Jordan Pickford and Mikel Arteta to face FA charges for ‘cheating’ and tapping-up?

·4-min read
Arteta wants to sign RIce Credit: Alamy
Arteta wants to sign RIce Credit: Alamy

Jordan Pickford ‘cheated’ by doing some research on Monday while a desperation for a back page leads to some Mikel Arteta nonsense.


Pick and mix
In 2023 it would be really sodding weird if a goalkeeper did not do his homework on potential penalty-takers. It would not only be really sodding weird but hugely unprofessional and out of kilter with a sport that desperately looks for marginal gains. Imagine a goalkeeper just wandering out and guessing how or where a penalty-taker might shoot. Just hoping for the best. Fingers crossed.

And yet it remains a subject of immense interest to tabloid journalists, who stare on in wonder at this mystical world in which goalkeepers do their homework. And what is doing your homework in this black-and-shite world? It’s ‘cheating’ obviously. It should be banned. Along with, presumably, training and other such nerdy nonsense that might give you an advantage.

Here’s The Sun‘s take after Jordan Pickford’s penalty save on Monday night:

‘JOR DROPPING Jordan Pickford’s penalty cheat sheet on water bottle spotted as eagle-eyed fans see how he stopped Maddison’s spot-kick’

So much to unpick here but let’s start with the ‘cheat sheet’. Two words: F*** off. More words: F*** off because it’s very clearly not cheating; it’s research and preparation.

Second, those ‘eagle-eyed fans’ really did have to do some fine detective work when Sky Sports literally showed a close-up of said water bottle, leaving Pickford himself to concede: “The cameraman was good tonight.”

But what fool would let all that get in the way of suggesting that Pickford’s sneaky cheating has somehow been picked up by Joe Public? Is the FA charge in the post?


Shaun of all sense
Still, it could be worse; you could be part of the team who got the spelling of Sean Dyche’s name wrong and stuck it on the back page of a national newspaper…


Rice, Rice baby
On the back page of the Daily Star is a transfer exclusive from the Daily Mirror‘s Midlands man James Nursey.

Obviously it cannot be as simple as large numbers of journalists taking Bank Holiday Monday off and leaving several newspapers scrambling around for a back-page lead, but we are buggered if we know what is ‘exclusive’ about this claim:

We are told that ‘Mikel Arteta wants to hold talks with £100m man Declan Rice as soon as the season ends’ as if it had not been common knowledge since January that Arsenal want Rice.

Indeed, in just the last few weeks alone, the Mirror have published many, many Rice/Arsenal stories including…

‘Arsenal legend Ray Parlour says Gunners have “definitely” completed first summer transfer’
‘Declan Rice comments on Arsenal “friendships” speak volumes after transfer audition’
‘Mikel Arteta’s Declan Rice stance clear after transfer tip from Arsenal ‘secret weapon”
‘Managing Arsenal as Declan Rice signs, nine leave and Mikel Arteta raids Leicester’

And now the Mirror (and the Star) would have us believe that that they ‘exclusively’ know that ‘Mikel Arteta wants to hold talks with £100m man Declan Rice as soon as the season ends’.

First things first, he cannot hold talks with Rice ‘as soon as the season ends’ unless West Ham agree to sell him. So the ‘exclusive’ part of this rather old story is that Mikel Arteta is planning on breaking FIFA and FA rules? If that’s the case then that really should be the headline. Talk about burying the lede.

It only takes five paragraphs for the flimsy nature of this story to be exposed:

‘Arsenal’s coach Arteta, who used to play in midfield himself, believes he can help convince £100million-rated Rice to join.’

What’s more ludicrous? His status as an ex-midfielder giving Mikel Arteta the edge, or that Rice will need any persuasion at all to leave West Ham for Champions League football with title-chasing Arsenal? Mediawatch suspects that Arsenal will perhaps start with trying to persuade West Ham to sell.


Hound dog
Is Mauricio Pochettino still set to become manager of Chelsea? It seems so but there is mileage in suggesting otherwise. And have a special tool for scraping the barrel:

‘Mauricio Pochettino posts cryptic social media clue as Chelsea hold crucial manager talks’

His ‘cryptic’ post?

‘In an image posted to his story, Pochettino posted a snap of him out walking his Rhodesian ridgeback puppy, Sana Mandela. The dog has its own Instagram page and the image of the ex-Paris Saint-Germain boss out on the beach included the message: “Morning walk [sunshine emoji] with Sansa. [red heart emoji].”‘

What the f*** could it mean? At first glance it looks like Pochettino has been walking his dog but does it, could it, will it, might it mean that he wants the Real Madrid job instead?

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