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October 2016
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Daily Telegraph apologises unreservedly to Mr Wenger!!!!!!!!!

But today they have changed.

“There have been many charges levelled against Arsene [note – no accent] Wenger over the past few years – most of them by Piers Morgan – but yesterday’s 3-0 win against Olympiakos vindicated many of the Frenchman’s decisions,” they pronounce.

“He may be on the extreme end but Morgan is far from the only one who has laid into Wenger. Over the course of the year, he has been described in national newspapers as ‘naive’, ‘incompetent’ and ‘out of touch’.”

And of course by “national newspapers” they mean to include themselves, not least for setting up a complete array of the wild, semi-skimmed, half-baked deranged rantings without any long term evidence of what in the ancien régime we used to call Fleet Street’s Finest.  Oh yes and they have done “Wenger’s most humiliating defeats” always set up on the basis that Sir Alex Fword never had any humiliating defeats, forgetting perhaps that the Telegraph ran Manchester United’s top 10 most humiliating Premier … well you get the gist.

In short, they are utterly totally obsessed by failure.  They love it, they glory in it, they thrive on it, they worship it.  What they utterly, totally, completely can’t stand is success.

And thus today they don’t say, “The Telegraph would like to apologise” – that would of course be took much, but Charlie has been forced to write…

“So, today, on behalf of your critics, we’d like to offer an apology Mr Wenger,” and this is followed by

• Arsene Wenger’s best victories at Arsenal

Charlie can’t be 100% positive, that would cause brain damage among too many readers, so Charlie still has to tell us, “There are still problems at Arsenal, there are still flaws to be addressed, but breaking down the main criticisms of Wenger, the manager is looking less and less guilty.”

Next they draw up a charge sheet…

Charge 1: He is tactically inflexible

The charge aimed at Wenger was that he was incapable of setting his team out to do anything other than dominate the ball and attack, which made the team easy pickings for anyone with a bit of counter-attacking nous.

The start of 2015, though, saw a tactical shift. In January Arsenal went to Manchester City, and with Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla sitting in front of the defence, Arsenal won 2-0 despite having just 35% of the ball.

(You might recall Untold mentioning something of the kind in the build up to the game in Greece).  (And after the game itself).

Against Manchester United in October, Arsenal adopted another strategy and hounded the United players high up the pitch with a high-intensity press that stunned their opponents in a 3-0 victory at the Emirates.

And as for this week…

Last night against Olympiakos, Arsenal delivered a perfect away performance. They did not go bombing forward too soon – in fact it was Olympiakos who made the initial running – and instead soaked up the pressure and took their chances on the counter.

If it had been Jose Mourinho or Jurgen Klopp in the Arsenal dug-out, the pundits would have been positively purring.

Well yes that last bit is true.  So their conclusion, “Verdict: Not guilty” is rather unnecessary.

Charge 2: His squad is too thin

And then it all falls apart saying, The failure to sign a holding midfielder in the summer is still indefensible, but overall the accusation that Arsenal’s squad is too thin is dated and inaccurate.

This is ludicrous.  Coquelin at the time of his injury was rated about the 3rd best DM in Europe.  What top DM would sign for Arsenal knowing that he was going to be behind Coquelin in the order of things and only get a game if Francis got injured?   Hindsight shows us Francis did get that injury, but it was not guaranteed.

There aren’t many teams with a seventh-choice right winger at the standard of Joel Campbell. There aren’t many teams who could absorb injuries to seven first-team players and win 3-0 away against a team who had won six of its previous seven Champions League home matches.

Of course that is insulting to Joel in the extreme, but it’s what you would expect.  This article is shaping up rather like a naughty school boy being ordered to say sorry by the headteacher.  He is going to have to do it, but you know it means nothing and he will take revenge later.

There certainly aren’t many Premier League teams with a second-choice back four better than Arsenal’s Mathieu Debuchy, Calum Chambers, Gabriel and Kieran Gibbs.

Their “Verdict” is Overall not guilty, but lack of defensive midfield cover gaping hole which would only be true if we didn’t have a DM playing in the last couple of games.  Besides the proposition ignores the fact that only 25% of high profile high value signings actually come good in their first season.  (There’s an Untold article proving this).  And the fact that the amount you spend on transfers doesn’t relate to league position (see our regular appendage to the league table).

There is no telling that a £30m DM would actually have got us.  Imagine we had signed Schweinsteiger as a DM and he had played this season as he plays for Man U.  Would we be better off than having Flamini?  What derision would have been handed to Mr Wenger?

Charge 3: He must sign better striker than Giroud

In many ways Olivier Giroud symbolises Arsenal’s renaissance over the last year or so.

On top of yesterday’s hat-trick, Giroud has scored this year against Bayern Munich (in two matches), Manchester City and Liverpool.

That said, Giroud has still never scored more than 22 goals in a season for Arsenal, and if someone of Karim Benzema’s standard were available, there’s no reason why Wenger couldn’t make it work with both players in the squad.

Verdict: Jury still out

Now this is raging nonsense, because Arsenal has in the line up Alexis and Theo as well, with all three of them able to take the exquisite passes of Ozil.  It is the old failing of focussing on just one player, not the team.  You need a player who will allow the others to play to their strengths while he plays to his.  Very, very few of them around.

Charge 4: He contributes to Arsenal’s injuries

Though Wenger can’t be blamed entirely for Arsenal’s injury problems, he can be criticised for his handling of certain players.

Alexis Sanchez [ooops no accent] has been played into the ground, and the decision not to take him off against Dinamo Zagreb was baffling. Arsenal were 3-0 up after 69 minutes and yet the exhausted Sanchez was still not taken off.

More short sightedness sadly and the apology is looking rather thin at this point.  The issue relating to modern football is that you take note of the psychology of the player as much as his physique.  But since the Telegraph considers psychology to be mumbo-jumbo not suitable for English people, but only for lilly-livered foreign types, it doesn’t come into their footballing vocab.

Verdict: Guilty (or put another way, bullshit).

Charge 5: He can’t beat the big teams

Arsenal have beaten Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Liverpool and both Manchester clubs in 2015, while the FA Cup final demolition of Aston Villa was in marked contrast to the angst-ridden success against Hull the previous season.

Last month’s 5-1 thrashing at Bayern and the 2-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge in September show Arsenal are not immune from big-game humblings, but then again neither is any team.

Verdict: Not guilty

So there we are.  An apology, of sorts.  More arrant nonsense than apology, but bits of apology.   But still, football is a complicated art form, and it would be a bit much to expect the ex-colonels to get it, so best to keep it simplistic.

Untold’s verdict on the article: suitable for wrapping up your fish and chips.


Anniversaries – the full list of anniversaries can be found here

  • 11 December 1960: John Lukic born.  He played first for Leeds as a schoolboy and then started with the first team in 1979 before transferring to Arsenal in £75,000 as a replacement for Pat Jennings.
  • 11 December 1963: Nigel Winterburn born.  He was with Birmingham City and Oxford Utd until joining Wimbledon in 1983, from whom he was signed by George Graham for Arsenal as part of the most famous defensive unit in Football League history.

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16 comments to Daily Telegraph apologises unreservedly to Mr Wenger!!!!!!!!!

  • Pete

    But Tony – if this article is only good enough for chip paper what do you suggest we do with the real dross? Evening Standard had a particularly mean-spirited article yesterday by James Olley. It is this continued focus on the negatives by the media that gets me down – collective dysphoria (a word I was unaware of until I read Untold…).

  • laos gooner

    Refreshing to see you have found a use for the Telgraph, I previously believed it was not fit for certain anatomical wiping. Could there be some real reporting in football about to happen on a non untold site?

  • Mick

    This article is a feeble, insincere attempt of an apology by the Telegraph designed to pull the wool over our eyes. In fact it is not an apology at all. They would have looked absolute plonkers if they had blatantly tried to offer up all their usual negatives after Tuesdays performance so they have instead found a crafty way of still getting all their usual criticisms across under the guise of it being an apology.
    Crafty bastards but they do not fool us Untolders.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Tony, the Telegraph coverage of cricket is quite good as is the case with rugby. When it comes to football though I would trust them to report the results and tables correctly but not for anything else. Their words are rather like those of TVcommentators and pundits – best ignored in totality. For sound commentary Arsenal player isn’t bad these days, but the action is typically a minute or two behind real time (which can be annoying).

  • Goonermikey

    I second Tony’s article and the comments of others. What really pees me off more than anything though is how the “defeat” at Chelski was “humbling”, they cheated so much even the FA had to take retrospective action against them.

    The DT is a joke in every way shape or form IMHO.

  • Gord

    The Guardian carried a piece by Gabby Logan (name doesn’t mean anything to me) a couple of years ago, about how to break into sports journalism. The article doesn’t say anything about the ability to make up (fabricate, lie about) stories.

    In any event, what I think should happen is that Arsenal should buy a (sports) newspaper, and get some good staff. Having a quick look around, Dana Johannsen at the New Zealand Herald looks good. Living in Canada, I know little about the NZ Herald.

  • serge


    Gabby Logan is a very well respected glamorous ex gymnast turned TV broadcaster who I’m sure would never lie, so would find it unnecessary to give instructions.
    Arsenal do have a newspaper of sorts. It’s called

  • Gord

    The medja people have this endless fascination with teams buying people. It was in that spirit, I was proposing we buy Dana Johannsen.

    That might satisfy their need for us to buy, and it might provide honest journalism in football.

  • Andy Mack

    Gord, also Gabby Logan is married to former Scotland rugby player Kenny, and daughter of Leeds & Wales Midfielder/manager/footballer Terry Yorath. Not a football reported but a female ‘sports anchor’ that does have a clue about many of the sports she ‘fronts’ (although not an expert…. but none of them are, or they’d be managing a successful team instead) and isn’t there as eye-candy.

  • serge


    Sorry, I missunderstood. Thought you were being a bit sarkey about Gabby etc.

  • nicky

    Who needs the aaa when our great Club has so-called followers like Morgan.
    First thing in the morning for the last fortnight we have been cursed, on morning TV, by the sight of his smirking, self-satisfied face pontificating on every subject under the sun, using his usual verbal diarrhoea.
    Should Arsenal win the CL, EPL and FA Cup, he would still concoct some form of criticism of Arsene Wenger.

  • ClockEndRider

    And today the CPS has announced no further investigations into phone hacking. No coincidence in terms of timing with Morgan’s reappearance on mainstream tv. Go figure out if the two are in any way linked..,,

  • Pete

    Having lived in New Zealand, the NZ Herald is the best paper there. Although it claims to be a National, it is more Auckland (the largest city) biased, with the Dominion Post out of Wellington and the Press out of Christchurch being the other larger papers. There are numerous other regional and local dailies. Although NZ is the size of the British Isles it only has 4.5mm population so transport infrastructure isn’t ideal.

    The NZ Herald is pretty good for sports journalism (NZ being a sport-obsessed country) but it is heavily focused on rugby.

  • serge


    The CPS may have concluded their investigations, but part 2 of the Leveson enquiry will start any time soon. Expect the same people ( Brooks, The Murdocks etc. ) back to be grilled.
    This is according to the current Private Eye.

  • Norman14

    Staying on theme, how about this from The People:

    “Pep Guardiola is eyeing up a stunning move for Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez as his first Manchester City signing.”

    Everybody who is feeling “wronged” by this should be jointly suing both paper and writer (I refuse to use the word Journalist” for these idjuts).

    So, the list would include Guardiola, Bayern Munich FC, Arsenal FC, Alexis, Manchester City, Pelligrini, followed by Bayern supporters, Arsenal supporters and City supporters.

  • Asif

    Tony/Walter – When I first saw this article, I felt it was credit to you guys for taking the fight to them and constantly holding a mirror to them. Without going into the merits of this apology, I personally feel that Untold’s perseverance has paid that even an article of this nature was published by the Telegraph…so kudos to you guys…keep up the fight!