By Tony Attwood
“Look, we lost one game since the beginning of March. That’s why it was a shock. But we won in the Champions League at Bayern Munich. We won at Fenerbahce. It is just like that at the moment. The media in general has brainwashed a little bit the Emirates….
“But being responsible in life means doing things in life you think are right, and not to react to things people say. If you listen always to what people say you go in five minutes one way and then, 10 minutes later, you go the other way.
“When you have responsibility you have to just focus on making the right decisions and if they are not right you say: ‘Sorry, I’m wrong.’ When we lose a game, I’m wrong. This is not a personal trip. This is about doing things well for the club I love and I am happy we are back on track.”
Thus spake Mr Wenger, and what a relief it is to hear him telling the journalists how ludicrous they have been. Whether the journos and the AAA work together or whether the AAA are just journo camp followers remains a debatable point but the fact is that one bad result does not make a terrible season. And the Guardian, good for them, to report Mr Wenger’s riposte.
Of course if one bad result did make a terrible season then Manchester City could now commit collective suicide, but if you read any of the (admittedly few compared with Arsenal) Man City blogs you’ll find a reasoned debate about a disappointing performance. As “Blue Moon over Manchester” said, “Pellegrini will have learnt from this and hopefully it will be the last time we let a nailed on three points slip away from us with such a limp performance.”
That was it. No rant, no wild anguish. Just a fairly cool statement and earlier a clear analysis of how Cardiff nullified Man City’s tactics – a little something they picked up from watching the Helsinki game I warrant.
But of course the press couldn’t let Mr Wenger get away with it. The Guardian, having been decent in allowing Mr Wenger to make his point then said,
“The Frenchman [oh glad they said that – I didn’t know he was French. That must be why he puts the adverb after the object in his sentences sometimes. Glad that has been sorted] has benefited from key players recovering their poise,” as if none of the good work at Fulham and in Turkey was the manager’s doing. He benefits from others hard work, it seems, and then cocks it up himself.
We also found out that Lukas Podolski is certainly not being lined up for departure, which is great news if you actually believed he was on the way out. Speaking of Podolski, the Guardian did add that when Podolski’s two is added to “Olivier Giroud’s third goal in three games … the first-choice lineup boasts class when confident.”
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On transfers Mr Wenger is insistent:
“There is no guarantee the new guy who comes in will start every game. We might buy a big player and he will not play. What is good about football is that it is just about quality. Most of the time quality is linked with price, but not always. These players enjoy playing together and this is the first year when we have not been traumatised by losing players. If we can gain one, two or even three more, we will do it, but we did not play well because they are worried about their future.”
Not all the papers though have allowed Wenger to have his say. The Independent did a sorrowful piece ahead of the Fulham game, claiming that Wenger did not care enough – a view they boosted by running a typical Wengerian statement: “You have certainly tried to go out with a girl and find she has chosen someone else. You do not commit suicide,” with the suggestion that “this is all you get out of the Frenchman” (thanks again Guardian for pointing that out.) Or perhaps, “he’s foreign, so he says funny things”
They also quoted another one of these lovely sayings the manager has. “We have to get on with our lives – I don’t think we need for me to clarify that.”
The trouble is, he does have to clarify that when speaking to a journalist, because by and large they have no idea what he is talking about (perhaps because he is French).
After the thumping of Fulham the Independent spent more time talking about how well the pitch had stood up to the rain, than the game, while noting in passing that “the substitutes’ bench still looks thin”. Oh and, “Bacary Sagna had to play in the centre of defence” they told us. Yes well they might have said that he did that very well indeed. But did they? I leave it to you to guess.
I think the overall problem with the press is that they maintain the anti-Arsenal stance by avoiding any joined up thinking. After two days of solid rant against Wenger we find this comment from Martin Jol:
“Cazorla is an amazing player and they found pockets of space on the break.”
Yes Cazorla is an amazing player, and he was signed at an astoundingly low price for a player of his ability by, oh, hang on, who was it? Oh yes, Mr Wenger. Best not mention that.
The paper also mentioned a fine display from the “much improved Aaron Ramsey” – who was spotted and captured by…. well, you know. And three goals in three games from Giroud, who was signed… They even gave credit to “a fine double save from Wojciech Szczesny” despite having gone on and on about the need for a new keeper in recent weeks.
This is not to argue that the team doesn’t need more players, but what’s missing in the press is the awareness that just buying lots and lots and lots of players doesn’t help you to win all the games you expect to win. There’s more to it than that. Ask Man City. (If you can find a dozen or two Man City blogs, that is).
- Referee Review 2012/13: Newcastle Utd. 11 wrong decisions per game.
- A new way to explore, publicise and ultimately resolve the refereeing crisis is needed now
- Fulham 1 – Arsenal 3: no midweek hangover
- BT Sprot desperate for Arsenal not to score a fourth
26 August Anniversaries (more listed on home page)
- 26 August 1993: Frank “Tiger” Hill – a Chapman hero – died
- 26 August 2000: Sylvain Wiltord brought in from Bordeaux
- 26 August 2000: Arsenal beat Charlton 5-3 keeping the record of five goals scored once every 20 games
- 26 August 2012: Arsenal’s season continues with second 0-0 draw in a row.
- Woolwich Arsenal: The club that changed football – Arsenal’s early years
- Making the Arsenal – how the modern Arsenal was born in 1910
- The Crowd at Woolwich Arsenal FC: crowd behaviour at the early matches