By Tony Attwood
I don’t claim to be a fount of all knowledge, but in publishing Untold Arsenal with its audience of 1 million page views a month I do feel the need to keep up. And when the Benzema story first broke I felt a certain amount of unease. I felt, surely this is wrong. Surely everyone knows…
So I went and checked, and yes, what I thought was true, turned out to be true.
But that made me think: hang on, if Untold, which doesn’t pay its writers, can find this out, why can’t the journalists?
And then a more worrying thought occurred. Maybe they have known all along, but have decided to keep quiet because the running of the endless rumours that Benzema was coming to Arsenal was in fact a way of hyping up their readership.
But as by then the story had been running wildly for a few days I began to wonder why. I mean, surely all these journalists working for top newspapers must be paid a fair amount of money to check the facts and get things right?
So is it actually true that in the world of football, none of the journalists in any of the English national press actually does check the facts? Or were they deliberately suppressing the facts about Benzema, and no one else bothered to check?
Neither thought is particularly comforting, any more than the big poster that currently resides in the Untold office: “If it is in the press, then you know it’s not true”.
In the end, I decided to wait and see if the press did reveal the facts, and if you follow Untold you will know that we have been reporting on what the blogettas and the press have been saying about Benzema through the articles by that old chum to the aristocracy, Sir Hardly Anyone.
The origin of my initial checking came when it struck me that no one really asks, “is Benzy better than Giroud?” I mean Mr Wenger has endlessly says he is not dealing for Benzema which suggests Mr W thinks Mr B isn’t the upgrade the media toddlers claim we need. And the press is endlessly talking up Benzy, but, as the poster notes, they are never correct. So could they be trying to sell us a pup rather than a Mercedes. [Mercedes – Benz – geddit?]
So I took a look at the stats – the stats that these journos must have access to, if little old Untold does.
Let’s consider Mr B’s goal scoring record against that of Giroud. In the following table I am only considering league goals in case anyone starts arguing that Charity Shield doesn’t count, or FA Cup goals are easier to score against little teams. I have marked Giroud in red for any reader who having followed the press thinks that we have already signed the other guy.
So yes we can see that Benzema has played three fewer games and scored two more league goals over a three year period. Does that make him that much better? A fraction, but enough to spend £40m on, given that it always takes these players a year to settle in.
Also if we are looking at percentages, in terms of goals per game, last season Benzema was WORSE than Giroud. 0.5185% for Giroud 0.5172 for Benzy. On that basis, by a whisker Benzy is a downgrade.
Although of course the “bring in a striker” campaign will run on and on, simply because it fills up column inches.
“Now is the time for Wenger to be truly bold,” is what I read in one paper – but that rather seems to bypass the fact that the player may not want to have to deal with the English press, the English weather, the English obsession with playing during Christmas, the English tax regime, or indeed as the above table shows not that much better than what we have got…
And all that is before the question of whether his current employers want him to go, and whether he would fit with the rest of the team.
So if you want to know why we have not bought Benzy, it is because as a goal scorer he is not any better than Giroud.
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