Arsenal: the atmosphere changes as the journalists wake up

By Tony Attwood

One of the things you can be sure of with football journalists is that they always behind the times.

If you’ve been reading Untold for a little while, you’ll have read so many stories where we have pointed out that the world doesn’t quite work in the way they say.  Things move on, and newspapers don’t.

But eventually they catch up, as with today’s story on the Guardian web site that says…

Wenger in better place for new season

So while those of us who pay attention have look in excitement at the evolving new team of Alexis and Ozil as the big money signings, of Wilshere and Ramsey, as players who we have seen develop over time, of Bellerin and Coquelin come up from the youth teams… now suddenly the press say, oh, maybe there is something about this Arsenal project after all.

Of course they have not yet quite got the notion of the fact that half our players can play in a multiplicity of positions, but they move at a slow place.  They’ve started to realise we have a decent team, and that’s quite a leap forward.

Of course I don’t know what the little blogettes will make of it, nor the Daily Telegraph, with the endless “Arsenal fans will be worried that…” – that annoying suggestion that they can tell us what we will be thinking tomorrow.

Because actually the chances are Arsenal fans – real Arsenal fans that is – won’t have too much to be worried about.   And as the Guardian said in its little piece today,  “Arsène Wenger was in a particularly upbeat and relaxed mood this week.”

Now admittedly what they talked about was the quality of the private airliner that Emirates Airlines put on, and how much better the Arsenal team hotel was this past week, than the team hotels arranged by the other clubs – or indeed available to anyone else.

But in between all that chit chat about where the players stayed, they acknowledged something that, in their sad, lumbering, out of touch way, the journalists are only starting to understand.

Arsenal actually has one hell of a squad.  Not to mention the best ground, the best travel facilities, the best tactical scouting system of its own, and some very very exciting young players still yet to make their mark.

As the Guardian article put it, “He is not assured of success in the 2015-16 season but Wenger is clearly in a better place now he has weathered the financial restrictions of building a new stadium.”  (See what I mean by how long it takes some of these journos to get the hang of what is going on.) “He no longer has to sell his best players and has an air of confident tranquillity brought about by the stability he has created around him.”

So, well, two years late on that one, but welcome nonetheless.

The article reaches the conclusion that “Arsenal do not need to spend as much as their rivals.”

And that is quite an interesting thought, for a newspaper.  On Untold we’ve talked a few times about how Liverpool and Tottenham are having to play catch up on the stadium front, and that although money is never an object for Chelsea, they are still playing in a converted old ground that had seen better days even before it was turned into a football stadium in 1905.

Of course, one of the troubles with getting it so wrong for so long, is that it is hard to let go of old ideas, and so the Guardian holds onto “while he may need a backup defensive midfielder”, which is only true in so far as there is the word “may” in the there.  He may, he may not.  Probably not.  Arsenal played the first match of the two in Singapore without one at all.

We are not going to get all the way there in one go, naturally, so the Guardian is not going to admit that Arsenal gets different treatment from other clubs under the ludicrously restrictive list of PGMO refs, but it does say, “Injuries have been Wenger’s curse in recent years,” without blaming the training methods, grass, lay of the land, magnetic north or anything else.

And then, “he has enough goals and creativity in Olivier Giroud, Theo Walcott, Danny Welbeck, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Santi Cazorla, Alexis Sánchez and even the teenager Chuba Akpom to worry every defence in the league.”

But what of all these transfers.  This is the transfer season after all.  All those funny little transfer spoof sites that Sir Hardly keeps an eye on.  What of them?

“Wenger might be keeping an eye on Karim Benzema’s situation at Real Madrid and could even have a Wenger-style surprise signing up his sleeve but he should not and will not lose any sleep if he does not get anyone else. The nightmare scenario would be if Manchester City suddenly bid £50m for Jack Wilshere or Walcott but that would now seem unlikely in this transfer window.”

And Arsenal of course don’t have to say “no.”   They can just shrug and ignore those other clubs who are scrabbling in the dirt, trying to find a player, any player, who can make them click,

These crazy transfer sagas drag on because everyone knows that ultimately the club with the player is in a weaker position than the club that wants the player.   If Chelsea bid for John Stones Everton are in the weaker position.  Chelsea have the money, they won a trophy last year, they are in the Champs League.   Most players would see the move as of interest.

But if someone offers £35m for Bellerin, will he go?   Why should he?  He’s got a first team place, a chance of a trophy as the club goes for three majors in three years, and the manager who brought him through when Barcelona wouldn’t.  (Which incidentally continues to help us pick up some very interesting young players who might have thought of Barcelona, but now begin to wonder.)

(“You can’t win anything with kids,” said a passing idiot once upon a time, and that surely wins the all time gibberish of football award.   Yes you can when they are like Bellerin.)

Apparently 1% of the population of Singapore turned up for the Arsenal swishing aside of Everton in the final match on Saturday morning.   In terms of England that would be the equivalent of over 500,000 in the stadium.

The best seats were around £100.  Thankfully when the pre-season tournament era moves on to the Emirates next weekend and thus the price is a lot, lot cheaper.    The only worry is that this is all being set up for a return of the idea that some of our home matches each season will be played outside of the UK.  Just like American football has been played at Wembley – and will soon be played at Tottenham.

But first they have to resolve the question of where they will play in the season when their ground is shut, and that, is turning into a slightly odd story.

More on that next time.


18 Replies to “Arsenal: the atmosphere changes as the journalists wake up”

  1. I believe that the F.A are suggesting a ground share at our place. I wonder if they will underwrite the damages.

  2. Yes it has taken the media an age to finally acknowledge the restrictions the manager faced for so long.

    I think the squad will be a bit different come 1st Sept with a few more leaving (Flamini the latest one linked out the door) and two faces.

  3. I will not be against Arsenal sharing their Emirates Stadium with their North London neighbours – Tottenham Hotspur. Arsenal can be their brothers keeper in the time of needs if their brothers formally asked Arsenal to Keep them. Of course there will be financial compensation to Arsenal for using their facilities. I believe if Spurs want to temporarily use the Emirates to play their home games, they will negotiate an amicable financial payments payable to Arsenal Holding Plc. I like Olivier Giroud’s magnanimous statement as he was quoted to has said, Arsenal can sign another striker if they want. I think Giroud’s statement had come as a result of his been disappointed for not scoring yesterday in the BAT final game against Everton FC at Singapore. And hitato, the Gooners have over descended on Giroud with heavy criticisms despite him scoring many goals for Arsenal as he came 1st & 2nd as the Gunners highest scorer in the last 2 seasons. I think Giroud got fedup with those undeserved railings on him. The heavy bearded Karim Benzema is being heavily linked with Arsenal summer transfer. But he may turned out to be a luxury signing if the Boss signed him. Because in my own thinking, the Arsenal’s quartet strikers of Olivier Giroud, Akpom, and to be approved as strikers, Walcott & Welbeck and including the wide playing Sanchez can quarantee Arsenal a minimum of 88 goals in all competitions next season in the following order: Giroud 20 goals, Walcott 20, Welbeck 20, Akpom 8 goals and Sanchez 25 goals again if they have an injury free season. And with a minimum of 52 goals believe by me will come from our midfielders and our defenders. Arsenal will truly be done next season as a minimum total of 140 goals could be scored by the Gunners which should be enough to for us to win fifthruple of Charity Shield, Capital One Cup, Barclays Premier League title, the FA Cup and the giant Champions League trophy.

  4. SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin.
    As long as we keep our goal mouth shut, for true. 🙂

    Spud to play at Emirates?
    I suppose if it must. At least Arsenal will get some money. Of course we really could charge them a lot, and they will go somewhere else.At least lock up the trophy cabinet, it’s better to be safe than sorry 🙂 .

    Journalists? a breed that is dying out and replaced by keyboard warriors.

  5. The Late comers are welcome, only that they have to sit at the back.

    On spurs: What effect would ground sharing with tiny tots have on our hallowed pitch? Will our ground-men still come tops in England?

    For me, everything shouldn’t be denominated in money.

  6. Seems like you’ve obviously missed the latest comments by Walcott then Tony?

  7. SimonRose77: As with all these matters there are endless comments supposedly by players, and often contradictory. The latest one I have seen is on the Independent’s web site with the headline

    Walcott wants to stay with ‘best Arsenal squad I’ve been involved in’

  8. Actually on Walcott I’ve just seen a similar story in the Telegraph

    Walcott wants to stay at ‘special’ Arsenal

    Doesn’t mean he will or won’t of course.

  9. I say no. If my vote had any weight ie, for Spurs playing at the emirates.

    With the number of games being played, That too in the busy periods of the season…..we dont want to be playing in the emirates fields do we.

  10. I think if we really want to improve our striking options this summer, then it’s got to come from the transfer market. I’m not convinced we’re going to do that, by the way, but I just don’t think Walcott is the player to add what we need in that position. I think he’s most effective from the right where he faces a real battle for his place with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and that’s the kind of healthy situation I’d be happy to see.

  11. Simonrose77, I think TWs suitability at CF depends entirely on the officials. If the opposition have lumbering lugs at CB who can only handle TWs speed by kicking him then the outcome is 100% down to the refs. Knowing how poor the refs have been, against some teams HFB would be the best option, whilst against some Danny W would be best option whilst TW would be best option against some others. 3 different problems for opposition CBs to plan for is more than most CBs can remember….

  12. I thought I would have a quick cup of coffee after breaking off from an early start at work this morning. Have a quick read of Untold I thought – this was a good read. Next up is Thierry Henry says Arsenal need 4 players! That made me laugh.

  13. With all our injuries and the players returning from winning the World Cup, we had a terrible start to the season.

    a)once the Germans had got there heads back on.

    b)The injuries had decreased.

    c)A couple of top quality players progressed to the first team.

    We matched Chelsea every step of the way to the end of the season. How does that equate to us needing 4 players?

    By the way, he said the ‘we need 4 players’ thing, before we got Cech, and one of the 4 he said was a keeper ! So in effect he’s now suggesting we needed FIVE players. For those that cant count, that’s nearly half a team. 😉

    Is he for real?

    Sad to say TH14 has turned in to a bit of a brat.

  14. Sticking with the ‘we need 4 players’ theme for a bit.

    I talk to a lot of people about football (much like all of us I would of thought) who support a myriad of teams right across the spectrum.

    Everyone agrees this season looks like being a real humdinger, what with all the signings at United, Liverpool and City.

    Most still think it will be either City or Chelsea. Understandable. Some Arsenal. The jury is still out on Liverpool and United. As everyone keeps saying. ‘It depends on how good the signings turn out to be’.

    Not once. I mean NOT A SINGLE PERSON has said, Arsenal can compete ‘as long as they buy 4 players’

    Once you get away from the media bullshit punters, of which Henry is now a fully signed up member, and talk to real fans, in the real World, they KNOW. They see what we all see. We have a magnificent squad.

    One last thing, as usual the most negative comments about Arsenal come from from Arsenal fans. Now there’s a surprise !

  15. One of the players let go a few weeks ago, was Josh Vickers. I believe he had been loaned out to Concord Rangers a number of times in the past, but nothing seemed to be happening there (their website was down). Well, Josh popped up in the news today, he is on trial at Swansea. I would imagine he knows Fabianski. Good luck Josh.

    I seen an article which had a picture of Alexis with his dogs, at Tocopilla, Chile. Many websites are set up such that if you don’t have javascript running, or are a “member”, you don’t see pictures, and this is one of those sites. So I was surprised when the picture was viewable.

    A spud seems to think that only spuds and liverppol can grant people relief from only have the big 4 in Champion’s League in 2016-17. I would have thought that Southampton, Everton and maybe even West Ham might beg to differ with that opinion.

    With every person in the sports medja with a pencil thinking they know more than any manager out there, it was interesting to see that a newspaper from South Carolina, USA is more expert at setting lineups than Wenger is.

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