Are Arsenal treated differently from other clubs by the national media and the bloggettas? An analysis of reports.

By Richard Morgan

With plenty of reasons to suggest that maybe, somehow, Arsenal are treated differently or singled out for special negative treatment by bloggettas and by the national media I volunteered to check whether this is the case.

So, I undertook a two day search of news now and media online stories. I also decided to compare articles about Arsenal with articles about Manchester City and Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea over a two day period.

I was staggered at what I found: a massive total of 1,073 articles about those clubs online from the two aforementioned sources.

Now these break down into 256 articles on Manchester United, 215 articles on Arsenal, 193 articles on Manchester City, 198 on Chelsea, 211 on Liverpool. I was surprised because the number of articles jumped for Arsenal in a six hour space when the Per Mertesacker injury story broke and pushed us above Liverpool and closer to Manchester United.

Manchester United had 14 articles and headlines that were negative about the club, Mourinho and or the clubs’ hierarchy in particular Woodward. The typical blog or story about Manchester Utd concerned the Chinese pre-season tour and the cancelled derby clash. Moaning Mourinho one such article claimed wanted the game cancelled because pitch was poor and could lead to his players being injured.  The only negative transfer issue was around Pogba and the feeling Woodward could not pull off the highest calibre signings.

Liverpool with just a few blogs less than us had six negative articles written about them in the same time period. The articles concerning Liverpool were mainly about past transfer strategy and flops such as Benteke, Borini and Carrol. “Has club finally sorted out its transfer policy or will we see More Benteke’s or Borini’s come to our club?” Klopp is seemingly still enjoying a honeymoon period and has not had a negative article about him.

Chelsea had a similar number of articles that were negative about them, seven in total;  most were mundane gripes about the defensive side of the team. Conte had one article that questioned his credentials claiming “though winning three titles with Juventus is good on the CV, his time with Italy could be considered a failure, and would he be able to return Chelsea to the top of the English league?” Now not necessarily a negative story, but could be considered an incisive question just from the way that the article was written, and it seemed more of a negative view on Conte.

Now we come to Manchester City, who had the most negativity of the other clubs, with 16 articles.   That is a lot, and considering its “Guardiola a footballing Managerial messiah” it seems surprising.

On careful inspection most of those comments stories relate to the cancelled Derby and point more towards Mourinho than Guardiola. “Guardiola backs Mourinho’s claim that the pitch for upcoming Derby match is unplayable and likely to cause injury to players.” The only real negative Guardiola received was regarding transfers, “Guardiola has brought in Gungodan and speed demon Nolito and these are solid acquisitions. However, he has yet to bring any defensive re-enforcements a mistake that could come back to haunt him.”  Of course not surprising as Guardiola is new in his position and just getting used to his new job.

Now to the Arsenal.  With 27 negative headlines and 68 negative stories Arsenal beat every other team researched for negativity.  That for the record is over 30% of articles having negative headlines or comments from bloggeta’s or media outlets. With the majority of the stories aimed at Wenger, Gazidis or Kroenke. I will list a few below and you can get the idea.

  • Per Mertesacker out injured.  

With the recent injury to Per Mertesacker will Wenger finally loosen the purse strings and buy more players or will he repeat the same mistakes he makes every year.

  • Higuain to Juventus.

Wenger needs to sign Higuain if you want these top players you have to pay for them, Wenger needs to stop treating Arsenal’s money as his own and give Napoli whatever they want to sign Higuain.

  • Wojech to Roma .

Greedy Wenger is putting the deal in jeopardy by asking too much money for the keeper, as such Roma are looking at other candidates.

  • Mahrez to Arsenal.

Wenger has to spend and spend big.  His reluctance to pay the big transfer money means Arsenal’s perennial top four trophy will be in jeopardy.

  • Higuain, Icardi,Laczette.

Wenger has to loosen purse strings and buy on these targets to add quality to his squad.

My personal favourite is Stan Collymore’s article saying Wenger will have to bring in a much needed striker and that Sanchez, Ozil and Xhaka are not of the highest quality. There are others saying Wenger’s time is up he no longer has what it takes to win the English premier title and will struggle to get into top four this season with Koeman, Ponchettino, Conte, Klopp, Mourhino, Ranieri, Billic and Guardiola; in fact Arsenal could if they don’t invest end up out of all European competitions.

From what I have read and seen over the last couple of days I would suggest even dare to state as a hard cold fact that Arsenal, Wenger and board in particular are hyper criticised in the bloggettas and media outlets. In fact the amount and nature of the articles could be considered hypercritical, especially if you compare that to the articles of our title rivals.

So the question has to be why there is this hypercritical approach to Arsenal, Wenger and the board? It would be easy to say lack of success or titles is why, but then surely Liverpool would have a greater number of negative blogs or stories about them.

I think it is part of the issue but not the sole factor. Part of the problem I believe lies in the perception of  bloggettas and media of what success is. For me I use this definition of success the accomplishment of an aim or purpose. Of course it can be victory or winning as well but in its purest form it’s the achievement of ones goals. Now we know Wenger and board have a set of playing related targets each season set out below.

  1. Win the league
  2. Win the champions league
  3. Win the FA cup
  4. Top four finish qualifying for next season champions league
  5. Win league cup

On that basis just finishing in the top four and qualifying for next season’s champion’s league is a success because they have achieved one or two of their goals. Not an overwhelming success, but successes nonetheless.  But of course if you use winning titles as the meaning of success then Wenger and the board have been unsuccessful.

However I believe the issue is not just this simple and that other factors also figure into this but it is certainly, in my opinion, one of the contributing factors to the negativity surrounding Wenger and the board and Arsenal in particular.

It could be claimed winning the league would lessen this criticism of Wenger and the board as would be the spending of money. However, I would question that theory as £42 million on Ozil and £35 million on Sanchez and £30 million on Xhaka and we still see Wenger refuses to spend big stories appear. So it could be assumed that if Wenger won the title this year that he would still be a failure because he has never won the champions league or like Rainieri and Leicester last season he got lucky as other teams underperformed.

I would like to leave this final thought here from a few banners flyers around the Emirates: “I support the team not the manager.”   Surely the team is the players, coaches, physios, kit man, manager and to a lesser degree the stewards office staff and match day caterers.  So you have to support all of them not just the players. If there was more support for the team as I define it maybe those negative comments would come down.

Now don’t get me wrong Wenger and board have made mistakes and they admit to that fact and deserve to be questioned and criticised when they do that. And yes it’s okay to be disappointed and frustrated when we lose or play poorly. However, at the end of the day we willingly pay money to go and see our team play football and that’s the only guarantee we get for our money, that we will get to see 90 mins plus of a football match between two teams. No one forces us to spend to support our team that is our prerogative our desire our choice.


Untold Arsenal is a pro-Arsenal site set up to counter the regular unsubstantiated attacks on Arsenal by “fans” and journalists, using evidence rather than opinion. We do publish comments and articles which contain a counter point of view, but normally only where these also contain evidence.  We don’t republish every piece of evidence uncovered by Untold in its 6000+ articles to back up each point made in each subsequent article, as that would be tedious in the extreme, but it is all on this site, and we are working on an index to make it easier to find it all.

Other articles in the series on the treatment of Arsenal in the media

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44 Replies to “Are Arsenal treated differently from other clubs by the national media and the bloggettas? An analysis of reports.”

  1. To add to the ‘media agenda’ issue, how many times have I read at the bottom of a piece on the web, a sentence like : Arsenal have finished second to Leicester in the last Premier League season’ or any combination of words basically saying we failed and always fail, often with an added critical twist like : and have not won the PF for the past 12 years, or such crap.

    Out of curiosity, I went out on those sites to read other stories of other teams, don’t have to name them….
    And guess what…did not find ONE out of the series I randomly chose with a mention like this (except it would have been 6th place or 3rd place etc…). And the Liverpool! and Sp*rs pieces never carried the remark : have never won the PL and not won any Championship for the past xx years.

    I cannot get clearer as that.

    Or seen differently, Arsenal does raise expectations of the whole world to such a level, that people don’t give a damn about the other teams ?!?!?

  2. Thanks for this article. Good work.

    I would suggest that part of the negativity is due to the consistent success at competing for everything. Because the Gunners have been in the Champions League for so many years there is jealousy. Because the Gunners had an undefeated season there is jealousy. Because the Gunners are always close to winning the leagues there is jealousy.

    The envy by others creates negativity.

    They can’t be that good without spending like we do!
    They can’t be that good so we have to point out all their failures so we feel better about ourselves.

  3. Very interesting article Richard,and thanks for going to the effort to research it all.

  4. I can imagine that even when we win- as I believe we will this season- they will still write something like, “Arsenal have only luckily managed to win the league after 12 years and that, mainly because the manager finally listened to reason…”!

  5. PJ O’Rourke a U.S comedian said this in one of his recent interview.
    “Look at British newspapers; you know The Guardian’s going to take the left wing point of view, you know The Telegraph’s not. This has never really been a problem,” he said.
    “But the problem with these news sources today is that they aren’t any good. They’re being written by 22 year olds in their pyjamas in their parent’s basement.
    “Fewer and fewer people have the budget, the organisation, the structure, that it really takes to cover a news story.

  6. Chris:
    You said it man:

    “Or seen differently, Arsenal does raise expectations of the whole world to such a level, that people don’t give a damn about the other teams ?!?!?” 🙂

  7. Something I’ve yet to see explained is “bloggettas”. They’re obviously football blogs, but how do they differ from UA which I assume is not a “bloggetta”?

  8. Nice article , and am in agreement that the press and media in general just love to pick on Arsenal. I guess some people are just tuned to pick up on the negativity , however unjustified and untrue it may turn out to be .

    Watch any game and hear the snide comments against Arsenal , even if we are not involved in that game ! Comments like , ..” Walcott wouldn’t have managed to score from that chance !” , is one that I clearly recall . And he ( and the Arsenal ) was not even playing !

    I have no qualms about the press singing the praises of a particular team or player , but to compare it disparagingly with one of our own just to earn brownie points is below contempt.

    Praise your favourite chosen team , players , religion or politician to your hearts content . Just don’t compare unfavourably to belittle others .

  9. Seems to me Arsenal indeed has always been treated differently and it’s annoying.

  10. Why do we have negative articles against us ?

    Could it be that we never seem to move forward as a club ?

    Could it be that we always seem to go into a season with a couple of players short to make a concerted effort to really have a go at winning the league

    Could it be that we are seen as a cash cow and not a “winning” football club ?

    Could it be that we sit on a mountain of cash and refuse to use it all to strengthen the squad

    Because of the above we have a split and fickle fan base and media outlets play on it

    We have the largest fan base that use social media. Negative articles create debate and anger.

  11. @ tunnygriffboy
    July 29, 2016 at 8:55 am

    ‘Negative articles create debate and anger.’

    ‘They rarely if ever create respect’.

  12. Colario

    I get very frustrated. I couldn’t care less what the media say against my club. You do get lazy journalist s and pundits who run with the same cliched narratives whether they are false or true.

    The narrative about us being frugal and not filling the squad gaps that we have is true though. My frustration is that we have money in the bank but seem unwilling to pay the going rate. We desperately need a striker and we needed a CB before Mert got injured. While we have prospects at CB they are not ready for the big games

  13. Leon – Bloggettas. When we started writing about the coverage blogs gave to Arsenal it became very clear that there were a handful of blogs that created serious pieces, quite often fairly long, sometimes well researched and well argued, and we felt these were indeed worthy of the name “blogs”.

    But in recent years there has been a multiplicity of blogs which produce tiny articles – maybe 100 words, often with a highly misleading headline, quite often tricking the reader to divert onto an advert rather than find the article, and generally just saying “according to [fill in name of Spanish newspaper you’ve never heard of] Bellerin has been unsettled by all the talk of a transfer to Barcelona and will hold meetings with the Catalan club to clarify their offer.

    No evidence, no background, no nothing except a make believe tale. That’s a bloggetta.

    When we first came across them they were in a minority. Now they dominate, and the newspapers have started to copy their style.

    Indeed the next article in this series about the way Arsenal is reported will focus on how the Guardian newspaper is now producing bloggetta type articles.

    Hope that clarifies.

  14. Thanks for the explanation Tony. Now I get it. Makes sense too. Good word bloggetta.

  15. Great article.

    Wenger is just so much smarter than those who ‘think’ they know better. Those critics are generally unable to survive without viagra so get their fix picking on success they never have.

  16. Tony,

    You remark sent me thinking out of the box.

    Let’s look at it from a financial perspective

    1) why would a blogetty take his/her time to write stories ? Maybe a little for fame and a lot for money (click/adverts)
    2) what better way to get people to read ? be outrageous
    3) If I am not wrong, I’ve read a few times that AFC have the biggest or most important or whatever you want to call it internet following.

    Thus…writing crap about AFC will get you lots of clicks. Writing crap about Sp*urs probably not as much…

    Maybe what we are seing is just a phenomenon that is the proff of the AFC success ?

    In every crime, you need to ask : who is benefiting….this explanation at least checks with that logic.

    And as newspapers are more and more having less and less ‘real’ journalists, they just go to the web and cut/paste or whatever what they are seing..:Saving transport costs….

    Anyway, just an idea…

    PS : we ought to have a yearly Football Reporting Trophy….and crown the best and worst pieces…..?!?!

  17. Colario

    No, just someone who has followed Arsenal for over 40years who is becoming increasingly frustrated with our transfer dealings. We have a lot of money but don’t ultilise our resources in improving our squad where it needs upgrading and are far too keen in keeping mediocre players.

    I am not the only supporter who feels like this. It is hugely frustrating and dare I say disappointing.

    It may be that we bring in a couple of much needed players. We shall see.

  18. Tunnygriffboy… we have heard the argument many times before, but it is always based on personal perception, not on any evidence. Arsenal have brought in players whose figures show the highest quality of performance of late – from Granit to Bellerin from Coquelin to Iwobi from Elneny … well I could go on and on. We publish these figures and these reports – if you want to show where they are wrong, that’s fine, I’ll consider what you say, but I think just saying without evidence is more suited to the many other sites that are based entirely on opinion rather than evidence.

  19. Tony

    Agree whole heartedly about those signings/youngsters

    My point is that Giroud, bless him, could be worked into the ground. Welbeck sadly is out long term and surely you have to agree that Theo’s form has been dire with Ox’s not much better. That is why I feel we need to bring in a top class forward. It will improve the team

    With Mert’s injury and Kos niggling injuries we are just one injury away from having the erratic Gabriel and green youngsters to hold the fort. That in my opinion wouldn’t be good enough to challenge for the title.

    The fact we didn’t add a CM last summer was pointed out by many as being a huge mistake. Bingo, Coquelin and Santi get injured (Wilshere already out for the season) and we were left with an aging, injured Arteta and a sub standard Flamini.

    Unless a striker/CB doesn’t come in we are leaving ourselves open to the same sort of problems.

    The evidence is there from the problems we suffered last season ie not having ain depth quality in certain position. People can have opinions as well and it is my perception that Giroud needs quality back up and Kos needs back up as the other CB while having potential are too inexperienced to be played together. They need the experience of Mert or Kos alongside them.

  20. Chris
    July 29, 2016 at 11:39 am Absolutely on the nail. Money is where it is. AFC is supported & clicks are the bang for the bucks. One doesn’t have to invest much either just time & b/s.

    Tunny – did you see last nights match v MLS? I think we have everything in house except the PGMO cheat necessary to succeed without injury in the EPL & EUFA.

    On a honest pitch, against any team, Arsenal will shine.

  21. Imagine if we finnished 3rd behind both Leicester and Spurs, then the backpages would be full of “The power has switched in North London” articles. And just wait and see, if Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp finish in the top 4 this year, it will be an unbeleivable achivement according to the media and the pundits!

  22. Well, Sky are now “trending” an “Arsenal Nearly 11”. So we are the only club in the world to have “nearly” bought somebody who later turned into a star player somewhere else.

    Sky are losing a reported 100,000 subscribers a year – with this sort of pathetic rubbish, I can understand why.

    Their profits may be up, but that is because they have raised prices and dropped some programmes (Champions League for example). Then, in an effort to impress, they announce, in a blaze of self glorification, that they have bought the rights to the Chinese Super League.


  23. No Tunnygriffboy “the evidence” is not there because you are only drawing up individual issues and seeing them as everything. First, last season we came second, and scored only three goals fewer than the champions. Second we have deliberately bought players who can play in multiple positions to be able to cover injury situations (Monreal, Coquelin etc). Third if you try and bring in top, top players and then not play them each week, the evidence shows that they will get fed up – indeed they demand in their contracts that they are first choice. Fourth, we consistently bring in youth players who do exceptionally well. Fifth, as the evidence show, big money transfers tend only to deliver well in their first season with a new club 25% of the time, so the chances of a big name signing working are far less than of getting the right youngster through at the right time.

    I won’t go on and on, but this is where the evidence is, and this is why, every year since I have started Untold, people have written in and said, “this will be the year that Arsenal slip down the league out of the top four” and then instead of it being Arsenal we see it is Chelsea and Man U this year.

    You are not citing evidence, but giving opinions, that’s the key point.

  24. Excellent article Richard and also thank you Polo for that refreshing read. Further evidence of media bias:

    The fact that only 3 teams (Chelsea, Liverpool, and United) have spent more than Arsenal so far this transfer window!

    The fact that Liverpool and Chelsea finished respectively 11 and 20 points behind us, a complete overhaul was expected. And the only thing Mourinho and United know how to do is outspend the rest of the league, so that’s expected every year.

    It’s also interesting that the media make a big deal out of Arsenal finishing a “distant” 10 points behind Leicester, when there has been similar point gaps between 1st and 2nd in 3 out of the prior 5 seasons:

    2010/11: 9 points United to Chelsea
    2011/12: GD City to United
    2012/13: 11 points United to City
    2013/14: 2 points City to Liverpool
    2014/15: 8 points Chelsea to City
    2015/16: 10 points Leicester to Arsenal

    I don’t recall City or United getting anywhere near the same amount of disrespect as Arsenal for finishing a “distant” second.

  25. (Sorry if comes as double post, mistyped my name in the first post)

    Excellent article Richard and also thank you Polo for that refreshing read. Further evidence of media bias:

    The fact that only 3 teams (Chelsea, Liverpool, and United) have spent more than Arsenal so far this transfer window!

    The fact that Liverpool and Chelsea finished respectively 11 and 20 points behind us, a complete overhaul was expected. And the only thing Mourinho and United know how to do is outspend the rest of the league, so that’s expected every year.

    It’s also interesting that the media make a big deal out of Arsenal finishing a “distant” 10 points behind Leicester, when there has been similar point gaps between 1st and 2nd in 3 out of the prior 5 seasons:

    2010/11: 9 points United to Chelsea
    2011/12: GD City to United
    2012/13: 11 points United to City
    2013/14: 2 points City to Liverpool
    2014/15: 8 points Chelsea to City
    2015/16: 10 points Leicester to Arsenal

    I don’t recall City or United getting anywhere near the same amount of disrespect as Arsenal for finishing a “distant” second.

  26. @Chris I went online and looked at all the ‘lists’ about online size of various clubs. As expected Barcelona and Real Madrid top virtually every one. In the UK Arsenal is generally behind Manchester United and about equal with Chelsea. Some lists are dated, though, and rely on data prior to Chelsea’s slide last year and that could bring them down some. Where Arsenal seems to rise is in their amount of engagement – retweets and the like. In general though, the online footprint of Arsenal does NOT seem to justify the amount of negativity sent their way.

  27. Tunnygriffboy,

    get a grip of yourself boy, it’s not the end of the world.

  28. Further to my last, it would seem a purely quantitative analysis is not enough but rather we would need to examine the qualities and intentions of the authors of the messages (media) and those of the intended audience (Arsenal fans). For example, are the media sending out negative or critical messages for purely commercial reasons or because they dislike Arsenal? And, why are Arsenal fans responding?

  29. @GoingGoingGooner, thanks for the info. Interesting to know.
    Funilly whenever some vote happens on the internet, the negativists say that Atrsenal players win because there are more fans from Arsenal then of other clubs….

    Damned if you do, damned if you don’t I guess.

    But as I wrote in a comment a while ago : At the end of the season I turned off the TV set more times with a happy face then not…And I’ve seen wuite a few great games, great goals, great moments, great team moments. Beats being a Sp*urs or Reds! fan doesn’t it ?

  30. Many thanks to all of you for commenting on the article. I had a great time researching it. Yes tunnygriffboy it can be disappointing and frustrating supporting Arsenal and Wenger and the board have made mistakes, yet what they have accomplished is greater. Qualifying for the champions league proper year in year out is something mourinho nor Ferguson achieved. I have a question what is value for money in today’s transfer market.

  31. Just imagine, if we were in the position that United are with Pogba, the flak we would be getting from the media morons.

    A player who THEY originally had, who cost them NOTHING in 2009, then, when he was valued at £3 million, they let him go to Juventus for NOTHING in 2012. Now, when he is supposedly valued at £59.8 million, they buy him back from Juventus for £110 million. (If the deal goes through).

    It’s almost worth a money laundering investigation, surely?

  32. Just a thought and a clarification as I showed other clubs get criticism when things go wrong or they mess up. That is fair and right, the point of my article is that the amount of criticism that Arsenal attained in my two period was excessively high compared to the other clubs and was probably a trend rather than an exception. And that this hyper critical media attention is unwarranted.

  33. Sorry Pat. I just cannot ignore them as they blow the whistle to start the game after counting the players on the field of play. Thank God they can count to 11.

  34. Thanks Richard, some great points.
    But ultimately, arsenal suffer from being a south of England club, who do not set out to indulge in cheque book management, cheating, media or ref manipulation, ref selection , rotational fouling, have never sucked up to Fergie or his LMA colleagues, nor do they have players like Dier , Kane, Mason, Rose, Walker, or Delli Alli who seem to take on a cloak of invisibility to EPL refs, in the way Gerrard, Rooney, Owen , Lampard, Terry have done so in the past .

  35. Richard,

    Great article, and one that takes on an issue that is so rarely analyzed in depth.

    I do seem to remember reading somewhere on Untold that Wenger’s (and the club’s) priorities were putting qualifying for Champions League above winning the FA Cup. It seemed understandable from an economic perspective, as it boosts the revenue. But that’s probably just me being nitpicky. Congrats on the article again!

  36. Thanks florian and all who have commented. To your other point Florian winning either the fa cup or league cup or even both together brings in less money than qualifying for champions league so a fourth place finish and subsequent qualification for champions league brings in more money. Wenger and board have never put fourth or champions league qualification above cups but as a minimum requirement. From a personal point of view financial stability of the club is paramount otherwise there is no club to support and for me there is only Arsenal. Also if your not in champions league in the past it was harder to attract the best players to the club.

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