Arsenal off the bottom of the league!

By Tony Attwood


Blueberries are good for you screams the headline, so people rush to supermarkets and buy blueberries.   Some idiot eats blueberries all the time, and in due course is rushed to hospital.   “Blueberry poison.” scream the headlines.

“No, blueberries are safe,” say “experts”.

“No,” say other experts, “they are in the list of fruits and vegetables with the highest content of pesticides is published by the Environmental Working Group.  “Don’t eat the blues.”   Blueberry shock as public told to lay off forbidden fruit.

Welcome to the one-dimensional universe in which everything is reduced to the simplest possible level.   It’s in education (“small classes will solve our problems”, “school uniform is the solution”, etc etc), it has been at the heart of our politics for centuries, it is what makes economic predictions as reliable as horoscopes, and of course it is in football.

Manchester United cannot be regarded as a big club if they sell David De Gea to Real Madrid

So pronounces the Telegraph today.  As if one sale means everything.   What I could say is “Telegraph writers are total morons,” in response to that headline, but of course I’d be doing the same thing as I am complaining about.  Reducing everything to simplicity when in fact it is complex.

Sometimes one player, no matter how gifted, just can’t be made to fit in with the rest of the team, and in football individual brilliance has to be combined with the format and style of the team.   But no, that is two concepts.  Too much.  I hear an editor shouting.  “Too complex for our readers. Keep it simple stupid”.  Which means of course, “Keep it stupidly simple”.

Chelsea have have won just three of their last 11 matches since winning the title

That’s the Independent today.  It is a “fact” in as much as it is statistically true, but does it mean anything?   Probably not.  Did the fact that after Sunday’s games Arsenal were bottom of the league actually matter?  If it did there should be dancing in the streets of N5 this morning because WBA is now bottom.

After Sunday’s game the word went around that Arsenal have never won the league after losing the on matchday one at home.  As far as  know that is true.  But Arsenal have won the league after losing their first home match of the season (1989 under George Graham).  And besides Arsenal lose the first home match of the season so rarely, and win the league so rarely that to turn this into stats is meaningless.

Arsenal have won the league 13 times in 110 attempts, and have lost the opening match of the season, at home, around 8 times (sorry I lost count towards the end), so on averages alone it is highly unlikely that the two factors would coincide.

Reality is complex, but the media is fuelled by simple folk who demean their readership by treating them like idiots, so everything is reduced to individual items.

‘It’s Szczesny in a hat’ says the Independent today.   How odd that when they were saying that Cech was a major signing for us they didn’t point that out.  And he did ok against Chelsea.  And Szczesny wasn’t bad.   (Actually to break off, there was one lovely shout when Cech took his first goal kick of the season.   OooooooooooooCech.  Well, it made me smile.)

Of all papers, however, it is The Metro that captured the moment particularly well with “Arsenal lose to West Ham in first game of the season, ‘#WengerOut’ starts trending on Twitter” and that is about right as a summary of where we have got to.   One event, and the world changes, although the aaa moaners who were rather quiet during the Cup Final and pre-season now claim they were here all along.

Let me try another example.  Yesterday we published the most comprehensive review of a referee’s performance I have ever seen.   Of course one could take issue with items within it – because one can take issue with anything, but to write as one person did “What complete bollox” as their entire contribution to the debate, reveals just where we are.  In a land where any analysis that lasts more than half of one sentence is considered gibberish.  “Too clever by half,” as it used to be called, by those without enough brain to put two sentences together.   “Clever clever stuff” was the phrase preferred by those for who the four words of “too clever by half” was a bit too much to handle.

So today we have “Van Gaal is destroying Man Utd!”  as a headline in the Daily Express.  Maybe it is true, but there’s no real explanation.

(On the other hand, the occasional juxtaposition that results from this desire to make one sentence all you need can be amusing.  Try this one: “Liverpool flop Mario Balotelli’s career could be over – West Ham favourite”.  That’s also in the Express.

Even people previously in the game who should know better get sucked into it.  “Former Arsenal boss: Lack of leadership led to West Ham defeat” is apparently what George Graham said to the Express, while I suppose he was also contemplating the fact that he was responsible for the one win in 11 games in 1987, the league cup final defeat to Luton Town, losing the first home match of the season in 1988, having two points deducted for the kerfuffle at Man U in 1990, coming 10th in 1993 with the lowest number of league goals scored in the league (40 in 42 games), and being sacked for taking a back hander.

The fact is that George Graham was a great manager who rebuilt the club after it has fallen into decline and brought a whole string of trophies, but if we go round taking individual moments and giving simplistic individual explanations for complex occurrences, this is what we get.  We lost the cup final to Luton Town, Graham Out!

And yet despite all the evidence that you can’t draw any conclusions from simplistic observation we have the Standard shouting Arsenal’s woeful start reflects badly on Wenger

Better said would be, “Reducing football to one line explanations reflects badly on journalists and editors.”

So it goes on…

and sometimes it gets just plain daft…

Tottenham take down famous White Hart Lane to build new stadium (Daily Mail)

And just occasionally, a bit of sense.   “I can’t remember the last time Arsenal went into a season with so much positivity surrounding them. The West Ham defeat was bad, but there is no need to panic.”  Martin Keown reported in the Mail.  Always loved you as a player Martin, and seems like you are a bastion of sense in a world gone bonkers.

When a journalist talks sense it should be renamed: Doing a Keown.

But that is an isolated incident, and I am quite surprised Martin is managing to hold down is job as a reporter, being as reasoned as that.   But as soon as we move on there are more one liners.  All of this is from the Metro, all of it on their web site this morning.

  • Arsenal set for crunch talks with key transfer target – fans desperate for deal
  • Arsenal ‘ready to sign incredible £55m global superstar as alternative to Benzema deal’
  • ‘We don’t miss him!’ Chelsea’s Mourinho claims Blues are not missing Arsenal’s Cech
  • Big! Arsenal ‘ready to complete major transfer after he demands move’
  • Huge! Arsenal ‘ready to sign world-class star after crunch talks’ (not Benzema)
  • Arsenal transfer news: Karim Benzema medical, Lucas Silva move, Julian Draxler and Mario Gotze deals
  • Arsenal fan Claude orders Arsene Wenger to seal Karim Benzema transfer or resign

And then, just to disprove my entire thesis, tucked away near the foot of one article they conclude

After a defeat like this people will start screaming for new signings. That isn’t the problem. The problem, as it has been for as long as I can remember, is all in the heads of the players.

If only the writer could have told us more.  The social psychology of a football team.  You read it first in the Metro.

Today’s tales of two goalkeepers

11 August 1977: Jimmy Rimmer sold to Villa.  He had been displaced in goal at Arsenal by Pat Jennings one year later and stayed at Aston Villa until 1983 playing 229 games, and winning the league in 1981 and European Cup in 1982.

11 August 1977: Arsenal bought Pat Jennings.  He had played 472 games for Tottenham, and went on to play 273 for Arsenal before returning to Tottenham once more in 1985.


32 Replies to “Arsenal off the bottom of the league!”

  1. I have heard it reported that at this year’s annual world brain sale , the highest bid was for that of a football journo’s . Apparently burying it in the sand keeps it pristine ,and almost just like new !
    I’m sure many would disagree with me ,and claim that the respective brains of the heads of their countries/ corporations/companies ,would fetch a higher price as they never seem to use them !

  2. Alligator Allegory:
    The objective of all dedicated product support employees should be to thoroughly analyze all situations, anticipate all problems prior to their occurrence, have answers for these problems, and move swiftly to solve these problems when called upon.
    However, when you are up to your ass in alligators, it is difficult to remind yourself that your initial objective was to drain the swamp.

  3. Thanks Tony,Graham out! gave me a good laugh. An enjoyable article in a world that does indeed seem looney.

  4. The Boss has got to sort out whatever be the problem in the Gunners team that led to Arsenal dropping all the 3 points at stake at the Emirates Stadium, in the much anticipated League season opening game to West Ham Utd last Sunday. In all honesty, the Gunners were not expected to be at the receiving end of that match if we are to compare the managerial experience of the Boss and the market value of the Gunners and the Hammers on the field of play last Sunday. The Boss managerial experience outstripped that of Selven Bilic 5 times. And the Gunners market value outstripped that of the Hammers value by 5 times too by my own estimation. If so, why have we lost then? Something must have been the matter which the Boss must holistically looked at and addressed it before taking his Gunners to Selhurst Park to engage the Eagles there. Whatever is the Surd that was in the Gunners team that made us lost to the Hammers, the Boss should please first remove it before taking his selected Gunners to Selhurst Park. In this wise, let Rhinosacker be quite and stop given advance warning to Crystal Palace be ready for the Gunners onslaught of going to use the Eagles as a launching pad to bounce back by pouncing on them to move up in the League table. Rhino’ should be aware that Alan Padew and his Eagles won’t be lying down cheaply for the Gunners to pounce on them. They may decide to fly higher (park the bus). The Gunners will only take all the 3 points at stake in that Premier League encounter by share prevailing dominance over the Eagles in all aspects of the game on Sunday and not by mere talking big.

  5. Wow, let’s celebrate. The fact that we have a team on the verge of being title contenders with a tweak here and a quality addition or two there and we are good to go. However Wenger for some in comprehensive reasons refuses to acknowledge our glaring weaknesses, refuses to address our shortcomings and refuses to touch the pile of money sitting in the bank. Yes this may be only be the first game of the season but we have been through so many false dawns in the past we know what’s going to happen for the next nine months. Title challenge over by March and a 3rd or 4th place finish plus possibly a good domestic cup run if we get the luck of the draw. It is so predictable. If you are not up to the task Wenger get out of the club.

  6. One man’s crazy is another man’s sense. Who said that?

    “And just occasionally, a bit of sense. “I can’t remember the last time Arsenal went into a season with so much positivity surrounding them. The West Ham defeat was bad, but there is no need to panic.” Martin Keown ”

    This may seem to be sense at first glance, but is it?
    Yes we have a lot of positivity at start of this season. TRUE
    The WH defeat was bad. TRUE
    But there is no need to panic. FALSE

    See, if the defeat does not make one panic, this is why it happens again and again.
    Reasons need to be found by the team and AW why it happened, and does happen recurrently.
    This is the only way to prevent it happening again.

    The only way to prepare against defeat is to prepare.
    Arsenal did not prepare, for what ever reason, that is crystal clear.

    After the “panic” comes analysis of what caused the defeat, SO that it does not happen again, at least not in that form.

    This is the reason we have emotions, they let us know things and help us to react in the right(or sometimes wrong) way.

    The reason i say this, is because this is not the first time, and for anyone to repeat a mistake many times is just plain stupidity, is it not?

    So as much as i am not resigning the PL trophy just yet, i know we cannot just ignore the defeat because it is in the past now. It needs to be (if only) a reminder of what can happen when one is not FOCUSED going into a game.

    Sometime ago i wrote, Arsenal will need to be focused on the PL title if this is what they want, else it will elude them again. NO one can blame you if you are focused and give your all, but to think it will just fall into your lap is not reality.

    BUT, after all that, it is good to get that KICK up the ARSE(nal) right now at the start.
    Now we can go on FOCUSED in each game. Everything else besides the will to win the game needs to be forgotten when one steps on the pitch.

    I know this from doing the high jump (Meter 1.97 my best), you have to go into a zone where there is just you and the bar, and you want to fly over it. A little different for the players but you get what i mean.


  7. Love the daily light relief of Samuels comments. Couple of points today Sam.

    Surd? (do you mean turd?).
    Rhinosacker? Do you mean Per has the turning circle of a rhino?

    Keep ’em coming.

  8. Para

    “But there is no need to panic.FALSE”
    Well, I don’t know when the correct time to panic should be, but on Sunday it was with 21 minutes of the match left, when Sanchez came on.

  9. After reading my regular five Arsenal blogs since ( and including ) Sunday, it’s obvious that most of the articles are very sympathetic ( the comments sections are a different matter though ), but one that particularly caught my attention was today’s A Cultured Left Foot which makes the very valid point that Sunday was a continuation of May’s form when we only achieved one win and two draws in four matches. The FA cup win glossed over that poor form and pre season’s excellence only lead us to an inflated optimism.
    We have a difficult game this weekend, one we could have easily lost last time we played there, so it’s going to be difficult, but still a game we should win to restore confidence.

  10. @TailGunner
    August 11, 2015 at 10:37 am

    I tend to agree with you in that “inflated optimism” is much like a syndrome instilled into fans NOT ONLY Gunners…by hope generated by the usual culprits…we must all LEARN to be much subjective and OBJECTIVE about the teams we support…be less expecting!!!

    Expect less and be happy when you get more!!

  11. To the contrary; expect more and get less = disappointment in various degrees 🙂 look after your stress levels!!!! 🙂 🙂

  12. @SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin
    I really find it hard to comprehend your limited level of reasoning. It is almost as if you don’t have a grasp of reality

  13. TailGunner

    First time was at half time. Asking questions of the team and of yourself(AW).
    Second time was after the match until the first training day after the match.
    Then analyse WHY and do something about it.

    What makes this defeat, and all the other similar defeats is the SIMILARITY in the defeats AND the fact that we KNOW that Arsenal is and can play so much better than that. The fact that we mostly lose in this way is alarming, and also that we have not yet sorted out why and how to combat it.

    When we lose and have given our all, played well, then one does not feel this way, it is when this repetitive way that we lose happens again and again that causes concern.

  14. WHo let the whingers out again. WHen we are winning, they keep quiet, the moment, a game lost, they all become experts and managers coming out with how the team should, could have line up. FFS just bloody the support the team at their lowest, and the players will rise up to the task. You could see the players were hurting, and they want it so bad, it just didnt work out on the day for them, not for lack of trying and commitments.

  15. Omsin the legend

    When we lose people are depressed, when we win they’re more positive.
    It was never any different.

  16. And we shouldn’t forget that we have both Welbeck and (in a few weeks) Wilshire to come back from injury which is just like two new signings- both England internationals.

  17. @ Jamie 09:43

    “However Wenger for some in comprehensive reasons refuses to acknowledge our glaring weaknesses”…….assuming you mean “incomprehensible reason” let’s clear this up.

    Go on , tell us what your professional experience, knowledge and expertise is it that makes you better at this than AW. What exactly are these glaring weaknesses and how would a world renowned expert like yourself rectify them?

    The ‘Bloke-in-a-pub’ mentality strikes again…………..

  18. I blame Arsene, he needs to stop what cost us the game on Sunday… Mistakes! Only joking, we reacted very badly in two situations and it cost us the game, a mistake is a mistake, and the nature of a mistake is that it could happen to anyone at anytime…

  19. i’ve been saying for 2 years, you shouldn’t pick Ozil, Cazorla and Ramsey in the same team & its so blindingly obvious to everyone except Mr Wenger …. until we pick a balanced team with ‘real’ desire & with a proven striker we’ll beat most teams but will come up short in the end (just like we have for the last 10 years) ….. with the players at our disposal 4-4-2 might be worth a punt … Walcott & Welbeck up front, Alexis & The Ox out wide, Coquelin and Ramsey (Or Wilshere when fit) in the middle ….. Ozil & Cazorla on the bench …. and its time to give Gabriel a go instead of the BFG

  20. Same old crap when you point the bltant obvious to the apologists …’Go and support chelsea’ – ‘why don’t you become Wenger for a day’.
    My simple reply is we are paying the man a fortune to win the fa cups? Go and read arseblog who is also pro wenger and read today’s article where he has hit the nail on the head.

    What I think is most worrying about this defeat, is the pre match/season rhetoric from the team and the manager. It was all, “this season is different, we have the belief and its time to deliver”, I have no doubt that the team spirit is the best its ever been, but getting on with each other personally doesn’t mean that a winning spirit has been forged. Cech was culpable for both goals, but the defending was shocking and Mert & kos have no excuses, they are both experienced defenders. I got given a free tix at Club level (which is underwhelming at best, when you are surrounded by rich foreign business men who cant pronounce the players names properly) and I was so glad I didn’t pay to watch that disgrace. Yes it’s one game, and we are only a point behind the only team we need to really worry about, but if they cannot lift themselves then something is seriously wrong. Why did Wenger play Ramsey next to Coq when Santi was so adept last season? Why wont someone tell Coq to stop playing Hollywood passes that are beyond his ability, how many balls went out of play yesterday? It was shameful! And its now put us under pressure to beat a good palace team and Brenda’s delusional! West Ham were good, but not as outstanding as they have been lauded, they were just tough to break down, and with 1 winger playing we were never going to pick that lock, I was embarrassed how no one stood up and tried to take the game by the scruff of the neck, the Ox was the best of a bad bunch. We better see a reaction at Palace!

  21. Let’s look at West Ham’s ‘competitive’ start to the season that clearly gave them an edge over us. First up that powerhouse Lusitanos, who play in the well renowned Andorra league. This bunch of misfits aren’t even the champions of Andorra, but the runners up! A real tough challenge there. Somehow, West Ham saw these off, and up next was a tougher proposition as Birkirkara came to town. Not to be confused with Birkenhead, who would have been a tougher proposition, this motley crüe play their amateur football in the Maltese league, and finished third last year. Actually, penalties were required, which I think just shows how seriously Bilic was taking this ‘competitive’ start. Finally, those European giants Astra Giurgiu from Romania completed this rigorous pre season for West Ham. Now if Arsenal had played 6 games against this rabble, and West Ham had played Chelsea, Everton and the French runners up. I think we’d be saying we’ve had a sh!t preparation, playing against dross with no real test. As Ron has pointed out, everyone was creaming themselves with the pre season performances, and we were ‘good to go’.

    As the actress said to the bishop, you couldn’t make this sh!t up, but Para still does! –

  22. Ah Jamie…..we know your view is that Arsenal are only as good as their worst game, so give it a break. Cech had a weak game and the team was clearly off form but if you take the time from your bitching, to listen to Adrian Clarke on the, you might actually find out what a professional analysis is all about.
    By the way, you might want to consider relearning syntax,grammar and particularly your spelling but that’s up to you!

  23. @omgarsenal – Intelligent reply! Care to elaborate on why we lost the game? Or, why is the 7million man calling it a ‘accident’? or was it because our overpaid stars didn’t want to upset their hairstyles? Shown by a 16 year old in the middle of the park says it all.

  24. @Jaimie

    You’re entitled to your opinions. I just don’t subscribe to them. I was going to write a long reply. I deleted it.

    All to often the moaners and groaners go quiet and keep quiet whilst we are winning, and no doubt were celebrating like crazy when we won back to back cups but one bad result and they let rip. That really ticks me off.

  25. It’s always the same. We lose one match and a whole load of strange names appear in the columns of debate. It makes you realise how good we were for months last season when this didn’t happen.

    Onward and upward, the Gunners!

  26. Jamie,

    You’re the Le Groaner that’s stirring the pot, so before asking anyone for a professional opinion you should be the one that backs his assertions with evidence. You didn’t do that ever since you started commenting, so you have a big debt to fill.

  27. TailGunner,

    People often seem to confuse disappointment with depression. It’s normal to be disappointed that we lost a match that we could and should have won, but getting depressed about it is a totally different matter. Depression is not a momentary feeling, it’s something that gets instated over time, and it’s usually a sign that something’s going wrong in one’s life. Professional help is highly recommended. Careful about the psychologist though, a Cheatski fan will be no good, and a Totts fan will be useless;)

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