Week in headlines: Liverpool’s rebels with a clause, Villa star proclaims what have I Dunne, but his side march on in the Darling Cup

Despite having resolved his contractual wrangle that had all the forced drama of an episode of Hollyoaks, Wayne Rooney has continued to dominate the front pages of the tabloids.

Not for his off the field antics, or even the lack of activity he has been displaying on it, but instead for the fact he has taken a holiday during his injury lay off.

Seemingly intended as voyeuristic titillation the red tops have gleefully papped him sitting, lying down, walking and even getting sun burned, leaving many readers tearing their hair out in excited anticipation of the following days update.

Thankfully football has continued unabated, despite the amazing pictorial journalism of Rooney’s vacation and a week of Premier League, Carling Cup football and a dead cephalopod, plus City stars at a student party as reported by The Sun above, have provided interesting appetisers to Rooney’s lunch.

This is the week that was in headlines.

Parading up to games in their Porsche Cayenne’s, sporting their own fashion label and wearing their custom designed headphones, complete with diamantes, it’s often difficult to imagine footballers as members of the society we all live in. It is then always surprising to hear a story that could be lifted from your own personal experiences as a child. It has in the past been known for my Mum to question my absence from the starting XI during my time in the Warwickshire Boys league with the manager and seemingly Wilson Palacios’ mother has done the same. Harry Redknapp handled the situation tactfully by saying “she was quite a big girl, so I’ve got to play him! I wasn’t going to mess with her, believe you me!” The Daily Star reacted the only way it knows how to, with a pun.

Gossip must surely be an annoying distraction to player’s who are predominantly concerned with doing their job, so the arrival of Saturday’s football must be seen as a blessing. Unfortunately last weekend’s fixtures won’t be held with any fondness by Villa defender Richard Dunne who cemented his status as the league’s all time highest scorer of own goals with a cool near post finish. Both the Daily Star and Dunne seemingly shared the same thought.

Andy Carroll has made an impressive start to the season in a stuttering Newcastle side, but he’s also been busy off the pitch. Having been involved in an incident with a slippery bottle and his ex-girlfriend, Carroll was ordered by a judge to live under the supervision of club captain Kevin Nolan, in what can only be described as a Geordie version of the Odd Couple. It appears to have done him no harm, as he helped his team to a 2-1 win over struggling West Ham and gifted the People a headline in the process.

Tipped by many as relegation candidates this season, West Brom have so far confounded their critics with an extremely impressive start to the season. Their 2-1 home win over Fulham helped them into fourth spot at the end of play on Saturday and they did so without the use of Jedi mind tricks, despite the inclination of the opposite from The Sun.

The saga of Rooney’s escapades poolside reached a peak on Tuesday, when the Daily Star exposed what apparently constitutes an exclusive worthy of front page attention. Dramatic music please. Multi-millionaire footballer Rooney has spent a lot of money on his expensive holiday. How dare he spend his money, what a thoughtless bastard when the people of this recession hit country are having to eat free Mattheson’s chicken snacks given away with a tabloid rag.

Proof that football isn’t just a money making machine was evident this week, as fans showed their hearts by offering warm tributes to Paul the mystic octopus, who died on Tuesday. The Sun tenderly paid tribute to the cephalopod who never saw his death coming.

The Carling Cup is usually seen as an opportunity by Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger to allow his latest assembly of talented kids to embarrass seasoned professionals. So when it was announced that players in their twenties would feature against Newcastle the Guardian’s Fiver tea-time e-mail exclaimed with a sense of surprise “Theo Walcott, Nicklas Bendtner and notoriously-tricky-to-type goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny are expected to be among the experienced senior citizens in Arsenal’s side tonight, liver spots and degenerative bone diseases permitting.”

Having remained trophyless since their 2005 FA Cup win, Wenger has seemingly refocused the clubs priorities, with seemingly greater attention being paid to the Carling Cup, as the Gunners go in search of silverware. Emphatic victories over Tottenham and Newcastle with comparatively experienced players, show that Arsenal clearly have their sights on the Cup and Wenger expressed his camp desire to win to the Daily Mirror. Good luck to you ducky.

Renowned lovers of puns, The Sun can also also be prophetic and contemplative, particularly when reflecting on Newcastle’s midweek home hammering at the hands of Arsenal. Outclassed by the visitors from the off there was only ever going to be one winner, a fact which was compounded when a goal line clearance deflected off keeper Tim Krul’s head and into his own net. While life can be cruel, it can also be darkly comic.

No he’s not. Despite an impressive midweek performance that saw midfielder Mark Noble help his side see off Stoke and propel the Hammers into the last eight of the Carling Cup, manager Avram Grant and the Daily Star got their over enthusiastic appraisal wrong.

There is much to be envious of at Eastlands. The club is filthy rich in a time of economic penny-pinching and the club have an impressive squad of established international stars at their disposal. All is not well in paradise though, as the Daily Mirror reported that Paraguayan striker Roque Santa Cruz has reacted angrily to a lack of first team opportunities this season and is said to have had enough and is on his bike. The rag was kind enough to include a picture of the striker on his bike, just in case readers were struggling with the metaphor.

This season Liverpool have been devoid of the cool top-four-club swagger that is normally associated them and have opted for a more low key relegation zone approach. A couple of wins will see Roy Hodgson’s side return to the top half of the table, but that might not be enough for Spanish international stars Fernando Torres and Pepe Reina, as according to the Daily Mirror they’re likely to invoke a clause in their contract to help facilitate a move away from Anfield for fear that the club will soon look like Little Bastard after the crash.

Tags: Aston Villa, Liverpool

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