by Tony Attwood
These are very tough times for the Arsenal knocking journalists. They have got the story that Rob Holding is clearly going to be injured for quite a long time, but that’s not really big enough for them. Ramsey’s injury was said to be minor so he might make the beach for saturday’s game. Xhaka will of course be back and he’s not the figure of hatred he was a month or so ago.
What they won’t do is run anything to suggest we have a number of players who can play at centre back, nor that Ozil might well be fit to play on Saturday against Huddersfield – at least not unless there is another story that Ozil was out partying – although this has been tried but without much hope.
So it is knocking time again, but without much of a clue of who or what to knock. And thus they ask the prime question that all Arsenal haters ask all day long, “who haven’t we knocked for a while?”
We find out under the headline “‘He hasn’t been good enough’ – Some fans attack Arsenal star after United draw” from Red London. The “he” in question is Leno, who indeed hasn’t been criticised for a while so it must be his turn.
After which it is the BIG ONE. Yes the enormous issue of key footballing interest to the world.
I refer of course to Mattéo Guendouzi’s hair. “ Arsenal’s Unai Emery tells Mattéo Guendouzi: get your hair cut” screams the bold big and brassy headline in the Guardian. (Yes it really is the Guardian who once upon a time were way above such gibberish, but now have sunk down with the rest.)
Under which there is an article that says,
“I think the best thing is that he cuts his hair before the next match, then the problem is finished,” Arsenal’s manager said. “Just as Fellaini did. I have not told him that to his face, though.”
Oh, so when the headline says, “Arsenal’s Unai Emery tells Mattéo Guendouzi: get your hair cut” it means that the manager has NOT told him to have his hair cut. And in fact it seems he won’t as he added, “I respect a lot the players; their hair and their hair colour.”
And besides, is it the slightest bit important? Actually no, but what is important is that a paper once as respectable as the Guardian makes it a big story, and runs a headline that is totally contrary to reality.
It is in essence another part of the same spectrum that saw newspapers outraged to find the Pulis was completely out of control when it came to matches against Arsene Wenger’s teams, after having been saying for years there was nothing wrong with his style and thus helping Pulis get away with his awful actions season after season.
With this sort of headline writing one might as well publish “Arsenal are certain to lose this match” says Emery in amazingly frank interview when he fact he has said, “I think we’ll win this match.”
Indeed it by passes the whole transfer rumour nonsense in which Arsenal are tipped to bring in players who not only won’t sign but can’t sign because they are the wrong nationality, and takes total gibberish and nonsense to a new level.
Meanwhile if there is a story that has the word “embroiled” in it you know there is a certain amount of insubstantial evidence circulating around. Combine “embroiled” with “reported” in the same sentence and you can be fairly sure we have another shock horror Stoke City hair cut tale of the “if we can’t knock Arsenal for being losers we can at least portray the club as wracked by scandal, intrigue and a lack of discipline.”
Here we go then, this from the Telegraph – oh but before we do, how long is a string of Arsenal players? That’s important to know when the story runs.
“A string of senior Arsenal players were embroiled in a “hippy crack” storm on Thursday night after it was reported they had inhaled nitrous oxide at a pre-season party.
“Alexandre Lacazette, Mesut Ozil, Matteo Guendouzi and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang were all pictured at the event, at which so-called “hippy crack” was reportedly inhaled from balloons.”
It should perhaps be noted that taking laughing gas is not illegal in the UK. Oh yes and the Sun (the source of the story) says that the event took place before the start of the season.
Did it happen? Was it important? Is three players “a string”? Why has it not been reported until now if it did and was? Oh it raises so many questions.
It is true there is a medical risk if too much nitrous oxide is inhaled but the risk is far lower than that from smoking tobacco, or drinking alcohol regularly beyond the recommended limits.
So indeed “desperate times call for desperate measures” such as regurgitating a Sun story from last summer.
Oh and just in case you think we haven’t had a headline with “Ludicrous,” “Absolute joke” – in, there is one of these around too. It concerns “these Arsenal fans are furious with massive FA decision”, and you might like to know that the issue is that Fellani didn’t get sent off and the FA will do nothing retrospectively, because that is what the rules say.
But finally, here’s what TalkSprout call Arsene Wenger’s “massive joke”.
“Since I don’t compete any more, I get a trophy every week! How stupid was I not to understand that earlier?”
It’s not a “massive joke”, it is a typical Wengerism, in that it makes fun of the media in a way that they can never quite grasp. I’ve always love it when he does that and they report it without realising that they are, and often have been, the pointed end of his humour.
PS: Please don’t forget: “Arsenal are not consistent enough.”