By Tony Attwood
As you will know, if you are a regular reader, the media and their tail coat hangers on, have created more transfer rumours in terms of players joining Arsenal, than ever before. (We’re not keeping a record of rumours of leavings since we had that summer two years ago in which every single player in the first team squad was tipped to be going – you can’t outdo 100%).
And there are still a few rumours drifting in about last minute signings, which I shall cover anon, but there are other things afoot.
For example, The Sunday Supplement from Sky Sports announces that “Arsenal fans should expect a steady, rather than a drastic improvement under Unai Emery.” This prognostication is based on the amazing realisation that, as they say, “Emery took over from Arsene Wenger at the Emirates earlier this summer, bringing to an end the Frenchman’s 22-year association with the north London club.”
Well, I mean, £60 a month or whatever to watch the SS and that’s their summary. I’m glad I didn’t pay.
But it raises the question, will it be a sudden rise up the table or step by step? If you caught our earlier series on this, we tried to do a proper analysis based on facts and figures rather than the sort of impressionist approach that the mainstream likes, and we reached the conclusion that third was a possibility.
- How much does it cost in transfer fees to take a club up one place in the PL
- Where will Arsenal end up next season? What the scientific predicterometer reveals is quite a surprise.
- We’re predicting Arsenal will finish third this season, so how can it be done?
Rather amazingly, indeed one might say bizarrely, one website regularly sponsored by the Daily Mail and with views completely different from mine actually came up with a similar prediction. Very odd.
But now with predictions done, what is going on in the world of Arsenal?
Well, one major new approach is a very strong, “Let’s attack Bellerin” campaign, as exemplified by the headlnie in This is Futbol: “Get rid’, ‘Lazy’, ‘Should be retired’ – Many Arsenal fans slam one player despite 2-0 v Lazio.”
The media love these because they exemplify the stupidity of a few Arsenal fans (not just because their opinion is wrong, but because it is based on a few contentious observations over a couple of matches.)
Indeed if we took that sort of route that a player having some games not at the very highest level should then go, Thierry Henry would have been out of Arsenal after three games, and I am not sure Bergkamp would have lasted through his first winter either.
Indeed there seems to be a growing feeling that Arsenal’s manager has been given enough slack and that now it is time to get back to the sort of treatment that Mr Wenger suffered on a daily basis. The backdrop to this was always that the club is falling apart, and indeed you can see it evolving in headlines like “£90,000-a-week star officially confirms he will complete Arsenal exit after his contract ends.”
That rumoid turned out to be about Laurent Koscielny and the article writer at least had the grace to say that Kos had merely “hinted that he will leave Arsenal at the end of his contract.” Which is quite reasonable given the nature of the injury and the melancholia he may have felt on missing the world cup – especially as his country won.
And yet it is not all negative because suddenly Xhaka is no longer the enemy who should have his head posted on the gates of the city for the crows to peck at, but is actually being lauded. Try this for size…
“Nelson, 18, kicked off the scoring before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang completed the victory with his second-half strike. But it was what Xhaka did immediately after the youngster’s goal that got fans talking. In the clip, the 25-year-old can be seen congratulating the teenager. He then appears to give him advice for a situation that occurred before the goal, gesturing that he should have been in a certain position. The mature response by the Switzerland international was enough for viewers to want him to be made captain.”
OK so that reaction based on one clip is as silly as wanting Bellerin out, but the fact that it could actually be published shows that there is a certain realignment in Arsenal politics going on.
However the overall feeling is one that after over 100 years of vitriol between Arsenal and the media, it just gets worse and worse, and Arsenal’s current policy of just letting it all go, is certainly not helping.
Indeed we’ve mentioned it twice recently: the Arsenal History Society dealt with this in its Anniversary files citing 4 August 1923 where at a farewell dinner for Jock Rutherford at which Sir Henry Norris criticised the press for their unfair, inaccurate and unreasonable commentaries on the club. And of course there was the coverage by the Evening Standard of events at the Lazio Arsenal game in 1970 which Arsenal took great exception to. Oh for a return of those days when the club stood up against the publishers of wild rumours and raging untruths and put its side more forcibly.
For even when they are not publishing untruths there is, in the media, the ceaseless innuendo, as with Sportskeeda’s headline “Premier League 2018-19: Can Unai Emery stabilize the Arsenal ship?” Is Arsenal unstable? All clubs have ups and downs, and our decline to 5th and 6th in the last two years has been nothing like the collapse of Chelsea and Manchester United in recent times. After the all time UK record run of competing in the Champions League to have two seasons out doesn’t seem too bad.
But it was ever thus, and maybe sometimes things reported as happening do happen. Today’s story is Calum Chambers going to Fulham. If he goes, let’s hope his career develops further. He signed a new long term contract with Arsenal on 3 July. That’s a month and three days ago.
- This summer’s Arsenal transfers reach an all time record!!!
- Arsenal: Eight reasons to be cheerful ahead of the new season – and then some.
- Are Arsenal really making progress, or are we starting to slip back?
- Luton 3 Arsenal 4: maybe it is time to say positive things
- Luton v Arsenal – the referee, the team, Saka and Cliff Bastin
- Luton Town – how do they play the game. The tackles, fouls and cards.
- Luton Town v Arsenal: Grim football, fewest goals, lowest possession rate