Arsenal v Sporting: the media downgrades itself, but the view is Arsenal will win.




By Bulldog Drummond

“Be careful what you make fun of,” is not quite as popular an adage as “be careful what you wish for” but it is nonetheless a wise observation, as our constant poking fun of the media with their talk of using a supercomputer to predict football results has shown.  (Although the fact that the UK is now building a new one could mean that some of the cost could be recouped by leasing time out to football managers).

That story in brief is, a) no newspaper would ever be able lay its hands on one [there are very few in the world and they are phenomenally expensive], and b) if it did the programming would be way beyond anyone working in a newspaper.

And if the notion of using a supercomputer to predict football results were true, it would by now have been totally discredited since all the media that used an alleged supercomputer predicted Arsenal to come in fifth this season, which probably makes the supercomputer not worth the rent on the floor space it is standing on.

Which is itself a bit worrying since these are the machines that hold the defence of the UK within their programming,   I wonder if any evil potentate with eyes on the UK has been reading the suggestions about using super computers in the media, and then said, “Right lads, the UK’s computers are playing fantasy football – let’s invade now.”   Perhaps not.

Now I know that newspapers taking any notice of anything other than their own inventions is rare, so it has been interesting that there has been a hunt to find an alternative set of nonsense by way of predictions, given the number of times we’ve made fun of the media in this regard.   And yes they have, with Football London  to be congratulated on moving from a super computer (average cost $6 million) to FIFA 23 (average cost $59.99).  For they have announced, “We simulated Arsenal vs Sporting CP to get a score prediction.”

And would you believe it, Sporting took the lead after seven minutes in this simulation!  Fortunately, Arsenal came back to win 3-1 (would FoLo have reported it if they hadn’t?).  It’s all a bit silly of course, although to be fair to FoLo a lot less silly than pretending that Reach plc (who own the site) could afford time on a Super Computer and the bribes it would have taken to be allowed to use it.

On more serious ground Sky Sports are telling us that Smith Rowe has been training as one of the two more advanced central midfielders in a new 4-3-3 approach, although I am not sure we will see that tonight except as a sub.

The Guardian tells us that  “Arsenal put in a sloppy performance by recent standards,” in the first leg of the game but that Arteta “may not rotate dramatically”. Gabriel Jesus they think will again come on from the bench while Eddie Nketiah remains injured and will be out for a few more weeks.

But the biggest change is that Arsenal is now said to be a team with so many players it is hard to keep them all happy, while back in October Michah Richards of Sky Sports said, “The difference between Manchester City and Arsenal is that City can lose a few players and play exactly the same way and can afford to rotate.”   But seemingly that worry is all over.

But the Guardian now says, “Keeping players involved will be vital now that his attacking ranks, in particular, are burgeoning and he elaborated on his reasons for adopting the term.”  Apparently, Arteta has been consulting people working in other sports about how best to use substitutes.  The result, it seems is somewhat different from George Graham’s instructions to Perry Groves in the season finale on 26 May 1989: “Go on and run around a lot.”

And to conclude here are a couple of rather jolly facts from the BBC

  • Sporting are winless in their past nine away games against English sides in major European competition (D4 L5) since beating Middlesbrough 3-2 in the 2004-05 Uefa Cup last 16.

  • Arsenal have lost just one of their nine home games against Portuguese clubs in all European competition (W7 D1), a 3-1 defeat by Benfica which saw them eliminated from the 1991-92 European Cup last 16.

It is looking rather hopeful.



4 Replies to “Arsenal v Sporting: the media downgrades itself, but the view is Arsenal will win.”

  1. The media are now saying we have so many players it’s hard to keep them all happy…….er, is that the same media that a couple of months ago claimed our problem was a lack of players and no strength in depth lol

  2. Thought we were a tad sloppy in the away leg but was I the only who noticed that there were zero away wins in all the first leg Europa matches

  3. Mikey

    The negativity never ceases no matter how well we are doing. Somehow a story from 2016 has been twisted into an Arsenal mistake despite the fact it was nothing of the sort.

    This is the headline from the Mirror on line. Where else?:

    Arsenal news: Kroenkes confirm new role as £133m transfer mistake emerges.

    Story by Josh O’Brien • 6h ago

    And this is our ‘supposed’ Big Mistake’

    ‘Victor Osimhen has been valued at €150million (£133m) – but it has since emerged the Gunners narrowly missed out on signing him for FREE six years ago.

    The Nigeria international has scored 19 goals in 21 Serie A appearances so far this term and as a result attracted interest from some of the biggest clubs on the planet.

    Things could have been very different had Osimhen joined the Gunners back in 2016, though he opted to sign for German side Wolfsburg instead.

    “It’s true that a big team like Arsenal wanted me and I feel honoured to be invited over,” Osimhen told BBC Sport in February 2016. “But personally I feel Wolfsburg is a ladder for me to reach my professional goals. Yes Arsenal is a good team for young players but Wolfsburg is the best club for me. This the best place for me to learn and develop because my heart is here with Wolfsburg.”‘

    So he OPTED for Wolfsburg because that’s where his heart was.

    How in any way shape or form is that a ‘big mistake’ on Arsenals behalf???

    I supposed we could of kidnapped him and threatened to break his legs if he didn’t come? Fortunately for Osimhen that isn’t part of Arsenals transfer policy, although it seems The Mirror obviously thinks it should be.

    What an utter joke that rag is.

  4. Off-topic, the England Squad omission of Ben White:

    We must respect Gareth Southgate’s judgement. After all, he clearly knows what he is doing, since he continues to pick Harry Maguire.

    Whilst Ben may well be disappointed, I am pleased, as it avoids the risk of him being injured whilst with the England squad. By the same logic, I am not pleased by the selection of Ramsdale and Saka, although there is no doubt that their ability warrants their inclusion.

    Re tonight’s match, I note that the “pundits / so- called journalists” are calling Matt Turner a liability. Never mind that he was outstanding for the USA in the World Cup. – so just the usual nonsense about Arsenal’s lack of squad depth ( at the same time as having too many players for the available places in the team and not being able to keep them happy).

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