Why don’t Arsenal want to win the Europa League?

Anatomy of a transfer story: an update You may remember yesterday’s Mediawatch digging into the pile of guff that was Liverpool’s supposed summer approach of Wilfried Ndidi.

Why don’t Arsenal want to win the Europa League?

Why don’t Arsenal want to win the Europa League?

You can read the full copy here, but the shorter version was: Empire of the Kop > New Telegraph (Nigeria) > ‘reports in England’ > Daily Express website > Rush The Kop.

So, what is the headline greeting Mediawatch on Tuesday morning on the Daily Mirror’ website?

‘Liverpool ‘could pay up to £50million for Leicester midfielder Wilfred Ndidi’ this summer’

And what about the Liverpool Echo, complete with rogue hyphen?

‘Liverpool ‘line-up swoop’ for £50m-rated Leicester City midfielder Wilfred Ndidi’

And what about the… Birmingham Mail?! What the chuff has Birmingham got to do with it?

‘Liverpool set for shock £50m transfer bid for midfielder’

Mediawatch only hopes that Rush The Kop are proud of their new sway. Turns out no bugger cares what is true as long as it involves a player moving for big money to a big club.


Ch-ch-ch-changes ‘Antonio Conte took a giant step towards the axe as Chelsea slumped to a shambolic defeat to Watford at Vicarage Road.

‘Manager Conte had demanded public backing from the power-brokers at Stamford Bridge – but all he got was a slapdash, half-hearted display against a struggling team. Chelsea could be outside the top four by the time rock-bottom West Brom visit Stamford Bridge next Monday’ – Mike Walters, Daily Mirror, February 5.

‘Back in the top four, still in the FA Cup and with Barcelona ­coming to town next week, life suddenly looks a lot rosier for Chelsea. They have gone from boo is the colour to renewed optimism’ – Mike Walters, Daily Mirror, February 13.

That’s what beating the worst team in the league at home to stay in the same league position does, apparently.


What a load of…pancake From that Mike Walters’ match report on Chelsea vs West Brom in the Daily Mirror:

‘As a tribute to Pancake Day, it was not a load of crepes – although Chelsea did their best to toss it away at first.’

And then…

‘One man’s pancake is another man’s waffle, and there has been little sympathy in the Black Country for Chelsea’s lukewarm defence of the title.’

And as the final line…

‘And the belief drained out of Albion when the elusive Hazard, cutting in off the right flank, wrong-footed Foster with a ­thunderous left-foot shot inside his near post. All that remained was to add the lemon and sugar.’

1) The match wasn’t even played on Pancake Day.

2) What?


Arise, Sir Strawman You’re going to have to sit down for this shocking news, but Stan Collymore is very angry in his Daily Mirror column today. Very angry indeed. This time it’s Arsenal:

‘There is frightening delusion at Arsenal which is best summed up by some of their embarrassing Twitter accounts.

‘Whether it is those attached to the club or their heavily-followed fan accounts, they have an extraordinary ability to pretend that reality isn’t biting.’

Grouping together the official Arsenal account and accounts such as Arsenal FanTv is an odd thing to do. One exists to report news, the other to deliberately stir up controversy for clicks. But do carry on…

‘If you had just been dropped onto planet football you’d think, the way they talk about themselves, that Arsenal possess the greatest attacking unit that football has ever seen.’

Kick supporters being excited about their own team out of football.

‘They have the brass neck to be fanning themselves as if they are in the last four of the Champions League.’

Mediawatch understands that Collymore is paid to have Big Opinions because the columns lack any insight, but what absolute rot.

In what way are Arsenal ‘fanning themselves’? And in what way is any reasonably supporter acting as if they are successful at the moment? Most of them, even on the fan accounts of which Collymore speaks, are despondent to the point of anger at the state of the club.

Even by usual standards, this is a ludicrous straw man. Advice for Collymore: Don’t gauge the reaction of an entire fan base and club based on a few things you saw on social media.


Ah. Sir Strawman, could you just get up again? ‘Wenger should be crawling out (Is walking OK? – Ed.) and grabbing any microphone and saying to the Arsenal fans that in yet another disappointing season without a title challenge, “Of course we want to win the Europa League.”

‘But he has said none of it, just completely mugging off the fans’ – Stan Collymore, Daily Mirror.

Must have been a different Arsene Wenger that said in September 2017:

“We decided that it was the first time and hopefully the last time we played the Europa League and we wanted to win it. You decide how to approach it. You go in it to win it.”

And in October 2017:

“For us it’s a trophy to potentially win. We want to do well in all the competitions. In six days this week we play Europa League, the Premier League and the League Cup – we want to fight in every competition.”

And literally four days ago, when confirming he would pick a strong team in Ostersunds:

“I would have anyway gone for it, especially as we have no game between the two matches. I will play the normal team because it is one of the opportunities we have especially because we don’t play in the FA Cup. There is no reason why I should rest players.”

Mediawatch just wishes that Collymore would meet that Arsene Wenger.


Mr Teflon ‘Manchester United transfer news: Chris Smalling and Daley Blind to be replaced as Jose Mourinho starts to lose patience’ – Independent, October 28, 2016.

‘Manchester United defensive duo Luke Shaw and Chris Smalling face axe after Jose Mourinho bust-up’ – Daily Mail, November 7, 2016.

‘EXCLUSIVE: Chris Smalling to leave Man United if Victor Lindelof signs’ – Daily Star, January 1, 2017.

‘EXCLUSIVE: Jose Mourinho set to axe Chris Smalling from Manchester United this summer’ – Daily Star, May 23, 2017.

‘Chris Smalling to be sold by Man Utd this summer – with West Ham, West Brom and Everton already interested’ – Daily Telegraph, June 13, 2017.

‘Manchester United’s Chris Smalling up for sale as Victor Lindelof completes £30m transfer from Benfica’ – Daily Mirror, June 15, 2017.

‘Jose Mourinho to axe Man Utd star Chris Smalling’ – Daily Star, July 17, 2017.

‘Manchester United set to ditch Phil Jones and Chris Smalling as frustrated Jose Mourinho plots major defensive revamp’ – Daily Mirror, February 13, 2018.

January 4, 2020: ‘Pochettino to axe Smalling after poor form’.


Tactical advice Everyone has an opinion on Arsenal, but Mediawatch particularly enjoyed Charlie Nicholas’ words of wisdom for Arsene Wenger on how he could improve things as part of his Sky Sports predictions:

“I can’t remember when we last had a leading scorer on nine goals in February. I’d actually play a front two with Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Mesut Ozil behind and accept that we’re not going to defend.”

Giving up defending entirely. Some might say it’s only a stone’s throw away.


Ask a simple question ‘Is this the huge clue Gareth Bale has snubbed Man Utd to sign for Tottenham?’ – Daily Express.

No. A Paddy Power ‘insider’ telling a newspaper that they have taken bets on something happening is not a ‘huge clue’, it’s a piece of PR.

It’s also not p*ssing news.


‘Thanks for that’ of the day ‘Manchester United ace Luke Shaw heads out to supermarket… wearing £675 Balenciaga Sinners hoodie’ – The Sun.

‘His trendy ‘oversized’ loose-fit top, made by Georgian fashion designer Demna Gvasalia, only came out in November but has already sold out on the Balenciaga website,’ we are told. ‘Despite selling out with a number of other retailers, there seem to be a few of the Balenciaga hoodies available at £675 via the Mr Porter website.’

All crucial information. Thanks guys.


Weirdest headline of the day ‘Manchester United will announce summer departure of Townsend – journalist’ – Daily Express.

The ‘journalist’ is BBC Sport’s Simon Stone and ‘Townsend’ is Manchester United’s director of communications Phil Townsend.

Truly a nadir for transfer rumours.


Recommended reading of the day Donald McRae with Graham Potter.

Jason Burt with Miralem Pjanic.

Adam ‘Fantasy Football’ Bate on Mohamed Salah.

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