Paper Round: 'The biggest cheat in the league'

Ashley Young's dive to win a penalty for Manchester United against Aston Villa provokes fury in Monday's back pages.


The winger appeared to take an intentional tumble against his former team to win a spot kick that helped set United on course for a 4-0 win at Old Trafford (UK users can see our video of the incident playing in the box on the right).

And both The Sun and the Daily Mail take great delight in calling the England star a "cheat", quoting a Tweet - subsequently deleted - from Newcastle's Ryan Taylor.

"Ashley Young is an absolute disgrace. He is the biggest cheat in the league," Taylor had written, before adding in a subsequent post how it, "winds me up watching fellow professionals dive."

Strong words, but the stats do suggest that Young knows how to, shall we say, make the most of things: the penalty on Sunday was the 11th that Young has won the in last two seasons. Sure, a tricky winger with a habit of cutting inside to make dangerous runs into the box is likely to earn his fair share of spot kicks - but the player with the second most penalties in his favour over that same period is Luis Suarez with five.

There is yet more controversy elsewhere in the papers as the debate about Chelsea's 'ghost goal' against Tottenham in their FA Cup semi-final on Sunday evening takes up plenty of space in the back pages.

"How could ref call this a goal?" the back page of the Daily Mail asks pleadingly, along with an unhelpful picture that is quite clearly not taken at the moment when the ball was nearest to the line.

Anyone reading the paper - or The Sun, or the Daily Express among others - would think that referee Martin Atkinson needs instant dismissal from the roster of referees for such a crass error, with each paper marrying inflammatory headlines to pointless photos.

But readers of the Daily Mirror and Daily Telegraph - two groups not often lumped together - will come away with a very different impression as their pictures show a ball that could very easily have been considered as having crossing the line. The Telegraph's crop even shows Atkinson in proximity, suggesting that his controversial call was made from a decent position.

The TV pictures - taken from a totally different angle - appear to show the exact opposite, of course. And conspiracy theorists will no doubt delight in the fact that the critical photo was taken by FA photographer Matt Lewis rather than one of the newspaper or agency snappers.

In other news, the Daily Star reports that Carlos Tevez could stay at Manchester City next season. Roberto Mancini is reportedly convinced that the Argentine's contrition is genuine - particularly after his stunning showing at the weekend - and has left the door open for the striker to stay put.

The Daily Telegraph claims that Manchester United are lining up a £20 million part-cash-part-swap deal for Benfica winger Nicolas Gaitan, with Fabio da Silva and Federico Macheda moving in the other direction as makeweights.

The Daily Mirror writes that Andy Johnson's £40,000-a-week wage demands will likely price him out of a move to Aston Villa in the summer. Fulham striker Johnson's contract expires in the summer, and the 31-year-old is hoping for a bumper pay packet for what is likely to be his last top flight move.

Royston Drenthe has played his last game for Everton as his poor discipline has cost him a chance of a permanent move, according to the Daily Mirror, while The Times and the Daily Express both confirm earlier reports that Luis Suarez will snub a big money offer from PSG in order to stay at Liverpool.

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