By Bulldog Drummond
Imagine the problem: you work for the media and are given the clear direction that knocking Arsenal is the order of the day. But you find that in reality they are doing rather well. Unbeaten in League, League Cup and Europa since the second league match of the season. What on earth can you say?
One solution is to write the headline:
“xG secrets: Arsenal are wildly over-performing, and Mo Salah is having a great season”
which appears in the Telegraph.
If you are a regular here you will know that Untold does not possess a writer who can explain the validity of xG as either a meaningful measurement of the past nor a way of predicting the future. In fact we’re slowly developing our own new site with the aim of predicting results: https://predictions.org.uk/ because we are getting so fed up with xG.
There are just a few articles up there at the moment as we have been playing with the layout etc, and one or two of them are lifted from Untold to help us get the design right, but it will hopefully start from here on to explain more fully a simple alternative to the expected goals approach.
And when there have been enough expected goals (without any explanation of how a club can score many more goals than xG predicts and it is the club that is wrong, not the theory) one can turn to the standard knocking copy. This from the same publication…
“Arsenal snarling and sneering their way to victory shows how conceptions of nastiness are changing”
Of course some of the publications do go completely off the rails as with the Express which ran the headline,
“Arsenal news: ‘It’s a no-brainer’ – Unai Emery told to complete big January deal”
Ozil must leave”. There is of course at least one no brainer in that story but I am not sure it is the idea that Ozil must leave.
Meanwhile Arsenal have equalled the Premier League record that has been held since 2007 by Benni McCarthy, once of Blackburn. Aubameyang is the first player since McC to score a goal from each of ten consecutive shots on target in the Premier League. Another shot another goal and he will break the record.
Elsewhere the nonsense goes on as with
“Denis Suarez: Have Arsenal found their Aaron Ramsey replacement?”
in Give me Sport. And the answer to the question is no, because Denis Suarez is not home grown and Aaron Ramsey is, and Arsenal have no non-HG places avaialable. A non-HG player will need to be sold or removed from the squad to allow another one in.
Of course we can always rely on a laugh from the authorities at this time as with “Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur have been charged following the game on 2 December 2018. It is alleged that, in the 32nd minute, they failed to ensure their players conducted themselves in an orderly fashion.”
Have you ever seen players conduct themselves in an orderly fashion on the pitch? I think that is rather a contradiction in terms.
As for today’s game, if you have been reading the media you will probably have seen at least one headline along the lines of
“No Mesut Ozil, new formation: How Unai Emery must tinker his Arsenal side to end wretched 12-year run at Manchester United.”
Arsenal are awful against Man U is the official media story of the day but it looks like one of those very contrived headlines. For example if we look at the last eight games between the clubs we get
|09 Mar 2015||Manchester United v Arsenal||W||1-2||FA Cup|
|17 May 2015||Manchester United v Arsenal||D||1-1||Premier League|
|04 Oct 2015||Arsenal v Manchester United||W||3-0||Premier League|
|28 Feb 2016||Manchester United v Arsenal||L||3-2||Premier League|
|19 Nov 2016||Manchester United v Arsenal||D||1-1||Premier League|
|07 May 2017||Arsenal v Manchester United||W||2-0||Premier League|
|02 Dec 2017||Arsenal v Manchester United||L||1-3||Premier League|
|29 Apr 2018||Manchester United v Arsenal||L||2-1||Premier League|
Not as good as I’d like them to be but even so, three wins, three defeats and two draws against another of the top six clubs isn’t that bad is it? At least not when we are totally awful and not expected to get any of the goals we do get.
Arsenal are not yet title winning, I agree, but “wretched”? No. So why create this headline? Presumably just to knock Arsenal.
It was ever thus.
- Arsenal v Tottenham update, team news and appalling, flagrant media bias
- Arsenal have benefitted by the world cup break: allegedly.
- Arsenal and Tottenham: which has had the easier ride so far this season?
- Arsenal v Tottenham: not exactly a battle of equals.
- Death by 300,000 passes: how the Arsenal transformation started 2 seasons ago.