By Tony Attwood
In the build up to the Ems Cup I had a couple of rants against the pay TV channel BT Sport over their status as Arsenal’s media partner, which sat uneasily with their overtly anti-Arsenal broadcasting policy, as witnessed since the channel started..
Yesterday they had the rights to the Uncharitable Shield (so called because of the way the FA failed to hand out money to charities properly in its past incarnation) and just as with the first day of the Ems Cup this year, I thought they did quite well – by which I mean quite well for a TV station.
Did Untold have anything to do with this dramatic reversal of approach? Who knows, but it would be nice to think an Arsenal exec saw the campaign and reminded the Sprout that in the end, it is the piper who calls the tune. Without us, there is no show.
Sadly the same drift towards reality can’t be seen in the the rest of the media. The dominant headline story in the UK after the game was that Man C “with over half their first team missing” were beaten by Arsenal.
Everyone admitted Arsenal played well, but that phrase turns up again and again in written and broadcast media. It is as if the pressmen, pundits and the rest of the horde agreed on their anti-Arsenal line they would take, even before kick off.
It is a typical bit of media misleading. I am sure that Man C did have six players not there who might be expected to play when all is fit (although including the free transfer Sagna in the six is a bit of a push, given he’s never played for the club). But consider Arsenal. Arsenal played without Ozil, Mertersacker, Podolski, Walcott and Giroud in the first half – five of the players we might expect to start if all were available.
But still, “Man C with just over half their first team missing lose to Arsenal with just under half their first team missing” doesn’t really have the ring. Or the rampant bias.
The other line repeated (and BT Sport became BT Sprout again over this one) was “After nine years without a trophy Arsène Wenger now has two in two games.” Yes, well, 0 out of 10 for imagination but you hit 85% on the cheesyness barometer.
And of course we got “the first time Arsenal have won the shield in a decade” plus measurement in days between the last cup win and this most recent one, and all that. I wonder why they keep saying it. Not to bring in readers and viewers, most certainly. Maybe it is laziness. Lazy journalists? Surely not.
But Arsenal won, so the competition must be denigrated, and fast. The Guardian had it as “little more than a semi-contest for a semi-trophy that fades from the memory come the first whistle of the season proper” They go on to remind us that “Twelve months ago victory in the Community Shield was hailed as the first step in the David Moyes Revolution at Manchester United”. It is thus clearly downhill all the way for Arsenal from now on.
Laughably that sentence is followed by…
“This is not to belittle Arsenal’s achievement in beating the champions convincingly…”
Yes it is guys. And I think you know it.
Yes it is, Barney Ronay who we are helpfully told in the paper was “at Wembley” (although given his report it is hard to believe – maybe he got locked in the bar).
What we did learn is that Mathieu Debuchy has replaced Bacary Sagna perfectly and is set to reign in that position, and he is the perfect full back to have behind Sanchez.
We also learned that even without the master centre backs of Kos and Mert we can still control the game – although of course we’d all prefer Kos and Mert.
And we learned that after all his summer outbursts about birthday cakes and the like Yaya Touré is the one thing that holds Man C together.
So, should one feel sorry for Sagna, choosing to leave Arsenal for a highly lucrative long-term contract just when Man C look a muddle and Arsenal seem to be showing exactly why they were at the top of the table last season more than any other team?
No, not really. You sign the deal, and live by your decision. And besides the fact that Arsenal were at the top of the league last season longer than any other team is something YOU MUST NEVER MENTION. Apparently it was agreed thus in the journalists’ bar.
But what we should do is recognise just how much of a squad we have. We took this game to City and for half an hour they could hardly get a touch. Yes they had players missing, but as I suggested above, so did we. Including two of our triumvirate of Ozil Theo Ramsey. We have backup.
And just as last season we saw Ramsey transmute himself into dominant player, so I think we were looking at a big step in that direction for Jack Wilshere. Let’s hope so. A Jack at his full potential alongside Theo Ozil and Ramsey would be awesome indeed.
What is a “triumvirate” when it becomes a foursome?
Anyway, maybe there is more to come. Another transfer out there? That would be interesting, but even if not, this looks good. And besides, when the media make themselves look as daft as they have done with their reports of yesterday’s game, it is always a nice way to start the day.