It’s not Arsenal that needs to calm down, it’s everyone else


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By Tony Attwood

There is an article in the Telegraph which has the headline “Arsenal need to calm down – they and their fans must chill out if they want to win the title.” 

Beneath that is the comment “Everyone – and I include supporters, players and the manager – seems far too intense, too soon. It feels like the club needs to chill out and stop panicking. The team is in a good place, but treating so-so performances or early home draws like last week’s against Fulham as a serious title setback is a surefire way of self-sabotaging aspirations before the campaign has truly got underway.”

Now I would agree with that totally, except for one thing.  At the head of the list of “everyone” ought to be the media, because it is the media commentators who are leading the charge into instant panic and total intensity.

I’ve been at the two home games of Arsenal this season and there has been no intensity of the type mentioned by the Telegrpah.  There appears to be much more of an understanding that after the glories of last season, everyone’s attention is going to be on Arsenal, and every draw will be criticized.

Indeed it was only one year ago that the media were all forecasting that Arsenal would end last season in fifth, sixth or even lower.   In fact Untold did a whole series of articles on this which ended with “Where it all went wrong for football journalists”.

Of course they knew it went utterly wrong last season.  But what has been their response this campaign?   Here are a few headlines out of the thousands in this style….

So when the Telegraph publishes “Arsenal need to calm down – they and their fans must chill out if they want to win the title,” what they actually mean is “Arsenal need to stay calm despite the wild raging hysteria in the media.” 

Indeed, The Telegraph’s suggestion that the fans need to chill out is both insulting and outrageous. True, the article does do the normal bit of tantalising by saying, “There is only one significant reason for this [alleged hysteria], of course. It is called Manchester City.”  And yes Manchester City is a problem because there is a fairly widespread feeling that the Premier League clubs would not have put together 110 charges against Mancheseter City if they had not felt themselves to be on solid ground with the charges.

It is possible (although less likely) that the rest of the league got together and said “Let’s make up a load of preposterous charges and see if City crumble in the face of them.”   But since the implication of the charges is that Manchester City is a club currently based on the notion that the rules can be bent and manipulated time and again in their favour, the logic is that they are hardly going to crumble and say “oh yes, sorry, you’re right, we’re crooks.”

No, the real problem is once again the media.  They couldn’t be bothered to track what Arteta has done at Arsenal since arriving as a process.  So instead they reduce everything to individual events.  Thus they never looked at the way the approach of the entire defence was changed so that there was a foundation behind Saka and Martinelli of defending without tackling.

Indeed they blamed Arteta for not bringing Saliba back from France a year earlier,  and refused to admit that keeping him in France for a third year on loan, this time with title chasing Marseille, would be the perfect preparation he needed to hit the ground running when he came to England.

And Arteta knew that Saliba would need to hit the ground running, because the media would be pointing fingers at him “not understanding English football”, and “not being the type of defender Arsenal needed” etc etc the moment he arrived.

So Saliba played that extra season – a total of 52 games (13 in Europe and three in the cup as well as every league game) to get himself ready not only to face the Premier League’s attacking players but the remorseless attacks of the media.

What we should remember is that what appears in the media is there because a) it needs no research, b) it is simple to write, c) it knocks Arsenal at every chance and d) it’s become a habit.

3 Replies to “It’s not Arsenal that needs to calm down, it’s everyone else”

  1. Tony,
    To quote David Byrne, “Same as it ever was”. I’ve been an Arsenal supporter for 40 years and the criticism has never stopped. Some ‘journalists’ even criticised them during an unbeaten season. It’s never been based on fact. I’ve never understood the animus. The ref bias is somewhat geographic. But surely some of the journos hail from south of the Midlands. Perhaps the perks they receive at the Emirates don’t measure up to other grounds. It is transparent and almost comical but the gullible and especially the young may be influenced against the club by this nonsense. Fortunately, most see right through the lazy, repetitive drivel.

  2. The so-called press need to sell clicks and Arsenal clicks sell better.
    Guess the Arsenal following on the web is one of the largest.

    As for my humble self ? I’m cool. Give it some time. Stay behind the team, the manager, the organisation.
    We’ve got 4 competitions to play. All players will be needed.
    Last year the team was more ‘gelled’ then this year.
    Rice has evolved already. His game against Fulham showed that.
    Havertz will need to break his duck. Eddie already did.
    Jesus is back.
    We’ve still got one of the youngest teams – with loads of experience now.

    Those first 3 games were ideal for experimenting. Manure is going to be something different. Expect surprises as for the players and the shape. Guess Manure are scratching their heads now….

    Enjoy the ride !

  3. goonersince72

    They’re just Slippery People on a Road To Nowhere Making Flippy Floppy. If I had my way I’d get a Psycho Killer to sort ’em out. Now that would be Heaven.

    I’ll get my coat

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