Manchester United given another reason to worry about Martinez as rival boss warns them of plan

·6-min read
Fabio Carvalho protests after fouling Manchester United defender Lisandro Martinez Credit: PA Images
Fabio Carvalho protests after fouling Manchester United defender Lisandro Martinez Credit: PA Images

Lisandro Martinez remains an area of weakness which rival managers will target, but Manchester United should also worry about his cramping.

 

Tall order
It turns out that an excellent individual performance in beating Liverpool is not nearly enough to end the Lisandro Martinez culture war. Bloke is still too small for Our League and that’s that.

The Daily Mirror website take their role in the debate seriously, explaining how ‘the diminutive Argentine defender’ was ‘brutalised by Brighton and Brentford’ before randomly excelling in his most recent game.

That is textbook. Solid work.

But the headline is the most intriguing part of all this:

‘Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl tells Man Utd his plan to expose Lisandro Martinez’

It seems like an incredibly curious thing for a rival manager to do immediately before a game. Why would he reveal his tactics so publicly?

Then there’s the first paragraph:

‘Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl has told Manchester United that his side will have their own plan to expose Lisandro Martinez when the two teams meet on Saturday.’

Ah, see, that’s already been downgraded from ‘Ralph Hasenhuttl tells Man Utd his plan’ to ‘Ralph Hasenhuttl has told Manchester United that his side will have their own plan’. And those really are two very different things.

Perhaps the quote itself will clear things up?

‘But the Argentina international will face another tricky test this weekend, as Hasenhuttl plots to exploit his weaknesses once again.

‘Asked whether Southampton will be targeting Martinez with long balls and aerial bombardments, the Austrian coach replied: “I think it’s not that easy to say ‘he’s small, put the ball there’. It’s not that simple in football. We have our plan.”‘

Brilliant. Hasenhuttl literally just saying “we have our plan” becomes ‘Hasenhuttl tells Man Utd his plan’ when put through the Mirror’s Martinez clickbait machine. No shame.

 

Quote finder
The same outlet also offers this juicy story:

‘Erling Haaland “determined” to sink Borussia Dortmund ahead of Champions League reunion’

Do those quote marks denote something Haaland has said? Nope.

Do those quote marks denote something someone has said? Yes, actually. Which comes as something of a surprise.

But whose words are so unimportant that the Daily Mirror website feel comfortable pretending that Haaland himself said them?

‘Former City defender Joleon Lescott said Haaland will put any feelings of sentiment to one side when he faces his former club and focus all of his attention on overcoming them. He said: “There are sentimental elements to that, of course. But looking at him, and having met him briefly, I’m sure he’s determined to go there and score goals and win the game.”‘

F**king hell. Striker wants to score against and beat opponent. It’s a Joleon Lescott exclusive. Stop the presses!

 

Pope mobile
Martin Samuel is busy scoffing at the England prospects of two Newcastle players in his Daily Mail column.

‘Appreciation for Newcastle in Newcastle can get quite giddy at times and although this is an impressive start to the season – perhaps even with potential for a challenge to the top four – it’s still a win and two draws from three games, albeit including one very creditable 3-3 with Manchester City.’

An ‘although’, a ‘perhaps’ and an ‘albeit’ in the same paragraph. This is convincing, definitive stuff.

‘Yet Wilson, we are told, is the obvious understudy for Harry Kane, and Pope should be in ahead of Jordan Pickford.’

His argument against Wilson – that the striker is ‘sadly fragile’ – certainly holds water. But what of Pope, who has been consistently very good for a few seasons now and has won in each of his eight England games thus far?

‘As for Pope, he’s in excellent form, but so is Dean Henderson at Nottingham Forest. More pointedly, so is Southgate’s first-choice Pickford, who continues saving Everton from catastrophe. Last Saturday, he even did it as a goal creator, his ball against Forest setting up Demarai Gray’s 88th-minute leveller.’

Since the start of the 2020/21 season, Pope has kept more Premier League clean sheets (22) than Henderson has made Premier League appearances (16).

One of those men has been ‘in excellent form’ for a few years. The other has been ‘in excellent form’ for a couple of weeks.

And saying Pickford ‘continues saving Everton from catastrophe’ while using last week’s wonderful assist for Demarai Gray as a chief example when it was his mistake in that exact game which left Everton in need of saving from catastrophe is phenomenal.

Whether you favour Pickford or Pope for England, that particular line of argument is b*llocks.

 

Band cramp
Elsewhere in Samuel’s column
, this chief sportswriter is either oblivious to the art of timewasting and gamesmanship, or he is genuinely worried for the physical state of the Manchester United squad:

‘Now the euphoria has subsided, it may be worth looking dispassionately at Manchester United’s win over Liverpool.

‘Not just the long list of Liverpool injuries, but the fact both Manchester United centre halves went down with cramp in the second half. This wasn’t extra time at the end of the season. Will Manchester United be able to keep up with the work Erik ten Hag requires them to do?’

Probably.

 

Silva lining
Mediawatch finds it interesting to read The Sun‘s Mark Irwin discuss how ‘savvy young managers such as Graham Potter, Eddie Howe, Patrick Vieira, Thomas Frank and Steve Cooper are ripping up the script’ in his article about this season’s start bringing the most ‘unexpected series of results’ since the 1992/93 campaign.

Any reason the unlikely manager currently above all of them – Jesse Marsch, who is a month younger than Frank – has been omitted?

Hell, Marco Silva has Fulham in 7th, higher than three of those coaches, and he’s younger than Frank, Vieira and Potter but gets no mention. That’s just weird.

 

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
‘How Arsenal could line up against Fulham with Jesus and Martinelli in attack’ – The Sun website.

It is, as it turns out, precisely the same way they lined up against Bournemouth. And Leicester. And Crystal Palace. Because Mikel Arteta isn’t looking at the only perfect start after three Premier League games and wondering what to fix.

 

Who is this for?
‘Georgina Rodriguez shows off stunning figure in skimpy pink dress as Cristiano Ronaldo’s wag gets new tattoo’ – The Sun website.

Still doing the ‘wag’ thing? In 2022? When discussing an individual person?

Also more than a little bit uncomfortable with the wording of that headline when they speculate that said tattoo is ‘of a baby with angel wings’, considering the couple lost a child in April.

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