By Bulldog Drummond.
Newspapers tell you what to think now and what you will think in the future. And if they can, they do it by re-using headlines that they have previously used, because.. well that makes it so much so easier.
On 7 April 2004 the headline in the Daily Mirror was “Arsenal’s season in ruins”. The reason was that the previous night Arsenal had lost to Chelsea in the Champions League with this following on from a 1-0 defeat to Man U in the FA Cup on 3 April.
The papers expressed the view that a club side could only be called great if they won the Champs League. Arsenal were out of it, so that was they said. Over and over again. And snigger snigger, we couldn’t even win the Double again now we were out of the cup. Besides all this rubbish the manager was spouting about going unbeaten through the season. Well, you saw those Comical Wenger t-shirts didn’t you…
Of course no one told Arsenal or the true fans who support no matter what. Nor did they tell those of us able to get to Highbury. We carried on believing – even when 1-0 down at half time to Leicester on the last game of the season we believed. And the Invincibles were born.
The childish half-baked media are doing it again now, telling us what to think. Arsenal lost to Monaco, it is all over. Arsenal’s season in ruins.
So time to repeat the old stats about our run of nine defeats in ten games at Very Old Trafford And now there are those funny stories from the Ferguson about never having to tackle Arsenal – you just intercepted the passes.
Ha, and if I might be permitted, I will repeat this. Ha.
You only have to look at two minutes of any match to see that yes it is true Man U didn’t tackle Arsenal – they kicked us to bits. Watch the DVD of the opening of the game at Very OT on 8 May 2002. Kick foul kick foul kick foul kick foul. It went on and on.
But no it is the stat about losing at OT rather than our current record in domestic matches that must define reality. We’re doomed.
But the nice thing is that some of journalists do actually call up Untold when in the pub (usually I have noticed to distract from the fact it is their round) and have started quoting a win rate of 14 out of 18 games in all competitions. Where on earth did they get that from?
As Mr Wenger, following his non-Marxist philosophy, said recently “I don’t believe too much in history. I just believe in the performance on the day. At the moment, we are doing very well away from home. The size of the pitch is exactly the same everywhere, it’s just down to how much we turn up and how much effort we put in to win the game.
“We are confident from our Premier League run [seven wins in eight as Untold might have mentioned]. We feel we have the needed confidence. We go there to qualify and to give absolutely everything. That’s the target of the day – hard work, team effort and to give absolutely everything. We will go there to try to qualify, no matter how.”
Anyway, the press as always have a back up plan. If we do win, then they will once more turn on Mesut Özil telling us that he failed to “stamp his authority on a big game and answer the critics” [the children of the press] “who believe that he decorates rather than designs games.”
Mr Wenger of course would have none of it. “A player like Paul Scholes would have loved to play with Mesut Özil,” he said. “Özil has a point to prove and he knows that. We are all in a job where, in every single game, we have to prove a point. I believe he has the quality, he puts a lot of effort in to help the team and he works much harder than his style shows.
“Özil works very hard. Because he is fluent, easy and supple he does not look like he puts the effort in – but he does. I knew he had a good physical potential, but did not know how good he was physically. He has a huge physical potential.”
So the Man U injury list – fairly small because by and large they don’t play Man U and so don’t get kicked to death…
- Doubtful: Shaw (hamstring)
- Injured: Van Persie
- Banned: Evans the Spit
Mr Wenger said Wojciech Szczesny would start in goal if he recovers from a virus
Bellerin Mert Kos Gibbs
Ramsey Coquelin Santi Coz
Sanchez Giroud Ozil
And on the beach in the old Mancunian sunshine several of these…
Ooooooooooooospina, Chambers, Monreal, Rosicky, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gnabry, Welbeck, Walcott, Akpom
Our kicked and pushed without punishment list:
- Monreal (back),
- Szczesny? (virus – not a kick but I bet it is a red and white one)
- Wilshere (ankle, 14 Mar),
- Flamini (hamstring, 14 Mar),
- Gabriel (hamstring, 21 Mar),
- Arteta (calf/ankle, 18 Apr),
- Debuchy (shoulder following an unpunished push into the edge of the pitch , 18 Apr),
- Diaby (muscular, unknown)
So the odds and ends from the statistics department lead off with the fact that the last two times Arsenal have defeated Untidy in the FA Cup we won the Cup. 2003 and 2005. And after this game The Untidy have games against the Tiny Totts, the Liver poodles, the Aston Villa mob and the International Petroleum Investment Corporation so they might have a light degree of apprehension.
And as we approach the end, a few more stats…
- Arsenal and Manchester U have each played in 18 and each won 11 FA Cups.
- Arsenal have played Les Diables Presque Rouge 13 times in the Cup. They’ve won seven so it is our turn.
- Olivier Giroud has scored seven and assisted four goals in his 11 FA Cup appearances.
- This season Sanchez has 19 goals and Giroud 13. For Man U Rooney has 11 and RVP 10. And RVP is injured on £200k a week.
So to summarise the press’ view we are useless because of Monaco, but on a bit of a run, and defeat here will mean our season will be in ruins. And in saying that they won’t even get the irony.
If we win, as I hope and expect, then the FA Cup will be of no significance because the big stuff is being played out in the Premier League where our third place at present shows just how low we have dropped.
I know it makes no sense but that’s the media for you.
- What the media won’t tell you about football, part 4 – referee variations
- The final transfer rumours: 3 new names to make 66 players tipped for Arsenal
- What the media won’t tell you about football, part 3 – referee home bias
- The real live facts that the media won’t ever touch (part 2)
- Could this be the best PL season ever for Arsenal in terms of goals?