Arsenal hopes crushed by latest Mudryk update and Aubameyang would rather be spat at

Look away now, Arsenal fans. This one is going to be hard to take. Even more difficult, perhaps, than Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang playing more than an hour.

Taking the Myk
Manchester City beat Chelsea 1-0 at Stamford Bridge on Thursday to close the gap to Premier League leaders Arsenal and condemn the Blues to a crisis-laden 10th place. But actual football is boring at the best of times, never mind in the cold grip of a January transfer window.

‘Major Mudryk transfer update as Shakhtar Donetsk director dines with ex-Arsenal stars before attending Chelsea match,’ screams one Sun website header. This should be good.

Shakhtar Donetsk director of football Darijo Srna did indeed pose for a photograph at a restaurant during a meal with ‘ex-Arsenal stars’ Eduardo and Willian – one of whom made 67 appearances for the Gunners well over a decade ago, with the other far more specifically an ex-Chelsea star.

The Mudryk deal is pretty much done.

But the update is actually this gem from Fabrizio Romano, who really is flexing those transfer muscles and calling in his biggest and best sources here:

Transfer of player very publicly pursued by at least two clubs will be spoken about during transfer window. It’s quite the ‘major Mudryk update‘ and a level of insider knowledge us plebs can only dream of.

You mean Srna didn’t fly to England just to have dinner with Eduardo and Willian and watch Chelsea play Manchester City before jetting back?

Mud slinging
But that’s not all. Not when the Daily Mirror website is about.

‘Arsenal fans spot worrying Mykhaylo Mudryk update as Shakhtar chief pictured in London’

It seems that ‘Arsenal fans have been left sweating’ by the above picture, which looks fairly harmless to the untrained eye.

After some absolutely sensational transfer speculation speak – ‘A picture of the trio, who appeared to be out for dinner’ – we get to the crux of the point: that ‘some Arsenal fans on social media [were] convinced that the duo would be negative towards the club following their own experiences in north London.’

Yeah, Eduardo definitely just sat there slagging Arsenal off for making him play Martin Taylor. And Willian would not stop talking about how he was a little bit rubbish at the Emirates and the weird Spanish bloke kept going on about non-negotiables.

Then we get to this line:

‘But considering Srna played alongside both Willian and Eduardo for Shakhtar during his playing days, it is more likely that the trio were just catching up.’

You don’t f**king say?

Auba and out
There was actually one big talking point which emerged from Manchester City’s win over Chelsea…

‘Humiliation for Chelsea ace Aubameyang as he’s taken off AFTER being subbed on’ – The Sun website.

Well he’s not going to be taken off BEFORE being subbed on. And he played 63 minutes, making it his fourth-longest appearance of this Premier League season.

Top marks for ‘hauled off’ in the first paragraph though.

John Cross of the Daily Mirror goes for a slight variation on the accepted parlance with this:

‘Aubameyang came on as a fifth minute substitute but was then hooked himself after 68 minutes and for a substitute to be substituted is the worst insult for any pro, let alone a big name with an ego to match.’

‘Hooked’ is good. But pretending that Aubameyang endured ‘the worst insult for any pro’ is not. Sure, he was a substitute who was subsequently substituted. But he came on in the fifth minute, not sodding half-time. Let’s not pretend he just played and Graham Potter stitched him up.

Elsewhere on the Daily Mirror website

‘There are few things more embarrassing in football than being substituted on and off in the same match.’

How ’embarrassing’ for Aubameyang to have to play for longer than he did as a starter who was brought off after 58 minutes against Aston Villa in October. He’d obviously rather be spat at or have his leg broken by a strong tackle.

Cash in the antics
‘Chelsea fans all say same thing about Kepa after bizarre antics for City goal’ – The Sun website.

You absolutely cannot have ‘antics’ for a goalkeeper weirdly failing to stop a fairly routine low cross. That word is for Mikel Arteta’s touchline behaviour only, thank you.

To be Frank
Writes Dominic King of the Daily Mail on Frank Lampard saying Everton “have to show big balls as well to play in difficult moments”:

‘And this really is a difficult moment. It is not a point, though, where Lampard will sit and wait for the inevitable. If he could, he would help change everything, but as it stands, all he can do is hope his team respond to at least give Moshiri something to think about.’

He could maybe try and a) coach better or b) pick his clubs better.

Shepherd maker
Mediawatch does enjoy the new genre of story that The Sun website in particular has discovered. The latest example comes on Friday morning:

‘Former Chelsea and Newcastle star looks unrecognizable as a pastor after leaving Match of the Day pundit job’

This unrecognizable bloke looks very specifically like Gavin Peacock. But it is not until the 11th paragraph that ‘the mystery footballer can be revealed as… Gavin Peacock’. Oh.

It turns out that ‘the ex-footie ace’, who was obviously known for ‘his clean shaven look with a full head of brown hair’ – old Shavedface, we used to call him – is ‘now bald and rocking a beard’, which will certainly come as a shock to anyone who hasn’t seen him since the turn of the millennium.

What is Peacock up to now? Well he’ writes books on marriage and the family, and has an autobiography called A Greater Glory. The pastor has been a Christian since he was a teenager.’

He also believes “homosexual relationship is not good, it is sinful and transgenderism is another step further away from a departure from the binary sexes created in the image of God as rooted and fixed and meaning something and that has moved away now to subjective and fluid and meaning whatever it wants.”

For someone reason that bit is left out of a curious puff piece. How strange.

Worst headline of the day

That’s just not how his name is pronounced.

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