of 10, making him the Gunners’ second best performer after Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (8) – and the joint fourth best player on the pitch after ‘The Ox’, Stoke’s Jack Butland (8 – the game’s Man of the Match) and Jese (8).

 

ozil arsenal

 

Have the tabloids got it in for Ozil, or have they simply worked out that slamming him get Arsenal fans excited? Just last week, the Mirror labelled Ozil a “loser”, although all the facts pointed to him being anything but. It’s almost as if the stories write themselves to an agenda.

Posted: 21st, August 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment (1)


Chelsea move to sue Diego Costa

No sooner has Diego Costa walked out on Chelsea than the press started to work out how much money his strop will cost the Spain striker. The Express calculates that on an annual wage of £7m a year, striking until January 1 2018, when he can join Atletico Madrid, will cost Costa £3m. (Atletico are subject to a transfer embargo until Jan 1).

Make that £13m, says the Star. Like the Mirror, it says Chelsea could sure Costa for breach of contract.

Odd, isn’t it, that the player whose gamesmanship and nastiness left many fans bemused by his lack of red cards should now have dismissed himself. Perhaps he tired of waiting for the referee?

Chelsea want Costa back to train with the squad, as per the terms of his contract. Costa moans “Chelsea don’t want to release me” and “My destination is already set. I must return to Madrid”. But according to the Sun, Atletico Madrid will pay £30m for Costa – £20m less than Chelsea think he’s worth.

“When we heard [Chelsea manager Antonio] Conte didn’t want me anymore, my agent went to find out if there was interest from Atletico for me coming back,” says Costa. “Of course for the warmth and respect that I earned there, they showed interest, but they wouldn’t pay a fortune… If I’m not part of the manager’s plans, I would like to choose my destination – I’m not going to let them decide just to get more money.”

The only winner here look likely to be Aletico, who can sit back and watch Costa’s value plummet.

 

 

Posted: 18th, August 2017 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, Sports | Comment


Spurs balls: Levy puts Dele Alli in the shop window

In the mad world of football transfers, what is Tottenham and Spurs’ talented irritant Dele Alli worth? Helpfully the BBC says he’s worth £150m. Its story is rooted in the Sun’s “exclusive”, which says Dele Alli won’t be sold to Manchester City or Barcelona “even for £150million”.

 

levy dele alli spurs

 

The article adds that Spurs chairman Daniel Levy “has made it clear 21-year-old Alli is not for sale at any price”. In other words, anyone who wants to buy the player can start the bidding at £150m. As the story adds:

And with Neymar moving to PSG for £198m and Kylian Mbappe expected to follow him for £160m, Levy sees no reason why Alli should not be in a similar bracket.

Levy’s dangling Alli in the water and is waiting to see if any oil-soaked fish is mad enough to bite. And as Levy sticks Alli in a basque and suspenders and puts him in the store window, the pretence continues that he’s anything but waiting for a massive bid. “Levy has made it clear his future is at White Hart Lane,” adds the Sun blithely.

The really odd thing about the Sun’s scoop is that it contains not one quote from Levy. His “warning” to the world that only £150m-ish will get Alli contains not a word that can be attributed to him irrefutably and directly. If the Spurs chairman won’t go on the record, why is news of Alli’s non sale news at all?

When did the Sun become Tottenham’s salesroom?

Posted: 17th, August 2017 | In: Back pages, News, Sports, Spurs, Tabloids | Comment (1)


Arsenal balls: ‘missing’ Ozil creates more chances than any other player

The tabloids love to bash Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil. It’s not alway fair criticism. Take Arsenal’s Premier League opener against Leicester City. The Gunners won 4-3. But according to the Daily Mirror, Ozil as a “loser”:

With Alexis Sanchez missing through injury, this was a big night for Mesut Ozil to take centre stage but he failed to make any impact on the game.

No impact at all?

The German superstar… failed to create any goalscoring chances for Alexandre Lacazette.

According to the Premier League website, Ozil made one “big chance”, had three shots and won 5 of 9 “duels”. Indeed, elsewhere on the Mirror’s website, Ozil “looked to set up chances”. In fact, he created six chances in the match.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 15th, August 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Chelsea balls: Diego Costa and the Daily Mail pile into blameless Conte

Following up its interview with Chelsea striker Daily Mail, the paper leads with “WE BACK DIEGO”. News is that “Antonio Conte’s decision to exile Diego Costa is threatening to damage his strong bonds with other Chelsea players.” Other papers go with “Rebel Will Be Left To Rot” (Sun) and “Blues lay down law to AWOL star” (Daily Star)“.

Costa is currently sulking at his mum and dad’s house in Brazil. He’s been fined for not showing up at Chelsea. And he says the Blues are treating him “like a criminal”.

The Mail says it’s not wantaway Costa in the wrong; it’s Conte. The story continues: “Costa is a popular figure in the dressing room and remains in regular contact with close friends Willian, David Luiz and Spain team-mates including Cesc Fabregas.” Well, so says Costa. And then this: “Some fear they could be the next to be discarded in brutal fashion by title-winning manager Conte.”

That Conte, eh, what a heartless swine. What the Mail omits to mention is that in July 2016, Costa demanded to leave Chelsea for Atletico Madrid. Conte, as was reported widely, persuaded him to stay. Said Costa:”I did all that I could to return but it didn’t happen. When Atlético had to wait for me, they didn’t wait.”

Indeed, one news organ has reported on Costa’s unhappiness at Chelsea many times:

Costa has never properly settled in London after moving there in his own £32m deal and has remained in contact with various former team-mates telling several of them that he would like to return. – Feb, 4, 2016

Antonio Conte unsure if Diego Costa will stay a Chelsea player: ‘If you ask me if Costa will remain, I don’t know’ – July 31, 2016

Antonio Conte won a battle of wills with Diego Costa after Chelsea’s leading scorer demanded to be taken off during the 3-0 Premier League victory over Leicester at Stamford Bridge. The Spain international started the game on four yellow cards for the season, meaning another booking would see him miss the highly anticipated clash with Manchester United on October 23… the Blues striker gestured angrily towards his manager that he wanted to be substituted 20 minutes before time to avoid a potential suspension, but Conte was having none of it – despite Costa holding his leg late on. – October, 2016

All in the Mail.

Having supported Conte for telling Costa who’s boss, the Mail now tells its readers:

Could Diego Costa last longer at Chelsea than Antonio Conte? Champions order rebel striker back to London as their manager feels the heat

Not if Costa’s got anything to do with it, no. He wants to leave…

 

Posted: 15th, August 2017 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, News, Sports | Comment


Talking Balls: Huddersfield’s Steve Mounie goes missing in the Dales

Huddersfield tonked Crystal Palace in their opening Premier League match, and the Sun’s Paul Jiggins can’t find an atlas. Where the hell is Huddersfield? He doesn’t know. The Sun’s once peerless subs don’t know, either:

At Selhurst Park on Saturday we heralded the arrival of the striker who could become the Premier League’s next African superstar. Steve Mounie is already being dubbed ‘The Drogba of the Dales’”…

Not by anyone in Huddersfield he ins’t, which, as any schoolboy knows, isn’t in the Yorkshire Dales.

 

huddersfield dales

Where’s Steve?

 

Such are the facts.

 

Posted: 14th, August 2017 | In: Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | 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


Dramatic Arsenal winner as Premier League erupts into life

Maybe the Premier League should always begin with an Arsenal home match? Last season the Gunners kicked off with a 3-4 opening day defeat to Liverpool; yesterday Arsenal introduced the 2017-2018 season by beating Leicester City 4-3. Arsenal fans will be hoping the season ahead doesn’t follow more of the familiar late-Wenger disappointments, and that the chief executive’s promise of a “catalyst for change” isn’t just marketing guff.

The match was a thriller. With just seven minutes of normal time remaining, Arsenal were trailing 2-3. Sky Sports pundit and former Manchester United stalwart Gary Neville was delighted after Olivier Giroud’s late header gave Arsenal the win.

 

gary neville arsenal

 

And welcome to the Premier League, Alexander Lacazette, Arsenal’s record signing, whose first three touches in the title race went: kick-off, goal, kick-off.

As for any controversy in a game where defending was scarce and far from textbook – Arsenal ended the game with an unusual defence: a midfielder at right back; a right back at left left; and two left backs in the middle – the Gunners’ third goal, which tied that match 3-3, came from a corner. Should it have stood. The Leicester City website says the Foxes were robbed:

…in the 83rd minute Ramsey was left unmarked at the far post and slotted home the equaliser, although replays showed a blatant handball from Mesut Ozil in the build-up to the goal. City just don’t get the rub of the green in north London.

On the look out for media bias, what says the Arsenal website on the same goal?

Aaron Ramsey hauled us level with a firm finish from Granit Xhaka’s delightful pass

More of this until May.

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


Spurs balls: Gareth Bale’s return would be a badge of lunacy

Tottenham fans looking for their club to boost the Premier League’s second best side last term with new players are addressed by the Sun’s Paul Jiggins. Just as pressing f8 on the keyboard has for years given the Sun stories of Cristiano Ronaldo’s imminent return to Manchester United, we now get news of Gareth Bale’s Spurs homecoming:

With Spurs suddenly looking vulnerable, Levy needs to do more than merely ensuring the current playing squad is retained. He needs to make a statement. And there would be no bigger one than taking up the first option Tottenham have on buying back Gareth Bale if and when he becomes available.

‘If’ and ‘when’ might well be words familiar to Spurs fan whose side have one a single trophy this century, but they aren’t exactly the way a savvy operator like Daniel Levy, the club’s chairman, is likely to dwell on.

 

bale yid

 

As for buying Bale, perhaps Jiggins could suggest a fee? He continues:

Levy still wears the £86m sale of the Welsh wizard to Real Madrid four years ago as a badge of honour. Buying Bale back would be an even greater one.

Why stop there? Why not get more badges and buy back Luca Modric from Real or get Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal? Well, one issue might be the money. Take Danny Rose, the Tottenham and England defender on £65,000-a-week. Rose watched Kyle Walker leave Spurs for around £50m and secure a £180,000-a-week deal at Manchester City. Tottenham’s Toby Alderweireld is on around £50,000-a-week. The only way Bale will rejoin Spurs is if all parties lose the plot.

PS: Spurs fans I know aren’t overly bothered about who the club didn’t buy. But they are impressed by who they didn’t sell.

Posted: 11th, August 2017 | In: Back pages, News, Sports, Spurs | Comments (3)


Transfer balls: Bale to Manchester United for a fee that makes Neymar to PSG look cheap

The summer’s here and with it comes the usual news that Gareth Bale dreams of leaving the heat and glory of Real Madrid for life at Manchester United. Like everyone else, the Star hears Real Madrid president Florentino Perez state the current European champions have no intention of selling Bale, 28, to Manchester United or any other club. “He’s a Madrid player, he’s important for us and he’s one of the world’s best,” says Perez of the Welsh powerhouse bought from Spurs.

But the BBC tells its readers that “privately Perez has told Jose Mourinho that he would be willing to let the Welshman leave”. Got that? Perez told the Manchester United’s manager something in private and the BBC got wind of it. And so did the Daily Express, whose Jack Otway reveals beneath the headline “Real Madrid stunner: Man Utd given green light by Perez to sign Bale after private talks”, that his source is Diario Gol. Slap its story through the prism of Google Translate and you get:

José Mourinho has returned as best he knows to the press rooms: with his provocative instinct. In the previous one of the Supercopa of Europe, the Portuguese technician sent darts poisoned.

One of them went to Florentino Perez. Luso acknowledged that he would be willing to tackle the signing of Gareth Bale. Especially if he sees that his club does not have him.

Mourinho believes that Bale could not be indisputable in Real Madrid. In contrast, the Setubal would secure a place without hesitation in Manchester United.

The two sides have approached positions but lack consensus. A Bale something happens like what happened to Neymar : he wants a club where he is the leader.

Neymar could not be in Barça because he was Messi , and Bale can not be in Madrid while Cristiano Ronaldo. But the case of Welsh is different. The good moment of form of Isco and Marco Asensio make think that not even its site in the initial eleven is guaranteed. Everyone can not play.

That is the main asset of José Mourinho. The United coach wants to persuade him to change his mind. What was not expected was that Florentino entered the rag.

The president of Madrid wants to play and has recognized that if they are willing to pay what it is worth, “Bale is for sale “. The problem is that Neymar has already assessed the market price of Welsh.

Florentino paid 101 million euros for him and will not let him escape for less than 200 million euros. This is how PSG put things and that is what United should study . The cunning of Florentino, with much higher clauses than the Barça has, makes it unfeasible that nobody can pay Bale’s departure . Only a transfer will be negotiated.

In other words, Perez has apparently told Mourinho and Manchester United that if they love Bale so much they can make an offer starting at €200m for him. And they can forget about triggering any escape clause because Perez, the Real Madrid maestro, is no dummy like those negotiators at dread rivals Barcelona who allowed Neymar to slip away to PSG.

If that’s a green light, any drivers reading the Express fact sheet should proceed with extreme caution.

 

Posted: 9th, August 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Clickbait balls: Southampton’s Virjil can Dijk wants Express move to Liverpool or Arsenal or Chelsea

Transfer balls: news is that Southampton’s Virjil can Dijk no longer thinks Southampton’s ambitions match his own. The defender has asked the Saints to let him know if he can move to a club higher up the pay scale. Liverpool want the Dutchman, but back in June, Southampton alleged the Reds had made an “illegal approach” for him.

Liverpool released a statement:

“Liverpool Football Club would like to put on record our regret over recent media speculation regarding Southampton Football Club and player transfers between the two clubs. We apologise to the owner, board of directors and fans of Southampton for any misunderstanding regarding Virgil van Dijk. We respect Southampton’s position and can confirm we have ended any interest in the player.”

 

So today the Daily Telegraph declares:

After Virgil van Dijk handed in a stunning, forthright transfer request on Monday, asking that Southampton “consider the interest in me from top clubs should it still exist,” Liverpool will revive their interest in the defender.

But Liverpool ended their interest in the player. Which makes us wonder where the Telegraph sourced its story?

That’s according to reports in the Daily Express this morning, who say Liverpool will not be deterred by the fact Southampton reported them to the Premier League earlier in the summer for their pursuit of Van Dijk.

When the trusty Express is your source, it’s worth a look at what the self-style ‘World’s Greatest Newspaper’ (aka: The Daily Clickbait) has to say. In a word, lots. In the past 24 hours, the Express has spun Virgil’s transfer demand into 24 stories. We’ve picked out the highlights:

  1. Virgil van Dijk: Jim White goes on radio rant at Southampton star
  2. Transfer news: Virgil van Dijk will likely join Chelsea, not Liverpool – journalist
  3. VIRGIL VAN DIJK is likely to join Chelsea and not Liverpool, according to journalist Alex Crook.
  4. VIRGIL VAN DIJK wants out of Southampton and Express Sport bring you live updates on his future as Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal chase the defender.
  5. VIRGIL VAN DIJK needs Champions League experience before he can be compared to the likes of Rio Ferdinand, Danny Mills has suggested.
  6. VIRGIL VAN DIJK will not stay at Southampton this summer because player power is too strong, says Jamie Redknapp
  7. VIRGIL VAN DIJK is wanted by Chelsea and Arsenal – who both hope Southampton will refuse to sell him to Liverpool
  8. VIRGIL VAN DIJK is understood to prefer a move to Liverpool over Chelsea after going public with his Southampton transfer request.
  9. LIVERPOOL are ready to revive their £60m move for Virgil van Dijk after the defender went public with an incendiary transfer request.
  10. ROBBIE FOWLER believes Liverpool face a tricky task to bring Virgil van Dijk to Anfield.
  11. Chelsea set to make move for Virgil van Dijk: Antonio Conte assured of three signings
  12. CHELSEA are set to make a firm enquiry with Southampton for Virgil van Dijk with new signings being promised at Stamford Bridge
  13. Chelsea Transfer News LIVE updates: Drinkwater top target, £27m Aurier deal, Van Dijk move

 

To recap: van Dijk is off to Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal.

Posted: 8th, August 2017 | In: Back pages, News, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer balls: Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho agrees to join Barcelona says one unimpeachable source

In football’s arms race, the Star says Barcelona will offer Liverpool £120m for Philippe Coutinho, 25. Is the Brazilian worth the money? Surely not. Indeed, the Sun counters the Star’s offer and says Barcelona believe they can get Liverpool’s bet player for £90m.

Oddly, the Star adds that Barcelona will also buy Chelsea’s Eden Hazard for around £100m. L’Equipe says Ousmane Dembele has agreed to join Barceloan from Borussia Dortmund for £90.2m. Oh,m and for reasons utterly unclear, Barcelona are also recruiting former Tottenham midfielder Paulinho, 29, from Chinese side Guangzhou Evergrande, says.

And finally Bild reports that PSG’s Julian Draxler is also on his way to Barcelona.

Yeah, that’s what we thought – that £199 Barcelona got for Neymar is going a long way.

The story that stands out, though, is that of Liverpool’s Coutinho heading to Spain. Accordign to many news sources, it’s a done dead.

Metro July 26 – “Philippe Coutinho agrees deal to join Barcelona”

The Sun, July 16 – “KOP OUT Philippe Coutinho ‘agrees terms with Barcelona’ leaving club to thrash out £89million deal with Liverpool”

Daily Mail, July 16 – “Philippe Coutinho has agreed terms with Barcelona over a move to La Liga this summer”

Daily Express, August 2 – “PHILIPPE COUTINHO is trying to persuade Jurgen Klopp to let him join BarcelonaBrazilian a step closer to exit after agreeing contract with Catalan giants”

All those report stem from a story on Catalan Radio Station RAC1. It says, according to Spanish site Sport:

 

As reported by RAC1, Coutinho and Barcelona have everything agreed and now only need to negotiate the amount of transfer that would perceive Liverpool by the sale of Coutinho.

The story contains not a single quote. Which makes you wonder if it’s based on fact or hope. RAC1‘s story, written in Catalan, also contains not a single fact. It does, however, quote a source for its scoop. It’s, er, RAC1:

 

coutinho barcelona

 

Such are the facts.

 

 

 

Posted: 7th, August 2017 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, Sports | Comment


Clickbait balls: Indy tricks Arenal fans in Alexis Sanchez story

This was the week when, according to the Daily  Mirror, Alexis Sanchez would tell Arsenal he wanted to leave the club. It’s Saturday and today’s Alexis Sanchez news is that he has, reports the Indy, “set Arsenal a target if 85 points this season in order to challenge for the Premier League title”.

 

Is that what he said? No. He didn’t say anything. The Indy’s story is total and utter balls. It was Arsene Wenger, Arsenal’s manger, who was talking to media. He opined:

“When you have made 75 points (last season), your target is to get 10 points more. And with 10 points more, you are in there (the title race).”

alexis sanchez arsenal balls Indpendent

As reported in the Indy by Jack Austin

 

To recap: Sanchez did not set Arsenal a target. He has not pledge to stay at Arsenal, as the story strongly implies. Other than that, it’s correct.

Such are the facts.

 

Posted: 5th, August 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Who is Neymar’s lover? Tabloids haven’t a clue

Bruna Marquezine nude

 

Brazilian footballer Neymar Junior has moved from Barcelona to PSG, and the tabloids are looking for a love interest. Unable to find one, they instead rest their gaze upon 22-year-old Brazilian actress Bruna Marquezine, who used to date the player. Bruna has 21 million Instagram followers. Discovering her is akin to finding your own arse with both hands.

But the Sun is excited, declaring: “NEYMAR’S world-record Paris Saint-Germain move is not the only reason for fans to be excited.” PSG’s sex-starved fans will be frothing at the lips because in a city short of women Neymar’s former girlfriend Bruna “could follow her man to the City of Love”. This guesswork is cemented in the headline: “Who is Neymar’s girlfriend?” Indeed, who is she? She’s not Bruna Marquezine. One down. A few million more model /actresses to go and the Sun should find her.

After seeing a mere 17 photos of Bruna reaped from her Instagram page, Sun readers might be able to recognise her should she walk past them, but they won’t know anything about her. Toby Gannon’s dossier doesn’t even include her age! (She turned 22 yesterday.)

The Star invites its readers to “click through the gallery to see photos of Neymar’s gorgeous on-off girlfriend Bruna Marquezine”. The Evening Standard’s Fiona Simpson opts to simply rewrite history. The headline above her story boasts: “With the Brazilian set to join PSG, we take a look at the lady in his life”. She isn’t the lady in his life. They are not dating. Indeed, after illuminating her text with a few photos taken from Bruna’s social media accounts, Simpson quotes Neymar: “Me and Bruna are separated.”

Such are the facts.

Posted: 5th, August 2017 | In: Back pages, Celebrities, News, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Monaco want Sanchez, Arsenal want Lemar, Barcelona pay Neymar’s dad earns more than Messi

More news on Arsenal striker Alexis Sanchez, who has endured a busy summer in the media, joining Paris Saint GermainBayern Munich and Manchester City. He was on his way to Chelseadefinitely staying at Arsenal – who will sell him for £80m – and yesterday kissed the badge on his Arsenal shirt.

 

 

On Monday, the Daily Mirror told readers Sanchez would put in a transfer request this week. It’s Friday. He hasn’t.

Today’s news is that he could be on his way to Monaco. The French champions will bid £45m for the Chilean, says the Metro. The Express says Barcelona, rolling in filthy lucre since Neymar let for PSG, will try to bring Sanchez back to Spain. Incidentally, did you know that Neymar’s father has reaped more money from Barcelona in the last four years than Lionel Messi has? It’s true. And it illustrates just how over-hyped football is.

Meanwhile the Sun reasons that Monaco will use Arsenal’s interest in their midfielder, Thomas Lemar, “to try to tempt” the Gunners into lobbing Sanchez into a swap deal.

Unless they don’t.

 

 

Posted: 4th, August 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports | Comment


Clickbait balls: Lemar’s Arsenal hint

What is the “hint” being “dropped ” by Monaco’s Thomas Lemar that he’s on his way to Arsenal? Has he been spotted signing contracts in Alexis Sanchez’s Paris hotel?

You click on The Metro’s scoop and are told: “Lemar liked a training picture of Lacazette with Mesut Ozil and Danny Welbeck posted by the striker on Tuesday.”

And? And nothing. Lacazette, the paper continues, “is good friends with Lemar”.

Such are the facts.

 

 

Posted: 2nd, August 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Alexis Sanchez was in Paris to get his UK work permit

alexis sanchez agents Paris

 

You read the news that Arsenal striker Alexis Sanchez has “agreed“a  four-year contract with Paris Saint Germain? You read that the Arsenal player had been in Paris to meet with PSG reps? And like me you thought it odd that no-one had a photo of Sanchez in Paris. Now Sanchez is in London, training with – yep – Arsenal. But the Daily Mail has news: “Judgment Day: Wantaway Sanchez flies back to London ahead of return to Arsenal… but what was he doing with his lawyer in Paris?”

He was, er, agreeing to play for PSG?

The Mail doesn’t answer. It just notes that “his brief stop-off in France has led to some fans questioning whether PSG is his next destination, while Man City supporters are still hopeful he will arrive at the Etihad.”

Hie next destination turned out to be Arsenal. Which leaves us to wonder what Sanchez was doing in Paris, if it wasn’t to sign a contract with PSG? The Daily Telegraph explains:

Ruben Inostroza Povea, who is Sanchez’s lawyer, uploaded a picture of the pair preparing to leave Santiago airport, Chile, on Sunday evening.

Odd. The paper said he was already in Paris. But at least his time there was a photo to prove that he wasn’t. But why was Sanchez heading to the French capital?

According to Povea’s Instagram picture, the trip included a stopover in Paris, where the forward is thought to have renewed his British work permit.

Just like he did in 2014, when he first joined Arsenal.

Such are the facts.

 

Posted: 1st, August 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Key Posts, Manchester City, News, Sports | Comment


Manchester City balls: Ederson has Manchester United fans laughing in The Sun

When Manchester City spunked £34.9m on Ederson – a world-record fee for a goalkeeper – the Sun’s Martin Blackburn told readers that now Pep Guadiola’s team could play the passing game he oversaw as manager of an all-conquering Barcelona side. Ederson is known for his great range of passing and “enormous pinpoint delivery”. He is a “keeper who can launch it 75 yards on to a bottle top”.

Writes Blackburn:

Pep turned up at the Etihad and promptly dumped Joe Hart because he did not feel the England keeper was good enough outside the box.

Hart’s not all that good inside the box.

He persisted with Hart’s replacement, Chilean Claudio Bravo, despite a series of high-profile errors. No matter what happened, Guardiola refused to back down.

The 8th Rule of tabloid journalism dictates an on-off existence. Pep is either extraordinarily clever and prescient or a man more stubborn than an enormous turnip. So it is that when faced with the hapless Bravo, dumb Pep stuck with him through thin and thinner. Or did he? Because one newspaper told us otherwise:

BRAVO, CLAUDIO Claudio Bravo dropped by Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola: Here is why he is officially the worst goalkeeper in the Premier League – January 30, 2017

Pep Guardiola has explained his decision to drop Claudio Bravo in the Manchester City goal and replace him with Willy Caballero – February 1, 2017

Manchester City prepared to axe flop goalkeeper Claudio Bravo and replace him with Benfica’s Ederson Moraes – February 2, 2017

That paper was – of course – the Sun.

And how great was Ederson just over a week ago?

Ederson has nightmare debut and is already being compared to flop Claudio Bravo – July 21, 2017

You can read about “dodgy” Ederson giving City fans “a sense of deja vu”, causing “United supporters to gloat on Twitter as the £35million signing ensured Pep Guardiola’s choice of goalkeeper will remain a contentious issue next season” in the consistent Sun.

Posted: 1st, August 2017 | In: Back pages, Manchester City, Sports, Tabloids | Comment (1)


Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez is sick, grasping and pathetic – no wonder they all want him

Good news for those of you who hate football? The domestic season is yet to begin and already a player is doing a great impression of a grasping, unlovely git. Arsenal’s wantaway striker Alexis Sanchez, easily the side’s best player, has posted an photo of himself being ill. He’s not chucking up or in radiotherapy. He’s wearing a scarf indoors, cradling a dog and pulling the kind of face a spoilt brat uses when their over-indulging parent says ‘No more cake’. His agent says he has the flu.

Alexis Sanchez turns  9 29 in December.

 

 

I love the game but modern football is a hyped sport brimful of grasping berks.

The problem for Arsenal is that rampaging Sanchez scores goals. And when you overlook all the posting and pouting, that’s a rather useful quality.

Posted: 29th, July 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Bale joins Manchester United is a recurring fantasy

Transfer balls: questioned by Real Madrid’s official website, the club’s manager Zinedine Zidane was asked if Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo (the so-called ‘BBC’) were likely to remain.

“I hope the BBC stay for this season,” he replied. “I hope everyone remains. I want everyone who is here now to stay…but anything can happen right up until August 31.”

On the chance of Kylian Mbappe joining Real, Zidane added: “I’m the coach here and you’d have to ask someone else about that. We’re working on things and we’ll see what happens. We’ve got the players who are here now and we’ll just have to see what happens.”

All coy stuff, then. But stick it through the tabloid mincer and you get:

 

bale manchester united bale manchester united bale manchester united

 

That follows the Daily Express’s news of July 19 2017:

Real Madrid star Gareth Bale has secret agreement to join Man Utd next summer

 

And there was the Manchester Evening News story of May 8 2017:

Gareth Bale has agreed to join Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford next season, should the club be able to guarantee involvement in next season’s elite European competition by winning the Europa League .

The story of Bale to United is a familiar one. In November 2015, the Sun said Bale was heading to Old Trafford and Real were in “crisis”. Bale never came. Real went on to win the Champions League.

 

Such are the facts.

Posted: 28th, July 2017 | In: Back pages, manchester united, News, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Sanchez agrees Manchester City and PSG as Arsenal wait

Transfer balls: a look at dire, questionable and clickbait-led football reporting.

Compare and contrast the following headlines in The Sun:

July 27, 2017: “HEART SET ON CITY – PSG drop interest in Alexis Sanchez as Arsenal star wants to join Manchester City this summer”

July 21, 2017 – “Alexis Sanchez in Paris hotel as Arsenal star reportedly arrives for talks with PSG”

On July 26, the Sun said: “Sanchez has been demanding a whopping wage packet of around £300,000-a-week.” In the earlier report, the Sun says Arsenal have offered Sanchez £275,000 a week – which is not all that far off his latest demands.

On July 6, the Sun said Sanchez was asking for a whole lot more:

 

 

So much for the facts in the Sun, which produced not a single photo of Sanchez in Paris. But if you want really terrible reporting, the Metro trawls on. According to the Metro, Sanchez has already agreed to join PSG…

 

lexis Sanchez agrees four-year contract with Paris Saint-Germain Read more: http://metro.co.uk/2017/07/23/alexis-sanchez-agrees-four-year-contract-with-paris-saint-germain-6799303/#ixzz4njEVVmXV

Alexis Sanchez agrees four-year contract with Paris Saint-Germain

 

…and Manchester City:

 

man city sanchez

 

Such are the facts.

Posted: 27th, July 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Arsenal clickbait balls: Wenger gone and Ozil is buried in the Gunners’ (wooden) box

In recent days the Sun’s Neil Ashton has told Arsenal fans that Mesut Ozil is staying at the club (proof: the German Ashton said wasn’t worth “two bob” has renewed his box at the Emirates), Chelsea have been “beaten” Arsenal to £50m Virgil Van Van Dijk (proof: none) and Hector Bellerin will remain at Arsenal (proof: nothing to say that he won’t).

The question is: do these players all know Arsenal are dead? It’s not Arsenal fans burying the club – a group Ashton says “are only ever one defeat away from another meltdown” – it’s Ashton, who opined;

‘ARSENAL Football Club, Rest In Peace. This institution, one of the most famous clubs in the world, is dead and buried. Here at the Emirates, the heart finally stopped beating.’

“So it’s goodnight Arsenal. Goodbye Arsene,” said Ashton after Arsenal were thrashed by Bayern Munich.

Proof to the contrary: Arsenal live on. Arsene Wenger is manager.

It”s almost as if football writers just churn stuff out to fill a space.

Posted: 27th, July 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports | Comments (2)


Transfer Balls: Neymar to Manchester United, Ronaldo’s secret PSG message and clickbait

Transfer Balls: a look at clickbait-led football reporting. The Sun has news on Neymar’s rumoured desire to leave Barcelona to join PSG.

DON’T DO IT. Cristiano Ronaldo tells Neymar not to join Paris Saint-Germain – and wait for Manchester United if he really wants to quit Barcelona

Ronaldo played for Manchester United until he followed his heart and joined Real Madrid. So did he really tell Neymar via WhatsApp to avoid PSG, France’s second best team, and wait to join United, the Premier League’s sixth best side?

The report continues:

Spanish title Diariogol have reported the two superstars have been in close contact discussing Neymar’s proposed £195million move to PSG…

But Neymar should hold out for Manchester United because joining PSG would be a “step backwards”?

And though Ronaldo has told his friend to push for a move to United instead, the Premier League club may already have decided to move on from trying to sign him.

Over on Diariogol, there is not a single quote to support the story. But it’s enough for the Manchester Evening News to thunder: “Cristiano Ronaldo tells Neymar to join Manchester United.” The MEN cites “reports in Spain”. But there’s only one report, and it’s very light on facts.

Meanwhile, readers might recall how not too long ago the British press was reporting Ronaldo’s desire to join…PSG:

 

And:

 

Such are the facts.

Posted: 24th, July 2017 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Arsenal Transfer Balls: Alexis Sanchez goes missing in Paris

Transfer Balls: How much money is Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez’s worth? Much guff has been written about the Chilean player whose Arsenal contract expires in a year’s time. The pick of the stories is the one that placed Sanchez in a Paris hotel room in readiness for his move to the city’s PSG. He’d been “spotted” in Paris by a raft of top media titles – but no-one of them had had the presence of mind to take a photo of the player. Moreover, not a single passer-by, hotel worker or fan has produced a photo of Sanchez in Paris.

With not a muon of evidence of Sanchez ever having been in Paris last week, the Metro nonetheless managed to connive the headline:

Alexis Sanchez agrees four-year contract with Paris Saint-Germain

 

lexis Sanchez agrees four-year contract with Paris Saint-Germain Read more: http://metro.co.uk/2017/07/23/alexis-sanchez-agrees-four-year-contract-with-paris-saint-germain-6799303/#ixzz4njEVVmXV

Alexis Sanchez agrees four-year contract with Paris Saint-Germain

 

The Metro adds that PSG will secure Sanchez on a £36m transfer and pay him £275,000 a week – £5,000-a-week less than Arsenal have offered. Really? No. It’s total balls.

The Telegraph counters:

Wenger’s conviction that Sanchez will stay has been strengthened by influential French daily newspaper L’Equipe reporting that PSG have now switched their attention to Barcelona’s Neymar.

Plus Arsenal have already stated their resolve to keep Sanchez.

“My mind has been made up for a while now. I think I’ve made it clear a few times that this is my stance [he will stay at Arsenal],” said Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger yesterday. “Sanchez has got one year to go on his contract and we have no need to make money. He will be part of the team next year and after that I can understand it. We are in a strong financial situation so we want to keep our best players. Has he asked to leave? No.”

So much for the facts. What about the fee?

£90mDaily Star, July 11

£80m Daily Express, July 9

£70mLondon Evening Standard, July 23

£50mDaily Mirror, april 17

£45m The Metro, July 22

£40mDaily Express, June 8

More fake news every day in the trusty mainstream media.

Posted: 24th, July 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports | Comment


Manchester City are not facing a transfer ban over Kylian Mbappe

Things escalate quickly in tabloid-land. The Times reports on the news that Monaco are loudly thinking about narking to those paragons of virtue and probity at FIFA over four European clubs they claim haven’t followed the proper procedure to secure their teenaged sensation Kylian Mbappe.

“Monaco are threatening to report Manchester City to FIFA over an alleged illegal approach for the highly rated France forward Kylian Mbappe,” says The Times. As Monaco’s PR department beats its chest and FIFA’s money-mad bods run their hands with glee at the prospect of trousering any punitive fines, the Mirror screams:

Manchester City are facing the threat of a transfer ban over their pursuit of French sensation Kylian Mbappe

They are? Yes, they are, says the Sun:

Manchester City are sweating on a transfer ban after Monaco accused them of trying to tap up Kylian Mbappe

Total balls, of course., A few weeks ago, Southampton complained to the Premier League about Liverpool’s approach for Virgil van Dijk. Liverpool escaped any punishment.

So where do we stand on tapping up players?

“I think that’s absolutely true – what’s new?” asked Peter Coates, the Stoke City chairman, in a question that was clearly rhetorical, as he continued: “And I’m not against people trying to do something about it. I’m just very cynical about it changing. I just think that’s how it is. And when it happens against us at senior level, I never complain because we know ‘everyone’s at it’ type of thing. You could almost say it’s part of the fabric [of football].”

Mike Rigg, former technical director of Manchester City, added: “I’m not sure there would be much traction because there are other things. It’s like me wanting to try to do a better job on regulating agents – and I don’t find that easy to get any traction. I wish we could regulate them better. And I don’t think we try hard enough.”

Manchester City are not facing a transfer ban. No agents shall go hungry. Monaco will not alienate four big clubs vying to spunk tons of cash on one of their young talents.

Posted: 22nd, July 2017 | In: Back pages, Manchester City, Sports | Comment