Could somebody please give Gennaro Gattuso a hug
It was just last year that AC Milan coach Gennaro Gattuso produced possibly the most self-effacing quote in the history of quotes when he was asked if Andrea Pirlo would have been as great a player without Gattuso alongside him.
“When I saw him play it made me think I had to change profession,” Gattuso replied, “let’s not confuse Nutella with s**t”.
Now we’re beginning to worry that he has self-esteem issues. Asked last week about Milan’s less than flowing style of play under his stewardship, he replied:
"We're not Brad Pitt now, we've got to continue being as ugly as me and my beard, with dark circles under our eyes."
Someone give that poor man a hug – and tell him he’s lovely.
Scoring stats and Wiki ways
On June 22nd, 2016 some additional biographical information was added to a Wikipedia page, the opening line reading: "Robert Brady (born 14 January 1992) is an Irish professional footballer who is the second coming of Jesus Christ. "
Most of us wouldn’t have blinked on reading that line because that was the day our Robbie scored his Euro 2016 winner against Italy.
It wasn’t, though, entirely true. You have to be a little wary of Wikipedia because there’s always the risk that some rascal has “edited” the page you’re looking at. Which is why the whole world was laughing at poor old FK Panevezys of Lithuania last week.
When they unveiled their new signing, Angolan striker Barkley Miguel Panzo, they trumpeted the, eh, fact that he had scored a highly impressive 45 goals in 36 games for QPR between 2010 and 2012.
But he actually scored zero goals in zero senior appearances for the club, only having a brief spell in their under-18 set-up.
Where did FK Panevezys get their faulty information?
They have since apologised, but insist they didn’t sign the fella because of Wikipedia, that he’d impressed during a trial with the club. If he manages 45 goals in 36 games you’d guess one of their fans might well edit his page along the lines of “Barkley Miguel Panzo is the second coming of Christ”.
Big Sam left in deadline daze
Football's Gone Mad, Part 976: Davy Klaassen has been having a miserable time of it since joining Everton from Ajax in a £23.6 million move last summer. The Dutch midfielder has started three league games for the club, lasted no longer than 60 minutes in any of them, his last league outing occurring back in September.
So when Serie A leaders Napoli said they'd like to take the fella on loan, you'd have thought he'd be well up for it. The deadline day deal fell through, though. "It's the weirdest situation," sighed Big Sam Allardyce, who hasn't given Klaassen a minute of league football. The problem? A dispute over . . . image rights. And there we were thinking image rights were something only the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo had to worry himself about.
“It didn’t seem the normal sort of problem to stop a transfer going through,” said Big Sam, whose head was sore from the shaking. When he, say, joined Limerick from West Brom in 1991, image rights possibly weren’t a problem at all.
The game’s dead.
Not okay, computer
Arsenal fans’ jubilation over the £55 million signing of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang might have been cut short by news from the BBC that Sam, the Sports Analytics Machine developed at the University of Liverpool, calculated he would increase the team’s chances of finishing in the top four by 2 per cent.
Mind you, when they saw Sam’s predictions for Saturday’s games, their dejection might well have turned back to jubilant scepticism.
Burnley 0 Manchester City 2 (result: 1-1); Bournemouth 1 Stoke 1 (2-1); Brighton 1 West Ham 1 (3-1); Leicester 1 Swansea 0 (1-1); West Brom 1 Southampton 1 (2-3); Arsenal 2 Everton 0 (5-1).
They got Manchester United- Huddersfield right, but that’s one out of seven. The Arsenal faithful will have to trust that their Aubameyang prediction is as ropey.
Quote of the week
“So Newcastle will have a Mohammed, Jesus, Christian and Islam all in the squad. We need the help of every god and religion going, to be fair.”
Tweeting Newcastle fan Adam Stoker after Islam Slimani arrived on loan to link up with Jesus Gamez, Mohamed Diame and Christian Atsu. He’s now praying they’ll divinely intervene in Newcastle’s Premier League campaign.
By the numbers: 958
That's how many million pounds Pep Guardiola-managed clubs have spent on players in his nine years as a gaffer, according to Nick Harris of sportingintelligence.com. If he'd landed Riyad Mahrez, he'd have become the first manager in history to top the billion spending mark. (Jose Mourinho is second on the list at £867m).
Word of mouth I
"Let's just say, the ball wasn't in the neighbourhood." – Kevin De Bruyne after being on the receiving end of a meaty James McClean tackle.
"A great goal that Harry Kane would have been proud of." – Jose Mourinho saluting Phil Jones's deadly finishing against Spurs last week. In to his own net, mind.
"My mum went to my little brother's sports day and she sent me a clip of her running and I thought, 'okay, that's where I get it from!'". – Raheem Sterling on realising that he'd inherited that quirky running style of his from his Ma. Probably his speed too – she was on the Jamaican athletics team in her youth.
"He said, 'You need to catch up with me'. I said, 'I can't, you're Sergio Agüero'." Sterling again, this time on Agüero telling him he needs to score as regularly as Agüero himself.
Merson’s Plan B
Best U-Turn of the Week: The one and only Paul Merson, as heard by the Football 365 people.
How did he rate Arsenal’s transfer window work?
Merson: “I would have tried to get rid of Lacazette and kept Giroud. They have no plan B now, it’s completely gone.
“If they’re losing a match, Giroud would come on and score goals. I find it shocking.”
Moments later. . .
So, what grade would he give their transfer window work?
Merson: “I’ll give them an A for attacking.”
Word of mouth II
"For him to finish 90 minutes, and in the 92nd minute run 80 yards with the ball, was outstanding for me . . . imagine what he'll be like when he is match fit. It's scary." – Sam Allardyce welcoming Séamus Coleman back to action.
"Marcus's story is quite interesting because he started playing with Mr Van Gaal . . . then the monster that kills the little kids arrived. But he plays every game since then." – Jose Mourinho on talk he's held Rashford back because of his (alleged) aversion to giving youth its fling.