Fulham v Arsenal: the political fall out and the teams



By Bulldog Drummond

The game is showing on Sky Sports.  It has been announced as being on Radio 5 in the UK, but with the BBC being in dispute with most of its sports staff over having admonished Gary Linnekar I suspect that is unlikely to happen – it quite possibly has been cancelled.

I should explain in case you are a resident outside the UK or are not in the habit of turning your radio or TV on for news broadcasts, Gary Lineker was suspended by the BBC for making comments about the UK government’s policy on immigration.  However as soon as this suspension was announced Ian Wright also said he would step down from the show, and then significant numbers of presenters and programme contributors also stood themselves down.

Contributors to and presenters of other shows have stood themselves down.

The position of the BBC is that because it has a legal obligation within its charter to be politically neutral, its staff should not make any statements that could be seen as not being politically neutral – and obviously, the criticism of the government’s position was a deviation from that.

However last month a cross-party group of MPs in the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee said the chairman of the BBC Mr Sharp should himself “consider the impact his omissions will have” on public trust in the broadcaster after “he failed to declare his role as a go-between for the former prime minister in arranging a loan of £800,000 for Borish Johnson MP when applying for the chairman’s job.”

The MPs making this complaint stated that the chairman’s actions “constitute a breach of the standards expected of individuals” applying for prominent public appointments.

Thus the argument is that it seems contradictory that the chairman of the BBC (an organisation which is required to be politically neutral by its charter) could arrange finances for a controversial Conservative MP but a person running a TV show could not make a comment about government policy.  And to be clear, Linnekar has not made his comments in his show but on social media, thus revealing them to be his view and not that of the broadcaster.

If matters continue as now it seems as if the BBC will be able to broadcast very little sport – unless it chooses to do so without commentary.   Which won’t help much on radio.

Talk Sport won’t give us a team prediction but they do have this piece of information: “Bukayo Saka has generated more chances following a carry (moving 5+ metres with the ball) than any other player in the Premier League this season (44), with the Arsenal winger attempting 21 shots and creating 23 chances for a teammate in this manner.”

Sports Mole give us a team of


White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko;

Odegaard, Partey, Xhaka;

Saka, Martinelli, Nelson

Pain in the Arsenal give the same line up although with a slightly different placement in the midfield – but since the players all move around a lot I don’t think that matters too much.

90 Min agree with that as well as do HITC so after that many repeat performances any other line up is going to be a complete outlier.

Here’s the top eight after yesterday’s games

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Arsenal 26 20 3 3 59 25 34 63
2 Manchester City 27 19 4 4 67 25 42 61
3 Manchester United 25 15 4 6 41 35 6 49
4 Tottenham Hotspur 27 15 3 9 49 37 12 48
5 Liverpool 26 12 6 8 47 29 18 42
6 Newcastle United 24 10 11 3 35 17 18 41
7 Brighton and Hove Albion 24 11 6 7 45 31 14 39
8 Fulham 26 11 6 9 38 34 4 39




8 Replies to “Fulham v Arsenal: the political fall out and the teams”

  1. I never thought I would say it but I back Gary Linekar for his position. Let’s be clear he is still a former spud however credit where due. Good to see Ian Wright and Alex Scott among the first to offer support to him.

  2. Starting line up announced:

    Arsenal: Ramsdale, White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko, Partey, Xhaka, Odegaard, Martinelli, Saka, Trossard.

    Subs: Turner, Tierney, Tomiyasu, Holding, Jorginho, Vieira, Smith Rowe, Nelson, Jesus

  3. Some stats I just read

    Number of games with Arsenal leading by 2-0 at some point since 2019 : 47
    Number of games won when leading 2-0 at some point since 2019 : 47

    The past 4 London derbies played by Arsenal were won and Arsenal had 4 clean sheets
    If Arsenal win with a clean sheet today, it will be the first time in PL history this has happened

    0th goal from corner this season. Last season : 13 for all season. Guess our set piece scoring has gotten better.

  4. I must say I feel a bit of pride for my compatriot Leandro Trossard… 3 assists… way to go… Let us hope we can ad another one shortly after the break to put any doubt out of this match and maybe rotate a bit with some players who have been sick. I wouldn’t risk Jesus but then again who am I…. Alas for the first goal (own goal) but I thought he was offside when seeing it live and it got confirmed.

  5. @Walter,

    IMHO Trossard is a diamond. And the proof the Arsenal backoffice are doing their job.
    He as blended into Arsenal like he’s been here a few seasons, has an energy level that is incredible, can take on any opposition player, and the way he and Martinelli move accross the whole offensive line, interchanging their positions is amazing.
    A great recruit

  6. The more I see Vieira play, the more I like him.
    He could have scored or tried to, but no, he did his utter best to set-up his buddy Jesus so that he could score.
    A talented team player

  7. It’s interesting that Lineker is suspended, despite being freelance, for making political comments whilst Alan Sugar, Karen Brady, Mary Berry (and many other Tories) are unhindered by the BBC and it’s Chair.

    Let’s not forget, irrespective of his involvement in arranging loans for Johnson, it is a matter of public record that Sharp donated £400,000 to the Tory Party. As Chair of the BBC that, quite clearly demonstrates the level of impartiality……sorry, I mean bigotry, that’s going on here.

  8. @Mikey,

    what is going on there is an attack on a concept of freedom of opinion in the ‘press’.
    A logic that sees it’s proponents clearly state : what I think is covered by the freedom of opinion/press, any dissenting opinion is not. And truth is not an issue – something the BBC sports commentators are frequently demonstrating.

    I find it much more worrying that the last episode of the Atenborough series on the Isles is being censured by the BBC because it criticises the fossil fuel economy and might provoke their anger and that of all their political supporters, which is the same logic then what happens with Lineker – which now serves as a diversion (not of his making) so no one talks about it.

    The band just keeps on playing… panem et circenses

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