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Arsenal v Benfica: this is exactly how football on TV should work. And how Arsenal should work

Arsenal 5 Benfica 2.

By Tony Attwood

In the UK the Arsenal v Benfica match was shown on Quest – a TV channel I have not previously associated with football.  Or come to that anything.  In fact I don’t think I’ve ever watched it before.

But what a stunning revolution it was.  No pundits full of their own self-importance.  No half time gibberish analysis.  Just straight football, and pre-match and half-time taken up 100% with adverts which mostly seemed to be about furniture polish.

What a staggering improvement.  No semi-skimmed ex-footballers telling us how we ought to see the match.  No dopey co-commentator desperately trying to think of something to say, under the instructions not to make it difficult “because our audience won’t cope with words of more than one syllable.”

Of course Sky, BT Sprout and the BBC won’t get it.  They will sail back into the new season doing all that they have done before, watching their audiences slip and blaming “illegal streaming” rather than their own gross incompetence in terms of misunderstanding their audience.

The commentator for Quest took a back seat, guiding us for the most part by saying the names of the players with no attempt to impress the audience with supposed “knowledge” about football.  And without a co-commentator there were none of those pathetic jokes which actually made no one laugh except the two commentators.

If only Quest could get a licence to broadcast football from the ever greedier Premier League I’d be able to have the audio on while watching football on TV.   As it is, I, like many others, now watch football on TV with no commentary.  My long term sanity requires it.

So five stars to Arsenal for selling the rights to Quest, and five stars to Quest for avoiding the temptation of doing it like the big boys do, and instead realising just why TV audiences for football and collapsing faster than a collapsing thing that is falling down very quickly.

As for the game, well it was all rather jolly as you will have seen, ending up for a little while at least with both Lacazette and Giroud in the pitch at the same time.

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We also had the youngsters and old hands on the pitch at the same time showing us just what promise there is in Maitland Niles and Nelson.

Of course we all know that pre-season games don’t tell us a lot about how things will go in the future, but what they do tell us quite a lot about is the depth of the squad.  It was not too many years ago when the first match in the Emirates Cup would be a game in which Arsenal would be forced to put out a team of youngsters we’d only seen in the under 21 and under 18 leagues, leaving the first team for the second game.

Now the youngsters are having to be really good to get a look in at all.  And Nelson, plus Maitland Niles, are now looking really really good.

Indeed we started with four players out of the XI who are Arsenal youth players.  If you include Theo who came from Southampton pretty much as a youth player that would be five.  Almost half the team trained by Arsenal through their youth years.  Something to be proud of.

Although some of the players who came on as subs will play tomorrow, the starting XI today was largely Arsenal’s back up team, and they played very well.   We can’t say yet just how good Arsenal’s first team is, but the depth of the squad as a protection against mindless internationals and inevitable injuries from thugs and a lack of referee control really does look not just promising, but also deeper than I can remember for many a long year.

Nice one Quest.  Nice one Arsenal.   Tomorrow I’ll be at the game and with a bit of luck Walter will be relased from family duties and be able to take over here.

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24 comments to Arsenal v Benfica: this is exactly how football on TV should work. And how Arsenal should work

  • Arthur

    I agree Tony. It is the first time for years that I have not switched off the sound when watching Arsenal.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    I have a feeling that today’s team will be similar to our Europa League starting lineup although I’d rather have Bielik as our third centre back.

    A good game to watch and, as you said a welcome change from the usual television companies.

  • Goon525

    One caveat – Quest don’t seem to have a HD channel. Watching in SD at this late date is not great – how long has HD been the norm now? Otherwise pretty well done.

  • Nitram

    Even so the commentator still managed to have a dig at Arsenal talking bollocks about Sanchez.

    “Sanchez seems to be trying to force his way out of Arsenal”

    “Sanchez is a player you just cant sell if you want to win the title.”

    “Arsenal really do need to get this sorted asap”

    So we have him laying the blame at Arsenals door and suggesting they cant sell him, and need to sort it.

    Well as far as I can tell that’s exactly what Arsenal have done.

    They’ve said he’s not leaving. End of. Isn’t that ‘sorted’ enough for him?

    What else does he want Arsenal to do? Hold a gun to his head and tell him to sign or else?

    Just because the media, of which he is part, keep making up stories about why Alexis is, must, will, or wants to leave, is hardly Arsenals fault, or indeed within there power to ‘sort out’ as he suggested they should.

    But that being said, it was a breath of fresh air.

  • brian gooner

    Yes fine apart from the programme finishing before the end of the game.I saw this coming from the scheduling so recorded the next programme(wheeler dealers)to pick up the end of the football.Didnt matter for this game but a bit worrying should they start to show more serious football as the writer seems to want

  • Gord

    As I pointed out in the other thread, the Guardian was complaining from the get go that the coverage from Quest (he/she/it was not at the game, they were watching on TV producing their drivel) was not what they usually expect. This “person” had nothing prepared on their own, such as to prepare before the game, to bring up at half time, etc.

  • nicky

    I must say I was mightily impressed with young Reiss Nelson on the right wing. One minute he was delivering the most telling crosses….the next he was down near our corner flag helping the defence.
    I trust we will see him again in the forthcoming season, rather than await next year’s Emirates Cup. 😉

  • allezkev

    No commentary is ever going to be perfect, but I broadly agree with your assessment of the coverage provided by Quest.

    It would be great if they could get the Europa League Arsenal, but I guess either Sky or BT will hoover those up and I’ll be therefore watching on a hooky channel.

    Nelson was outstanding for a 17 year old.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    @ allez

    BT Sport have indeed got all of the Europa and. Ha pions League games.

    Overall today was a good performance – not perfect but very promising. Excellent from Saad and Reiss as the two wing backs and a good collection of goals from our attackers. Defense still “work in Progress” but not too bad all things considered. It must have been the first time Ainsley Maitland-Niles has played on the left of a back three.

    Before the pundits get too carried away by “it’s only Benfica” we need to remember that they were the Portuguese champions last season so to win by three clear goals is a good sign.

  • Alex Dieuzeide

    Reiss was impressive and played top level. He is only 17. You can’t believe it!
    It seems that Kolasinac is going to be the best and cheap transfert choice. Am I wrong or wasn’t he a beast on the pitch? Calm and efficient in defense, and a real danger when attacking. Now we know why he’s been called ‘The tank’. 🙂
    And think that we use to say a new player needs several weeks to click in a team. Can’t wait to see Ozil and Alexis play with him. Promising! Happy to see Theo back on tracks too.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    Hmmn, the starting IX Gunners played and the bench used by Le Prof for this Benfica Ems Cup game today gave a good account of themselves in the match. More especially the starting opportunity given to the 17 year old Reiss Nelson which he embraced with both his hands by performing brilliantly in the match and even provided an assist. Should I say more grease to his elbows? I think I should. But if not for the lackluster defending by Mertesacker, maybe Arsenal would not have conceded the first and the opening goal in the match which they conceded. But there should be no cause for alarm as Mustafi should be available to mann of the 3 centreback positions in our Charity Shield match next week at Wembley against the panicking Antonio Conte when he brings his now disjointed Chelsea team to Wembley to play Arsenal.

  • Gord

    Congratulations to ex-Gunner Lukas Podolski! Brace on his debut for J-League Vissel Kobe.

  • Mad Matt

    Thank-you SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin for that shorter post.
    I actually read all of it. 😉

  • Omo r'Arsenal

    Smiles @Mad Matt.

    Yeah, me too.

  • Gord

    I think I am going to partially disagree with Tony here. What Quest did on TV and how Arsenal reported is probably fine (after waiting for all the postgame to get to

    While bad coverage by the English press of Arsenal is known, I am sure that other teams also suffer from dorks in the medja.

    This was day one (of two). If were to provide commentary and game summary of “their” tournament game just as if it was Arsenal playing (except neither team was Arsenal), then Arsenal fans could look through that data in anticipation of what the Day 2 opponent might offer.

    But, the tournament also offers the opportunity to show the world how the tournament (or a game of a tournament) should be covered. And the fans of the other teams in the tournament will benefit. And maybe the world medja learns something?

    If that is possible. After all, most of them can only count to 5. What can one expect from such a group?

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Morning all..
    Over 30 years of studying and it’s only today I got to know that the word *”Newspaper”* was short form for ‘ North, East, West, South, Past And Present Event Report’.
    Wonderful ?!

    Honestly, I want my school fees back.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Which has got me thinking. What do the following words really mean ?
    Expert .
    Commentator .

    Do your best . Or worst !

  • colario

    Brickfields are you familiar with the Uxbridge Dictionary of the English language?

  • Nitram

    Done a couple:



  • Rantetta

    It agree it was a different experience – to a degree.

    The commentator still criticised Arsenal more than their opponents, and as Nitram pointed out, made countless references to things that are none of his business. He voiced the usual bias as to what is/isn’t a foul, for example.

    How I long for the commentary of England v Brazil 1970, where the commentator only called the name of the players, and Revie summarised the previous 10 minutes play. No talk of transfers or whether the fans liked their manager, etc.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ colario – 30/07/2017 at 9:44 am -Yes Charles . I in the process of trying to submit a few entries myself . What do you think of the following ?

    Faustration – The process of becoming increasingly disenchanted and driven to the devil’s door.
    Also –

    Fanestration –

    Fanestrangement –

  • Brickfields Gunners

    There’s plenty of fine shit on here !

  • Brickfields Gunners

    circumstance – Sexual position adopted by high ranking officers/ officials at orgasm.
    -Cummerbund –
    – Cumbersome –
    – Cutlet
    – Cutlass

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Nitram -30/07/2017 at 10:24 am – Well done !
    Here’s mine –
    Xenophobic &

    *pudendal pu·den·dal (pyū- den’dāl)
    adj. relating to the external genitals;