Erling Haaland must be bricking it after Mo Salah scored three against Rangers. Arsenal are also in grave trouble unless they sign someone.
In the Nic of time
In his match report on Manchester United’s Europa League win over Omonia Nicosia, Phil Thomas of The Sun describes the Cypriot side in numerous different ways. Here are a few examples:
‘the Nicosian no-hopers’
‘a side everyone had written off as cannon fodder’
‘a bunch of 40-1 outsiders’
‘It should have been the closest thing to a tap-in you will ever see’
‘a team [United] should have caned’
All within the opening nine paragraphs. We get it: Manchester United were the heavy favourites and should be winning such games more comfortably at home. But talk about laying it on thick. Give them some sodding credit.
Why so serious?
Ken Lawrence of The Sun was also on duty at Old Trafford and he was impressed with Casemiro. But this Sun website headline to his article is an absolute shambles:
‘Casemiro takes Omonia seriously despite having surely never heard of them’
Has he been stitched-up? Nope.
‘And against Omonia, like he also did after that initial mistake on what was his first Premier League start, he showed that he takes his job very seriously indeed.’
How surprising that a five-time Champions League winner, 65-cap Brazil international and potential £70m signing who earns around £350,000 a week is professional enough to ‘take his job very seriously indeed’.
If only the same could be said of Lawrence, who describes how Casemiro ‘got ambushed on the ball by Amadou Onoha’ against Everton at the weekend. Has Frank Lampard signed someone new on the sly?
In another case of the British media entirely ignoring the quality of any team outside Europe’s top five leagues, Joshua Jones of The Sun scoffs at yet another win for Arsenal.
‘ARSENAL’S squad depth needs improving if they want to go all the way in the Europa League and maintain their domestic challenge,’ is quite the take about a team which made seven changes to its starting line-up and beat Bodo/Glimt away.
That doesn’t sound like a remarkably impressive feat until you learn that Bodo/Glimt had won 14 consecutive European home games, including beating Roma 6-1 and 2-1. Not to mention it came four days after a Premier League win over Liverpool and required a 1,900-mile trip to play on a plastic pitch.
But no, ‘cracks began to appear in the second half’ and this ‘was a stark reminder the squad isn’t deep enough for both’.
Even though they’ve won 11 of their 12 games in the two competitions so far this season.
The headline to this piece is a doozy, by the way: ‘Seven players Arsenal could look to sign in January transfer window to bolster squad depth as Bodo/Glimt expose cracks’
They might end up needing reinforcements but describing the signing of a new centre-half in January as ‘a must’ after another clean sheet is weird. And the absolute best of luck to Arsenal in pursuing Dusan Vlahovic to join as ‘a better understudy’ than Eddie Nketiah. The £66m Juventus starter would jump at the chance to warm the bench and clean Gabriel Jesus’ boots.
Mark of the man
It’s made even more weird by the fact that Mark Irwin, whose disdain for Arsenal was once worn proudly on his sleeve, writes elsewhere in The Sun about ‘the Arsenal juggernaut’, ‘the unstoppable Arsenal bandwagon’ and ‘Mikel Arteta’s ruthless team of winners’ who ‘sent out another powerful message of intent’ and walked ‘safely through this potential minefield’.
Sounds like they need another seven signings in January.
Haa Haa land
‘Mohamed Salah throws down gauntlet to Erling Haaland in battle for Premier League throne’ is the unserious Daily Mirror website headline to a piece by Liverpool sycophantNorthern football correspondent David Maddock.
Yes, the gauntlet thrown down by Mo Salah is the hat-trick he scored against Rangers in midweek. Erling Haaland has three of them already this season. That’s a bloody load of gauntlets Salah needs to pick up before he throws anything down.
But ‘Salah is a streak player’ and Maddock expects the Egyptian’s form to pick up after that Champions League treble.
‘When Salah starts scoring, he tends to go on long, formidable runs, and last season was a perfect example. He scored in 12 of his first 13 matches, and had a goal ruled out in the other one.
‘With that sort of form, even Haaland’s stunning feats this season don’t seem quite so off the scale.’
Haaland has 20 goals in 13 games, has scored almost twice as many times in the Premier League as any other player this season and is nearly halfway to the overall record for goals in an entire Premier League campaign, having played just nine matches.
They still seem pretty ‘off the scale’.
But Maddock is incredibly keen to pitch Salah as the only person who can compete with Haaland. He says the Liverpool forward is ‘the undisputed best striker over the past half decade’ and ‘the one striker in English football who can give Haaland a run for his money’.
Salah has 120 goals in 188 Premier League games from the start of the 2017/18 season, so 0.64 goals a game over five and a bit seasons.
Harry Kane has 113 goals in 175 Premier League games in the same period, so 0.65 goals a game over five and a bit seasons.
And Haaland is not going to be fazed by either of them throwing down a gauntlet by scoring three times against a Rangers team which was already losing heavily.
Mediawatch has raged at the advent of plucking random words out of a quote to create a confusing headline before. This is a perfect example from the Liverpool Echo:
”It’s about’ – Newcastle United striker Callum Wilson makes Liverpool top-four admission’
The f**k does that even mean? What is “it’s about” even about? Why is this a thing?!
It turns out “it’s about showing some consistency and hitting the ground running sooner rather than later, because if you leave it too late you have too much work to do.”
It’s also about bewildering the readers into clicking to figure out what on earth is going on. So fair play because they’ve nailed that.
I’m undroppable today
Fans of the Manchester Evening News – they are out there somewhere – will be delighted to read this headline:
‘Manchester United have found out who their latest undroppable is after Omonia Nicosia win’
Good lord that really does take Mediawatch back to a time when Manchester United had 18 undroppables.
This one is Christian Eriksen, who did not start in the win over Omonia Nicosia. Hey, he’s not an unrestable, just an undroppable.
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