By Tony Attwood
We’ve now had four games in which Arsenal have been involved, which is enough time to give us an idea as to where the journalists are going to take the issue of Arsenal on TV, in the newspapers, and in the various bloggettas that newspapers have now set up to try and cash in on the interest they think there is in this fruitcase web sites.
So, using the journalists own favourite phrase of “Five things we learned from” (which always follows the equally silly, “All you need to know about…” before any game,) what have we learned?
1: Arsenal are of no interest
The Daily Telegraph has been running “Man U in the USA” and they are already on episode 10. Arsenal matches have virtually nothing ahead of each game and little in the way of post-match report – at least until we got to the Chelsea match.
The whole tour was treated in such a derisory way that as far as I know only the last game was shown on a mainstream TV station.
2: The five things from one match is still with us
What made the reporting of the sequence of four games so pathetic was that only the final game got any coverage and immediately the papers chimed in with “Five things we learned from” as if they could, from that one game involving a range of players who were clearly still suffering from food poisoning, and including a collection of youngsters, instantly say, “Arsenal urgently need to sort out x”.
I really don’t believe anyone can take a look at a team in one match and decide at once exactly what needs to be done. And yet day after day the press continue to pretend that football is so utterly simple that one can do exactly that.
As a result we have this vast array of people who believe that if only they were in charge of the club things could be sorted out because “any idiot can see that what we need is…”
What they don’t seem to get is that bad runs can turn into good runs at the drop of a hat – or the change of a formation. And yet it is so obvious from last season’s results that this is the case.
3: Journalists don’t really have any grasp of the players that Arsenal are bringing in and why
With the commentaries we did have in English on the games thus far it was quite clear that the commentators really didn’t have a full grasp of the range of youth players available to Arsenal. Lots of ill-informed talk about Alexis, but nothing about how the team is going to be balanced, who is going to be in reserve etc.
Indeed when the transfer of Alexis (or not) is discussed the options are still not examined. There is still a suggestion that if another club comes knocking Arsenal have to give in and let the player go. We’ve been having that line fed to us by the media all summer over Bellerin – and yet he hasn’t gone. Indeed as the “Out Index” shows (listing all the players who are going to leave before the end of August) just like last year everyone is leaving.
Except last year they didn’t, and this year they won’t.
4: The notion of the 25 and the way of handling it is beyond them
Neither in the commentaries nor in the written previews and reviews did I read any serious analysis of the issue of the 25 players and who leaves to make room for newcomers – at least until a few days after we had started going through the permutations.
And when you have people claiming to be experts on the subject suggesting that x y and z needs to be lined up when in fact to do so, others have to leave (which they forget to mention), it shows how limited is their knowledge.
But then I suppose they have to remain stultified in this way of reporting because it is all they have.
5: Thoughts of what happens to the Premier League when UK leaves the EU in 18 months are considered too difficult.
No mention at all of what happens to players who are not UK citizens when the UK leaves the EU. And as things look, with the EU insisting that disputes become a matter for the European Court of Justice and the UK demanding that the Supreme Court in London makes the rules, it is still looking as if there will be no settlement. But no, that is too complicated. Let’s pretend it isn’t happening.
I have heard the argument that it clearly is the case that no one knows, so what is the point of writing about it – which rather ignores the fact that something is going to happen, even if we have no idea what that something is.
It is all rather depressing. Another season of the same old same old when it comes to reporting.