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If Merson had any level of integrity he would now immediately resign

By Tony Attwood

Paul Merson has, in recent weeks, become ever more frantic on Sky Sports, telling anyone who would listen that Arsenal are a complete shambles and that Liverpool would beat Arsenal by scoring at least four goals.

This statement on last weekend’s Sky TV presentation was made amidst an outpouring that was one of the wildest yet in a stream of wildness, and seemed to leave Merson in such a state of animation it appeared he was in serious danger of doing himself an injury.

No one on Sky argued against him, everyone happy to accept the ranting and the prediction without any serious evidence.

The question now arises, does it matter to the rest of us?  It is after all one man who is prone to extreme outbursts, on a TV station that indulges in a lot of anti-Arsenal rhetoric.

If Merson had been on a youtube channel it would only matter as much as another person on another channel telling us that the world was flat, the moon landings were a conspiracy and that there is no global warming.   But here he was doing what he has been doing for week after week, indulging in his own anti-Arsenal vision, attacking without evidence, along to chuckles from his fellow panelists.

The problem is that easily influenced people see this sort of thing and then consider it something that is worth copying.  After all Merson gets a lot of attention so why shouldn’t they? It encourages criticism without evidence, without restraint and without remorse when it is shown to be wrong.

That Merson was doing it during an Arsenal run of what is now 14 matches unbeaten suggests one of two things: either Arsenal are doing quite well, or the Premier League has become very soft indeed, since most of the games in this run (nine in fact) were Premier League games.   I don’t actually think Merson knows what he means (although that of course is an opinion), but he is encouraged by Sky Sports because they seem to enjoy statements without analysis.

And this is afterall what is put out by Sky Sports day after day.  Yes there are some statements of fact, but mostly it is opinion all the way.

Again the question can be asked, does this matter, and again I would say yes it does because it is what has encouraged many people to copy this approach.  Make a statement that is (any logical analysis suggests) contrary to reality, and say it often enough and people believe it. It is merely the football version of President Trump calling barbed wire “beautiful” as he did yesterday in the context of people in Mexico.

And yes, there was a time in the past when we would have been expected to beat Liverpool at home, but at the moment there is more uncertainty.  Not the certainty of Merson that we will be defeated heavily, but acknowledgement that Liverpool at this time having spent their third of a billion pounds in the last three transfer windows, have got a decent return for their money.

Despite having spent a tiny fraction of the amount Liverpool have spent we were not that far away from beating them – and would have been the first team to beat them this season.   Not a bad position to be in just a few months into a season after changing manager.

Of course in the wider public as on Untold there are people saying that we should not have won because a goal ruled offside was not.  But the trouble with this argument is that it is not set in a wider context – which in this case would be taking all the league games so far this season, analysing all the referee errors and then seeing if they did all “even out in the end” as the old saying goes.  And then, to make sure people are satisfied, provide video evidence of every event.

As far as I know only one group of people have ever done that, the results are still on this site, with the video evidence, and the results of  the bias found. The only attempts to suggest that this analysis is wrong has come from a handful of people who have found a few comments they have disagreed with and then drawn the conclusion that the whole analysis is faulty.  Which is again not how the contradiction of evidence works in any logical scientific analysis.

What worked for Arsenal yesterday was what those of us who go to most of the games have been waiting for (and something we were putting into our predictions at the start of the season): Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Mesut Ozil and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as the threesome behind Lacazette.   Liverpool got the draw by pulling back and having just 38 per cent of the possession, even less than they had against Manchester City – and that shows the progress Arsenal is making these days in tackling other teams who ended up in the top six last season.

We are far from getting everything right, but Arsenal has proven that the ceaseless, mindless, insane and inane chatter about how Xhaka was so useless he should be given away if no one would buy him, how we will never get anywhere with Mustfai in the team, how Bellerin was an utter liability and should be sold at once, and all the rest of the gibberish stoked by Merson now uncontrolled and without very much grip on reality at all.  It went on through the summer with every single player being highlighted as needing to move on because he was not of the quality needed.

That is the danger of having Merson type people ranting on national TV.  He influences those who don’t do analyses, who don’t think, who just want to shout something, anything, to get attention.

Anything to get attention.  It is like the spoiled eight year old in the playground.  Exactly like that.

 

41 comments to If Merson had any level of integrity he would now immediately resign

  • DS

    Drop the money angle. It’s undignified. Liverpool’s net spend hasn’t been more than Arsenal’s. They’ve just spent better. When Arsenal were buying Mustsfi and Xhaka they were spending the same on Mane and Salah. The reality of yesterday is that Arsenal think they played great, Liverpool think they were ok, and yet it still took a poor flag from a linesman to get Arsenal a draw. Forget Merson and just be grateful that Arsenal have a manager like Emery who won’t pander to overrated divas like Ramsey.

  • Rudolph

    He’s entitled to his opinion, and if Sky are happy to pay him for it I don’t see the problem.

    If we threw every random idiot whose opinion we disagreed with under the bus we’d have a pretty empty world and life…an echo chamber of our own thinking, with nothing challenging us to grow.

    But at least there would be no more Untold Arsenal, eh?

  • Michael

    Merson still smarts from his utter rejection by Arsenal and uses every opportunity to slander and run down Arsenal. I am a Sky customer and after this result, I may be voting with my hard earned pounds by cancelling my sky sports subscription if Paul Merson remains on the panellist team on Sky Sports.

  • Terry

    Brilliant analysis of Merson’s diatribes, particularly like the use of Trump as a comparison.

    As for the game yesterday, very impressed at the control and authority exerted over Liverpool. Hopefully a sign of better things to come, particularly once a transfer window or two have gone though and some other useful squad additions in the guise of our brilliant Uruguayan enforcer, alongside the continued development and contribution of the squad players.

  • I wanted Arsenal to win against Liverpool more for the sake of this so called pundit who hates Arsenal so much that one questions what Arsenal has done to this poor man who’s no integrity. I couldn’t agree more. Well analysed. Thank you for making a very valid point Mr. Att Wood.

  • adeniji

    merson doesnt know much about football

  • Xi_gunner

    BAM!

  • Matt Peaty

    Blogger criticises pundit for having opinion…you couldn’t make it up

  • DS – to covince me of that you will have to provide some evidence

  • Rudolph if you think that the only issue Untold Arsenal deals with is the impact of bias in media reporting, I fear you have missed the vast majority of our articles.

  • Well Matt Peaty I am sorry you have failed to understand, but never mind. Fortunately a number of people did get what I was writing about.

  • Kal

    Poor ole Merse. Who knows what damage the cocaine, lager and prison life did to him. Keep up the predictions, Paul, because as long as the run goes on, they’re making you and Sky look like complete appendages!

  • Super Singh

    Stupid people are akin to being dead, they don’t know that they are but the pain is felt by others. Outlandish punditry ensures they set themselves up for the next paycheque, and that’s not a defence for them.

    Stating the bloody obvious on TV and agreeing to the other idiots, they are playing it safe. Sheep.

  • Tony Justin (Eastern Nigeria)

    Shame on Paul Merson and his likes of clueless pundits. That you played football or stay in the pub beside the stadium to write about doesn’t make you insightful on how clubs are/should be run.
    Their judgments are without evidence and their analysis is with the last match(for Arsenal, they don’t even see at all 12 unbeaten runs..)
    Bearing smart doesn’t make one smart just like being a fan doesn’t make some people “Supporters” What supporter moans and cry that a 50/50 decision is ruled to the advantage of his club but does nothing when his club suffers from some of these 50/50 decisions? In my area, we always tell haters to take a dive…if you’re not close to a pool, well.., still take a dive… The unbeaten run continues….

  • Minesy

    To be honest, if the only reason I had Sky Sports was football, I’d have cancelled years ago. Pretty much only keep it for the darts, cricket and NFL these days !!!

    The only non-Arsenal Premier League game I have watch this season was Chelsea/United because I thought it’d be interesting … I do often have the midweek Championship games on, but I’m usually doing other things at the same time instead of just watching them … when an Arsenal game is on, I don’t generally watch the pundits before, at half time or after … usually have turned down the commentary by the 20th minute and put on some music instead … still wish they’d offer a non-commentary, sounds from the ground audio option … you know, like when I’m actually at a game !!!

    Funnily enough, I watched the Blackpool game on a stream from a French channel, and was amazed by how often the commentator just shut up and let the game play out … my French is not great but the endless banal stats and “this is typical of …” rubbish inflicted on us every televised game appeared to be absent … but then what do the French know about football ???

  • Jerry

    At DS, net spend might be about the same, but Liverpool have spent a total of 200+ million more than Arsenal (550€ vs 330€). If looking at return, Arsenal with multiple FA Cup trophies have spent better when compared to Liverpool’s 0 trophies and always the bridesmaid never the bride finishes but number 1 in the hearts of biased pundits.

  • James LeBlanc

    The decision to disallow Mane’s goal was correct as he was offside on the initial through ball when he ACTIVELY moved towards it but only stopped when his team mate was clearly going to reach the ball first.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    I do see how biased commentary affects the viewers and how some may adopt a negative view but I prefer another angle.

    The players know what is being said about them but this group is not letting it bother them. In fact, they may be getting energized by hearing the rubbish. Yesterday, the team looked confident and purposeful from start to finish. It was very enjoyable match to watch. AND, I’m not saying that we deserve the LEVEL of vitriol being sent our way (anymore than Liverpool or Tottenham deserve all the sunshine sent their way) but I feel that we haven’t earned a ton of plaudits either. We are starting to play well but the season isn’t yet a quarter done; they are waiting for a blip. BUT, we are starting to earn respect from the other teams if not quite yet the pundits. And it is not far from respect to fear. The top teams are feared; that is where we want to be.

  • Ferg

    Just a thought. Arsenal.com do an audio commentary of the games. I’ve not tried it, but next match I will try to see how well synced it is with the video stream.
    Sacked sky off 2 years ago. £2k better off now. Well ,I buy better wine anyway.
    Hey Those Pool! Fans were a bit pissed off weren’t they? Think they must’ve watched a different game ,as the one I watched was a great match ,that the Pool did well to stay in.. They should have been very pleased.,I’d have thought. Nowt so Queer eh

  • Rudolph

    Tony, I may have missed most of your posts…but you hugely missed the point of my comment.

    As for that terrible, terrible human being who had an opinion you disagreed with…you might want to read this: https://www.sportsmole.co.uk/football/arsenal/news/paul-merson-i-was-wrong-about-arsenal_340575.html

    At least ONE person can put his hands up and admit he was wrong…

  • CorporateMan fcogban

    Consistency is what we want. Until Arsenal demonstrate it against the big teams, there will still be questions.

  • Goonereris

    For some ‘Pool fans on here to hold on to one wrong call by an official is rich; like it is a first or that’s ever mattered in the final analysis. The way the game works, a goal changes the flow and may have even come so early as to have given us enough time to equalize and get the win; who’s to know how letting in a goal that early may have affected both teams? I recall same Liverpool being two goals ahead, only to go behind 3-2, after we banged in 3 quick goals within 6-9 minutes. The Ref made a mistake because he assumed Mane was still active after he was offside in the first phase of play.

  • Goonereris

    Tony, Paul Merson has since tweeted an apology to Arsenal and the fans, stating it isn’t his wish for Arsenal to do badly, but it comes with his JD to say it as he sees it. He also held his hands up in submission as to how wrong he was. I paraphrased his tweet there, by the way.

    Can we forgive him now (until his next gaffe)?

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Am sure Merson has other sets of skills of excellence and mastery , which will keep him in comfortable employment and healthy financial state , should he ever leave this present lark.
    We should not worry too much if he stays orbgets kicked out.
    There must be millions out there who would buy him a round , just to hear those little gems that he comes out with!

  • MickHazel

    Goonereris
    No we should not forgive Merson.
    This is not a one off and if he was fulfilling his job description commitments he would occasionally at least have something good to say about Arsenal. Unless of course his JD is to only say bad things about his old club! He constantly gets these things hopelessly wrong and if he had any honour he should do what he was always urging Wenger (whom he was constantly accusing of getting things wrong) to do and offer his resignation.

  • There are many who admit they were wrong – I do it all the time, most recently about Arsenal playing in more than one stadium in a season – that a couple of days ago. For Merson one tweet after national coverage of a prolonged rant and several years of anti-Arsenal propaganda hardly seems enough to me. But of course everyone can decide.

  • Corporate man, consistency against the big teams means against the big spenders and until Arsenal can do as Liverpool and spent a third of a million pounds across 3 transfer windows, I doubt it. Or have an oil rich Arab state that denies basic human rights to most citizens as their owners. But if they did that, then I would withdraw my unconditional support.

  • Ango

    Tony, why is it such a big deal that Merson dares to have an opinion?

  • Ango

    And when did Liverpool join that pantheon of clubs that are so rich that we can’t compete with financially (which also means no competition on the pitch too according to your logic)? At the rate you’re going you’ll soon tell us we can’t compete with Bournemouth financially and otherwise too

  • Mandy Dodd

    Love it when the bitter, agenda driven get found out

  • Gord

    OT: Former player’s involvement

    Arsenal seems to have an abundance of a**holes who used to play for Arsenal, and want to berate anything and everything Arsenal does. Most recently Merson.

    Merson, you don’t need to apologize, you need to find some other line of “work”. We already know you are incapable of being a fair muppet, at least with respect to us.

    ====

    In the news was a story about Neville and Giggs owning a hotel, and maybe ManU should use that before European games.

    There can be some need for hotel owners to “wire/instrument” rooms. Privacy laws are weak all over the world at the moment. But ex-players of any team (Hello Merson!) are not given private information by the club they played for. For ManU (or Arsenal) to consider putting players into a hotel before a match owned by ex-players is a HUGE problem.

    I care about Arsenal. If Merson owned a hotel, we should never get close to it, not even for a meal. But if ManU wants a source of leaks of internal news, by all means have your players stay at a Neville/Giggs Hotel.

  • Gooner in Exile

    I agree with James LeBlanc that the Mane goal was rightly disallowed. However, I think that when the ball came to him he was gaining advantage from being offside when the original ball was played through. I cannot understand how PGMO can say that it was a different phase of play. They say that it was a different phase because it hit the post. Well it certainly looked the same phase of play to me. The defenders had no opportunity to get back to affect the play. It seems the problem here is how do you identify a different phase of play.

  • This site has over its 10+ years followed a number of campaigns and points of view which other blogs don’t follow, hence “Untold”. One is the fairly standard soliciological position that mainstream media, by defining what is news, and how the news is to be interpreted, influences its readers and viewers, in terms of their opinion. This effect is reduced somewhat when there are mainstream outlets that have differing opinions, but with football a general consensus has been built – something that is helpful to the media because it allows them to put forward opinion as fact. So we follow this trend and challenge extreme examples of it.

  • That is a faily silly thing to say. If you check the amount spent by Lierpool across the last three transfer windows against that which we spent we were nowhere near them. Likewise if you check how much was received from players you will see the difference. That is a factual situation – and our owner seems unwilling to put in anything like the amount of money that Liverpool spend. In one way that is a continuation of our tradition of only spending what we have in terms of profit, but given the amount of money Chelsea, Liverpool and Man C get from their owners that puts us at a profound disadvantage. As to when Liverpool joined – when they were taken over by the Americans and then started to be expanded ready for a profitable sale.

  • Goonereris

    Gooner in Exile, you make a compelling case there. If the intent of the rule is to prevent the attacking side gain any advantage from infringing on the rules, why should it matter about the “phase” of the play when our defenders had stepped up to put Mane in an offside position? Besides, he did attempt to interfere with play and only withdrew when Firminho came into the picture. There has to be some fine tuning of such grey areas of the rules.

  • Ango

    So because media affects other peoples opinion, broadcasters are therefore not allowed to have an opinion????

  • Ango

    If our club refuses to spend money because of it’s business model, does that mean the club is poor? If we cannot compete on the pitch with Liverpool is that then because of poverty or our business plan? If in future we achieve success with this plan, would you not attribute it to our better planning? Of course it’s not factual that Liverpool have spent MUCH MORE than us recently, but even if they had, it would be shameful to make that an excuse to be inferior

  • Well Ango, most people seem to get what Iam talking about, which is a fairly standard sociological analysis – but you don’t. Fair enough.

  • “Of course it’s not factual that Liverpool have spent MUCH MORE than us recently, ”

    OK, just to stop this I will publish the exact figures.

  • fengunner

    Merson’s drug addled brain sometimes confuses facts with fiction. Unfortunately for him, it’s that part of his brain that stores facts that seems worst affected.

    The best thin is to watch the pictures but turn off the sound.

    That also shows you what a load of morons work for both Sky and Sprout!

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