By Tony Attwood
Do the press read Untold?
There was this in Untold as part of our Sunday morning preview…
If you look at any commentaries they will tell you that this is our worst start since 1994/5. Which it may be in terms of points, but consider this table from 1997/8
Not very exciting reading.
And now the current one
The difference between the two tables for Arsenal is one of the draws has turned into a defeat, one less goal scored, two more goals let in.
So yes it is worse by a point and a couple of goals.
Now, try this from the Independent after the match.
The win moves Arsenal back up to fifth ahead of Tottenham Hotspur. Wenger’s side are only a point short of their total at the same stage in 1997-1998, when they came from fifth place and 12 points behind Manchester United after 21 games to win the league.
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I think that point above was about the fifth time we’ve compared this season to the Second Double season so it took them a while to catch on. But nice to know someone is reading after all.
Meanwhile sometimes when I go to a game and then watch it on TV I wonder if it was the same match. Yes, the ball moves about in the same way, the score is the same, but on TV everything is filtered.
Of course sometimes I have wondered, when the TV and the press all present an utterly different image of a match from that which I have seen, if it is me that is getting it wrong. But then I talk with my friends who were also there but in different parts of the ground, and find that they too saw a quite different match from that on TV.
Partly it is to do with what is defined as important. Going to football matches is for most of us a social affair, an escape from work and the responsibilities of everyday life. Maybe that’s why, when the announcer at Stadium Wenger said that all trains out of Euston were cancelled and the only way to get to the West Midlands was a convoluted route via Derby there was laughter.
Then a roar went up, and within seconds we had “3-0 and there’s no way home” sung over and over. Oh how we chuckled. It had nothing to do with football; it had everything to do with being there.
Theo Walcott missed a great opportunity by shooting too early, and we had a song about how Thierry Henry, sitting there with his mate Robert, would have scored that. Quickly followed by the singing of Theo’s name. Just to show him it was a joke.
Then we had the push in the back that led to Debuchy’s injury. Barely a mention on TV. It looked awful and obvious and the consequence was clear to those of us there. Even the press this morning seem to recognise that Arnautovic deliberately and nastily pushed Debuchy. In response the always appalling Hughes said there was “no malice” in the action Arnautovic.
Thankfully I can’t read the minds of Stoke players, but it was a foul with awful consequences, and the ref just shrugged. Or I think he did. Or maybe he just wobbled.
And there was the bizarre affair with the Stoke defence refusing to go back to the 10 yards that the ref pointed so, so the ref gave up and drew the line in front of them. Which they then stepped over.
That last was certainly worthy of consideration, rather than the wry chuckle I heard from the commentators on the 10pm showing of the match on Sky. For it showed the power of the Stoke system – if everyone breaks a rule, the weak-willed lilly-livered refs that we have now will not book them all, but simply cave in. The use of the vanishing marker itself vanished yesterday and I expect the other non-footballing teams will copy the approach, just like they all copied Bolton’s rotational fouling.
I think we’ll call this one, the Mass Stepover. Remember you read it here first.
Of course there is more still. The Ooooooooooooospina shout and “He wants his own song” for Laurent Koscielny, both promoted on Untold, are now well established and simple though they are, give amusement. (I remember three of us trying to get the “wants his own song” song going at the Cup Final in May without success. But now it has spread.
The TV men incidentally seemed to take an age to understand that it was Kos who put the pass to the wing, before turning and running to the centre to take the lob into the middle and head the ball into the net. Next week’s he’ll play in the pass as well.
And there’s always the half time chaos. I queued for my coffee, and after 10 minutes got to the front. “Cappuccino,” said I, and the assistant turned away, sauntered down the bar, found a supervisor and asked if they sold cappuccino. “Yes,” replied the boss, and explained it was a coffee, and there was a button on the machine.
The assistant then came back and checked his notes before announcing it was £2.20 (which I could have told him since it was there on the, err, price list) and took my money and gave me my change.
He turned away to get it, and then a minute later turned back and told me that they had run out of cappuccino. I ordered a white coffee, and got back to my seat just as the second half was kicking off.
What is so bizarre about this continuing saga that has now been going on for 3 years, is that if the staff were trained, they were sell more stuff by dealing with customers quicker, so the food and drink franchise would be more profitable. Odd that.
And speaking of seats Blacksheep tells me that this week everyone in the lower tier was allowed to stand. Against Hull everyone had to sit. Why does it change match by match? Blacksheep says the BBC require people to sit for the funny faces at football shots that they like to do. Really? Is it that? I think we should be told.
So Sánchez has 18 goals thus far. Santi Cazorla looked fabulous. Mesut Özil got huge support as he came on, the press invented another “Szczesny is furious” story and Mr Wenger came out with another classic, which we heard just before the game: “The more I talk, the less I inform you.”
I’d also mention Tomas Rosicky, looking like a new signing and Francis Coquelin who really is coming of age. Was it chance that brought him back to us, or was it always planned? (Incidentally that is two new defenders this season, in effect, in addition to the actual signings. Bellerin and Coquelin. Clever that.)
Meanwhile elsewhere in the Independent we have this…
“The Stokeaphobia which grips the Emirates found its release on this occasion with a victory that expressed the gulf between the two teams.”
I checked with Dr Billy the Dog McGuire, senior psychologist at the University Hospittal of the North Circular Road, and he confirmed that a phobia is usually defined as a persistent fear of an object or situation. There is no fear of Stoke at Stadium Wenger. Just the same sort of dislike that you used to be able to get when walking along the pavement and treading in the deposit of a dog.
Classic Untold (today’s classics come from the start of this season)