By Tony Attwood
As you may have noticed from passing comments I am now in Canary Islands, on a dance holiday, and reminding myself what it is like for many Arsenal supporters being outside England.
In this case I am dependent on TV from the truly awful BeinSports which has the disagraced Richard Keys (now much chubbier than I remember him) and the also disgraced Andy Gray, running their English language shows.
And even by standards of commentary in England the whole approach was extraordinarily one sided with the plucky Bournemouth who 10 years ago to the day, or maybe month were bottom of the fourth tier – or something akin to this. Or so we were told about 20 times during the match.
Their manager, we realised, has god-like properties and the fact that he has not been made pope or Dalai Lama must be down to his absolute humility, since his miracles are there to behold every day of the week, every step of the way.
So a bit like Sky Sports but where the commentary team have watched that channel and thought – we can outdo them. The Bournemouth own goal was singularly unfortunate, and one had to feel sorry for the player, we were told, because Bournemouth are such a plucky team. They didn’t deserve to lose because, well, they were so plucky. And their manager is a saint.
Interestingly the crowd sounds picked up by the local microphones were almost entirely Arsenal, either meaning that the elderly folk of Bournemouth are simply not up to singing, or they put their FX mic in the little away segment. (There also seemed to be a lot of empty seats at the start of the second half, so maybe there was a problem with the catering too – but we were not told).
The commentary after the match was of sinister goings on and worries about the future – the former largely about Ozil, the latter because our squad is stretched so thin that with all these injuries we’ll be lucky to put a team out at all on Thursday (although this game itself was not mentioned – maybe BeIn Sports don’t have the rights, so it doesn’t exist.)
Anyway, a lot of people realised that something rather decent has happened to our away form – in that instead of being 11th in the away form charts as we were at the end of last season…
we are now…
And as you may also surmise from this extract of the table we are the top scoring team away from home in the League – which really is an improvement as we were 11th in the goal scoring chart away from home last season, 25 goals behind Manchester City and equal in terms of away goals scored with Burnley.
Now of course just as fourth is not a trophy, nor is being top of the league for away goals scored – but to my mind (curious place though that is) it is out of these details that improvements are built. And anyway while many people are still writing off Arsenal on the grounds that we have lost our two games against other teams who finished up in the top six last season I prefer to look at broader perspectives for signs of development and improvement.
Meanwhile, of course, being on holiday means there is more chance to read the papers on line, and I must say it has been rather encouraging to read two articles in the Guardian’s football coverage – an area of reporting that I sometimes find lacking and/or biased away from key issues. So time to make up for that and give credit where due…
The first is Manchester City fans’ defence of UAE shows sportswashing in action which among other things makes the point that one group of fans saying to another “you can’t comment on this because your club is just as bad” is hardly an argument of any consequence.
The second concerns the child abuse scandal surrounding Crewe Alexandra and its staff: Sound of Dario Gradi’s silence in Barry Bennell affair is deafening
I haven’t come back to the child abuse in football story for a long time simply because it has been impossible to find new information which is reliable – and since we are talking court cases here, and the abuse of children, extreme caution is of course needed.
If you have time, and have a mind to, I would recommend both articles for insightful views on football which are generally not available elsewhere.
It’s now raining. Probably got better weather in England!
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