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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

Spurs balls: Spain and England fight for Harry Winks

Good news for Spain is that Spurs midfielder Harry Winks is one of your own. Well, so says John Cross on the Daily Mirror’s back page.

 

harry winks spurs spain

 

In ‘Spain tip Winks for a call-up’, Cross tells readers that Hertfordshire-born Spurs fan Winks’s ‘Spanish grandparents’ mean he’s eligible to play for the mighty Spain. This is bad news for England because ‘reports suggest’ the FA have been looking at the talented and likeable Winks to play for them. Spain’s interest will ‘set alarm bells ringing  at the English FA’, says Cross. After all, Winks is ‘regarded as Spurs’ next big prospect’.

Spain are not exactly short on midfield talent. Tottenham’s Winks must be brilliant.

 

harry winks the sun spurs

 

But hold the phone. A source oft-cited by the British press as being knowledgable on Spanish football says Winks’ grandparents are not Spanish.

 

spain harry winks spurs
Looks like Spain’s midfield will have to muddle along with Bruno Soriano, Sergio Busquets, Cesc Fàbregas, Andrés Iniesta, Koke, David Silva, Thiago Alcántara, Santi Cazorla, Juan Mata, Isco, Pedro, Sergi Roberto and more.

Posted: 15th, March 2017 | In: Back pages, Sports, Spurs | Comment


FA’s cultural expert wonders if Millwall and Spurs fans are racists

The Football Association is enlisting the advice of a ‘cultural expert’ (Daily Mail) to forensically examine if Millwall fans regaling Spurs’ South Korean forward Son Heung-Min with chants of “DVD” and “He’s selling three for a fiver” amounted to racism.

Furthermore, Spurs are being investigated because some of their fans chanted “no noise from the pikey boys” at Millwall’s travelling supporters.

The Irish Independent says Millwall fans have heaped ‘shame’ on their club and returned to ‘the bad old days of English football’, those murky times when The Sunday Times called football a “slum sport played in slum stadiums increasingly watched by slum people”.

Apparently the police are now involved in this search for racism in the dust of an FA Cup quarter-final. Although can we be certain the top coppers and football power brokers will be able to spot racism when they see it?

There are no black managers in the Premier League and no black chief executives in the boardrooms. According to the August 2016 Parliamentary report ‘BME representation in police forces’ there is ‘not a single, non-white face among all the chief constables and all the police and crime commissioners… and one BME person out of the 59 members of the National Police Chiefs’ Council in 2015.’ There are, however, plenty of black players and black supporters.

The search to root out racism could begin closer to home for both the FA and the police, if those in power will allow it – which they won’t because it’s easier to test new forms of control on the slum-swelling Untermensh and use them to showcase your anti-racist credentials than it is to investigate your own prejudices.

PS: Maybe the FA’s cultural expert can investigate the culture of football while they’re at it, in which chants – including the boorish, obscene, unfunny, vulgar, witless and anachronistic ones – are part and parcel of the game.

Posted: 14th, March 2017 | In: Back pages, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Chelsea and Manchester United robbed of excitement by fourth official

Pity that fourth official Mike Jones stepped between Manchester United’s sulky manager Jose Mourinho and nylon-haired Chelsea boss Antonio Conte? If two grown men want to have a row on the touchline, then let them. Sneaky Mourinho, all sly digs and bitchiness in a well-padded jacket; raging Conte puffing out his chest and testing the buttons on his shrink-to-fit suit. All of us watching at home would have loved it. The fans calling Mourinho “Judas” would have been delighted. The Sun says Jones ‘had to step in to separate the warring managers’. But he didn’t. He just wanted to.

In the age of ‘You can’t say that’, officials are swarming over football. The Sun employs former referee Mark Halsey to tell us if the game’s actual ref got the big decisions right. The biggest of which was referee Michael Oliver sending off United’s Ander Herrera. Halsey says Herrera’s first yellow-card foul on Hazard was merited. It was a ‘clear barge into the body’. The Spaniard’s second yellow for fouling Hazard was ‘not a cautionable offence’.

The Mail’s former referee, Graham Poll, aka ‘The Thing from Tring’, says United set out to commit ‘team fouls’, taking turns to take out Hazard. He points to this being part of the Mourinho game plan, which if true, makes the the new United boss very much Alex Ferguson’s heir.

But the policy of kicking Hazard out of the game backfired when Oliver noticed it, telling United captain Christ Smalling to cut it out or else. Poll was ‘amazed that, within seconds [of speaking to Smalling], Herrerra fouled Hazard again. He could have been cautioned for stupidity.’ Oliver was ‘spot on’.

The upshot is that down to 10 men, United looked even less potent than they did with 11. The game’s best player, N’Golo Kante, scored the winner, and Manchester United were out of the FA Cup, so depriving Mourinho another ‘title’ (the desperate Portuguese loves to bill everything he wins as a ‘title’, including, laughably, the Community Shield charity match) and setting Chelsea on course for a semi-final with Spurs at Wembley.

It promises to be a thrilling encounter – and a great chance for celebrity officials to raise their profiles.

Posted: 14th, March 2017 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, manchester united, Sports | Comment


The myth of Millwall’s racist abuse at Spurs

When Spurs played Millwall in the FA Cup – final score: 6-0 – the Guardian heard ‘racist’ abuse from the South Londoners. So bad was it that rather than lead with a match report or news on Harry Kane’s injury, the Guardian opted to tell readers that the FA is investigating the ‘racist chants’. ‘FA is aware of chants and awaiting reports from referee and police,’ the paper announces. Once more lowbrow football is in the dock for racism. Yippee!

 

spurs son millwall racism the guardian

 

Given that this is about Spurs, where the ‘self-styled ‘Yid Army’ hold sway, you might suppose the Millwall berks opted for a spout of anti-Semitism. But you’d be wrong. The alleged racism was directed at Tottenham’s South Korean forward Son Heung-Min. The Mirror says, ‘Chants of “DVD” and “three for a fiver”, apparently in reference to the sale of pirated films, coursed through the away end each time Son touched the ball in the last-eight clash.’

The Guardian tells its readers, who don’t partake of white working-class leisure pursuits and buy the Guardian because of its platoon of black and Asian board members (number of non-white faces in the paper’s twelve-strong boardroom: nil): ‘The reference to selling DVDs is considered to be a racist slur when directed at an Asian person.’

Millwall fans are so regressive. Piracy is all about downloads and streaming from Russia and Israel nowadays, lads. If you want to goad and upset the opposition’s most threatening player with a tasteless chant, why not lampoon his countrymen’s appetite for dog meat? You can try this chant:

Son, Son, Wherever You May Be
You eat dogs in your country!
It could be worse, you could be Scouse,
Eating rats in your council house!

On second thoughts, best not to. Manchester United fans used to sing that tune about Park Ji Sung, a player they loved. He never complained. He’s a robust adult who saw it for what it was: a friendly bout of un-PC banter. It’s just that given United’s love of branding, the song’s most likely copyrighted and singing it will require a licence and large fee.

Better to echo what Spurs fans serenade Son with:

“He’ll shoot, he’ll score, he’ll eat your Labrador.”

Over in the Mail, we read that those Millwall chants about knock-off films and video games spoilt everything. The paper notes:

Millwall supporters should’ve been celebrating their wonderful FA Cup run but racist chants of ‘DVD’ and ‘three for a fiver’ towards Tottenham’s Son Heung-min ruined it.

Those would be the same multi-cultural Millwall fans who were watching their multi-cultural club get thrashed and Son score a hat-trick? The Mail thinks Millwall’s ‘racist’ fans should have been celebrating their team’s annihilation rather than trying to upset Son and Spurs.

Says the Mail:

Millwall’s supporters wonder why no-one likes them but showed exactly the reason with the disgraceful abuse directed at Tottenham forward Son Heung-min during their FA Cup quarter-final defeat.

What utter balls. Millwall fans don’t wonder why no-one like them – they celebrate the fact. It’s part of their identity to cock a snook at authority. Their chants are supposed to be vulgar, offensive and tasteless.

So dumb is the entire story of racism at White Hart Lane that the Indy can’t even decide what is and what isn’t racist. ‘Millwall could face FA action after fans appear to racially abuse Tottenham striker Son Heung-min,’ it says. For those of us who can recall the 1970s and 1980, when racism at football was loud, nasty and obvious – just as it was in society – the verbals aimed at Son are weaker than Millwall’s performance in the match.

To the people who seek out racism in dust, who view fans as suspects and seek to buttress their own superior morals in commands to ‘Kick It Out’, who investigate every word for offence – who reduce Son, an energetic, tough and skilled footballer to the role of victim – we wonder what planet they’re from and who invited them to join this one?

 

Posted: 13th, March 2017 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, News, Sports, Spurs | Comments (15)


Arsenal balls: Wenger stays and Allegri agrees to take over

It’s been a huge two days for Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger. Only yesterday, the Star was pleading with Wenger to make up his mind and tell everyone if he was going to sign a new contract and stay at Arsenal for a further two years.

The paper said Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri was tired to waiting to get the call to move up from the Italian giants to English football’s also-rans. The Star thundered:

EXCLUSIVE: Massimiliano Allegri sends ‘come and get me’ plea to Arsenal

 

wenger daily star

 

Words from Allegri on his dream to manage Arsenal: none.

Of course, the Star is a rich source of fake news. On February 28, the Star told its readers ‘Allegri confirms he’s joining Arsenal’.

 

daily star arsenal fake news wenger

 

You click on that news headline and you get told on the Star’s website: ‘Calciomercato has this afternoon sensationally claimed Allegri, 49, will join the Gunners this summer.’ On that Italian site, we’re told:

The news comes from his hometown of Livorno, where reports are circulating that the manager let this story slip at dinner with friends.

And that’s it. No quotes. No links.

Looking for more, a search for ‘Allegri’ and ‘Livorno’ produces a story on another Italian news site. It says the Allegri to Arsenal news is sourced in the – get this – Daily Express, sister organ to the Daily Star. In the Express we learn that Allegri and Arsenal have agreed a deal.

 

 

daily express arsenal fake news wenger

 

All done and dusted, then. No dithering at all. Allegri in. Wenger out. Which brings us to today Daily Star story that Wenger is, er, staying at Arsenal.

 

arsene wenger daily star

 

All utter balls, then.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 12th, March 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comments (2)


Barcelona cheated and won: PSG were robbed

Incredible scenes at Barcelona’s Camp Nou earlier this week. It really was shocking and amazing. How the hell did Luis Suarez’s dive win a penalty? Paris Saint-Germain’s travelling supporters have every right to feel cheated. They were.

As the plaudits hail down on Barcelona, it’s worth looking at the two spot kicks that played a big part in their unlikely Champions’ League comeback from a 0-4 deficit to win 6-5.

Penalty 1: PSG’s Thomas Meunier falls over. Barcelona’s Neymar falls over him.

Penalty 2: Luis Suárez gets in front of Marquinhos. He falls. As he falls, Suarez clutches his head, then his neck and contorts his face into a look of outrage, shock and appeal. Suarez had already dived once in the match. That one earned him a yellow card. So this second dive had better be very good or else he’s off. But it’s awful. It’s blatant. It might even be hammy. Yet somehow the referee gives the penalty. The message is clear: cheats do prosper.

The bigger message, however, is that, aside from PSG fans, we all loved it. A spot of gamesmanship gets the pulse racing. Barcelona won and it was thrilling; but Barcelona also cheated so most of us who don’t support them can hurl insults and loathe their moral rectitude.

And who better than unlovely, charmless Luis Suarez to play the gall guy? Well, Wayne Rooney, perhaps, but to paraphrase the old saying: you need to be in it, to cheat it.

 

Posted: 10th, March 2017 | In: Back pages, Sports | Comment


Clickbait balls: The Daily Telegraph’s cutting-edge journalism puts Chelsea on top

In the race for clicks, the Daily Telegraph continues to mine news seams of bullshit. The paper asks a question it then aims to answer by name-checking all the Premier League’s top sides.

Champions League race – Who is best placed to finish in the top four and what will it mean for those who don’t?

Well, a quick look at the PL table, tells us that – and we can even list them in order – Chelsea, Spurs, Manchester City and Liverpool – are best placed to get Champions’ League football next term on account of them being 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th, respectively.

For the two clubs of the top 6 that don’t finish in the top 4, it will man: the Europa League.

Such are the facts.

 

Posted: 7th, March 2017 | In: Back pages, Broadsheets | Comment


Arsenal: spoilt Sanchez races boring Wenger to the exit

Sport is a pleasant way to spend your leisure time. If you’re lucky enough or foreign enough or just determined, you can make a very good living at it. If you get really good at it you can behave like a spoilt brat, row with your teammates and demand a massive hike on your already not inconsiderable wages or else you’ll sulk. You could be like Alexis Sanchez, the Arsenal striker who has expressed his determination to leave the club at the season’s end to earn much more money playing for Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus or what the British Press call ‘a Chinese club’.

Arsenal have been less than sensational this season. Sanchez has been pretty good. Along with Laurent Koscielny, he’s been a consistent source of hope for Arsenal fans seeking signs that this season they can be better than top four. Sanchez has also been petulant and, if the Mail is right, ‘furious’ at the ‘humiliation’ of being dropped for Arsenal’ match at Liverpool, which they lost 3-1.  His manager, Arsene Wenger, has been ‘unimpressed’ with Sanchez’s attitude. It turns out that Sanchez, a player not good enough for top Barcelona, who shunted him down the pecking order to the Gunners, thinks he’s much better than his teammates. He is. But so what? Only when a player pulls on an England shirt is he remade in the exact quality as his teammates – they all become unspeakably average.  A team wins and loses as a team. If one player thinks he’s doing you a favour, he’s got to go. That Wenger dropped Sanchez is not a sign of ‘unfolding calamity’, as the Mail’s Martin Samuel has it, it’s a sign that no player in bigger than the club. Thank you for your help, Alexis, now shut the door on the way out.

And you too, Arsene. Is he going or not? The uncertainty is affecting the club. Who is going to be the Arsenal manager next season? Is ‘Silent’ Stan Kroenke, the Arsenal owner who earned £3m last year for ‘consultancy’ work at the club, nicking a living?

The Sun says when Sanchez ‘stormed’ off the pitch at training last week, he left Wenger with ‘no option but to bench him’. That Alan Shearer tells the same Sun readers one page on, ‘You just don’t leave  player like Sanchez on the bench’, points not only to why Shearer was such an un-inspirational Newcastle United manager but to how joyless and venal football is. Without its few players of global repute, the Premier League will be exposed for what it is: a marketing project based on Europe’s fourth best league. The Mirror quotes sources who say coaching Sanchez is akin to ‘managing a spilt child’. The other players ‘see him as becoming increasingly selfish’.

So instead of Sanchez at Liverpool, Wenger picked the likeable, talented and injury-ravaged Danny Welbeck. Changing things was worth a shot. That goes for you, too, Arsene. It’s time to go. But before you do how about one more turn of the old routine for old time’s sake. You know how it goes: Arsenal look good on paper, get kicked out of the Champions’ League early on, embark on run to finish in the top four and the owners wake up just long enough to bank their annual dividend.

Posted: 6th, March 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Sanchez leaves Arsenal to earn less money

So hungry for trophies is Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez that he will quit the Gunners and plays for… Sevilla – Spain’s oldest professional football club who last won the title in 1945. Well, so says the Daily Star, which adds that not-all-that-well-off Sevilla are ‘in pole position’ to secure the ‘disillusioned’ Chilean. In the twilight world where the Star’s news and facts merge such a move will surely satisfy Sanchez’s quest for glory and give him the £250,000-a-week he wants.

Over in Italy, we read in the Corriere dello Sport that Juventus will offer Arsenal £25m for Sanchez in the summer. The Mail says the Gunners are already looking for his replacements, casting a covetous eye on Borussia Dortmund’s Marco Reus, Porto’s Andre Silva and Lyon’s Alexandre Lacazette.

 

reus agrees arsenal

 

 

Really? Because in 2015, the Daily Star told its readers: ‘£20m Arsenal, Chelsea and Man Utd target Marco Reus AGREES five-year Real Madrid deal.’ He didn’t.

 

silva arsenal

 

Spanish organ AS told its readers Silva had also joined Real Madrid. He hasn’t. AS did cite a source for its fact-free story: the Daily Star:

 

silva arsenal

 

And Lacazette can’t play for Lyon – he does-  because the Daily Express told us he joined Paris Saint Germain in 2015.

 

Alexandre Lacazette

 

So much for the targets. As for Sanchez, The Mirror says Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is ‘privately resigned to Sanchez leaving the Emirates this summer’. That would the same Wenger who’s also leaving Arsenal this summer. We read that in the Mirror.

 

daily mirror wenger quits sack resigns arsenal

 

Arsenal fans shouldn’t wave goodbye to Sanchez just yet.

Posted: 3rd, March 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Manchester United balls: suspicions linger over Zlatan Ibrahimovich

All hail, then, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the man without whom Manchester United would be a mid-table side, not clutching the EFL Cup and not eyeing a Champion’s League berth for next season. The big Swede’s been playing well, giving Untied a focal point. Writing in the Sun, former Arsenal and England striker Ian Wright says Zlatan is the new cult hero at Old Trafford.

“He [Eric Cantona] now has genuine competition as a United cult hero,” says Wrighty. “And I don’t just use Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s EFL Cup final heroics as evidence of that – it’s virtually everything he’s done since arriving last summer.”

Aside from cheating against Crystal Palace – and Cantona’s exploits at Selhust Park win that battle –  it’s pretty much all been great from Zlatan. Wright adds: “When he joined, some were a bit sceptical, wondering if he was just after one final payday before hanging up his boots…any suspicions about Zlatan were blown out of the water within a month of his first appearance.”

On August 14, Zlatan scored on his United Premier League debut against Bournemouth. Still in August he then scored two more goals in a 2-0 PL win over Southampton.

But Wright was still suspicion of Zlatan. On October 26, Ian Wright called him a “passenger”. On November 3, Wright mused: “I’m not sure too many other teams would have signed him, even on a free.” And on December 12, Wright knew: “He’s not going to score 25 goals this season, no.”

He’s surpassed that tally already.

Posted: 1st, March 2017 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Spurs and England’s nasty Dele Alli isn’t like Arsenal’s filthy foreigner Granit Xhaka – he’s brave and British

Dele Alli plays for Spurs. He’s British. Granit Xhaka plays for Arsenal. He’s Swiss. According to former Liverpool captain Graeme Souness, both possess a “nasty streak”. For one of them it’s a blessing. For the other it’s a curse.

 

dele alli

Pride of Britain

 

On February 26, Souness noticed Ali’s red card for an awful foul against Ghent in the Europa League that earned him a red card.

‘It was nasty and unnecessary, born out of frustration,’ wrote Souness in the Sunday Times. ‘He really snapped into it, intending to leave a bit on the guy, so he got what he deserved with the red card. Yet that’s also one of the reasons he could become a top player. Alli has a bit of devil in him, an edge that most top players possess. As strange as it sounds, if I was his manager, I’d be quietly saying to myself: “Thank goodness he’s got that in him.”

A bad foul is sign you’re a top player.

When Granit Xhaka was sent for Arsenal against Burnley, Souness took a different view. On January 25 he wrote: ‘What isn’t registering with him? He’s obviously got the exploding head. I don’t look at him and think, ‘you’re an aggressive player’. It’s a lapse in concentration and he’ll be annoyed he gave the ball away so cheaply. For me, he doesn’t run around making aggressive challenges. He is the run of mill midfield player for me. He must have something in him where it goes.”

If you’re British and playing in your home country, a bad foul is sign of your mental toughness. If you’re foreign and playing overseas, a bad foul is sign of your mental weakness.

Got it?

Posted: 27th, February 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Broadsheets, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Rooney leaves Manchester United for football’s Chinese mission

Manchester United will finally get shot of Wayne Rooney when he moves to China and learns the Chinese for ‘**** ***!’.  Of course it’s good news – one in the eye for those who say English footballers are too thick, greedy, cosseted, aloof and superficial to play abroad. Rooney, who will earn £750,000-a-week, is expanding his cultural horizons, and instead of swapping chapped thighs and being called a lump for a seat by one of TV-land’s illuminated coffee tables, he’ll take his Premier League nous to football’s Chinese mission.

He goes too with Coleen Rooney, who would be well advised to note that not every Hermes bag is the genuine article in the Far East. She runs the risk of pushing a trolley-load of over-priced fakes towards the airport’s Duty Free zone.

 

Rooney ugly

 

rooney wayne shrek fat

 

rooney wayne shrek fat

The Sun salutes the captain

 

rooney united

 

wayne rooney sex

 

Rooney will be missed, of course, not least of all by the media, which has mocked, ridiculed, insulted and sneered at the best English footballer of his generation for years. Rather than see Rooney as the best part of a poor side, they fetishised his presence so that every match was about him. The same media that called Rooney an idiot now deride his likely choice to play in China, a place portrayed as holding less cultural appeal than a wet weekend in his native Croxteth.

 

Posted: 22nd, February 2017 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Arsenal: Spurs fans should be wary of Wenger’s hounding

It’s been a few days since Arsenal lot to the world’s third best side in Munich. Experts cited the 5-1 drubbing to Bayern as a sign that Arsenal manger Arsene Wenger had to go. Arsenal were woeful in Germany, a side devoid of guile, diligence, spirit, cohesion and drive surrendered meekly, albeit to stella opponents.Whereas once the Gunner would have sought continuity, a handing of the baton from Wenger to his successor in style and spirit, the only way forward was to trigger wholesale change.

But the clamour for Wenger to do the decent thing and leave at the season’s end, if not immediately, has been hasty and delusional. England club sides to not rule in Europe. Placed in context, Arenal’s thrashing was more of the same, rather than a sudden downward turn. Did any Arsenal fans believe the Gunners were on track to win the Champions’ League? Coming top four in the Premier League is not a passport to the last four of Europeans football’s biggest club competition.

To further realise how palsied the PL has become, you need only look at what happened one night after Arsenal’s undoing. Spurs fans revelling in Arenal’s failure watched their team lose to the mighty Gent, a team sat in mid-table in Belgian’s Division A. Losing to Bayern in Munich or losing to Gent in Belgian – which is worse result? Add to that Spurs early demise in the Champions’ League and Arsenal coming top of  group containing Paris Saint Germain and are things so very bleak at The Emirates?

Of course, it’s Sutton in the FA Cup tonight. Lost that and, well, the ground’s not all that far from Gatwick Airport. Taxi for Wenger!

 

Posted: 20th, February 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Talking balls: Wenger stays at Arsenal for four more years and leaves in the summer

Arsene Wenger will remain Arsenal manager for the next four years. Arsenal have offered Wenger a two-year extension on his current deal, which expires in the summer. So how does the Daily Star know Wenger will sign a four-year deal?

‘Arsene Wenger wants to stay at Arsenal for four more years,’ says the paper.

And what of that growing list of names lined up to replace Wenger when this season ends?

 

wenger daily star arsenal

 

The story is based on a comment Wenger made when asked to compare his career to that of Sir Alex Ferguson. Said Wenger: “Ferguson has some other interests in life and he was older than I am today. He was four years older, he retired at 71 and I’m 67.”

So will Wenger continue to manager beyond 71? “Maybe more, maybe less, I don’t know,” he said.

Stick that through the spin machine and the Star says Wenger will be Arsenal boss until he’s 71.

 

daily mirror wenger quits sack resigns arsenal

 

The Guardian hears that and thunders: ‘Arsène Wenger hints he could stay at Arsenal for at least four more years.’

The Mirror interprets the same Wenger line to mean: ‘Arsene Wenger will carry on managing for another four years – even if he leaves Arsenal this summer.’

If he leaves this summer? The Mirror said he was going.

 

daily mirror wenger quits sack resigns arsenal

 

Such are the facts in the post-truth media.

Posted: 19th, February 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


How Deli Alli escaped Manchester United and QPR to sign for Spurs

By now you’ll be wondering what Harry Redknapp has been up to? The resting manager is talking abut Spurs on BT Sport. Redknapp is aghast that now-one came in for Dele Alli when he was at Milton Keynes Dons. Why did it take so long for Spurs to sign the tyro for £5m?

“Can you tell me how all those scouts failed to spot him when he was playing for MK Dons every week?” asks Redknapp. “How did they end up waiting until Tottenham came in for him?”

Spurs were not the only club to take a look at Alli. In fact, one club was managed by – get this – Harry Redknapp. Ten months ago, Redknapp opined: “I scouted Dele Alli several times as did a lot of other clubs but with a view to the future.”

Redknapp cites the moment when all the clubs should have got Alli. “Didn’t he play for MK Dons against Manchester United when they beat them 4-0 in the League Cup?” he asks. “United should have signed him there and then.”

That was August 26 2014 – when Redknapp was manger of QPR, then of the Premier League. Presumably the player Redknapp values at £100m wasn’t good enough for QPR.

Such are the facts.

 

Posted: 17th, February 2017 | In: Back pages, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Arsenal remain hopeful of beating Bayern

Arsenal were thrashed in the Champions’ League. Again. Tonked 5-1 by a lively Bayern Munich side, Arsenal were limper than a post-coitus slug. The reporting has been fierce, with much of the chatter concerned with the timing of Arsene Wenger’s departure. The Arsenal manager’s inability to inspire his side is clear.

 

arsenal lose

 

But Wenger remains the Arsenal owners’ dream man. He delivers big cash pay outs and high returns for the money men that run the club. In the boardroom everything is fine, a mood reflected in the match report on the Arsenal website, which begins thus:

We are facing a mammoth task to turn around our Champions League last-16 tie against Bayern Munich after conceding four times in a disappointing second half in Bavaria.

Arsenal conceded five times in total. The Pollyanna-ish notion that Arsenal will some how ‘turn things round’ is laughable. It was not ‘disappointing’. It was terrible.

 

bayern arsenal

 

The site adds:

Laurent Koscielny’s injury at the start of the second half seemed to disrupt us, and we conceded twice in the space of six minutes.

When Koscielny went off, the entire defence wilted. Kieran Gibbs was made captain. A player with marginally less presence than the sixth official was picked to galvanise the team and keep the defence tight.

 

arsenal bad

 

And a word on Bayern:

Bayern, meanwhile, were without Franck Ribery and Jerome Boateng, but fielded a star-studded team containing the likes of Lewandowski, Douglas Costa and Robben.

Arsenal fielded the likes of Ozil (£41m), Sanchez (£35m) and two players bought in the summer for in excess of £30m each. Aren’t Arsenal now also star-studded? None of the three Bayern players name-checked cost more than £20m.

So how does Bayern Munich report on the match that Arsenal were ‘disappointing’ in? Their official website tells us:

On-fire Bayern thrash outclassed Gunners

The five goals ‘handed the German record champions a near-unassailable advantage in the first knockout round tie’.

The Gunners’ goal came after a penalty. The Arsenal website says Koscielny was ‘tripped’ . The Bayern site calls it a ‘debatable penalty’.

The other debate is on Wenger. Will he now leave Arsenal – after all, it looks like the players have already left him?

Posted: 16th, February 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Clickbait Balls: The Daily Mirror Arsenal spin machine

Clickbait: a look at the death of journalism in the national Press. The Daily Mirror has adopted the Daily Telegraph policy of making news out of  TV listings. In readiness for Arsenal’s Champions’ League match against Germany’s Bayern Munich the Mirror has produced the following ‘stories’. All were written today:

Scoop 1! ‘What time is Bayern Munich vs Arsenal? All you need to know ahead of Champions League clash

Scoop 2: ‘What channel is Bayern Munich vs Arsenal on? All you need to know ahead of Champions League clash

That could be one story, no?

Scoop 3: ‘Bayern Munich vs Arsenal LIVE: All the build-up ahead of the Champions League clash in Germany’

Scoop 4: ‘Bayern Munich vs Arsenal: 11 things you need to know ahead of the Champions League clash

The list is great.

1. When is the match and how can I watch it?

Scoop 5: ‘7 things Arsene Wenger could learn from Carlo Ancelotti ahead of Bayern Munich v Arsenal’

Ready?

Number 1: ‘Winning the Champions League helps your reputation’

Scoop 6: ‘Arsene Wenger is 50/50 over Arsenal stay – the Bayern Munich result could decide his future’

Well, it could do. And, on the other hand, it could not do. Or as the Mirror puts it:

 

wenger quits sack resigns arsenal

 

Scoop 7; ‘9 funniest reactions to Arsenal fans watching long-time target Julian Draxler destroy Barcelona’

It really is that bad.

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


Transfer balls: Martial to Spurs and Griezmann goes cold on Manchester United

Is Anthony Martial all set to make the move from Manchester United to Spurs? The Mirror says Martial is on course to become the first player to make the move from Manchester United to Spurs since Teddy Sheringham sealed the lid on his medal cabinet and returned to White Hart Lane on a free transfer in 2001.

Spurs are on the up, but however large their stadium gets and their squad swells they will always be a smaller club than Manchester United and win less, if anything. Add the lack to gongs to a reduction in wages and the Mirror’s story is absurd.

Staying with Manchester United and the Mirror, news is that Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann, 25, is having “doubts” about moving the England. Not that the France forward ever said he was keen to leave Spain in the first place. Greizmann told French radio:

“With Real Sociedad, I felt that I needed to leave. For the moment, I do not know where that desire came from. Who knows how the season will finish. If it finishes badly, maybe I will ask myself the question. For the moment, it is not relevant…

“Aside from that, I am asking myself where I could go. In Spain, there is Barcelona and Real Madrid. Barcelona have the three up top. Real Madrid, that is impossible because of the club I am at. I think that between them, there is a pact.

“Germany, the league does not attract me much. France, not for the moment. And England, I have a lot of doubts about my private life. Everything like rain, bad weather… I need to feel happy outside.”

What’s wrong with rain, low skies, having the Press label your lover a ‘WAG’ , making the obligatory trip to Wing’s Chinese eatery in the full glare of the cameras and living in a mock Tudor mansion behind huge gates on a footballer-friendly estate in the provinces? Where’s his sense of romance?

Last up in this Manchester United round-up is David de Gea. On the heels of news that the former Atletico Madrid ‘keeper is  in line for a move to Real Madrid – so much for any transfer between the two big Madrid clubs being “impossible” – are reports that he wants a big hike in his £200,000-a-week pay packet, asking for £300,000-a-week.

Expect to read that a Chinese club you’ve never hear of are offering him more.

 

Posted: 15th, February 2017 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Arsenal: every one of Arsene Wenger’s replacements

What names are on the ‘shortlist of managers’ to replace Arsene Wenger at Arsenal? The Mirror says there are four names vying to be the next Arsenal manager. They are: Thomas Tuchel of Borussia Dortmund, Max Allegri of Juventus, Bayer Leverkusen coach Roger Schmidt and Monaco’s Leonardo Jardim.

But others have been to the job in the past 12 months. They are:

Eddie Howe: ‘ED HUNTED Eddie Howe being lined up by Arsenal to replace manager Arsene Wenger with Frenchman’s contract set to expire in summer’ (The Sun).

Roberto Martinez: ‘His team to play the sort of passing style that Arsene Wenger has established as Arsenal’s identity and conducts himself with the sort of style and dignity that very much fits with what directors would call the Arsenal way (Daily Telegraph)

Rafa Benitez: ‘Rafa Benitez on Arsenal shortlist to replace Arsene Wenger if he goes – and Spaniard would bring in Thierry Henry.’ (Daily Mirror)

Dennis Bergkamp, Diego Simeone and more possible Arsene Wenger replacements. (TalkSport)

Patrick Vieira: A candidate embedded in the supposed Arsenal Way. Like Bergkamp, his arrival back at the club would be enthusiastically welcomed by supporters.’ (Daily Telegraph)

Ralph Hasenhuttl: ‘A surprise candidate, Hasenhuttl hinted recently that Arsenal had spoken to him about the big job at the Emirates.’ (The Independent)

Ha. This is absolute tosh. When asked is he was heading to Arsenal, Hasenhuttl said: “I have certainly heard of far worse fates than to be lined up as the successor to the longest-serving coach in England.”

Steve Bould: ‘Knows the players and club inside out. Won various trophies, including the Premier League, during his playing career with Arsenal.’ (Daily Mirror)

Joachim Lowe: ‘Proven winner. Led the German side to World Cup glory in 2014 after impressive showings at the Euros two years earlier.’ (Daily Mirror)

‘Arsenal want Manuel Pellegrini to replace Arsene Wenger’. (Metro)

Ronald Koeman ‘is the surprise name topping Arsenal’s list of potential successors to Arsene Wenger’. (The Sun)

Laurent Blanc ‘to replace his compatriot at Arsenal’ (TalkSport)

Brendan Rodgers: ‘His work at Swansea has greatly impressed and is also committed to the sort of football that Wenger has overseen at Arsenal.’ (Daily Telegraph)

Jorge Sampaoli: Chile’s Copa America winning coash signed a two-year deal with Sevilla last years but Arsenal should be able to extricate him for it” – (The Times)

Mauricio Pochettino: ‘The Spurs manger would spend more then Wenger has bene willing to but not more than the club could handle’ (The Times)

Sean Dyche: ‘As the great debacle rages about who will eventually replace Arsene Wenger, it’s amazing that one boss keeps getting overlooked.’ It’s Dyche.

So to that list. What says the Number 1 choice, Thomas Tuchel? It’s “completely fictional”, says the German club’s chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke (Sun).

Such are the facts.

Posted: 13th, February 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, 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)


Liverpool balls: ‘Dropped’ Adam Lallana Rises For Spurs Match

As Liverpool prepare to host Spurs in the Premier League’s one-horse race – Chelsea are miles ahead – the Sun brings news that Liverpool player Adam Lallana is ‘set to miss crunch clash with Spurs after being left out of tactical training drills’. He’s been ‘dropped’.

 

Liverpool the sun

 

Do any Liverpool fans read the Sun online? That headline news sure is tempting. But we’ll save you the pain. The story is that ‘Lifelong Reds fan’ Micky Quinn told TalkSport listeners Lallana ‘was not involved in drills this week by Jurgen Klopp’.

Has he been dropped. Is he being rested? Is Quinn talking balls? The very next line tells us:

ADAM LALLANA looks set to miss Liverpool’s crunch clash with Tottenham this weekend after claims he has been left out of some tactical training sessions.

And as Quinn says, deep into the story: “…whether he’s going to dropped, I’m not too sure.”

 

Or as The Liverpool Echo puts it:

Lallana, meanwhile, was left out of training on Thursday as a precaution due to a tight muscle, but the Reds hope he will respond well to treatment and take his place in the side this weekend.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 10th, February 2017 | In: Back pages, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Cech’s days as the Arsenal Number 1 ‘are coming to an end’ as Gunners eye Joe Hart

Transfer balls: the Mail reports that Arsenal are eyeing Joe Hart, the England goalkeeper. Hart, a man with of all the cool of a wasabi enema, is tempting Arsenal because at 29 he’s five years young than Petr Cech, the current Arsenal Number 1. Hart is playing in Turin, having been loaned out by Manchester City.

But why wold Arsenal be looking to replace Cech, let alone with Hart? The Mail says Cech’s days as the Arsenal Number 1 ‘are coming to an end’. But this looks a lot like guesswork based on his age and nothing else.

Cech joined Arsenal on a “long-term contract” in June 2015.

Last season, the Mail was telling its readers, ‘Petr Cech in line to be next Arsenal captain after making huge impact in his first season following summer switch from Chelsea.’

Such are the facts.

Posted: 9th, February 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Manchester United balls: Mourinho’s run brings back Ferguson’s glory days

The Sun continues to work as an extension of Jose Mourinho Inc., telling readers: ‘Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho is bringing back the glory days after matching a record last achieved by Sir Alex Ferguson.’

Still in his first season at Man United, Jose’s yet to win anything. United are sixth in the Premier League. Given the vast sums lashed out on ‘the brand’ which now values stars over continuity, you wonder what the Sun are driving at. And then it comes: the glory days amount to Manchester United going more than ten league games unbeaten, something David Moyes and Louis van Gaal failed to achieve in the post-Ferguson era.

Under the peerless Ferguson, Manchester United twice managed to go 29 league games without defeat. That was a record. Mourinho’s recent run isn’t.

The Sun then adds a dig at Van Gaal:

…the Dutch legend could do nothing to stem the tide, with United consistently churning out a display or dreary performances across his two terms, finishing well adrift of the leading pack in both.

Van Gaal was no great success, but in two seasons at the club his Manchester sides qualified for the Champions League once and missed out on goal difference once. Under Van Gaal, United finished 17 points and 15 points behind the PL champions, respectively. Under Mourinho, United are 14 points behind the current leaders.

The glory days are back, indeed.

Posted: 9th, February 2017 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


The Sun’s Dave Kidd joins Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger in a Post Truth pogo

dave kidd the sunWriting about Arsenal and Arsene Wenger in the Sun, Dave Kidd, the paper’s chief sports writer, is waiting for the Frenchman to make a dignified exit.

Kidd says that following Arsenal’s limp defeat to table-topping Chelsea, Wenger was complaining about the Blues’ first goal. He said it was dangerous play and the goal should not have stood. Kidd thinks Wenger’s operating ‘on Trump-style alternative facts’.

Marcos Alonso, says Kidd, ‘leaped like a normal person rather than pogo-ing with his arms by his side, like us Sex Pistols fans were doing at Manchester’s Free Trade Hall in 1976‘.

Really?

In October 2016,  Sports Journalists, the website of the Sports Journalists’ Association, noted Kidd’s arrival at the Sun, ‘a return to where his national career started as a freelance 20 years ago.’

“It’s a great honour to follow them,” said Kidd. “My predecessor told me I was only the fourth chief sports writer on the paper and two of them, Steve Howard and John Sadler, were hugely encouraging when I was a rookie. I’m delighted to be going back to the paper where my national career started as a 22-year-old.”

If in 1996, Kidd was 22 in 1976 he’d have been a very young Sex Pistols fan.

Maybe it’s not only Wenger living in a post-Truth world?

 

Posted: 7th, February 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Antoine Griezmann moves to Manchester United for the branding opportunities

The Sun continues to link Antoine Griezmann with a move to Manchester United. In ‘MAD FOR IT’, the paper’s lead sports story is that Atletico Madrid’s star striker ‘wants to be the new Becks’. Griezmann has ‘dropped a hint’ he wants to play for Man United.

He did? No. The only person talking is Griezmann’s ‘image advisor’ Sebastien Bellencontre, who, according to the Sun ,’says Griezmann wants to follow hero David Beckham by wearing the iconic No7 shirt at the Theatre of Drams.’ He doesn’t want to follow his hero (?) Beckham to Real Madrid, PSG or LA Galaxy. The Frenchman wants to be Beckham II at Old Trafford.

In the fifth paragraph of the story continued four pages inside the Sun, readers get to hear what the marketing man actually said. Bellencontre told So Foot magazine: “When I read articles about  a hypothetical transfer to Manchester United I think it would be the ideal commercial scenario.”

Feel the passion, United fans. But not everyone will be non-plussed. Whereas Ferguson went for continuity, the current Manchester United hierarchy wants only to buy big, buy bigger and buy biggest.  Bellencontre is talking their language. “I don’t like the fact that there are consistently more players from Spain on the [Ballon d’Or shortlist],” said Manchester United’s chief executive Ed Woodward. “We as a club should be aspiring to have the best players playing for us.” Not the best team. The players with the biggest public profiles. The players who can flog stuff best.

 

griezmann

 

What the Sun doesn’t report is that Bellencontre also said (and this via Google translate):

“He would play club Beckham, his idol, with the same legendary number 7 in the back … Still without any consideration sport, PSG would be interesting to Franco-French level, but it has already happened to International …  ”

So he quite fancies PSG, then.

Le Figaro has more from Bellencontre (again via Google translate):

“The model would be a mixture of Beckham and Zidane. Beckham because it is his idol, but also because I would like to make it a fashion icon that survives his career. Zidane for French DNA, simplicity, family values, fidelity too … We want Antoine to finish his career at Puma for example. (…) For the Beckham card, the young European blonde, tattooed, talented. (…)

On ESPN, Bellencontre is billed as Griezmann’s ‘former image consultant’. Although on his company website and twitter bio, Bellencontre is billed as Griezmann’s branding guru.

The upshot is that is should United opt to throw the best part of £100m at Griezmann, they won’t just get a striker, they will get a striker with Zidane’s hair and fashion nouse, and Beckham’s fidelity and French DNA. Or something like that. Anyhow, it will be totally amazing and ensure another season of great business in the United soccer superstore.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 7th, February 2017 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, manchester united, Sports | Comment