Kane hints at Spurs stay *and* ‘heightens rumours’ of Man Utd move, PLUS: was De Bruyne’s goal even LEGAL?
VAR should intervene even when it can’t intervene, Oliver Kahn responds by not responding and Harry Kane hints at Spurs stay in quotes that simultaneously ‘heighten rumours’ of a move to Manchester United. It’s one of those days.
Slim pickings in tabloidland today. The fact Real Madrid-Man City – a nightmare scenario of a very good game between very good teams who played well and drew 1-1 – remains the top story across the tabloid sites the following lunchtime is unusual and revealing. Come on lads, where’s the nonsense?
But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to go at from the Bernabeu. Very Serious Journalists are being forced to write sentences like ‘there is still no credible suggestion Alf Inge Haaland threw food at Real Madrid fans’ for one thing, but as ever when all else fails there’s a concocted VAR ‘controversy’ to fall back on.
Now in the media’s defence here, they’ve effectively been given licence to focus on this by Carlo Ancelotti’s initial reaction to City’s goal and his even dafter post-match whinging.
The facts are these: some time before City’s equaliser the ball might have gone out for a throw-in before Bernardo Silva hooked it back into play. Real Madrid then regained possession, lost it again, and City went and scored. Even if the ball definitely went out of play, it would be a stretch to paint this as a VAR horror show.
But with absolutely no way to be sure the ball went out of play and no definitive camera angle covering the sideline, it’s just one of those things. We can’t even really say for sure there was a mistake, and if there was it was a) incredibly minor, b) entirely understandable and c) certainly didn’t come from VAR.
That’s no good, though. We need a controversy. And when there isn’t really a controversy, the best way to create one is with headlines that pose a question rather than just stating a fact – because there isn’t really much of a fact to state.
‘WAS CITY’S GOAL LEGAL?’ intones the Daily Mail with the sort of over-the-top seriousness they usually reserve for uncovering wokerati schemes to stop Brexit being brilliant. ‘Should Kevin De Bruyne’s Bernabeu goal have been disallowed?’
The answers to these questions are, at best, ‘Maybe not?’ and ‘Possibly?’
And it was all fuelled by a BeIN Sports graphic – or ‘shock new photo’ if you’re The Sun – that is in no way official and forms no part of VAR and was in any case not generated until long afterwards which purports to show the airborne ball fractionally out of play before Bernardo Silva makes contact.
Here’s what BeIN’s own spokesperson said about it in the Mail.
“BeIN created this virtual representation of the ball in relation to the touchline, using our state of the art analysis tools, that we have an all of our BeIN Studios.
“Our tech indicated the ball was most likely over the line, we are confident of the accuracy of the data that created the simulation for us.”
An unofficial graphic that took an hour to generate that shows the ball was ‘most likely’ over the line at least one phase of play before City’s goal. It’s not exactly the Hand of God, is it?
But it’s far more fun to talk about that than the two really, really good goals that were scored in the really good game between the really good teams.
Here’s what Arsene Wenger had to say about it, for instance.
“They did not go far enough back to check if the ball was out or not, or they did not have the potential to check if the ball was out or not.
“I think I would go for the second [option] because normally the VAR cannot check on the side-line, only on the goal-line.”
Pretty clear, yeah? Wenger is here, with trademark thoughtfulness, weighing up the two possible explanations for why VAR didn’t intervene. 1) VAR made a mistake or 2) it didn’t. He then goes with the second option: VAR couldn’t intervene “because normally the VAR cannot check on the side-line, only on the goal-line”. Fair enough.
So explain if you can how the Mirror come to headline those quotes thusly:
‘Arsene Wenger claims VAR should have intervened in Man City equaliser vs Real Madrid’
He’d like to come and meet us, but he thinks he’d blow our minds
They’re onto something here, are BT Sport. We too are predicting a bright future for this eye-catching 31-year-old youngster. Remember the name.
Always love ‘How Team x could line up with hypothetical signings x, y and z’ content. Can’t fully explain it, but it always makes us laugh because the answer really is as literal as the headline.
‘How Man Utd could line up with BOTH Harry Kane and Goncalo Ramos as well as new No.1,’ announce the Mirror.
So how could Man Utd line up with BOTH Harry Kane and Goncalo Ramos as well as a new No.1? Quite simply by Erik Ten Hag naming a starting XI that includes a new No.1 (Diogo Costa if you’re interested in the one piece of pertinent information not revealed by the headline) and also BOTH Harry Kane and Goncalo Ramos alongside eight current Manchester United players. Simple really, this management lark.
We especially like the part where Kane’s recent interview about standards slipping at Spurs and how best to remedy that – quotes reported almost everywhere including by the Mirror themselves as hinting he is now more rather than less likely to see out the final year of his Tottenham contract – are here mentioned as ‘comments which will only serve to heighten rumours of a move to United’.
Talking of Kane and the Mirror, their live transfer blog is at time of writing headlined ‘Bayern chief responds to Kane talk’
So what’s Oliver Kahn said, then? Is it a yay or a nay?
“No comment on Harry Kane. I won’t say anything on players who are not our players.”
Is it still a response if your response is not to respond? A philosophical query there to ponder over your lunchtime cuppa.
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