- Arsenal v Sevilla: relentless media pressure plus team news
- Arsenal v Sevilla: past meetings and home / away comparisons
- Arsenal v Sevilla: recent form and squad values
By Tony Attwood
That question in our headline is at the head of an article in the Guardian: “Mikel Arteta goes all in as rage over VAR overshadows Sevilla clash”
So indeed what does come next? And not just what comes next in terms of Arsenal and Arteta, but in terms of the media at large. They have hammered the notion of the “rant” to death.
In fact they have hammered “rant” so much I wonder if they have any idea what “rant” really means any more. According to Vocabulary.com a rant is “an argument that is fueled by passion, not shaped by facts. When the shouting starts on talk radio, or when a blog commenter resorts to ALL CAPS, you’re almost certainly encountering a rant.”
I also learned that “Rant comes from the Dutch ranten, ‘to talk nonsense’.” I have heard that its first use in published English came in in Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor, but I am blowed if I can find that, and I have my suspicions because the statement I found on line to that effect had grammatical errors in it.
But it is true that in the 17th century Ranters was a pejorative name for some Christian groups who tended to talk in a “noisy, excited, or declamatory manner” and there is no doubt that Arteta was not doing any of those things. Which heightens my view that the media has, en masse, lept on the use of this word “rant” not to describe Arteta’s speech (which it clearly doesn’t) but simply to put him down.
Synonyms for “rant” are quoted as to “mouth off” and to “rave” – which is certainly what the popular press has been doing. But that was not what Arteta was doing. Nor was it an “incandescent reaction” which is how the Guardian put it.
But most importantly, we do have progress, for after years and years of campaigning by Untold Arsenal, Arsenal FC called on PGMO “urgently [to] address the standard of officiating and focus on action which moves us all on from retrospective analysis, attempted explanations and apologies”.
Of course, an “Us against the World” mentality can help boost morale in any group of people, and Arteta has undoubtedly achieved that, and so in that regard we should be grateful to the media who (in their simplistic way) have further heighted the unity with the club.
Indeed last time we looked at the injuries Arsenal were very much near the foot of the injury table. Now we have five players out: Partey (“out for weeks”), Gabriel Jesus (“we need to be cautious”), Emile Smith Rowe (“out for weeks”), Martin Odegaard (“still uncertain”), Jurrien Timber (out all season).
So where does that leave Arsenal in the injury league? Arsenal are in positions 10 to 15 (the six clubs each with five injuries). And just to see what it looks like I’ve created a table of clubs with the most injuries, which also shows how many times the club has been fouled (according to PGMO) in Premier League matches..
- Newcastle United: 11 injuries. (Times fouled: 136)
- Sheffield United: 10 injuries. (Times fouled: 90)
- Brentford: 9 injuries. (Times fouled: 125)
- Tottenham Hotspur: 8 injuries. (Times fouled: 158)
- AFC Bournemouth: 7 injuries. (Times fouled): 120
- Chelsea: 7 injuries. (Times fouled: 126)
- Burnley: 6 injuries. (Times fouled: 116)
- Luton Town: 6 injuries. (Time sfouled: 112)
- Manchester United: 6 (Times fouled: 103)
- Arsenal: 5 injuries. (Times fouled: 119)
- Aston Villa: 5 injuries. (Times fouled: 133)
- Brighton and Hove Albion: 5 injuries. (Times fouled: 148)
- Fulham: 5 injuries. (Times fouled: 120)
- Liverpool: 5 injuries. (Times fouled: 111)
- Nottingham Forest: 5 injuries. (Times fouled: 105)
If you look at these numbers or the whole league table of the number of times each team has been fouled in the Premier League this season you will see that Tottenham Hotspur players have been fouled 76% more times than Sheffield United players. Which is extraordinary.
Arsenal however are very much mid-table in terms of the number of fouls given against teams playing Arsenal, but even so Tottenham Hotspur has had 33% more free kicks awarded in their favour for fouls against the team, than Arsenal has.
So what’s going on? Are Tottenham actually being fouled more than any other Premier League club because their players are so nifty, or is it just that referees like to help Tottenham along a bit?
Newcastle are the third most fouled team, and they commit the third most number of goals. Only Manchester City commit a smaller number of fouls than Arsenal, and both Manchester City and Arsenal are mid-table when it comes to the number of fouls against them.
It seems complex, but something is happening that makes referees give more free kicks for fouls against them to Tottenham, than any other club, I just need to find out what it is!
- Arsenal v Lens: the team, the home/away form and the strange coincidences
- Arsenal v Lens: they had a poor start but are now flying
- Where there is power, money and greed there is corruption
- Why do Tottenham players get fouled more than those of any other club?
- The media, the League and PGMO. An insidious agreement rears its ugly head