By Tony Attwood
To many people the art of commenting on football is the art of picking one or two incidents out of the tens of thousands that take place across 90 minutes and then draw conclusions from those. Indeed one can always find a few events that will support a conclusion, not matter how weird that conclusion is.
Imagine a game has taken place, and that you have not seen it or previously read about it. You are given a load of headlines and then you have to guess what the context was – that is to say not just the immediate event but the build up to the event over a period of weeks of months.
Here are some headlines to consider in order to get a view on what that game was about.
- Report: Graeme Souness questions Mesut Ozil’s lack of passion (
- ‘Sell Him’, ‘Liability’ – These Fans Slam Arsenal Man For Display v Palace (
- Arsenal fans slam Shkodran Mustafi for giving away a penalty (
- Not a good day for Arsenal and it hurts (
- Palace’s late equaliser gives Arsenal a reality check (
- Arsenal player ratings: Mixed day for Xhaka, Mustafi struggles (
- Defensive concerns for Arsenal? (
- ‘Terrible today’ ‘Should have gone off’ – Most Arsenal fans slate key man after Palace shocker (
- Hodgson: Arsenal’s second goal should have been disallowed (
- Ozil criticised for lack of courage and passion by Souness (
- Iwobi Shines In Arsenal’s Draw At Palace; Moses Benched In Chelsea Win
- Arsenal player ratings: Mesut Ozil, Alex Iwobi poor in 2-2 draw away at Crystal Palace (
The reality is that only one of those six statements is true, and it is the one that you would be least likely to select from the six options given those headlines above. The aim, it seems, is always to pick incidents from the game that suit the writer’s or publications negative perspective no matter what.
- A player from a FIFA ranked top-10 nation only has to have played in 30 percent of games in the two years prior to application to be granted a work permit
- A player from a 11-20 nation must have played in 45 percent of international games
- That rises to 60 percent for the next 10 countries, and 75 percent for countries ranked 31-50
- Leaving the European Union will mean players from 27 countries still in the union would need to meet these criteria to qualify for an automatic work permit, unless other regulations are made, (and there is no sign of any work being done on this).
Now transfer rumours would be a little more realistic if they took into account this set of rules rather than blaming Arsenal for not getting a player who is not British. Indeed the transfer rumours that swirl around every day would be more realistic if they took into account the fact that assuming that the UK does leave the EU, without a deal that retains employment rights within it, the vast majority of players they talk about from overseas will simply not be able to come to the UK.
And since it appears to be felt by many in government that the key thing that many people voted for when offered the choice of leaving the EU was reducing the number of non-UK citizens in the country, that seems to be a problem.
My point is very simple. Taking individual events and generalising from them usually leads to faulty conclusions. Of course I would love to have seen us win yesterday, but a draw at Palace was not a disaster that means that Arsenal is now a rubbish team.
Anyone who watched the Unbeaten Season, or the two Cup and League Doubles before that will know that we drew games we should have won, and in the Double seasons we lost games we should have drawn. It happens. No team is excellent in every game.
Of course we all draw conclusions from one event and ignore others that don’t fit – that is a human characteristic, but we should also try and reign that in on occasion – at least just a bit – if we want a greater understanding of reality.