Memo from editor: It’s the Euros. Make sure you knock Arsenal and its fans at every turn

By Tony Attwood

If you occasionally read my ramblings on Untold you might know that I get just a little fed up with what journalists say about Arsenal, Arsenal management, Arsenal players, and Arsenal fans.

Everyone can have an opinion of course, but when there is nothing but opinion and not a single back up fact or analysis in sight, it becomes more than tedious.  And I start to wonder why journalists do this.  Why knock Arsenal and Arsenal players and Arsenal management and Arsenal fans over and over and over again, all the time?

Why go on and on and on and on and… well, you know, on the same subject.  Of course you could say that to me about why I write so much about the press, but at least I will have the decency to tell you – it is because there is evidence that they, along with radio and TV, define how football is seen by millions who are not as lucky as I am to have a season ticket, and indeed a front row seat, to watch all Arsenal home games.

Take this in today’s Guardian.  It is by Owen Gibson, the Guardian’s chief sports correspondent and it was written in the aftermath of the France Romania game…

Giroud, in his final league game of the season against Aston Villa, was barracked and booed by the Emirates crowd yet scored a hat-trick. He scored in the victory over Bayern Munich yet ended the season with Arsène Wenger desperately crossing his fingers that Jamie Vardy says yes to a move.

Is there the slightest shred of evidence that Arsène Wenger desperately crossing his fingers that Jamie Vardy says yes to a move?  If there is, I have never seen nor heard it.  I have indications that there are several new players being lined up, but “desperately crossing his fingers…” is not much of a way of running at £345m business.  It suggests gross incompetence, and if that is the view, let’s have some evidence.

It is in fact denigrating to the man who in the last couple of years brought through Iwobi, Coquelin and Bellerin, and who secured the services in recent years of Alexis and Ozil, and who managed to pluck Elneny from his former club at what now seems the most ludicrously cheap price.  It is in fact insulting, and an apology would not go amiss.

But why would the top dog in Guardian sport write like this?  We came second and scored just three goals fewer than the champions.  If such a result has you desperately crossing fingers, then it suggests you are not much of a strategist and have your faith in old ritualistic gestures.

Now I was at that game against Villa, of course, and I can tell you from my seat at the front of the Upper East I could hear no barracking at all.  None.   Now the Guardian’s review of that game was written not by Owen Gibson but by David Hytner, who said in passing, “Olivier Giroud was barracked by sections of the home crowd”.

I didn’t hear or see any of that but if it were true then at least Hyter said “sections of the home crowd”.  What sections and how big they were we are not told.  This has now transmuted into “ was barracked and booed by the Emirates crowd”.    Not a section, but the whole crowd.

What I noticed about that game was the relief at Giroud’s first goal, and then nothing but shouting, dancing and excitement as Newcastle started their demolition of Tottenham, which of course many were following on their phones.   Believe me, even in the refined quarters of the upper East, it was mayhem.   I was having to shout to my neighbours to make myself heard.   Yes, there were the odd quiet moments in the first half, but I heard no booing.

“Sections of the crowd” can of course be half a dozen, or maybe the 100 or so people who have turned up with Wegner out banners.  The fraction of one percent of the crowd – not the 10% that the Independent invented in its review of the match with the Wenger Out protest.

So why make this stuff up?  Why change the report of the game by the man who was there, and twist it into something else?

At least the Guardian admits the Giroud did score 24 goals last season, so I suppose we should give the Guardian’s chief sports correspondent a pat on the back for that reality amidst his strange fantasy world.

To be fair there is even a grudging acceptance in the article of the value of Giroud…

With Giroud, who has scored seven goals in his past seven games for his country, it is as if the normal order is inverted. Deschamps possesses so many lightning-quick, fleet-footed attacking players that it is the old-fashioned striker who provides something different. For all his talents, and leaving aside the fact that his absence over the convoluted Mathieu Valbuena sex tape affair had little to do with football, Benzema arguably offers more of the same, whereas Giroud is able to give his team-mates someone to play off.

Now there is a lot of strange writing there.  Benzema could get up to five years in jail over accusations that he encouraged Valbuena of Lyon to pay blackmailers.  To reduce the case to a “convoluted sex tape affair” is to do justice to no one and nothing.  To say it has little to do with football is only right in one technical sense.  In terms of who represents a country it has everything to do with football.  Where do you draw the line with people representing a nation?  Could an extortioner, a thief, a blackmailer, a con artist…  well I suppose in an era when the Guardian like other newspapers gets all excited by the world cup, refuses to blame the FA for financing Fifa with tax payers money (a significant amount of the FA’s cash being a government grant), while hardly covering the latest outrageous allegations about the new incumbent, yes I suppose that is what you expect.

There are moments of grudging acknowledgement of Giroud in the report, such as

Perhaps his finest quality, alongside his eye for goal, is simply his propensity to keep going. As the second half wore on and France started to live dangerously it was Giroud who continued to plough a lonely furrow and lead the line, finally getting his reward.

At the end Giroud is perceived as a man who “bitterly divides opinion” but there is no sense of this in the hatchet job on Giroud the player.  The only thing that is bitter is the writer, who to be fair, mentions the seven goals in seven but doesn’t expand on that point.  Most countries would love a player who could score seven in seven.

The linking of Giroud with the wild and unsubstantiated allegations about the crowd’s actions in the Villa game, when if there were to be a criticism of the crowd en masse it would be that when Newcastle were 2-1 up and Arsenal 1-0 up there was near silence in the crowd as we all clung to our seats unable to believe that it would happen again.

What we should also have realised is that “it happened again” is also a good way to portray how journalists generally write about football.  They take an entrenched idea, and sweeping aside all evidence  run it again and again and again.

Here are Giroud’s figures – and do remember, having the league’s top scorer in the team most of the time does not guarantee coming top of the league.

Season League FA Cup Champions League
Games Goals Games Goals Games Goals
2012–13 34 11 4 2 7 2
2013–14 36 16 5 3 9 3
2014–15 27 14 5 3 3 1
2015–16 38 16 5 3 8 5

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32 Replies to “Memo from editor: It’s the Euros. Make sure you knock Arsenal and its fans at every turn”

  1. It’s because all journalists are arseholes..and the only thing that comes out of arseholes is shit..
    The End…..

  2. Think some of the press, like a few of our so called fans are still sore at the demolition of Tottenham.
    Giroud is a fine player. He suffers comparisons with completely different players past and present, and some chose to ignore his qualities for whatever reason. If anyone wants to compare him with the likes of Vardy, you have to first take away the latters PGMOL gifted penalties, and see how figures stack up. That’s why we can be very relaxed about the Vardy situation. Not saying we don’t need backup for Giroud, we do, but he has served his club ….and his country extremely well.

  3. Great article, Tony.

    I read the BBC blow by blow report of the England match yesterday. From the start Thierry Henry was knocking Giroud for failing to score. Early on Paul Pogba was the pundits’ favourite. By the end it was Dmitri Payet who had won the match on his own. No consideration of the other ten players on the pitch. Laurent Koscielny was part of a defence that only conceded a penalty (given away by Evra).

    There is no sense, no objectivity in this kind of reporting. At least in the days of radio the reporters were so busy telling us what was happening they didn’t have time to chatter about their current obsessions.

  4. I feel sorry for Giroud as if he played for any other club he would be rated highly in the media & not get the abuse from them he gets now. He is not the reason Arsenal have failed to win the Premier League. He is a selfless team player & if we played with more width & crossed the ball frequently he would score more goals. His ratio is decent anyway. In my view we should sign a different type striker but to supplement & play off Giroud & as another flexible option.
    When in Wenger’s early years we were winning the league, it was difficult for the media to have a dig at Arsenal so they droned on about the ‘red card’s’ count when looking behind the stats Arsenal were not a dirty team. The ludicrous red cards Vieira received for trying to swat away (NOT elbow) players dragging him back was just one example of the absurdity. We are Arsenal & the media die is cast. If Vardy does sign for Arsenal, we shall see how quickly he becomes an ‘insidious diving cheat’ having of course been nothing like so previously.

  5. The numbers show that Giroud has been putting in decent numbers in terms of goals and a decent shift every game ever since his arrival at the Emirates. To be able to score for country and be booed by their national fans simply because they want Benzema, a turd who blackmailed his own national team mate just shows their class. Journalists, football pundits, tv presenters the whole bloody lot pick on The Arsenal for one thing, WE ARE THE INVINCIBLES and no matter which other club they support. They will never be able to do it. A team at the start of the 20th century did it. We did it at the start of the 21st century. Probability says they need to wait until the next to see it happen. And it may have happened 12 years ago. It’s still bugging the whole lot of them. What other reason can they have?

  6. Giroud is a 12-million-pound striker who plays like a 20-million-pound one. That’s one of the million reasons why booing him is beyond stupid.

    Still, he is not good enough to lead Arsenal attack to the league title (unless we get Ronaldo to play on the left wing with Alexis on the right but I highly doubt we can get Ronaldo). He enters the barren spell every season and it coincides with the end of our title challenge. Failing to find the net in six out of seven games between 2nd February and 22rd March, seven matches without a goal at the end of 2014-15, fifteen games without a goal in 2015-16 during the period where we effectively lost the title race (third quarter of the season).

    We could argue that none of those dry spells was entirely Giroud’s fault as his team-mates from the attack and midfield were either injured or out of form themselves but that makes the difference between the world-class forward (Alexis Sánchez) and a very good one (Giroud). We haven’t been playing spectacular football in the last ten league matches but thanks to Alexis we lost none of it and climbed all the way to second place.

  7. It was Arsenal 1-1 West Ham. And France 2-1 Romania at the Stade de France yesterday night.

    I had predicted a 1-1 final scoreline for the match on the BBC Euro 2016 football Predictor game. But Dmitri Payet’s 88′ minutes plus tailored bending shot to the top corner right of the Romanian goal post that is reminiscent of his deft free kicks at West Ham, left me losing my predicted drawn match.

    I think Mr David Ayter of the Guardian newspaper was emboldened to write all the anti-Arsenal writeup he had written in the Guardian because, in his thinking and in some other minds too, Arsenal are far above to finished 2nd in the last Premier League table to Leicester who finished 1st.

  8. I have long since given up trying to fathom why they hate Arsenal so, but the last thought i had on that matter was, that Arsenal prefers to go their own way and they want Arsenal to follow the rest of the multi rich clubs.

  9. I heard the Giroud boo’s while watching the game on TV but never mind that. Wenger’s last interview regarding Giroud was pretty telling I’ve never heard him really slate any of his players but he went on to say something on the lines of “Giroud is strange he can go on scoring sprees and then not score for ages” this was the most critical he’s ever been publically about one his players which speaks volumes. We’re clearly looking for another striker and it’s being hidden by Welbeck’s injury concern.

  10. According to the media….

    Benzema is world class
    International goals 27 in 81 appearances (1 per 3 games)

    Giroud is crap
    International goals 18 in 50 appearances (1 goal per 2.77 games)

  11. Just like Giroud last night, Wilshere is beginning to give me cause for concern. Not because he is injury prone or not good enough but that he js been set up y the press and ‘pundits’ alike for a fall.

    He is currently been championed as the man to save England against Russia and ultimately win them the Euros. Evidently, it goes to show who will eventually shoulder the blame in the case of England not winning the Euros.

    Funny enough, it is same section of press that say he is not good enough to be in the team having just returned from injury. They jury is already out and we shall see the outcome.

    Latest Euro 2016 Stories RSS feed
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    Roy Hodgson believes Jack Wilshere holds the key for England as they prepare to take on
    Russia in their first Euro 2016 match

  12. In the MOTD coverage they showed multiple replays of Giroud defending from corners and NOT ONE REPLAY of Evra’s foul for the pen. You’ve got to laugh at them.

    It’s almost s they seek to smear the club that doesn’t propagate their own philosophy or religion of debt peonage at every opportunity.

    Further: These same plundits would’ve been telling the England manager to include Carroll in his squad. “Get it wide and in into the mixer” for Martial to head in? Bloomin’ hilarious.

    France’s only propblem is that they are spoilt for choice in midfield, and their manager is safety first (Payet will only play in the centre as he gets more and more desperate).

  13. I agree Tony, it’s amazing how poorly Giroud is constantly portrayed by the media for no reason.

    @Josif, have you taken the time to actually analyze the 15 matches without a goal the media screams out every chance they get?

    In 6 of those matches, Giroud was a sub (Crystal Palace, West Ham, Watford, Everton, United, Tottenham), entering only after the 63 minute at the earliest.

    In 1 match he was subbed off at minute 21 (due to Mertesacker red card vs Chelsea).

    In the other 8 matches where he started, he had 3 assists.

    All of the players (except Aguero) that scored more goals than Giroud played at least 700 more minutes than Giroud.

    Wayne Rooney played only 21 minutes less than Giroud and only scored half as many goals (8), yet he gets no criticism and is England’s fearless leader.

    So yes the 15 matches without a goal in the league is overblown.

  14. @Jerry

    Did I mention Rooney or imply he is a world-class striker we need? That says a lot about the media but doesn’t serve as a proof Giroud is good enough to lead Arsenal to the league title.

    Has any other striker (Kane, Aguero, Lukaku, Vardy) who outscored Giroud played with an assist machine that is Mesut Ozil?

    I would like to see Giroud at Arsenal next season but only as a back-up striker. After all, our best football in 2015-16 was played when Giroud was a super-sub (Leicester away, Stoke, Bayern and United at home).

  15. The commentators on ITV last night were just as terrible. It was unbelievable, they just couldn’t mention Giroud without finding a negative to go along with it. Complete muppets. As for thierry the less said the better, a modern day version of judas. I wonder what the punishment is, for knocking a statue down, in the eyes of the law. Jokes, but I’ve since lost my respect for him and I just lump him together with the rest of the likes of savage, owen, etc. A shame really as he could have been a living legend. Well at least for me he isn’t anymore.

    Think the commentary on ITV said Giroud has scored 8 in 6 now for France? Anyway, that don’t matter, what matters is he’s on fire. I said before the start of this cup I had a feeling Giroud was going to have a good tournament, and I hope he carries on this form and force these idiots to eat their words. One more Arsenal player, apart from Giroud and Jack, they’re keenly waiting to knock down at the slightest hint of a performance below his high standards is Ozil. Tossers.

  16. Also, consider how many goals Giroud would score, if he was awarded the numerous penalties which are denied when he is fouled in the box. Even last night, he had a case for a foul by a Romanian defender, ignored by the ref as well as the ITV commentary.

  17. by the looks of it we seem to have got ourselves a very good player in Xhaka. can’t wait to see him partner Cazorla in the midfield

  18. @Josif,

    The comparison of Rooney to Giroud was to highlight the different media treatment of both players.

    In regards to an assist machine for the other strikers, outside of Lukaku, all of the other strikers had quality players providing assists (IMO not as good as Özil) including:

    Aguero had Silva, Kane had Eriksen and Alli, while Vardy had PFA Player of the Year Riyad Mahrez. Lukaku had only 2 more goals than Giroud, while playing 700+ more minutes and starting 10 more matches.

    Vardy (5), Kane (5), and Aguero (4) have scored more penalties than Arsenal were awarded all season (2)!

    In my opinion, comparing minutes played and goals, the only striker that is outright superior in open play was Aguero. In my opinion, Kane is young and still developing into that world class category and will get there. He played 1000 more minutes than Aguero, but only scored 1 more goal.

    If Arsenal signed a 28 year old striker that scored 5 goals in 34 EPL appearances last season and 16 goals in the Championship 2 seasons ago, would you consider that striker world class? Probably not and you would have missed out on Jamie Vardy in 2015/16.

    Outside of Vardy, all the other world class strikers finished below Arsenal.

    I am not saying Arsenal does not need another striker as well, but there is no reason to consistently put down the quality hard working players we already have in our team. The media was trying to do the same to our world class player Özil until the end of the 2015 season.

  19. Ozil? E’s stealin’ a livin’!

    Wrote a uncredible hack who is paid to write gibberish by his Master.
    Yet a few people are still prepared to pay these kind of hacks to come to fan groups (paid for and helped set up by the club) in order to tell them what to say. Eh?

  20. Half of the St. Totteringham’s Day on the field. I fear for the result 🙂

  21. the media are free to say whatever the like nd there is nothing we can do because it’s a free meal to bash arsenal of. so I as a person is also free to say giroud is the best striker for arsenal. just when Liverpool signed klop all the papers went to over drive nd declare him the saviour but just months latter it’s rebuilding that klop came for nd throwing into the dust bin is the fact that he was beaten twice in the final,just imagine that been Wenger. man utd season was a success nd media are abusing the board for sacking LVG coz he won the fa cup,the same cup Wenger won twice in a row nd was said to be a failure. Nobody talked about how Wenger was able to win most all the big matches last season but was barraged for not doing so previous seasons. I can go on nd on nd on about so many issue in the last season that Wenger had been accused of that he achieved but not praised for. so the conclusion is this kudos to Untold for trying each time to bring facts nd evidence to each topic but SIR they the media sees the same thing but chose to ignore them so am also taking a stand I AM GOING TO IGNORE ALL THEY WRITE ABOUT ARSENAL FC, THE BOARD, THE PLAYER’S, THE MANAGER,THE FANS,GROUNDMEN ,COOKING STAFF, TICKET PRICE, JERSEY COLOUR AND EVERYTHING ABOUT US COZ I WILL CHOSE ALSO TO SEE WHAT I WANNA SEE ABOUT ARSENAL.

  22. I was at the final game. I can’t recall any booing of Giroud at all. Complete bollocks.

  23. I was at the final game. I can’t recall any booing of Giroud at all. Complete bollocks reporting by the press.

  24. MOTD praising DA to the hilt whilst ignoring his inability to follow Wilshere’s instruction and pick up the tall CB ahead of the hapless Rose (hehe) after Wilshere had cleared the ball. Quite a contrast to their coverage of Giroud. Remarkable.

  25. Finsbury

    Also ITV where breaking there necks to big up Rooney.

    All they could find was one shot which was straight at the keeper. One pass that didn’t find it’s target, and one occasion when he ‘tracked back’.

    Okay, the shot was half decent, as was the attempted pass, but hardly Bergkamp-esque was it?

    But it was the ‘tracking back’ clip that had me in stitches. For some inexplicable reason they deemed it necessary to have them ‘dot’ things tracing his movement as he plodded a dead straight line back towards his own penalty, with his opponent, but that’s another matter.

    The thing is, I say ‘With’ his opponent, in the loosest terms, because by the time they reached our penalty box, said opponent had found himself in the box minus his pursuer. Okay, the cross was wayward and 3 yards behind the striker at Rooneys feet.

    BUT, Rooney had ‘lost his man’ ! It was there, right in front of our eyes. The striker was on his own, un marked, by the penalty spot. The fact the pass was wayward is another matter.

    But this is how it works. They decide player X Y or Z is ‘great’ and will, no matter what the evidence shows, right in front of our eyes, just keep re enforcing there belief.

    They do this relentlessly with Rooney.

  26. McNulty-BBC Sport

    Apparently we witnessed a Midfield ‘Master Class’ from Rooney.

    Did we?

    He may of done but I certainly didn’t.

  27. Jambug

    38 passes for Rooney from CM, against Russia


    Midfield Masterclass once out through the translator at Aunty Bleeb.

    How can anyone not laugh at the gibberish?

  28. Rooney…world class
    Ozil… nicking a living.
    According to Durham today Ozil cannot be considered world class given the club he plays for!!!

  29. Mick

    That comment there, though far from being the most insulting he has ever come out with, is the one of the most telling as to how desperate and pathetic this prick really is.

    To suggest who you play for has any relevance as to how good you are is simply ridiculous.

    At this point I was going to expand on this by citing certain players playing for x, y or z, but honestly I’ve already wasted 10 minutes off my life typing this that I’ll never get back.

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