How Arsenal outsmarted all the media in one clever move



By Tony Attwood

I have often noted that neither transfers nor change of management are guaranteed to improve a club’s performance.  Both can help enormously, but more often than not they don’t, despite the media pushing both approaches as the natural and obvious next step for a club.

To see this in detail we can contrast Chelsea and Arsenal.   Chelsea are doing well in the cups – up to a point – but the fans are mutinous, seemingly forcing Mauricio Pochettino to explain and defend his actions in their Cup game against Leicester.

For getting to cup finals or even winning cups is not going to be compensation for fans who after four years of coming third and fourth, saw the team finish 12th last season with them sitting 11th (although with a game in hand) at the moment.

Having had more, the supporters now expect more, and feel (quite reasonably in this case) they are not getting it.

However as I have noted in other articles part of the problem is that the media spread the fantasy that spending lots of money on transfers is the key way to improve a club, and then on top of that spread the twin stories that some recent purchases were a waste of money and of all the different players the club could buy if only the management would get moving.

It’s all media gibberish of course, as we have seen year after year with Arsenal, but some fans believe it and demand action, as if their club was the only one that was making catastrophic errors in the managerial and player transfer markets. 

In contrast, what Arsenal have been doing is making purchases for large sums, but allowing players time to fit in, no matter what the rabid reporters (and those fans silly enough to be influenced by them have to say.  We all know what a sensation Rice has been from the start, but some were unsure about Raya, while many raged against Havertz.

That was interesting because it showed that despite the phenomenal changes that Arteta has had with the club, one player purchase deemed wrong by the media will be enough for those fans to follow the media’s line and get on the player’s back (as was the case with Havertz).

In order to promote this discontent, last November Football 365 ran the story that, “Arsenal are ‘willing to sell’ Germany international Kai Havertz amid interest from La Liga giants Real Madrid.”

And indeed it was only last month that the notorious Football.London website ran the headline Arsenal get ideal Kai Havertz transfer replacement …

But in fact he has now scored nine goals.  Yes it took him a while to get going (his first open play goal didn’t come until 25 November), but now we see his potential.   

And there is another point here: if we are only going to sign players who fit in at once, the number of players we can get is going to be tiny, for one could also argue that it took David Raya a while to settle in – but he showed his merit in the penalty shoot-out recently.

What Arsenal have done however is gone way beyond the simplicity of “does he score goals at once?”   Raya did not score much when he first joined, but it turns out it didn’t matter.   And we can know that for sure given that Arsenal are the highest-scoring team in the league.

And just in case you are not sure about that here is the top of the league table not in points order but in goals scored order…


Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Arsenal 28 20 4 4 70 24 46 64
2 Liverpool 28 19 7 2 65 26 39 64
3 Manchester City 28 19 6 3 63 28 35 63
4 Aston Villa 29 17 5 7 60 42 18 56


Last season, as we often noted, Arsenal were six goals behind Manchester City but Arsenal achieved this without having a 20+ goals a season man.  Rather the club had four players scoring in double figures in the league.

This season with ten games to go we might do the same again, as the Premier League goal scoring table shows Saka on 13, Havertz on eight, Trossard on seven, and both Martinelli and Odegaard on six.  It also appears we know how to score penalties too!

It seems to me that the lesson is very clear and very obvious.  The simplistic analyses of the newspaper journalists are created in order for the papers to be able to publish ten headlines a day on the internet, each one there not to inform but simply to draw readers into the advertising on the site.

And yes of course we have advertising on this site, as there is no income to pay for the running of the site other than that.  But I can assure you we don’t run new articles each day just to get more readers in.  We’re much more interested in what is really going on.

According to Team Talk Chelsea “couldn’t believe their luck when Arsenal handed them close to a full refund by taking the 24-year-old [Havertz] off their hands for £65m this summer.”  I wonder if that is how they feel now.

4 Replies to “How Arsenal outsmarted all the media in one clever move”

  1. Love your articles, enjoy reading the truth for a change, it’s refreshing, as other media outlets are usually boring with made up agent lies. You also do the proper research with the stat figures, your good reputation is growing in the community. Keep up the good work.

  2. You’re right, it just making up stories to attract views & create “debate”, which in turn provides more “revelations”.
    There’s no winning scenario other than to see it for what it is & ignore the noise.
    The club moved very quickly to sign Havertz & allegedly paid £60+ million to secure a player that Arteta clearly saw as an ideal fit & were massively criticised both for the signing (“Chelsea flop”) & the fee. Had the club gone in with a lower offer & upped it incrementally,
    the club would have come in for criticism for moving too slowly & not being positive enough!

  3. “According to Team Talk Chelsea “couldn’t believe their luck when Arsenal handed them close to a full refund by taking the 24-year-old [Havertz] off their hands for £65m this summer.” I wonder if that is how they feel now”.

    I also remember the media lapping up all the ‘Agent Jorginho’ mocking from Chelsea fans last season. Funny how that’s all gone quite as well.

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