Sports | Anorak - Part 69

Sports Category

Sports news, commentary and scores with wit and added value. We compare and contrast the best and worst sports reporting in the mainstream press, blogs, TV and online. We love the English Premier League (Arsenal, Liverpool, Spurs, Manchester United and Manchester City) and all things football but we cover cricket, rugby, the Olympics, tennis, golf, F1 and highlights of the sporting year.

Transfer balls: Chelsea chase ‘Arsenal’ striker Higuain

higuain-arsenal-signsTransfer Balls: the Mirror says Chelsea are keen on Napoli’s Gonzalo Higuain.

Any move leaves “bad boy striker Diego Costa fighting for his Chelsea future”.

But he’s not fighting. He’s a bit limp. He’s a bit rumbled. The sniping, feigning, cheating and histrionics have been noted. Costa’s not all that good when asked to simply kick the ball, scoring two Premier League goals this season.

Of course, the Blues also have in their ranks failing Radamel Falcao – represented by the same agent Jose Mourinho uses –  and Loic Remy, a good player but no star turn.

So Chelsea are looking to Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain.

Well, so says the Mirror, which offers no evidence to supports its claim.

Of course, if you get your news from the Sun, Higuain remains an Arsenal player.

Such are the facts.



Posted: 10th, November 2015 | In: Arsenal, Chelsea, Reviews, Sports | Comment

Chelsea balls: Brendan Rodgers arrives via Tube (Christian Gross nowhere)

Brendan Rodgers has been “spotted in London”. The Mirror sees the photos and ads that the former Liverpool manager’s trip to the big city comes “as rumours of return to Chelsea gather pace”.

Rodgers worked with Jose Mourinho when the Portuguese was first at Chelsea. The Blues could do much worse than recruit the coach to their team. Rodgers has talent and vision.

The Mirror adds that “managerial posts in the capital have also recently opened up at QPR and Fulham.”

The Express contrives: “Ex Liverpool’s Brendan Rodgers spotted in London to talk roles at Chelsea, Fulham or QPR?”

Echoed by the Mail: “Brendan Rodgers spotted in London… so was the former Liverpool manager using Waterloo Station to get to a job interview?

All those journalists on the football beat and not one has a clue.

It’s all utter drivel, of course. Rodgers was spotted not being whisked to a ground by car, but riding the Tube alone (no lawyer), having reached London via a train to Waterloo.



Brendan Rodgers rides tube


Joseph thinks seeing a man on the London Underground warrants a “Haha”. It’s the kind of laugh that says ‘Wouldn’t this be great if this was funny”.

But there is something thrilling about seeing a famous face.


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Look out for Rodgers on a TV show very soon. It’s the media career they crave.

Note: It reminds us of former Spurs manager Christian Gross who travelled to his first press conference on the Tube. He showed everyone the ticket as a symbol of his empathy with the ordinary fan.

The idea that someone as vain as Rodgers would so reduce himself to the status of ordinary bloke is laughable.

Posted: 10th, November 2015 | In: Arsenal, Reviews, Sports | Comment

Arsenal balls: Wenger says he’s a Gunner until he dies

Arsenal PSG

Arsenal PSG

The Mirror leads with news that Paris Saint-Germain are “anxious” to hire Arsene Wenger, the Arsenal manager.

Darren Lewis says PSG have Wenger on a shortlist. Other names on this list are, we’re told, David Moyes, Steve Bruce and the great Eddie Howe. No, of course not. Lewis, as with all journalists, just trots out the names of the usual suspects: Jose Mourinho, and  Pep Guardiola.

The story contains not a single word from PSG. We do hear quotes from Wenger that he would never coach another English club if he were sacked from Arsenal before his contract expires in 2017 – and that “my attachment to Arsenal will remain until the end of my days… I do not see today I could have a managerial career elsewhere.”

Someone should tell the PSG list-makers to remove one name from it.

What’s odd about the Mirror’s story is that such palpable balls should feature ahead of a genuine news story. Inside the paper, Lewis has two more pages on Wenger, all based on an interview the manager did for L’Equipe Sport.

Although the Mirror cannot resist the urge to present the interview as if it were its own:


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Wenger is quoted:

“I’ll give myself merit for one thing: I’ve always treated Arsenal as if it belonged to me. I have sometimes been criticised for it — because I am not enough of a spender, not carefree enough. I credit myself for having had the courage to apply my ideas and fight for them. Aside from that, I can understand why people might not agree.

“My great pride will be to be able to say the day that I leave, that I am leaving behind a good team, a healthy situation and a club capable of performing in the future.

“I could have said to myself: ‘I am here for four or five years, we win everything’, [then] I leave and leave the club on the verge of bankruptcy. For me, consistency at the highest level is the true sign of great clubs.”

Arsenal fans are blessed to have ben led by a man of talent, vision and belief.

What does he not like?:



 “To be, after every single defeat, despite the consistency that we have put into our work at the highest level, questioned about everything that has been done; the ‘Everything down the pan’ reaction. A balance must be found between your masochistic capacity to put up with what you are forced to endure and your delight in accomplishment.

“Expectations have become much more important. The philosophical definition of happiness is when what you want and what you have align. And what you want changes as soon as you have it — always more, always better, to the point where it becomes difficult to satisfy.

“An Arsenal fan, when you finish fourth, will tell you, ‘Hey, for 20 years now we have been in the top four. We want to win the league!’ They don’t care that Manchester City or Chelsea have invested 300 or 400 million Euros. They just want to beat them.

“But if you finish fifteenth for two years, they will be happy if you finish fourth after that.”

And a word for those clubs who only chase the big names:

“To have arrived in London facing such great scepticism. My first championship title, my first Double. From ‘Arsene who?’ to he who became a pioneer — the first non-British manager to succeed in England.”

You’ll miss him when he’s gone.


Posted: 10th, November 2015 | In: Arsenal, Reviews, Sports | Comment

Arsenal and Spurs balls: Vertonghen gropes Giroud, Kane is ‘immaculate’ but Ozil is the star

giroud penis


Arsenal drew 1-1 with Spurs in the Premier League yesterday. The Mirror leads with “GET A ROOM BOYS”, a comment based on a picture of Tottenham’s Vertonghen with his hand close to Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud’s crotch.

The Mirror says this is “just like” when Vinnie Jones grabbed hold of Paul Gascoigne’s balls. But it isn’t. Vertonghen never takes hold of Giroud’s tackle nor appraises his target by calling him “fat boy”.

But sticking with the foreplay theme, the Sun thunders: “Gunners will never win title with fluff-it Oli up front”.

From fluffed to fluffer, Giroud is the subject of Steven Howard’s opinion that Arsenal will “win nothing  with Olivier Giroud as the main striker”. All true – if you don’t notice that Arsenal won back-to-back FA cups with Giroud as the, er, main striker. And all true if you fail to spot that with Danny Welbeck and Theo Walcott injured, Giroud is Arsenal’s only fit striker with a goal scoring record. Yes, there’s Joel Campbell but he’s a makeweight, filling in on the right-wing as seven more accomplished first-team Arsenal players keep the medics busy.

The chief problem with Giroud is that he’s not English. Whereas the Frenchman is rubbished (goals this season in the PL: 6), Harry Kane of Spurs is “immaculate” (goals this season in the PL: 6). Kane scored one. He also missed a chance that would have put Spurs two up. He’s a very good player. But he’s not perfect.

One page back and the Sun’s Charlie Wyett also heaps praise on Kane. We learn that Kane” bullied Arsenal’s defence”. He didn’t. If any Spurs player did, it was Erik Lamela (not English), whose “terrier-like harrying” (Times) and all-round play is a massive upturn in performance from the player who joined Spurs for £25m in the post Gareth Bale shopping spree.

The Mirror’s Dave Kidd hails the best player on the pitch: Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil, who has for the first time in PL history provided assists in six straight games. The German is also the Sun’s man of the match.

In the Express, Matthew Dunn mentions Giroud’s “nightmare”.

The Mail’s Martin Samuel says “Arsenal got away with it”. And they can thank Mesut Ozil, also named as the Mail’s man of the match. In a hyped Premier League, Ozil is one of the few players with genuine quality.


Posted: 9th, November 2015 | In: Arsenal, Reviews, Sports, Spurs | Comment

Transfer Balls: Benzema signs for Arsenal (again)

Transfer balls: Arsenal target Karim Benzema set to make transfer to England, says Jamie Sanderson.

Sanderson writes for the Metro. He told us that Benzema has already joined Arsenal – which he hasn’t.
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Another Metro writer agreed:
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Now we learn via the trusty Sanderson:
Fichajes says he’s set to be moved on in the coming months following news he’s been charged in a blackmail plot against Lyon star Mathieu Valbuena. It’s claimed that Madrid feel he’s damaged the club with a series of incidents, including this one involving Valbuena, and he’s now likely to move to England.
Number of quotes from Madrid players, staff, fans or even unnamed ‘sources’ in the Fichajes story: none.
And as the BBC puts it:
Screen Shot 2015-11-08 at 20.18.18
And Sky says:
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And as Benzema noted:
Screen Shot 2015-11-08 at 20.24.04
Benzema denies any wrongdoing.
The Metro carries on regardless.

Posted: 8th, November 2015 | In: Arsenal, Reviews, Sports | Comment

Chelsea v Stoke: Adam escapes, Costa kicks Shawcross, Blue website hilarious

Screen Shot 2015-11-08 at 10.04.29



Home And Away: our look at biased reporting on football matches.

The Chelsea website has a review of the Blues match at Stoke City – they lost 0-1. The website makes Pravda look broad-minded and liberal. Let’s look at its words on Stoke’s Charlie Adam:

Charlie Adam kicked Pedro on the half-hour but avoided a yellow card. Again shades of our game here 11 days ago…

The first major incident of the second half was a forearm smash into the jumping Nemanja Matic from guess who? Charlie Adam; with guess what outcome? Words from the ref but no yellow card.

Is that Jose Mourinho manning the keyboard and criticising the ref? We also get this:

Ryan Shawcross was cautioned for sticking his arm into the throat of Diego Costa but Arnautovic escaped for barging into the back of Willian, who had suffered no lasting damage from his earlier slip.

What we don’t get is what is reported in the Stoke Sentinel:

Diego Costa was soon penalised for bear hugging Erik Pieters. Costa then got away with a back heel against a fallen Ryan Shawcross as they tussled near the by-line, earning a stiff rebuke from the Boothen End if not the referee…

Howls of derision were being hurled Costa’s way after he tried to foul Shawcross with a barge on half-way, but only succeeded in hurting the ribs he damaged here 11 days ago…

A needless Shawcross hand off felled Costa in no man’s land and rightly earned the Stoke skipper his side’s second booking

Such are the facts…


Posted: 8th, November 2015 | In: Chelsea, Reviews, Sports | Comment

Stoke City beat the champions and Chelsea get all the media coverage

Stoke City beat current Premier League champions Chelsea 1-0 at the Britannia Stadium. Mark Hughes has turned a team of bruisers and hoofers into a decent passing side. And what prise does he get? What word on stock City’s achievements in making the PL look a little less like a procession?

Sunday Telegraph: “Chelsea Crash.” Why is losing to Stoke a crash, an accident?





The Indy:  Chelsea “in freefall”. Mourinho is”deep trouble”. And Mark Hughes, the former Manchester United and Chelsea player…? He’s nowhere.



The Mail: news is that the players still “back Jose”. And is that Eden Hazard trying to deliver a kiss?





Express: “Jose near the edge”.  Is that the same as “the brink”?



The Mail (again): not one but two Joses. No sign of a Stoke city player. No sign of Stoke being good. Just news that Chelsea are “bad”.




Chelsea – we can remember when they weren’t all that good.

Posted: 8th, November 2015 | In: Chelsea, Reviews, Sports | Comment

Chelsea balls: Mourinho ‘sacked’, Simeone arrives in 2016, Rodgers brings Liverpool magic

tumblr_nxgukdyZ1B1u5f06vo1_1280Funny, isn’t it, how newspaper love to talk about a man’s job and have us guess when he’ll be out of one.

The Sunday People says Jose Mourinho will be handed his P45 because Chelsea are keen on hiring Argentine coach Diego Simeone, 45. He is, says the paper of record, set to quit Atletico Madrid in the summer.

That’s too late for the paper, which speculates: “If Simeone, 45, does arrive at the West Londoners, he could be taking over from former Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers — who is being considered as a possible interim coach if Mourinho is sacked”

If. Could. This is guesswork presented as fact. What’s odd, of course, is for a newspaper mired by the phone hacking scandal to be talking about a man losing his job for a drip in form. Mourinho’s crime is losing a few matches., The Mirror’s board have other issues but no-one calls them role models or demands their heads. Football is a business like no other. The manager is exposed and rubbed raw by brickbats and thorny bouquets.

There’s more speculation in the Sunday Express, which says Jose is “on the brink” – this is the paper that said Mourinho would sacked if he lost to Liverpool (he lost; he stayed). Lacking any wit or knowledge of world football, the paper sees the next manger as any one of former Blues staffers: and Roberto Di Matteo, Guus Hiddink and Brendan Rodgers.

Mourinho’s mired. Chelsea  are playing below par. But don’t believe the hype: it’s not yet a crisis.


Posted: 8th, November 2015 | In: Chelsea, Reviews, Sports | Comment

Chelsea balls: Mourinho bans watches Stoke match on hospital radio

Banned from entering Stoke City’s stadium for swearing at a referee (“You f***ing referees are weak… Wenger is right about you… you are f***ing weak”), Chelsea’s specious manager José Mourinho says he could spend the afternoon at the cinema.

When asked what he’ll do when Chelsea visit Stoke, Mourinho replied: “Maybe I watch a movie. I don’t know. It’s the first time. For me, it’s very similar to going to a cinema to watch a film and somebody tells me I cannot come in.”

This from the man who bemoaned the lack of atmosphere at Stamford Bridge. Watching Chelsea is a lot like sitting in the dark and quiet watching star turns perform to a script. Chelsea’s machine-like quality in a nutshell – only with better parking, toilets and a script based on a conspiracy that makes JFK look like a game of dot-to-dots.

Alyson Rudd adds in the Times:

Mourinho, who also suggested he might sit on a street corner with his iPad to watch the game, has been feverishly preparing instructions for Rui Faria and Steve Holland, his assistant coaches. Neither man has Mourinho’s permission to think for themselves. “They are in trouble,” Mourinho said, should they depart from his script. “I went through every point.”

We had hoped Mourinho would watch the game in a Stoke pub. But calling someone “fucking weak” in that environment would most likely result in less a ban than lengthy stay in a hospital.


Posted: 7th, November 2015 | In: Chelsea, Reviews, Sports | Comment

Arsenal: Eduardo’s missing leg, Manchester City victims of success and Liverpool are nowhere

Jamie Carragher, marbles-gargling, whale-voiced former Liverpool player-turned pundit, is using his Daily Mail column to talk about Arsenal.

Carragher reasons that getting kicked out of the Champions’ League in the first round will do Arsenal a favour. It won’t. Just as winning becomes a habit so too does losing. The Gunners have a slim chance of progressing in Europe and should go all about to achieve it.

Says Carragher:

This is the best chance Arsenal have had to win the title since 2004, up there with 2007-08 when they crumbled at Birmingham and William Gallas sulked on the pitch.

What Carragher fails to note is that before the sulk and the crumble (the away game ended 2-2) Birmingham City’s Taylor launched a tackle so appalling that Arsenal striker Eduardo da Silva Eduardo’s leg shattered. This is how the Telegraph reported it:

Arsenal players looked distraught while the player was receiving treatment with midfielder Cesc Fabregas most notably shaken up by the incident. The tackle was deemed too horrific that even Sky television said they would not replay the incident.

Having ignored the foul that had a huge effect on Arsenal’s season, Carragher says:

I can’t see them getting close to winning the Champions League this year even if they miraculously reach the knockout stages. Wenger doesn’t have to worry about their place in the competition next year as they are all but guaranteed a top-four finish.

To which we would says: if you say so, Sherlock. Arsenal have three points from four games. And they are not guaranteed anything. It’s November.

Financial implications have nothing to do with it either, as Arsenal are sitting on a mountain of cash. They can afford to be out of it. What they cannot afford, however, is to lose impetus after their excellent start to the domestic campaign.

No, Jamie. Football is about winning and looking like you can win. You recruit the best by competing. If you want to see how far and how fast a club can fall when they don’t play at the highest level, turn your gaze to Liverpool. The Champions’ League is worth tens of millions to clubs in it. No team with ambition can afford not to be in it.

All their rivals have issues or distractions and this is why Wenger has to capitalise.

Issues and distractions… Are those the same as competitions? In Carragher’s absurd world, not being in football tournaments is good for a football club.

I don’t think Arsenal are the best team in the Barclays Premier League. I don’t think they have the best squad, either. Both those accolades go to Manchester City, who are rightly favourites because of Chelsea’s demise. But they are not certainties for first place.

Demise? Who died?

City, for all their talents, will have days again such as their 4-1 loss at Tottenham or the slip-up at home to West Ham. And Sergio Aguero’s injury record is a huge concern as he is arguably the one truly world-class player in the Premier League. Not only that, they are most likely to find themselves having a fixture pile-up in the second half of the campaign.

Poor old City with that fixture pile-up – the games brought on by success. And if injuries matter, Jamie, mate, Arsenal are the masters of that peril.

Liverpool, remember, almost won the title in 2014 by having a clear calendar. You will say: ‘What about the Europa League?’ But if Arsenal finish third in their group, Wenger should use those Thursday games to give matches to players such as Calum Chambers, Kieran Gibbs and Mikel Arteta. In fact, he should use them in the penultimate Champions League game and see where it leaves them.

No. They should go for it, Jamie. Football is the glory game.

He needs to protect his strongest team and after the international break, his injury situation should have cleared up with Aaron Ramsey, Hector Bellerin and Laurent Koscielny back and Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain expected to return by the end of November. But injuries have been a long-term weakness and it could yet derail them as much as City.

Yep. Which makes your point about Aguero pointless.

Wenger has seen football’s landscape change dramatically since the early years of his reign. When Arsenal were at Highbury, only one club were better than them — Manchester United — and the task of becoming champions was straightforward. If you finished above United, you won the title. That is no longer the case.

Right enough. Nowadays it’s Manchester City you need to finish above.

Next season, for instance, Chelsea will not be as bad as they are now. United will, inevitably, invest another £100million next summer and it is only a matter of time before the weight of their spending carries them back to winning silverware.

What about that mountain of cash Arsenal are sitting on? Maybe they will spend it?


Posted: 7th, November 2015 | In: Arsenal, Reviews, Sports | Comment

Chelsea balls: Mourinho chose between watching Stoke game in hotel or city pub

It turns that Jose Mourinho’s stadium ban does not inhibit his ability to watch his Chelsea side play Stoke City on the telly. The game is live on Sky Sports and the Daily Mail says Mourinho will be able to communicate with his backroom staff from the team hotel.

We rather liked the idea of Jose watching it in a Stoke pub, pint in one hand, bag of dry roasted in the other, yelling at the telly and then yelling down the phone at his yelling coach Rui Faria.

“Tell JT he’s sh*t,” whispers Jose down the phone. “And Ivan’s not fit to wear the shirt… And ‘Big Steve’ says ‘tell Mark Hughes to **** off back to Man United.”

This will be followed by a noisy bonding session with Stoke fans about how they all hate Arsenal.

Before Jose uses his time out to best effect, he says plans have been made:

“We have gone through the most incredible scenarios at half-time winning 4-0, at half-time losing 4-0. In between this we have 1,000 options. Dominating and controlling the game, or not. Having problems with this area or that, having four red cards of the goalkeeper, left-back, centre-forward, winger. We have been through these scenarios and we are prepared.

“What is important that they feel protected by the facts. It’s up to the players to play and the assistants to be with them and be supportive.”

And up to Gary Neville, too, and the rest of the Sky pundit team. Just do as they say, Jose, you can’t go wrong…


Posted: 6th, November 2015 | In: Chelsea, Sports | Comment

Transfer balls: Joel Campbell signs for two clubs and vows to stay at Arsenal

Transfer Balls: New now to gladden the hearts of every Arsenal player: Joel Campbell is here to stay.

The Metro says Campbell’s agent sees his client remaining at Arsenal for some time.

Campbell, who signed for Arsenal nearly five years ago, has spent significant time on-loan at clubs such as Lorient, Real Betis, Olympiacos and Villarreal.

And then he returned to become the Gunners fourth-choice right-sided attacking midfielder.

Many had expected to him to be sold in the coming months, but after scoring on his first Premier League start against Swansea last weekend, Campbell’s agent Joaquim Batica says the 23-year-old wants to stay at the Emirates Stadium and win titles.

He does his best. But with Campbell in the side, those titles look more elusive than ever.

The better news for Arsenal fans is that this is the Metro, a newspaper full of utter tosh:

Joel CAmpbell balls


Screen Shot 2015-11-06 at 14.23.36


Such are the facts…

Posted: 6th, November 2015 | In: Arsenal, Sports, Tabloids | Comment

Transfer Balls: Ronaldo ‘dreams’ of Manchester United, cashes in at PSG and wears rejuvenating bronzer

Transfer Balls: The Sun says PSG are “confident” they’ll beat Manchester United to sign Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo for £100m.

We learn that “Ronaldo has emphasised his close relationship with PSG chairman Nasser Al Khelaifi”.

We then get to look at body language:

But ahead of kick-off, Real president Florentino Perez was captured by TV cameras quizzing Ronaldo about an interview in which he claimed his future could lie elsewhere. The player looked bemused and sources said his touch-feely gestures towards PSG, with the world watching, after Real’s 1-0 Champions League victory were designed to rile Perez.

So Ronaldo is off to PSG. Or as the Manchester Evening News puts it:


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Says who?

Woodward made another attempt to sign Ronaldo this summer and Spanish journalist Guillem Balague claims Ronaldo envisages himself playing for United next season.

“Cristiano Ronaldo still dreams of returning to Manchester United,” Balague writes in Cristiano Ronaldo: The Biography. “The English club informed his agent in 2013 that they have enough financial power to secure his return.

You can read more about Balague’s foresight here.

And who spends £100m for a 30 year-old? What he got in that Touche Eclat – rejuvenating powder?


Posted: 5th, November 2015 | In: manchester united, Reviews, Sports | Comment

Arsenal balls: Giroud good enough for Bayern, Joel Campbell nicking a living, Wenger ‘poor’

Arsenal get “Mullered” (The Mirror) and work “Nein to 5” (Sun) – papers reacting to the Gunners’ 5-1 thrashing against Bayern Munich.

But what about those points, the scores out of 10 dished out to the teams?

The Mirror’s John Cross is right: Joel Campbell was dire, an Arsenal player nicking a living in the shirt. But was Giroud that bad?




The Mail is more generous. Campbell gets a score of 5.5. This means he was better than Cazorla (he wasn’t) and on a part with Monreal, the overworked, exposed left back. Only Giroud and Cech come out with any credit, both collecting scores that would have got them into the Bayern side.





Posted: 5th, November 2015 | In: Arsenal, Reviews, Sports, Tabloids | Comment

Manchester United: bellow average Wayne Rooney goes back to ‘class’

Manchester United beat CSKA 1-0 in the Champions’ League. In the Mail, Martin Samuel says the game’s goalscorer, Wayne Rooney, was “class”.




But below that praise the Mail also says Rooney, er,  wasn’t all that good.



According to those scores, Rooney was below average.

Posted: 4th, November 2015 | In: manchester united, Reviews, Sports | Comment

Chelsea benefit from FA conspiracy to let Diego Costa escape ban for Liverpool ‘red card’

In his ‘JOIN THE DEBATE’ column for the Daily Mail, Martin Samuel focuses on Chelsea striker Diego Costa.

Diego Costa will not be charged by the Football Association for his off-the-ball kick on Martin Skrtel. 

Fact. But this is debate, so…

Why? Replays plainly showed Costa pushing his studs into Skrtel as the pair fell to the ground in Saturday’s game at Stamford Bridge.

Costa has previous for violent play, too, and served a three-match ban earlier in the season. Yet the FA line is that referee Mark Clattenburg saw the incident and dealt with it at the time. Really? If he did he was the only one who didn’t believe it deserved action.

In Monday’s Mail, Matt Barlow prised Skrtel for “not making a meal of it”.

The Mail has already published the views of one referee. It employs Graham Poll to tell readers:

When Diego Costa fouled Martin Skrtel it did appear that he made a secondary action with his right leg and kicked the Liverpool man in a violent manner. The incident occurred close to Clattenburg who took no action. Perhaps he missed it completely or didn’t think it violent. Perhaps he thought it fair ‘retaliation’ after Skrtel had caught Costa with a leading forearm in the first half. For me at full speed I doubt whether any referee would have dismissed the Chelsea man; replays might well have led to a red card but thankfully we still trust our referees to get the majority of decisions right.

Might. But… Not that conclusive, then.


Samuel adds:

More likely, Clattenburg and the FA knew after the game that Lucas Leiva of Liverpool should have received a second yellow card, and that to punish Costa — who could have been banned for four matches considering the previous offence — would merely add to Chelsea’s conspiracy fantasies. So it wasn’t justice: merely a balancing of injustices, which isn’t the same at all.

Chelsea benefit from FA conspiracy. Read all about it!

Posted: 4th, November 2015 | In: Chelsea, Liverpool, Reviews, Sports, Tabloids | Comment (1)

Chelsea balls: Abramovich puts £71m price tag on Mourinho’s head

Transfer balls: The Daily Mail says “Chelsea reject shock £35m bid by Monaco for under-pressure manager Jose Mourinho.”

Go on…

Monaco made a startling approach for Jose Mourinho on Tuesday but saw a staggering £35million bid rejected, according to a shareholder. Alessandro Proto claims he met Roman Abramovich in London in a bid to prise away Chelsea’s beleaguered manager.

Who is Proto?

A statement was released by Proto’s company, Proto Enterprises, to a Spanish news agency stating the meeting had taken place in London earlier in the day.

The Proto Enterprises website tells us:

Proto Enterprises has a track record of various operations, both in real estate and in finance, participation and intervention which today identify and differentiate us in the investment field on an international level.


In a moment of deep global crisis, two aspects which make a difference in the business world are enthusiasm and audacity. Enthusiasm for everything that surrounds us. For the family, for work, for others and for ourselves.

Yeah, it’s a venture capital firm.

Proto Enterprises confirmed its authenticity to Sportsmail on Tuesday night and alleged Abramovich could be interested in accepting should they double the offer to £71m.

Source confirms its own story? How?

The Indy picks up the story:

Abramovich’s refusal suggests that he remains supportive of the beleaguered Mourinho, whose defending champions currently sit 15th in the Premier League table, following six defeats in their opening eleven league matches.

But the Mail says he’d take more money if it were offered.  And there is one small matter in this story that is very odd: why would Mourinho want to manage a side with pots or money but hardly any fans. The man loves a big stage. And Monaco ain’t it.

Meanwhile Monaco’s curent boss, Bernard Veronico, should check the print on his contract.


Posted: 4th, November 2015 | In: Chelsea, Reviews, Sports | Comment

Manchester United balls: Louis Van Gaal calls Chris Smalling ‘Michael’ again



Manchester United centre-back Chris Smalling has a new nickname: Michael. Following Manchester United’s 1-0 win over CSKA Moscow, Louis Van Gaal hailed the performance of “Michael Smalling”.

Who he?



“David De Gea has saved us, then after that, Michael Smalling has saved us,” Van Gaal said.

The United boss made the exact same gaffe back in July while proudly naming Mike Smalling as his new vice-captain as Chris Smalling sat right beside him…


What is it to be loved.

Posted: 4th, November 2015 | In: manchester united, Reviews, Sports | Comment

Chelsea balls: Mourinho praises his dignity, John Terry wants love and death, Fabregas looks innocent

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho continues to set the sports pages agenda.

The Sun (backpage): “BLUES BROTHERS”.

Chelsea captain John Terry says Chelsea are United and squarely behind Mourinho. This is unlovely, driven and pragmatic Terry – Mourinho’s vision of football made bone and meat. No shock he supports his manager.

terry chelsea

Pages 56-57: “No surrender but players worried Jose has become the…LONELY ONE.”

Andrew Dillon says Jose is “used to fighting the world  – but he is not used to the world winning”.  We hear from John Terry, who says: “We don’t want to be fighting the world. You want to be loved, as an individual and as a club…”

As we roll our eyes at the charmless JT talking of love, Mourinho recalls words he said in 2004 after his Porto side had won the Champions League. “I had said that one day in my career bad results would come… One day the bad results will come and I’ll face the bad results with all the same honesty and dignity that I’m facing now as European champions.”

Who looks at Mourinho and sees his honesty and dignity? Correct answer: John Terry. Wrong answer: referees, The FA, Dr Eva Carneiro, Barcelona assistant Tito Vilanova, Andres Frisk…

Page 57:  “Zola: I’ve a dream”

Gianfranco Zola wants to manage Chelsea. He says he “needs to improve as a manager if I want to get there.” No kidding.




The Times (back page): Terry furious at criticism of Mourinho”

John Terry has words for the player who apparently said he’d rather Chelsea lost than win for Mourinho. “The player wouldn’t be let out of the dressing room,” says Terry.

Cesc Fabregas says he’s not the poison in the well.

Terry blames the messenger and says the BBC reporting the story fell “well below their standards”. When John Terry is the barometer of standards, you need to take a long, hard look at yourself. Or laugh.


daily express john terry backpages


The Express (bak page): “Rebels at Chelsea? They wouldn’t get out alive”

Not quite what John Terry said. He never did threaten to murder the enemy in the camp.




Mirror (back page):  “BACK OFF”

John Terry has “pleaded with critics not to drive Jose Mourinho and Eden Hazard out of the Premier League”.

Daily Mail (back page): “Jose: I’ll be at Chelsea until 2019:

Looks like Jose’s not leaving.

And he wants to remain in London even if Chelsea give him the boot.

As Matt Hughes told Times readers:

José Mourinho will be permitted to work for another English club if he is sacked by Chelsea under the terms of his contract at Stamford Bridge. It is understood that while the four-year deal he signed last August contains a clause stipulating that Mourinho is entitled to one year’s salary of £9.5 million in the event of his dismissal, there is nothing restricting his future employment.

Sack him and he stays in London? But who would he manage? Arsenal fans can’t abide him. Spurs wanted Mourinho in 2007 after he was sacked by Chelsea. But the severance package prevented him moving to White Hart Lane. Would Spurs move for him again? Would West Ham United?




Posted: 4th, November 2015 | In: Chelsea, Reviews, Sports | Comment

Manchester United balls: Kanchelskis slams Van Gaal, Rooney dropped, Riyad Mahrez can be like Cantona

cantonaManchester United’s Louis Van Gaal must be relieved must of the media’s gaze is trained on Chelsea’s Jose Mourinho. Having spent a fortune on flesh and bone, Manchester United under LVG are dull.

The Sun does report today that former United player Andrie Kanchelskis says “Van Gaal is not for Manchester United. Their history and tradition is to play wide and sharp at flanks – but is nothing like this now.”

What United fans would give for the flying Russian in his pomp. Kanchelskis is now  pundit, opining that LVG is “too pragmatic” and makes his team play like “robots”.

The Mirror calls three goalless draws in a row a “crisis”. It’s not, of course. If it is, what state are bottom-of-the-table Aston Villa in, an uber-crisis?

The Sun goes on to say that Van Gaal is sticking by his captain Wayne Rooney. But the Express says Van Gaal will “consider resting Rooney  if his barren run continues”. Resting is, of course, a euphemism for ‘dropping’.

Matt Lawton notes in the Mail that Alex Ferguson “endured patches of form when United struggled to find the net.” He recalls a poor run in 1992 that “prompted the signing of Eric Cantona”. Who now can boost United? The Mail suggests Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez. He’s contracted to Leicester until 2019, and why he’d want to leave the bubbling Foxes for dullsville Old Trafford is a moot point.


Posted: 3rd, November 2015 | In: Reviews, Sports | Comment

Dentists say footballers with bad teeth play badly: Manchester United’s toothless Nobby Styles wins World Cup

News in the Sun that “top footballers” are troubled by their bad teeth. We learn that 40% of footballers have some tooth decay and 5% have gum disease. And 7% say tooth issues affect their game.

The Daily Mail makes a link between teeth and playing power:


man united teeth


The research, by University College London, surveyed 187 “aces” at eight clubs. A dentist titled Professor Ian Needleman arrives to say that sugary drinks can harm teeth. And being in pain can impact on your performance. Who knew?

The full survey can be read here. We are told:

Background The few studies that have assessed oral health in professional/elite football suggest poor oral health with minimal data on impact on performance. The aim of this research was to determine oral health in a representative sample of professional footballers in the UK and investigate possible determinants of oral health and self-reported impact on well-being, training and performance.

Methods Clinical oral health examination of senior squad players using standard methods and outcomes carried out at club training facilities. Questionnaire data were also collected. 8 teams were included, 5 Premier League, 2 Championship and 1 League One.

The clubs surveyed were: Hull FC, Manchester United FC, Southampton FC, Swansea City AFC, West Ham FC, Brighton & Hove Albion, Cardiff FC and  Sheffield United FC.

One other aim of the research might be to create work for dentists at football clubs. After all, Professor Ian Needleman, also says:

“…while these findings are worrying we are pleased that clubs are already embracing the findings and building on their existing interventions by placing oral health care at the forefront of their medical agenda. We hope that other teams follow their lead and introduce robust oral health screening and promotion as a routine element of their programs.”

But what also interests us is the picture the Sun uses to show the state of teeth in the Premier League:




Luis Suarez has strong teeth (see his biting history). He also played for none of the clubs surveyed. If we’re going to look at the teeth of players who used to play in England, then this is better:




And Manchester United’s Nobby Styles, for it is he, won the World Cup.

Teeth. Who needs ’em?

Posted: 3rd, November 2015 | In: Sports | Comment

Chelsea fans rejoice: noise makes no difrerence to the number of goals scored

When Jose Mourinho said Chelsea receive less vocal supports at home matches than their Premier League rival, the University of Nebraska-Omaha’s Brenna Boyd did some research. She found that the noise made by fans has no effect on the number of goals scored.

One less thing for Jose to blame for Chelsea’s dip in fortunes, then.


Posted: 3rd, November 2015 | In: Chelsea, Sports | Comment

Chelsea balls: Mourinho prepares for an assault on the beaches of Stoke, Arsenal and Liverpool

The media narrative is that every Chelsea match is Jose Mourinho’s D-DAY.

Today the Daily Express says Chelsea’s match at Stoke City is the manager’s ‘D-DAY’:


D-day Jose Chelsea



The London Evening Standard said Jose’s D-Day was the match against Liverpool.


Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 08.09.50


The Times of India agreed.


Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 08.10.47



The Bleacher Report says Chelsea v Arsenal was Mourinho’s D-DAY:


Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 08.09.26


D-Day is a pretty regular event in Jose’s life. For anyone wondering if D-Day is just a term to describe a man losing his job, this is what D-Day was:

During World War II (1939-1945), the Battle of Normandy, which lasted from June 1944 to August 1944, resulted in the Allied liberation of Western Europe from Nazi Germany’s control. Codenamed Operation Overlord, the battle began on June 6, 1944, also known as D-Day, when some 156,000 American, British and Canadian forces landed on five beaches along a 50-mile stretch of the heavily fortified coast of France’s Normandy region.

The Allied forces had one D-Day. Jose Mourinho’s had three of them this season.

Posted: 3rd, November 2015 | In: Chelsea, Reviews, Sports, Tabloids | Comment

Chelsea Balls: Jose banned from watching matches on the telly, Makelele linked, yet another D-Day

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho leads every tabloids’ sports section. The Sun says Mourinho is a “BASKET CASE”. The Mirror agrees, leading with the same headline.


Jose Mouinho back pages the Mirror


Sticking with the Sun, Jose”s been hit with a “double whammy” of a stadium band and lawsuit. He’s bene hit with a fine for being mouthy (£40,000 in the Mail; £50,000 in the Mirror).

These “basket case” headlines are a pun on a pervious time when Jose was banned from entering the stadium and he sneaked in by hiding in a laundry basket. The lawsuit refers to Dr Eva Carneiro, the now former Chelsea team doctor, whose appeal for constructive dismissal could see Mourinho called before an employment tribunal.


Mourinho mirror backpage



Over pages 52-53, the Sun’s Steven Howard says “fed up stars can put Jose in his place”. Howard reasons that with Mourinho banned from Stoke City’s ground for Chelsea’s weekend visit the players will show what they can do without him. In Howard’s world there are no TV cameras (the game is live on Sky), phones not any other way the Chelsea manager can watch the match and communicate with his staff – those coaches he works with and who he picked to work with him.

Howard wonders what will happen should Chelsea win well at Stoke “without” Mourinho. In Howard’s view of football the only thing that matters is what happen in the changing room at half-time and the pre-match warm up. Those many training ground sessions and talks count for nought.

The Express says the Stoke match is Jose’s D-Day. This is the same Express that told us the Chelsea v Liverpool game was Mourinho’s D-day and that he’d be sacked should his side lose. They lost. He was not sacked. It was not D-day.

The Mirror says the Stoke game could save “Jose’s career”. Wow! Not just his job at Chelsea but his entire career.

Dave Kidd says it’s all over – “Mourinho will be brought down  by players lacking conviction in his methods”.

So. Mourinho is on his way, then. The Mail says he’ll be replaced by a “dream ticket” of Carlo Ancelotti and Claude Makelele (sacked from managing at Bastia after just 6 months).

Live the dream.


Posted: 3rd, November 2015 | In: Chelsea, Reviews, Sports, Tabloids | Comment

Watch referee Arsenal enemy Mike Dean ‘celebrate’ a Spurs goal against Aston Villa

Arsenal fans don’t much like Mike Dean, the Premier League referee. Claims, however nuts, that the man in yellow doesn’t like the Gunners will not be undone buy the video of him reacting to a Spurs goal against Aston Villa.

What is he doing? And why is he doing it in public?

Posted: 2nd, November 2015 | In: Reviews, Sports, Spurs | Comment