By Tony Attwood
The ten reasons why Arsenal will continue to progress part 4 – football is in a mess and Arsenal are working around it.
Previously in this series we have had
- The ten reasons why Arsenal will make more progress in 2023/4. Part 1. (A young team is maturing; Scoring from everywhere; Transfers; Referees)
- The ten reasons why Arsenal will continue to grow: Part 2 (Players will stay)
- The ten reasons why Arsenal will make more progress part 3 (Merit payments, Champions League money, the fourth longest-serving manager in the league, Regression in the media)
And now to conclude, part four: Football is in trouble
9. Football is a mess (but Arsenal aren’t)
There is no doubt that professional football is in a total mess, and that it is a mess that Arsenal has avoided. Scandals abound, the authorities (such as Fifa, Uefa and the FA) are gradually realising they simply can’t go on covering everything up, and slowly, (although very, very, very slowly) the media is realising that its coverage of football is so downright silly, that they are losing credibility by the day.
We have noted before and the Guardian has reported that Juventus have had 10 points deducted this season, for false accounting. It is a sign of what is likely to happen to Manchester City, although as the alleged crimes on their part extend over a number of seasons, the punishment could be multiplied by the number of seasons.
Meanwhile Juventus and seven of its former directors have been charged with fraud – which could be interesting if that approach continues over to Manchester City – assuming of course they are found guilty. And what made this so interesting is that Juventus’ defence was “an absence of clear rules.” Again that would be interesting if Manchester City uses that.
Meanwhile, we have Chelsea’s expenditure on players touted to be brilliant who turn out to be no good (Mudryk, Adebayor…), and the majority of clubs sacking their managers within one season. If you believe that all that was a one-off, then professional football is perhaps salvageable, if not…
And you never know, Boris Johnson’s unredacted WhatsApp messages (the centre of his current scandal) could reveal just how and why West Ham were given the “London Stadium” for nothing. Among other things.
10 The media pretend football sails on regardless
The Telegraph admits it is a bit early to make predictions for next season’s top four, but they do so anyway and their answer is a top four of Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea. As a reminder, this time last year they predicted for the season just finished Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur.
Now as I have often mentioned, they’ve never apologised for getting that prediction not just 75% wrong but so wrong that it included in the top four, three teams that finished 5th, 8th and 12th.
Such an article would of course have an ounce more credibility if it began with a explanation of such a gross failure and a discussion of what the journalists were doing to overcome such outrageous effors this time. (And just to repeat, Untold had Arsenal third in our predictions at the start of the 2022/23).
The point is that although Untold has a tiny fraction of the resources than the various newspapers and broadcasters have, we make our predictions based on facts rather than feelings, which can help a little.
Also what we throw into the mix is the issue of referees. We have repeatedly shown how the crowd affects different referees, meaning that some referees have a propensity for home wins and some for away wins. Just consider the figures below from last season with figures based on data from WhoScored and referees who have overseen in excess of 20 Premier League games last season.
Among these six referees the home win percentage ranges from 33.3% to 72%. The away win percentage ranges from 4.8% to 47.6%, and the draw percentage from 7.7% to 33.3%.
The fact is that under Atwell the home team is twice as likely to win as under Taylor or Pawson. Under Pawson, the away team is twice as likely to win as under Bankes. And if you looking to spot draws for your gambling predictions, never select a game with Jones in charge. Bankes is four times more likely to oblige.
So why does the media never touch any of this?
Here are five explanations that can be put forward. I am sure there are many more.
- A view that the readers and viewers of football reportage in newspapers are pretty stupid such that they won’t understand all these figures.
- A laziness on the part of the journalists and editors whose view is that the way football was reported last year is how it should be reported this year.
- Pressure from PGMO and the football authorities not to touch the issue of referees.
- A feeling that if an individual newspaper or broadcaster suddenly starts talking about issues not covered by other media, they will look silly.
- The fact that reporting mythical transfers is a damn sight easier than working through all the sorts of things that we cover on Untold.
And there we have it. Ten reasons why Arsenal will progress – they are avoiding these issues. Arteta started by seeking to overcome the issue of referees, the media take no note of what Arsenal are doing, the club is getting more money, the players are staying…
I think next season is already looking good.
- Yesterday’s game: how Arsenal won, and where the journalists got things wrong
- Brentford v Arsenal: past exploits and the Arsenal team news
- French authorities issue arrest warrant over awarding of World Cup to Qatar
- Brentford v Arsenal: the history and the build up, with some extraordinary odds
- Brentford v Arsenal: tackles, fouls, yellow cards and the home v away record