The notion that the hyperbole whipped up by the media has led to wholly false visions of what is going on, is of course lacking – rule one of the media is never admit the media influences anything or anyone. The fault of whatever is wrong with Arsenal is all Arsenal’s. “How many times have moments of swagger and imperiousness been followed by spasms of inferiority?” they ask, and I wonder what sort of thought reader they are using to interpret the way players’ thought processes actually work.
Arsenal are unbeaten in five matches in the PL and Champs League since losing 4-3 to Liverpool with quite a few members of the team missing through injury or through having played to the final of the Euro. The aaa raised their normal questions as to how could everyone else be ready but not Arsenal, refraining from looking at the consequential results later in the season where players who are brought back too quickly fade or get seriously injured later.
So according to the Times, “every discussion about Arsenal’s dominance is framed by a history of brittle confidence,” and who are the people who put up that frame? I give you one guess.
The mere fact that Mr Wenger, with the sort of honesty that few managers manage, was willing to say, “Away from home, we look more convincing at the moment than at home. I believe that when we lost our first game it was a mental shock for us and for our supporters. Straightaway you have a little bit of scepticism and doubt in your own head,” shows (to me at least) not his fragility or his negativity but his honesty in the face of 20 years of battering and nonsensical gibberish from the English media.
So out come the negativities. Arsenal were lucky. The winner only came at the very end of the Southampton game as if somehow that means it was less of a goal. The fans are full of trepidation about the Chelsea game, so clearly there is a problem with the team(?!?!?) Wenger’s constantly honest answers, such as, “The positivity must come from us, from our attitude. We get the supporters behind us when our performances are convincing and not the other way around,” are taken as statements that affirm something is wrong rather than open honest answers to the questions of dullards.
So the Times says, “it would not be quintessential Arsenal without a daubing of self-inflicted difficulty.” The cause of that one was Alexis Sánchez taking the penalty. Reading it all it is hard to remember that Arsenal won 4-1 away, after a handy victory in the previous league games by 3-1 and 2-1, not to mention a good 1-1 draw away to the top seeded team in the group of the Champs League.
But PSG scored in the first minute, Arsenal got the winner against Southampton in the last minute, Hull went down to 10 men… Arsenal are lucky, self-doubting, and useless. It’s obvious ain’t it?
Yes I’d love to have written that headline so I could have applied it to the fact that Arsenal have to beat the footballing opposition, and beat the press corps too, but the Times got there first.
But let’s be fair. The Times were positive about Alexis’ goals, and “the promise shown by Alex Iwobi. In a team who can struggle for conviction, [sorry there has to be a negative in every sentence, it is in the rules of the media] the 20-year-old offers freshness and positivity, linking up nicely with Theo Walcott and, just as crucially, playing without fear.”
Mr Wenger said of Iwobi, “You’ve seen his qualities, but what I like is his love for the game, his passion for the game and his hard work. Those things together in our world are a big thing and so I think he has interesting ingredients, but one game does not make a career. The consistency of your attitude makes a career. What you want from a young boy of 20 is for him to go up and up. What he has shown against Hull tells me he’s doing that.”
As a result of the Hull game I would expect Alexis to stay at centre forward, even when Giroud gets over his toe problem and I would expect Theo to continue to be in the team. He was part of Alexis’s goals and got one himself of course. His confidence is back – and he is making defenders wonder exactly what he is going to do – run behind them or cross. That’s always helpful. Iwobi on one side, Theo on the other, Alexis in the middle – it works for me.
Of course not all the papers will let Arsenal enjoy a little run of victories (back to my interpretation of the headline). This is in the Guardian:
Alexis Sánchez reportedly refused to board a plane bound for talks with Manchester City; now, word on the street is that the Chilean may be stalling on contract talks with Arsenal, in the hope that Pep Guardiola will add him to his collection of diminutive playmakers. Juventus are also said to be sweet on Sánchez, and will make a move if Arsenal are unwilling to break their wage structure, which on the face of it seems entirely plausible.
But as they tell us later, “There’s still more than 100 days until the transfer window opens, so let’s shoot for the moon: Chelsea and Arsenal are both weighing up £80m bids to bring Antoine Griezmann to the Premier League in January.”
Or if that approach doesn’t make you throw a brick at your computer screen, try this one for size.
Swaggering Alex Iwobi can succeed at Arsenal where likes of Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have failed
That’s the Telegraph.
Like the headline says, “Arsenal are the only team in the Premier League to face two opponents each weekend”
- Arsenal after five games; the statistical analysis. (Hint: the number of shots doesn’t count).
- West Ham United: Revenge of the tax payers
- Hull – Arsenal 1-4 : Cracking Xhaka goal at the end
And from the Arsenal History Society this morning