Sports | Anorak - Part 71

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: Pogba joins Barcelona for more and less than Man City bid and Chelsea bid

Transfer balls: Is Paul Pogba leaving Juventus to join a Premier League club? Let’s see what the newspapers have been telling us:

June 30 2015: The Daily Express says Pogba has agreed to join Barcelona.


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But is £64m too much or not enough? The tabloids were wondering:


paul pogba manchester city


On October 24, 2015 the ever trusty Daily Express had an update on that Barcelona agreement:


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The agent told us:

“Those who want him should sit with Juventus and then we’ll see. This summer, there were three or four clubs interested, but he chose to stay at Juventus.”

But the Star told us Pogba wanted to play for Chelsea:

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Pogba named his price, said the Daily Mirror:

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And why stop at Chelsea? The Manchester Evening News reported in August 2015 that Pogba was wanted by Man City:

Juventus chief Giuseppe Marotta says the Italian club are powerless to stop Manchester City target Paul Pogba leaving if he decides to. City last month cooled their interest in in the French midfield ace after Juve demanded a whopping £71m fee.

But the Daily Express told us Chelsea had bid £80m for Pogba:


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Such are the facts…



Posted: 26th, October 2015 | In: Chelsea, Reviews, Sports | Comment

Manchester United and Manchester City in corporate Premier League horror show

Manchester United and Manchester City played out a match so dull it must make all those Americans, Chinese and oil-rich sheikhs tuning in wonder if the Premier League is just hype and more hype, less a sport than a televised festival of consumerism. Let’s compare the marketing with the fact:s

The Guardian:



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The BBC:


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Before the match the talk was of passion, history and cash.

Daily Mail:

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It’s all about the money.


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The dullest most lifeless Manchester derby ever. A shameful passion-free example of the snuffing out of tradition by


DAnny Baker tweets

Can we have your game back, please?

Posted: 25th, October 2015 | In: manchester united, Reviews, Sports | Comment

Arsenal balls: Wenger quits in 2017 and stays until 2019

Arsene Wenger is leaving Arsenal. But when will he go? The Daily Mirror has been hot on the news.

Today Steve Stammers says Wenger will remain at Arsenal until 2019:

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The big question is: does John Cross, also of the Mirror, know? On October 15 2015, Cross told Mirror readers that Wenger had named the day of when his Arsenal job ends. And it wasn’t 2019:


Daily Mirror wenger quits Arsenal


More utter balls in the tabloids every day.

Posted: 25th, October 2015 | In: Arsenal, Sports, Tabloids | Comment

Transfer Balls: PSG swoop for Hazard who only dreams of Chelsea

Transfer Balls: The Sun on Sunday says Chelsea’s Eden Hazard, 24, could be on his way to Paris Saint-Germain. Below the rather icky headline “Hazard snatch”, the Sun reports:

French giants PSG are preparing a massive January bid to test the playmaker’s relationship with Jose Mourinho… PSG are willing to offer an improvement on the Belgian’s £200,000-a-week wages and a return to France.

The Daily Star on Sunday then adds that Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester City and Manchester United “could” all bid for Hazard.

The Premier League is little sad, no? For all the hype and hoopla, any foreign player worth their salt wants to play in Spain.  And the British Press know it.

The Sun has previously reported:

CHRISTIAN BENTEKE has revealed his pal Eden Hazard dreams of playing for Real Madrid.

Thee years ago, Benteke said:

I am not surprised at Eden’s success with Chelsea — and he can do even better. He has the qualities needed to become an even greater player. His dream is to join Real Madrid — so I don’t see why he can’t join them in a year or two.”

In 2015, the Star added:

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But in 2014, Hazard said:

“Paris [Saint-Germain] have huge players, but Chelsea have more experience and more players in certain positions. And we also have a better experience in the Champions League. I never said that if I left Chelsea it will only be for Real Madrid. The only club that makes me dream is Chelsea.”

Hazard’s a terrific player. He’s one of the best players in the Premier League. The continuing tabloid tales linking him to Spain and PSG only serve to undermine the fable that the Premier League is the ultimate place to watch football. It isn’t. It’s bloated and greedy. If the actual play matched the hype just imagine how fantastic the games would be.

Posted: 25th, October 2015 | In: Chelsea, Reviews, Sports | Comment

Chelsea Balls: Jose Mourinho creates a weak version of Don Revie’s Leeds United

Having picked fights with Dr Eva Carneiro, referees and Arsene Wenger, Jose Mourinho picked on the enemy that he can never beat: the media.

At a press conference he told the pack:

“I’m not talking about football. In football I’m ready to be criticised, even the stupid ones [sic]. Private life, stupid things you bring to light, I don’t like it. So we go to a different level of professional relations.”

The media used to like Jose. If he won’t supply them with catty remarks and self-aggrandizing bon mots will they forgive him? Rod Liddle reacts in the Sunday Times:

His latest discombobulation came when he was accused of “jostling” a couple of teenage fans who had followed him for 20 minutes in a manner Mourinho described as “intrusive”. We might sympathise with him on this particular issue, especially if the teenagers, wrapped up in wounded self-righteousness, wish to pursue the matter. But the other stuff is more serious.

His fatuous carping about referees deserved opprobrium from the FA and a big fine. His apparent estrangement from some of his players and his readiness to criticise them publicly suggests a man who is approaching the end of his tether. The estrangement reputedly dates back to pre-season and has been evident in every game Chelsea have played since then.

They appear disjointed in defence and ineffectual in attack, their most mercurial players — such as Oscar — benched to make way for a grim thuggishness which is losing Chelsea the sympathy of even those few neutrals who don’t hate them just for being Chelsea.

Mourinho is right that a lot of people are pleased his side have struggled this season, me included. But there’s a reason for that and it isn’t simply schadenfreude. Mourinho’s Chelsea remind me a little of Don Revie’s Leeds United – except this season nowhere near as good. And maybe even less loveable.

Oomph! That’s harsh. Leeds fans will make offence at that throwaway ‘maybe’.

Of course, there is always one news organ that will be forever with Jose. The official Chelsea website continues to amuse and entertain with a style of journalism that Joe Stalin might have consider a little monocular.

Highlights are:


The Blues were beaten in cruel circumstances at Upton Park this afternoon having had to play the whole second half with 10 men.

After West Ham had taken an early lead through Mauro Zarate, Kurt Zouma’s header looked to have crossed the line, only for the decision to go the home side’s way…

The goal-line technology said ‘no goal’. The entire ball had not crossed the line.

….before Cesc Fabregas beat Adrian but saw the goal ruled out for offside when he appeared to have been played onside by the retreating West Ham defenders.

He was just offside.

The 10 men rallied impressively however and were the better side in the second half. Gary Cahill equalised 10 minutes after the break with his first goal of the season, but Andy Carroll’s late header, which came against the run of play, won it for the hosts.


The better team lost!

Moments later we turned defence into attack with a brilliant counter, owing much to the intelligence and desire of Matic…

In no other report will you find word of Matic’s intelligence.

The Blues were unable to clear our lines as the delivery was swung in, and as the ball found its way to Zarate at the back post he drilled it low and hard past Begovic.

The ball “found its ways” to Zarate because Costa produced a weak, sliced clearance.


….Cahill produced a magnificent finish…


Chelsea accrued seven bookings and Mourinho was sent to the stands for confronting the referee a half-time.


Posted: 25th, October 2015 | In: Chelsea, Sports | Comment

Chelsea balls: Shameful Mourinho is ‘getting sacked in the morning’

West Ham United beat Chelsea 2-1, and José Mourinho spent the second half watching from the stand. Why? Because it was claimed that he tried to speak to the referee during the interval, following the dismissal of Chelsea’s midfielder Nemanja Matic.

With such crass behaviour can it be long before Mourinho is given the boot from Stamford Bridge?

“You’re getting sacked in the morning,” sang the West Ham fans at the Portuguese manager, who then put the tin lid on his day out by failing to attend the post-match press conference.

Matthew Syed is not a fan, writing in the Times:

His motivational technique is based upon something very different: me, me, me. It is about the cult of the individual — Mourinho himself. This is predicated, in turn, upon creating a sense of permanent crisis. He sees conspiracies everywhere. The referees, the Premier League, Uefa, the ballboys, the team doctor, Uncle Tom Cobley: whatever it takes to get his players to feel like they are enduring a siege.

In the short term, this technique works. Nobody wants to be in a siege, fighting for one’s life, and so the players respond. But over the long-term, it begins to grate. It is like a narcotic or a sugar rush: you need ever more crises to recruit ever dwindling amounts of emotional response, particularly when the players begin to see through the underlying charade. In the end, it becomes cloying.

Chelsea are the current Premier League champions. Mourinho has talent. But he is so utterly graceless in victory and defeat. Syed adds:

They say that the Real Madrid players eventually became bored of Mourinho, but the truth is that they became ashamed of him. They saw him stab a finger into the eye of Tito Vilanova, his Barcelona rival. They observed him name four referees over whom Barcelona, supposedly, had “special power”. They watched as he was banished from the dugout during a Copa del Rey final and how he stormed out of the stadium without bothering to collect his loser’s medal from the King of Spain. They noted how he insulted the referee again in the car park.

Over three seasons, they saw him traduce, malign and infect — and, in the end, they couldn’t bear it. They were exhausted by the caricature running their club and his juvenile approach to leadership. And with the clarity that comes with time, they saw through it.

If he goes, he won’t be as missed as he think he should be. Well, at least not by fans who don’t support Chelsea. Better than sacking The Special One is to help him with an able sidekick, say, Steve Clarke, Gianfranco Zola or Roberto Di Matteo. Or all three.

Posted: 24th, October 2015 | In: Chelsea, Reviews, Sports | Comment (1)

Transfer Balls: Arsenal offer Lavezzi a ‘ditch’, players agrees Barcelona deal, wants to join Juventus

lavezzi thong


Transfer Balls: Do Arsenal need another striker? Surely if Olivier Giroud is good enough score against the mighty Bayern Munich, and with Theo Walcott finding the net regularly, and Danny Welbeck on his way back from injury, the Gunners forward line is well stocked.

But the Mirror says Arsenal are to “launch a last-ditch attempt to sign Ezequiel Lavezzi”.

Lavezzi’s contract expires at the end of next season, and there has been talk of him leaving PSG. Barcelona are apparently also interested, but Arsenal are keen to take him to the Emirates.

Poor old Barcelona need a striker much more than Arsenal do. Yeah, that one makes sense.

The idea of Lavezzi to Arsenal is echoed in the Metro:

Arsenal make last-ditch attempt to seal cut-price transfer of Paris Saint-Germain star Ezequiel Lavezzi 

As the Metro and Mirror report from within the echo chamber, talkSport says Arsenal can forget about it:


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The broadcaster notes:

Liverpool and Tottenham target Ezequiel Lavezzi has agreed to join Barcelona next summer

Why would Bareclona want him? It makes little sense.

The Football Italia blog says no deal has been done because Lavezzi wants to play for Juventus. That chimes with earlier news:


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Such are the facts when a player nears the end of his contract and his agent picks up the phone…


Posted: 24th, October 2015 | In: Arsenal, Sports, Tabloids | Comment

Transfer Balls: Manchester United have £50m for Spurs’ Harry Kane

Transfer Balls: Manchester Untied will offer Spurs £50m for their striker Harry Kane, says the Daily Star.  The paper says United manager Louis Van Gaal is  “demanding the Old Trafford top brass” sign the 22-year-old England striker.

The paper says United launched a failed £25m bid for Kane over the summer.

Will Kane and Spurs take the money?

Who know? After all, this is the Daily Star, which told Google News that Kane already plays at Old Trafford:

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Such are the facts…

Posted: 24th, October 2015 | In: manchester united, Reviews, Sports, Spurs, Tabloids | Comment

Transfer Balls: Nicolas Gaitan move to Manchester United is done and off

Transfer Balls: The Daily Express says Benfica’s Nicolas Gaitan is NOT heading to Manchester United.


gaitan manchester united


Uche Amako finds no room in this tale of the “saga” to mention that Gaitan already agreed to join Manchester United. We read it in the Daily Express:


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Gaitan’s transfer to Man United was confirmed in the Express‘ sister title, the Daily Star:

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Such are the facts…


Posted: 23rd, October 2015 | In: manchester united, Reviews, Sports | Comment

Transfer Balls: Manchester United want Lionel Messi and Ronaldo

Messi to Liverpool


The Sun leads its sports coverage with the rugby World Cup  news that Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City hope they each have enough money to “persuade Lionel Messi to swap Barcelona for the Prem.”

Would Messi come to Manchester or London? The Sun says the Argentine superstar has “given the trio the clearest hint yet that he is ready to listen”.


All three clubs are convinced that Messi is genuinely considering a move to a different environment and that he could become the Prem’s stellar asset for his last few top seasons.

If he signs we get to see the fading great. He’s 28 now. And he’s only coming for the money – “the Argentine growing increasingly angry at ongoing issues with the Spanish tax authorities. Messi and his father Jorge face trial over an alleged £3.1million tax fraud relating to image rights deals despite prosecutors recommending the charges should be dropped.”

Can you leave Spain be a tax exile in England?


Messi’s current deal has a prohibitive buy-out clause of 250million EUROS, making a move this summer infeasible.

Unfeasible for Manchester City’s trillions?

But by June 2017, when he turns 30 and with one year left in his contract, Barca may be more keen to sell, although the English trio would still have to smash their wage structure to accommodate Messi’s demand for a deal matching his current one.

Who wants to pay a fortune to eke a couple of years value from a 30-year-old Messi? Maybe Manchester United want him to team him up with an ageing Ronaldo?

ronaldo manchester united the sun newspapers


Such are the facts…

Posted: 23rd, October 2015 | In: Arsenal, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports | Comment

Manchester United wants to get Everton’s Galloway on the cheap

Transfer Balls: Everton fans will be delighted to leans via the Mirror that “Manchester United are keeping tabs on Brendan Galloway”, looking to sign the player in January.

Everton’s 19-year-old left back is a good player who will only get better. Everton are a top Premier League side. But that Mirror headline infers that one day, if the lad plays well enough, United’s scouts will advise their bosses that the time is ripe to give Galloway his chance.


Galloway joined Everton from MK Dons in the summer of 2014, signing a five-year deal. Injury to Leighton Baines gave Galloway a chance to break into the first team; talent has kept him there.

Better news for Everton fans is that Galloway has been offered a contract upgrade.

Posted: 23rd, October 2015 | In: manchester united, Sports | Comment

Transfer Balls: Liverpool move for the familiar Andrea Ranocchia

Transfer Balls: Italy’s Gazzetta dello Sport says Liverpool want to sign Internazionale central defender Andrea Ranocchia. Jurgen Klopp likes the 27-year-old who’d cost in the region of €18m.

Ranocchia had been heavily linked with a move to Southampton over the summer but TalkSport said the player wanted to remain in Italy. He’s been linked with a move to pretty much every top English club:

The Metro: “Everton ‘approach Inter Milan for Andrea Ranocchia to replace John Stones’”

Daily Express: “Napoli set to rival Manchester United and Spurs for Inter Milan’s Andrea Ranocchia”

Daily Mirror: “Chelsea to target towering Inter Milan defender Andrea Ranocchia in January

Daily Express: “Chelsea, Man Utd, Arsenal & Spurs target Andrea Ranocchia set to hand in transfer request”

Daily Star: “Everton, Spurs, Newcastle and Crystal Palace set to pounce for Italian star Ranocchia”

Daily Mail: “Man City keen to snap up Inter centre back Ranocchia in exchange for Kolarov”

Ranocchia’s got a busy agent.

Posted: 23rd, October 2015 | In: Liverpool, Sports | Comment

Swansea City balls: magic Gary Monk vanishes

Gary Monk is magic! The Swansea City manager really is magic. He can make himself disappear. Yesterday the Mirror’s John Cross tweeted:

Garry Monk misses training as pressure mounts at Swansea

Monk missing. Pressure mounting. Two plus two equals… Sacked?!

The Mirror duly reported why Monk was missing:

Garry Monk did not go into training at Swansea today. It is understood that he missed the session because of personal reasons.

Or as Swansea City put it:

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Had Monk reappeared, as if by magic?

The Mirror’s John Cross went back to work:

Garry Monk is under mounting pressure at Swansea. The Swans have been on a winless run of six games…. Swansea today moved to deny that Monk missed training by posting pictures of their manager taking a session at the club’s Fairwood HQ. But they confirmed that Monk did miss the team’s warm-down session on Tuesday following the defeat to Stoke the night before.

He missed the warm-down session at Stoke City? Do you even need a manager to supervise that? Did it miss it for “personal reasons”? And ‘moved to deny” sounds a lot like denying and saying the Mirror was wrong.

Such are the facts.


Posted: 22nd, October 2015 | In: Reviews, Sports, Tabloids | Comment

Manchester United: Chinese turn Bastian Schweinsteiger into a Nazi doll


                              Schweinhund                                                                   Schweinsteiger 

In China you can buy a Nazi figuring that looks like Manchester United’s German midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger. Yeah, that’s what we thought: who in China buys Nazi figurines? This one costs HK$958 (£80).

Schweinsteiger is upset enough to set his lawyers on the Hong Kong-based company, makers of ‘Bastian’, the one-sixth lifesize doll. They say it’s pure coincidence the doll looks like him. all Germans look the same, see.

“We have no figure which is based on a football player,” Patrick Chan tells Bild (not to be confused with the Vőlkischer Beobachter). “It was pure coincidence that the ‘Bastian’ figure looks like Schweinsteiger. The figure is based on the typical German. We believe that all Germans look like this.”

They do. Stick this one in a dress and it’s Heidi Klum.

Posted: 22nd, October 2015 | In: manchester united, Reviews, Sports, The Consumer | Comment

Transfer balls: Eden Hazard wants to quit Chelsea for Real Madrid AND Barcelona


News is that Eden Hazard wants to leave Chelsea. The Belgian fancies joining Real Madrid says L’Equipe. As is so often the way with these things, Hazard has told friends, family, pals, dogs and parrots that he wants to move. For some reason, they all decide at once to tell the Press. Hazard says nothing in public, preferring to let his football do the talking, which it is – quietly.

The Indy takes up the story:

The report comes in the same week that Hazard seemed to ‘like’ a post on Instagram linking him with a move to Real Madrid.

At at once we see the plan. Hazard is no longer playing his best in order to avoid winning a man-of-the-match bottle of champers and being made to speak in public. He now only communicates through nameless cousins and ‘likes’.

Eden Hazard real madrid

Of course, Hazard’s potential moves have been in the news for some time:


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Such are the facts…


Posted: 22nd, October 2015 | In: Chelsea, Reviews, Sports, Tabloids | Comment

Arsenal balls: ‘devastated’ Ramey back in three weeks

The Metro balls


Arsenal Injury Balls: Having read about the “devastating” injury to Aaron Ramsey in the Metro and how the Welsh footballer will miss ’10’ matches, the Mirror says he will be out “up to a month”.

The Mail says he’ll be fit to play in…three weeks.

The Metro really is full of utter balls.

Such are the facts.


Posted: 22nd, October 2015 | In: Arsenal, Reviews, Sports, Tabloids | Comment

Arsenal balls: Ramsey and that ‘devastating injury’

The media loves an injury. Arsenal midfielder and Wales captain Aaron Ramsey was injured during the Gunners’ match against Bayern Munich. The Metro picks up the player’s medical charts. And gasps:


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Devastating? Ramsay had his leg badly broken at Stoke City. That was devastating. This is a hamstring injury.

Sam Kearns writes:

Arsenal fear that Aaron Ramsey will be out of action for up to six weeks after the Wales midfielder injured his hamstring in the Gunners’ 2-0 win against Bayern Munich.

How does he know that, then?

….according to, the former Cardiff City man is facing a six-week spell on the sidelines that will see him miss matches against Bayern Munich, Tottenham and Dinamo Zagreb.

Over at, Greg Stobat writes:

Arsenal fear Aaron Ramsey faces six weeks out with the hamstring injury that forced him off during the 2-0 win over Bayern Munich on Tuesday night.

As we wonder out if Stobart and Kearns are one and the same, we read the BBC:

Wenger said Ramsey will miss Saturday’s Premier League game against Everton and could be out for some time. “He’s very down, he told me that the hamstring is a tough one. He’s out yes,” Wenger said.

In the Telegraph the news is fuller:

What had been an increasingly settled Arsenal team will be disrupted, however, by the loss of Aaron Ramsey. He suffered three similar hamstring injuries last season and, while assessments are ongoing, the initial sense is that he will be out until at least next month’s international break.

Those begin on November 13. That would mean Ramsey missing five matches, including a League Cup rubber against Sheffield Wednesday – not 10 matches, as the Metro thrills.  If he is out for six weeks, that should see him miss 8 matches.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 21st, October 2015 | In: Arsenal, Reviews, Sports, Tabloids | Comment

Watch Arsenal beat Bayern Munich 2-0

Arsenal beat Bayern Munich 1-0 in the Champions’ League. The ball hit Giroud on the head and went in.



And then…


Ozil goal Bayern

Posted: 20th, October 2015 | In: Sports | Comment

Manchester United balls: rip-off ‘revealed ‘

The BBC’s annual Price of Football study is a pretty useless exercise, unless, that is, you work in the media in which case it’s a rich source of bilge about how terrible football is. Media likes nothing better than writing about media, and the BBC bigs up its survey. Take this example on the BBC’s website:

Parenting web site Mumsnet has accused clubs of exploiting young fans after the BBC study revealed a full Manchester United junior strip, with name and number printed on the back, cost more than £100.

Mumsnet had no idea how much a football kit cost until the BBC’s investigative team of crack journalists went online and added up the bits.


Posted: 20th, October 2015 | In: manchester united, Sports | Comment

Chelsea balls: Mourinho fights FA ban by blaming his bad English

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho during a press conference at Cobham Training Ground, Stoke D'Abernon.


Is Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho hiding behind his grasp of English?

The Times reports:

In the FA’s written reasons for giving Mourinho a one-match stadium ban, suspended for 12 months, and a fine of £50,000 after he suggested that referees are “afraid to give decisions to Chelsea”, it rejected any notion that the language barrier posed a mitigating circumstance.

Back in September, Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma said he was “sorry” for saying of teammate Diego Costa: “Everyone knows Diego and this guy likes to cheat a lot and put the opponent out of his game.”

Later Zouma, 20, then told the Evening Standard in admirable English:

“I did a mistake because I just wanted to say that Diego likes to put pressure on his opponent. After the game, I was tired and was chosen for doping control so I wanted to go quickly back to my house. I didn’t remember what I said and I didn’t expect it to come out like it did. It was a mistake and I am really sorry for it. It is my second year in England and my English is not perfect. Everybody can do mistakes. This day, I did. I never thought Diego is a cheat. He is a friend. I like this guy. On the pitch he gives everything for the club and the team. I hope he will continue like this. He should not change. I spoke to him and said, ‘Sorry, mate’ because I didn’t want to say that. English is not my first language, so I did not mean it. He told me: ‘It’s OK, no problem. I know what you wanted to say’.”

Language and footballers, eh.

Giles Smith:

It was, we firmly believe, the great Paul Merson who coined the term “a torrid” to connote the match-long suffering of a defender (normally a left or right back) at the hands of vividly in-form opponent (normally a winger or “pushed-on” midfielder) — in other words, “a torrid time”, but the adjective becomes a noun and the “time” is silent, hence “he’s given him an absolute torrid”.

It was also Merson, incidentally, who came up with the term “a worldy”, meaning “a world-class save”, and, as we have had cause to note before, that’s two more additions to the dictionary than any Poet Laureate in living memory has managed. If you want proof that the English language is vitally and compellingly alive, look no further than the former Arsenal winger’s desk on any Gillette Soccer Saturday.

Better to do as many footballers do and only talk about yourself, whether in the first or third person. Tim Sherwood of Aston Villa explains:

“We’ve got a manager in the opposite dugout today who’s not had it all his own way at every club he’s been at, but he’s come through and stuck to his beliefs. That’s what Tim Sherwood will be doing.”

Of course what Mourinho should have done is gone to ground, beaten the turf with an open palm (having previously run it over his scalp and checked for blood) and called for medical help.


Posted: 20th, October 2015 | In: Chelsea, Sports | Comment

Arsenal: Dynamo player failed drugs test, Bayern can be beaten, Ospina injured

Can Arsenal overturn the form book and beat Bayern Munich in tonight’s Champions’ League match at the Emirates? Can a team defeated by the ordinary Dynamo Zagreb and Olympiacos beat the mighty Germans?

Arsenal Manager Arsène Wenger is ambitious:

“At the moment they have the best record in Europe. Maybe they are the most outstanding team in Europe. Historically they have won the European Cup how many times? Five? And Arsenal zero. So you cannot say that historically we are at the same level as Bayern. What we want is to get there. But the history doesn’t play the game. What will decide the game is the performance we produce. That comes from if we believe we can do it.”

Can they win? Wenger adds:

“I believe we have some ground to make up in Europe as we have not been at our requested level in our first two games. Our focus has been much stronger in the Premier League than it has been in Europe, and we know in this game the focus needs to be exactly the same as in the Premier League. We have the belief and confidence that we’re doing something right, so that helps. We maybe could be a little suspected in the first two games of not taking the opponent seriously enough, but this time this is not the threat. So let’s take the positives of our Premier League and get the right focus that you get when you play a big opponent. It’s a realistic statement to say we have to win one of the two games against Bayern. Maybe not even realistic enough.”

The Times notes:

Wenger’s frustration at the Zagreb defeat, in particular, was compounded by Arijan Ademi, the Dynamo midfield player, failing a drugs test after the game. Uefa is waiting for the results of his B sample before opening disciplinary proceedings, but the result will stand regardless as only in the case of more than two players from the same team having been found to have committed a doping violation in the same competition are team sanctions imposed.

Test them all, then. Why not?

Says Wenger:

“When you don’t play at your best and your opponent is doped, it is difficult. The rules are the rules and I cannot change that, so I don’t think the result is really under any threat. We have organised World Cups before now with 740 players and zero doping cases, and I don’t know if that is really a fact. I was surprised the player was Ademi because he didn’t play before he played against us. But we have to wait as well because there is a counter check to see what comes out.”

Why aren’t all footballers at top matches checked?

As for the match, David Ospina, the Arsenal goalkeeper who gifted the Greek a goal, is out injured. The feeling is that whoever is in the Gunners’ goal will have to play brilliantly.


Posted: 20th, October 2015 | In: Arsenal, Reviews, Sports | Comment

Liverpool balls: Jurgen Klopp says one of his side is the ‘complete footballer’ (no, not him)

Keen to convince his Liverpool team that they are the players he’d have chosen to buy, new Reds’ manager Jurgen Klopp says one of them is the “complete footballer”.

Klopp told reporters:

“We don’t have to sprinkle magical dust on them: ‘and now you can play football’. They know how to play. We just have to create a situation where it is possible to do this.

“I am not sure how many games you saw like this from Adam Lallana? I know him from Southampton and he can do 20-30 percent more. Philippe Coutinho? Do you not think he can play better football than today? Of course, he can.

“Lucas? You don’t think he can play balls on the right and left side? Of course he can. Emre Can? Learning between running and passing? He can learn.”

But who is the star turn?

“Milner? The complete football player, the perfect professional, a machine.”

He sure is Jurgen, he sure is…


Posted: 19th, October 2015 | In: Liverpool, Sports | Comment

Aston Villa: David Moyes’ failure in Spain is no qualification for Premier League success

Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 08.27.23Great news for Aston Villa fans comes via the Sun’s back page. Villa are on “alert” because fans of Real Sociedad want team manager David Moyes sacked. It’s pretty rum when your team’s fortunes depend on a saviour being sacked by their current club.

And what of Tim Sherwood, Villa’s current manager, who only yesterday was being backed by Sun columnist Alan Shearer?

The worry is that were Sherwood to go, he would then join David Moyes and Brendan Rodgers as young British managers given top jobs but ultimately seen as failures.

The football business is stuck on names. Villa get Moyes because Moyes did well at Everton. But why would Villa fans want Moyes, a man with baggage?

The BBC picks up the story of Moyes’ life in Spain.

Real Sociedad manager David Moyes said “I know I’m the best man for the job” after the pressure on him grew with a 2-0 defeat by Atletico Madrid. Fans reportedly chanted “Moyes go home” in English with Sociedad only outside the relegation zone on goal difference. “You cannot always keep changing your manager and think that’s the answer to your problems,” the Scot said.

He’s right, of course. So why, then, does the Star report that Moyes wants to manage Aston Villa?


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The answer is the same reason that Villa might be eyeing Moyes: a lack of imagination and foresight.

In the Mirror Moyes denies seeking a move:

Moyes also denied reports that would be willing to the return to the Premier League should Aston Villa decide to do away with Tim Sherwood and offer the Scot the role at Villa Park. “During pre-season I had contact with clubs, which is normal, because they know my statistics, but my intention is to stay here at La Real,” he said. “I’m not thinking about anything else. You saw the hard work and determination the players put in, how they fought.”

Did Villa offer Moyes the job in the summer?

The Mail presents Moyes’ return to the top flight of English football as a given:

David Moyes may be back in the Premier League even sooner than first thought after his side failed to win at home for the fourth time this season.

Lose in Spain and you get a top job in the top division.

Sudha Vishwanath sums it up:

These are dark days indeed, when failure overseas is a qualification factor for becoming an EPL club manager!

If Villa do sack Sherwood they should seek adventure and a vision. Moyes offers neither.


Posted: 19th, October 2015 | In: Reviews, Sports | Comments (2)

Scotland ‘Rabbed’ at rugby World Cup

The Rugby World Cup isa t the semi-final stages. Like many British spots fans, we too will be following the proceeding in traditional manner with a trip to B&Q. New Zealand, Australia, Argentina and South Africa are the four sides left in the tournament. Scotland lost out narrowly to the Australians, the game turning on a decision very later on.

The papers reacts with a few puns. The Sun says it was a “TARTANIC Effort”.


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The Independent sees Mel Gibson in the sweat:




The Telegraph and Mail agree that Scotland were “robbed”.







Robbed? Surely ‘RABBED’.


rugby world cup scotland robbed



Call me Fleet Street, I have ideas…


Posted: 19th, October 2015 | In: Sports | Comment (1)

Manchester United: Mata tells Chelsea manager Mourinho what he’s missing

Juan Mata, of Manchester Untied , has been talking to the Times:

On Jose Mourinho calling him a “luxury”:

“If a luxury player is a player who scores and assists and has good stats, then I’m happy to be a luxury player.”

On the goals:

“I’ve scored as many goals for Manchester United in the Premier League as for Chelsea, but in something like 30 games less. “In terms of scoring and assisting I’m quite happy with the stats, and stats don’t lie. They are facts. I want luxury players in my team. I like creative players, and players who do different things. It’s easy to say certain players are luxuries, especially when you’ve lost a game. When you lose, a certain kind of player — the creative players — always get the blame.”

And back to Jose:

“I’ve not tried to prove anyone wrong. I didn’t speak with Mourinho like he has spoken with you, for example. I never had any explanations and didn’t ask for them.”

Mata was Chelsea’s Players’ Player of the Year when Mourinho sold him.

Posted: 18th, October 2015 | In: Chelsea, Sports | Comment