League Cup - Paper Round: Gentleman Gerrard

Mon, 27 Feb 09:04:00 2012

Steven Gerrard's moment of tenderness in consoling his cousin makes the back pages of several of Monday's papers.

Steven and Anthony Gerrard - 0

The Sun's back page highlights how the Liverpool skipper graciously offered commiseration to Cardiff substitute Anthony Gerrard after the latter had missed the crucial spot-kick which handed the Reds their first victory at Wembley in 16 years.

The Sun shows the England-captain-in-waiting holding his cousin's face, with the headline "I'm so sorry cousin" - though the Liverpool icon understandably looks far less sorry in images showing him lifting the trophy.

The Daily Telegraph also focuses on Anthony Gerrard, going with a 'Family Fortunes' headline to their sport section that took all of eight nanoseconds to dream up - with Henry Winter's report then continuing on for several more paragraphs about a player who was on the pitch for less than a quarter of a 120-minute spectacle.

The Daily Express also uses the "Family fortune" headline, The Times goes with "Family affair", while the Daily Mirror has left PR oddly disturbed with its bizarre "Missin' cousins" that seems more redolent of Deep South incest than is strictly necessary.

Not that any of the Anthony Gerrard stuff is necessary: just why is it always the unfortunate soul who happens to miss the final spot-kick in a shootout that becomes the focus of all the attention? And especially in this case, when literally half of the penalties were missed.

So it's refreshing to see a back page story in the Daily Record that not only finds them a nice Scottish angle, but also redresses that balance: Cardiff striker Kenny Miller apparently blames himself for the defeat, the paper claims, because he blazed over with a chance to score a winner four minutes from the end of normal time.

The Times and The Guardian, meanwhile, focus on the end of Liverpool's trophy drought, as if somehow the natural order of the universe has been unsettled for the past six years just because a football team has failed to score more goals than other football teams in key matches.

The Guardian leads on Kenny Dalglish's rash prediction that Sunday's success is just the start of a "new era of success", while the Liverpool boss is quoted in The Times saying "that's not us finished".

In other news, the Daily Telegraph and Daily Mirror run stories focusing on Arsene Wenger musing that he almost brought Theo Walcott off to protect him from the endlessly vitriolic Arsenal fans. Walcott then played a key two-goal role in Arsenal's comeback from 2-0 down to beat Tottenham 5-2.

Wenger, incidentally, went on to blame the poor playing surfaces for his team's recent flops against Sunderland and AC Milan. "It's the first time in three games that we've played on a football pitch that really is a football pitch," he said.

Carlos Tevez will be back in action in a Manchester City shirt on Tuesday, according to the Daily Mail. The paper reports that the Argentine striker - who only returned to the club last week following months of exile in his homeland - will turn out for City's reserves in a League Cup match against Preston.

City are keen to get Tevez back in the first team squad as soon as possible - not unreasonable, considering that they're paying him not far short of £1 million a month - and will test his match fitness in a game that will be played behind closed doors. If Tevez does well, the paper claims he could be involved against Swansea a week on Saturday.

Athletic Bilbao's £34m midfielder Javi Martinez is being squabbled over by Manchester City and Barcelona, according to The Sun, which also claims that Robin van Persie is happy to sign a new deal at Arsenal, but won't have talks until the end of the season.

Paris St Germain are still hoping to lure David Beckham to the French capital (Daily Mail), Fulham boss Martin Jol has signed former Real Madrid star Mahamadou Diarra, who is a free agent after leaving Monaco last summer (Daily Mail), and Aston Villa boss Alex McLeish is trying to sign defender Scott Dann from his former club Birmingham (The Sun).


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