This report was written before the Bradford defeat. But it is still highly relevant as a media analysis because it deals with the reality as perceived by some at all stages of Arsenal’s season.
Why can’t they just commentate on the game?
By Cameron Wolfe.
I watch all my EPL games through ESPN North America.
I wrote about the negativity from the commentators during the Spuds game. A game that we went on to win convincingly but not if you were listening to the commentators. (Ian Darke and Steve McMannaman) I decided not to write about the very negative 0-0 against Villa, the negative 1-1 draw against Everton or the even more negative 2-0 defeat from Swansea.
So how did we fair during our game against WBA? They had started off the season well. Their above us in the league so I’m sure the commentators will have us written off by half time.
The studio pundits are Gerry Dobson and Craig Forrest:
(So before the game has even kicked off. The program hasn’t even started yet. This is just an introduction to the match program)
Gerry Dobson: The Gunners form has taken a nose dive as of late with cracks in their armour becoming ever more apparent. Pressure is starting to mount on Arsene Wenger. The manager has said he’ll only consider his future at the end of the season but if Arsenal continue to slide down the table. That decision could be made for him.
(So. We’re in turmoil then and Arsene is on the brink of being sacked – but it turned out even the poor result following this game didn’t get him sacked.).
They show the second goal from last weeks Swansea game. (Voice over)“The boos ring out from the Arsenal fans all around the ground”
Then a shot of the black scarf march. Big black and yellow banner held up by Arsenal “supporters” then the camera conveniently cuts to a general shot of the crowd arriving at the Stadium.
(They give the impression the crowd you see walking to the Ems. are all part of the protest march.)
G.D: Gunners fans have been protesting for weeks about the way the club has been run.
In the Studio:
G.D: Yes indeed they have. Arsene Wenger. He’s the manager under the microscope.
What about this Arsenal side Craig? Tenth just now. Worst ever start under Wenger.
Craig Forrest: Yeah. It’s not great is it? Remember last October they were tenth but ended up being fourth. For Arsenal fans no need to panic quite yet.
(So it’s still possible that we could climb the table in to the top four at least or even better?)
G.D: Just three wins in their last ten games at Home. Just last week was a new low when……….
(They show a clip of the Swansea’s goals again twice each then in slow motion)
So. The program has been on for four minutes. We’ve seen the Swansea goals four times each. Been told how bad we’re playing and how the Arsenal fans have been protesting for weeks. Oh and if Arsene doesn’t get it right. He’ll be sacked. No negative biased reporting here then?
They put up a caption (titled. Gunned down) of our last four games. 0-0, 1-1, 0-2, 1-2.
Two draws and two losses.
In reality we have lost once in the EPL to Swansea since we were last beaten by Man.U on the 3rd of November.
G.D: Here’s the recent story. They’ve lost (corrects himself) well they have not done well. Let’s put it that way. Two losses and two draws.
They talk about WBA and their great start to the season. Discuss how they need to get back to winning ways today. As they go to the break they show a Swansea goal from last week. (Again)
To the game.
Commentators Garry Weaver and Paul Walsh.
Garry Weaver: Arsenal the once great force of English football are on the rocks right now. Title dreams are fading. Hopes of a top four finish are beginning to disappear amongst the fans.
Plenty of empty seats around the stadium. The fans are not happy. A few discontent voices around. Will it turn into a revolt?
Arsene Wenger enters the stadium where seven days ago he was sent back to the dressing room with a crescendo boos ringing in his ears from the fans. So too that of the Arsenal players.
WBA know Arsenal are venerable at Home right now. How fragile is the Gunners confidence?
Do the pieces fit anymore at Arsenal? When does a drama become a crisis? Arsenal are a fading force. They need to find themselves again and quickly. WBA have already beaten some of the top teams this season and they back themselves to get a result here today. (There’s a guy with a lot to say about Arsenal unfortunately it’s all so negative)
Paul Walsh: I think you’re right. They’ll certainly be looking to take advantage of the wobble Arsenal are having at the moment.
G.W: How Arsenal start here will dictate this game. They’ve been edgy they’ve been jittery in front of their Home fans. The mood could darken if they don’t start well. That would be music to WBA ears. Arsenal experiencing their worst start to the season under Arsene Wenger. No wins in their last four games and their form here has not been great to say the least. They’ve struggled at the Emirates stadium this season. Swansea took full advantage here seven days ago with two late goals from Michu.
The problem for Arsenal is the players that they have allowed to leave this club. They’ve spent £90m in the last two seasons so they are spending but the players that have left RVP, Nasri, Fabregras and Song. You can’t win things if you keep on letting your best players go?
(It’s almost like he’s copied out all the negative headlines from the tabloids back pages and just keeps on repeating them.)
We score with the first penalty.
G.W One swing of his boot lifts the gloom from around the Emirates stadium.
(Which is in fact a sad thing to say as the crowd has been fairly vocal from the off.)
They show several clips of the penalty incident from different angles.
P.W it’s obviously not a penalty or at least it shouldn’t have been a penalty.
(OK got that one right but the fact is the referee thought it was a penalty and gave a penalty.)
G.W sometimes when you’re stuck in a rut or in a hole. You need a little luck and Arsenal have got that today with the dubious penalty decision.
(It’s always going to be debated if it should’ve been a penalty but if you think about how many stonewall penalties we haven’t had? I’m not going to argue about one we got. Rightly or wrongly the referee gave the penalty).
G.W Arteta on the ball. The scorer of the penalty that should never have been given.
(But it was and he did.)
G.W Well sometimes when you’re in trouble you need some help and Arsenal have had that help today. The ref awarding a penalty kick after it appears that there was no contact at all after Carzola went crashing to the ground.
G.W welcome back to the Emirates stadium where Arsenal lead after a hugely contentious penalty.
(He then goes on to repeat the same sentence almost word for word. So in case you don’t know yet. We’re leading by a highly contentious penalty that we shouldn’t have had at all.)
G.W Carzola is the villain of the piece after winning that hugely contentious penalty. (Just in case you haven’t got it yet)
Per makes a superb tackle on Long.
P.W Not sure if he didn’t get the man before the ball or some of the man and the ball. (Great tackle by the way)
P.W Well their going to argue about the penalty and the non free kick before. I sympathise with them (shock horror)
(We’re in the 67min. we’re controlling the game. They’re hasn’t been too many negative comments for a while now but)
G.W If Arsenal hang on to this Paul will this lift the gloom that’s enveloped the club in the last few weeks?
P.W Well it’s a start. Gives them something to build on. They haven’t been at their best today. Not by a long way.
(We’re 2-0 up. They haven’t had a shot on target in the second half. We’re still controlling the game. There’s only 20mins to go but we’re hanging on. Honestly)
G.W They’ve got money in the bank and platinum customers. Do they spend it on established players in January if they need too? Do they hang on to the money to cushion the blow of not making the Champions League? If the worst does come to the worst.
(So since we’re 2-0 up and in control. We’re playing reasonably well. Their bored now by that fact so off they go again and carry on knocking us.)
We have a free kick just outside their box
G.W Arsenal looking for the goal that will put this game to bed. With only 12mins to play. They only have a two goal advantage.
NO COMMENT! HE SAID IT ALL.
Goal attempts 15-4 to us. Shots on target 7-0 to us. Yet “can we hang on and put this game to bed?” WTF!
G.W One goal from WBA would change everything.
Rosenberg then throws himself to the ground. It’s not even mentioned. No replay nothing.
P.W He was just testing the referee?
Again no replay. Funnily enough they’re back to talking about Santi’s first half penalty.
They show Arsene at the touchline.
G.W well he’ll be happier now. Their only 8mins away from banking three points although they haven’t won in their last four and the storm clouds were gathering above the Emirates stadium. As Paul mentioned they won’t disappear with this win but it’s a start if they HOLD ON to it?
Is he watching the same game as me? They haven’t hit the target the whole game? How are we holding on?
G.W Arsenal’s winless run is coming to the end here.
Since we lost to Man.U on the 3rd of November we’re only been beat by Swansea last week in the EPL. How is that a winless run?
G.W This place is smiling again. The pressure is lifted for now. It wasn’t emphatic from Arsenal but it’s some respite for Arsene Wenger. They’re elated WBA are furious and frustrated.
I’m sure the back pages were full of the penalties incidents. I’m sure there won’t be much said about Rosenberg’s dive? Those aside I thought we controlled the game and for sure had the better chances. For me the annoyance is that even when we’re playing well the commentators just don’t seem to give us much credit. It was so obvious that when we went 2-0 up they switched from being too negative and just commented on the game. I just wish they would commentate like that from the start? We had more possession and more shots on target but to listen to the commentators you would think we were lucky to win.
I know as an Arsenal fan. We are slated and that we think the media have it in for us. Before I wrote this and watched the game again for the second time. I watched the Everton v’s Spuds game. Honestly there wasn’t nearly as much negative commentating for either side. Paranoid I am not.
Gooner for life.
- Woolwich Arsenal: The club that changed football – Arsenal’s early years
- Making the Arsenal – how the modern Arsenal was born in 1910
- The Crowd at Woolwich Arsenal FC: crowd behaviour at the early matches