Arsenal 2 Tottenham Hotspur 0. Even the tiny details of commentary can be misleading

By Tony Attwood

Having had the exhilaration of being at the Emirates this afternoon, followed by the push and shove to get on the Underground, the walk back to the car and then the tedium of the drive home (85 miles up the M1 in case you are interested) broken only slightly by the tedium of TalkSprout’s football coverage, I collapsed onto the sofa with a glass of celebratory Merlot and a quick read through what the Guardian had to say about the match I had seen this afternoon.

One sentence stood out:

“Arsenal’s first victory over a fellow big six member this season was assured long before the final whistle and it took them to within a point of Tottenham, whose title hopes are fading after a strangely muted failure to rise to the occasion.”

Arsenal’s first victory.  It has a certain ring to it.  A ring that is more of a dull thud.   Just one.  They finally made it.  Everyone else picking up lots of wins, but Arsenal, have got just one.

OK a moment’s thoughts leads to the notion that with six teams playing each other they can’t all be winning, but still, it just suggests Arsenal are pretty much struggling at the bottom of the “top six” league – the mini-league of the six top teams playing each other.

The implication seems to me to be that Tottenham of course are flying ahead, because they are, well Tottenham.  But in fact a look at the list of results suggests actually that Tottenham have also only won one of the their “top six” games.  They have played four matches against other top six teams, lost three and won one.

19 August Tottenham v Chelsea 1-2
21 October Tottenham v Liverpool 4-1
28 October Man Utd v Tottenham 1-0
18 November Arsenal v Tottenham 2-0

There we have it: four Tottenham games and just one victory.  Of course that was just up to the end of the matches this lunchtime.  I’ve not really caught up with the rest of the world since.

So how does Arsenal compare with this.  After all the Guardian is right that we have only just won our first “top six” game.

26 August Liverpool v Arsenal 4-0
16 September Chelsea v Arsenal 0-0
4 November Man City v Arsenal 3-1
18 November Arsenal v Tottenham 2-0

So actually although our results against the rest of the top six are not exactly something wonderful they are better than Tottenham’s: one win, one draw, two defeats.

In fact if we set up a little league table we get something that may or may not look like this (again just knocked up quickly having got home after a long day out.  Don’t just shout at me if it is wrong – correct it and tell me who is top.

Club P W D L Pts
Manchester City 3 3 0 0 9
Chelsea 4 2 1 1 7
Arsenal 4 1 1 2 4
Liverpool 4 1 1 2 4
Manchester United 3 1 1 1 4
Tottenham 3 1 0 2 3


So there we are. “Arsenal’s first victory over a fellow big six member this season was assured long before the final whistle and it took them to within a point of Tottenham, whose title hopes are fading after a strangely muted failure to rise to the occasion.”   Pretty much like Liverpool, Man U and Tottenham.

Interestingly with everyone thinking how wonderful Tottenham’s forward line is we have scored two more goals than them.  We’re still only sixth in the league, but what I saw today, gave me a fair bit of hope for the future.  And it was worth being there to experience such a positive feel in the stadium.

Latest score: Man U 0 Newcastle 1.  Nothing to do with the article and a long way to go, but I thought I would mention it.

22 Replies to “Arsenal 2 Tottenham Hotspur 0. Even the tiny details of commentary can be misleading”

  1. It was interesting to hear Poch admit that he was talking to the fourth official trying to get Xhaka sent off.

  2. Don’t fret too much about it Tony, am sure the English press and the experts will try their darnest to poo poo our victory , and will make it sound as if the Spuds were robbed by poor refereeing !
    And their double speak will let us all have a good laugh.
    Ozil probably only played well as he wants to go in January! Playing for the Arsenal may hinder his chances to be a regular for Germany in the WC.
    Not to mention the potential injuries that may occur by AW’s training methods!
    Let the guffaws begin!

  3. What did mike shit dean smoke today? If atall let him smoke the same shit for he was a real referee. Thanks to the fans who have been very vocal on fake officiation. Let’s keep the spirit and stand if we had done that earlier in the season we would be joint top. What is the criteria of playing back would be incidences, handballs, penalty calls? Watching manures game they all replays even if its a house fly which has flown past mourinhios nostrils. As for manure even though you sneeze they will play it back.

  4. Tony
    Have a bit of a lie down, lol. AFC took the 3 points and a clean sheet into the bargain. Couldn’t have been scripted better; even by the scribe of UA himself.

  5. Brilliant by Wenger today in the post-match conference. Last Sunday no one mentioned the off side goal Man City scored but the one Arsenal scored which was marginally offside it is being discussed!

    He slapped the journalists good with that one!

  6. “Arsenal’s first victory over a fellow big six member this season was assured long before the final whistle and it took them to within a point of Tottenham…”

    Is there anything factually wrong with this statement? It is Arsenal’s first victory against one of the top 6 and yeah, all the rest had won at least one before us……so it pretty much looks like you are just accusing the Guardian without any factual backing.

    Which seems to be bit of a trend here recently. Pick on the statements of Guardian articles.

    And oh! oh! We had two offside goals, one of which was from a wrongly awarded free kick! I am not complaining though, just like I don’t hold the officials responsible for the loss at City. You guys should maybe follow Mustafi’s lead….listen to his post match interview!

  7. Well done Tony and do enjoy that Merlot (hopefully it is French or at least Italian). I wasn’t overly concerned about Dean screwing us today as the eyes of the football world were on him. It is so funny to see the commentary from the Spuds, all of whom seem to think Dean did them a great injustice and that both goals were either offside, fortuitous or both. I am beginning to believe there may be something about it all evening out in the end, especially when the Spuds are on that pointed end!

  8. Thought Mike Dean was alright today. Let’s start a petition to have him ref every Arsenal game.

  9. Well I am sorry Vivek that you don’t quite get what I am writing about and why I am writing it.

    What puzzles me however is why you spend so much time reading Untold articles and commenting on them. You know there is a little group of us who write these articles, you know the essence of what we are about because you would have read the relevant Pages, and you know that we have this rather large audience (in that I have mentioned it from time to time). And because in many of the articles I have explained why I’ve run Untold for almost ten years.

    But you still choose to spend time arguing against us. What do you think your chances of success are in changing anything?

    Untold can lay claim to a few successes – as I’ve pointed out from time to time, and I know, from the kind emails I get sometimes, and the people who come up to me at games and have a chat, that running Untold is appreciated by some. But for you it seems a source of annoyance.

    So why do you do it? Why do you put yourself through all this, day after day. Does it make you feel good? Do you really still cling to the view that those of us involved in Untold might suddenly after all these years change our minds, give up our friendships, and stop writing?

    Well if so, I am sorry to disappoint you, but I suspect it won’t happen.

  10. Tony,

    you provide us with a service, which we value, for free. Thanks for that. But why rubbish someone for making a comment you take exception with. I don’t get that.

  11. Lisa, I suppose it is for three reasons. One because I get so much abuse (most of which of course is not published) second because most of the contrary arguments come without any solid evidence (at best just with evidence across a few games) and third because much of it comes from a small number of people who write over and over (sometimes using different names).

    So yes, sometimes I get a bid fed up with hearing the same thing over and over, always without evidence to back up what they are saying. I try and maintain an even keel, but occasionally it gets a bit much, and I reply to a few comments. Then I get over it, and let it go for another week or two.

  12. If you don’t want one of your readers to give you an alternate opinion or disagree with you, fine. I’ll stop reading. I’ve been reading Untold for so many years and I actually enjoy a lot of your work. Along with Arseblog,Aclf and 7amkickoff, Untold is the only blogs I read.

    And while Ive generally stayed quiet without commenting, I’ve been doing so for some time just to understand some of the points you make, which I don’t agree with. I do not claim refereeing isn’t a problem, but I do believe it isn’t the reason we aren’t challenging for the title. Nor is the riches of our competitors. Referring affects many clubs. And I did follow your 160 game analysis closely. And I appreciated the work you put in. I am involved in scientific research so I can appreciate your efforts to collect data and analyse them. But doesn’t have to mean I should draw the same conclusions from it as you.
    And it doesn’t annoy me when I comment. And I do not do so in the hope that you, your team or friends change your opinions drastically. It is in the hope that I can start a constructive argument. I might have been rude or disrespectful at times, which I realised and try to avoid. But if you do not want anyone to comment questioning your arguments or opinions, please make sure everyone who reads your articles is aware of it.

    So yeah. I did once comment on Le Grove supporting Wenger when the author was abusing him and got bullied out of it for bringing an alternate view. And you are questioning me why am I commenting when I disagree so much? Make what you want about it.

    If you don’t want me commenting, you can surely block my email id. Thank you.

  13. I have never abused you. I have tried to make sure I don’t say anything rude or personally hurting. I comment regularly and often with an alternate opinion. So that makes me a target of your frustrations?

  14. People who get annoyed when we speak about referees fail to note one thing…..

    We always talk about poor refereeing when we win or lose. Even if it benefits us. But if you look at the refereeing display, its not just poor refereeing. When its ARESNAL, its poor biased refereeing. Which will never evenout.

  15. No I don’t think so. Let me try and explain it another way. Untold was set up to represent a particular point of view which I felt wasn’t represented in football discussions 10 years ago. And when I started I didn’t expect it either to get this big (6 million page views a year at the moment), or to generate the level of abuse that I get. Nor indeed to get the same arguments arising over and over again.

    I think I’m a fairly regular guy with fairly regular emotions and feelings and sometimes I do take the time to respond to criticism, and indeed sometimes I do indeed go over the top particularly with sarcasm, and sometimes I pick on the wrong people to have a go at. I wish I didn’t, but then I also wish I had a staff of 10 people to help me just sort through the comments.

    We’ve published around a quarter of a million comments and have refused to publish about 10 times as many as that. Some of them are a really rather unpleasant and a few do get referred to the police because of the nature of what they are.

    Mostly I enjoy the challenge, but sometimes it gets a bit much, sometimes I get annoyed, sometimes I pick on the wrong person, and sometimes I need a holiday. Fortunately I’m going on holiday on Tuesday, and although I’ll be running the site while away (hotel broadband permitting), hopefully the more relaxing environment and warmer weather will herald a return to my generally more placid view of the world. I can’t guarantee it, but I hope so.

  16. Have a great holiday Tony. This site & most of the regulars keep me sane or perhaps insane depending on one’s point of view.

    Vivek, you are indeed entitled to your point of view, however wrong it may be. Refereeing is more important than meets the eye. Referees can bend a game & also can start a riot. Arsenal have been contending with bent referees ever since the bent PGMOL was set up. Prior to that officiating was reasonable and random. It is now deviant & corrupt.

  17. In the Guardian article following an earlier link, ‘Arsenal defeat highlights Tottenham frailties against Premier League’s big six’ is an example of bias. The defeat was that of Spurs but the headline denegrates Arsenal.

    The proper headline ‘Arsenal victory highlights Tottenham frailties against Premier League’s big six’ is avoided. That is the way it is. Classic media manipulation of truth.

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