“Same old Arsenal always cheating”. The Return.

By Tony Attwood

“Are Arsenal shedding the condescending tag of ‘neutrals’ favourite’ and becoming a team people love to hate again?”

So asks an article in the Telegraph.   It is a bit of an odd question because as far as I can see Arsenal are the team that journalists love to hate.  Not people; journalists.  There is a difference.

Let’s see how it goes.  From the same article that asked that question about “love to hate” we also get this:

“Unai Emery’s Arsenal earned a creditable seven points from fixtures against Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United and Huddersfield last week, but also collected a startling 11 yellow cards.”

“Startling” is the key word.

Here is the yellow card chart for the season, not for a three game run…

Rank Club Yellow cards totoal
Manchester United
West Ham United
Brighton and Hove Albion
Wolverhampton Wanderers
Crystal Palace
AFC Bournemouth

So Arsenal are fourth.   If that makes Arsenal the club that people love to hate presumably the same is true of the other clubs in the top five at least – which are separated by one card.  The 10th club in the table – Bournemouth, the club journalists love to love have only had five fewer cards than Arsenal.

But is this noted?  No – this is a journalist who often (not always but often) only counts one game at a time.   No investigation as to why that game was so heavy with cards, but instead we are back to Sky Sports of 15 years ago when they used to say “That is Arsenal’s 30th card of the season” and the puppet panel members would sit their shaking their heads saying “shocking” without ever asking how many cards any other team had.

Actually though, the whole piece is rather funny, as it says “Suspensions to Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis give Arsenal a very real problem in the short-term, with ring-rusty Laurent Koscielny their only available centre-back for a trip to Southampton.”

I would refer the honourable gentleman to my previous article for Arsenal have so many defenders it is hard to give them all a game.

Anyway the gent in question is “Sport social media editor” for the Telegraph Daniel Zeqiri.  His last two articles for the old rear admirals daily have been

How Arsenal rediscovered their bite and embraced the dark arts


Arsenal suffered Granit Xhaka cold turkey at Old Trafford – the imperfect midfielder they now rely on

and just before that

Unai Emery: ‘Arsenal were in decline and had lost defensive structure’

These are not exactly positive in any regards, the most positive thing he’s said about Arsenal is that “there will be those who welcome some bellicosity,” in relation to the number of recent yellow cards.

He adds, “‘Arsenal’s red card SHAME’ was once a staple headline in the early years of the Arsene Wenger era, when they made a habit of winning points with 10 men.

“There were even stories, possibly apocryphal, of Arsenal training with 10 players such was the likelihood of a sending off.”

Possibly apocryphal???   And any thought on the referees and PGMO???

Or shall we go back and see how many reds Arsenal actually got during the Wenger years compared with other teams?   Shall we just once talk about the strange doings of the PGMO during that era and their rulings about what journalists must not talk about?   Perhaps not.   But here’s an interesting thing…

“Their reputation shifted dramatically post-2006, but are Arsenal shedding the condescending tag of ‘neutrals’ favourite’ and becoming a team people love to hate again?”

Now why did the reputation shift?  What happened around 2006?  Of course I don’t make connections without any solid evidence, but one thing that happened was that Untold Arsenal started writing about perfidious journalists and their awful newspapers.

 To be fair, later on the journalist says, “Arsenal have made more tackles than any member of the Premier League’s ‘Big Six’ this season, while only Manchester United have committed more fouls than Emery’s team.”
The key fact is that Arsenal have changed their style and have a number of new players, so adjustments are being made.  Taking figures over the course of this season is only now just starting to be a reliable thing to do, because of the change of style.   Recent games are certainly not a valid base for drawing any conclusions.
We need to be wary of some of these stats.  Arsenal are changing styles, and any articles that try to draw conclusions too early – especially while missing out stats when they don’t quite fit the thesis, need to be treated with caution.
But that’s what we do with the Telegraph anyway.  Treat them with caution.

4 Replies to ““Same old Arsenal always cheating”. The Return.”

  1. The comparisons would only be meaningful if referees were fair and consistent in giving could and issuing cards. We know very well that they are not.

  2. Arsenal fc is the club the majority of football fans in Africa particularly in Nigeria like to love and loved to like according to the available media facts and figures. Is Arsenal FC not the most followed football club side on twitter according to obtained true facts and figures on twitter itself? Yes! Arsenal FC is the most followed PL club side on twitter. This popularity and acceptance of Arsenal FC across the world by millions of football fan do testified to how Arsenal FC is liked and loved by football fans in the world who becomes Gooners by default.

  3. I see the Spuds had yet another game where they committed 19 fouls last night…………at least they got one yellow card this time! So on the two occasions this season where they’ve committed 19 fouls in a single game, they’ve picked up a total of one yellow card. Just one yellow for 38 offences. Compare that with the early part of our last game where early on we were 4 cards for seven offences!

  4. As I said in a previous thread, when we have the temerity to stand up to the intimidation which referees seem happy to allow against us, they book us for any reason – real or imagined.
    That’s what happened under Wenger and we ended up trying to avoid contact, play football round it, but were called arrogant and whingeing.
    Did we ever whinge and dive as much as Barcelona as one example?
    But we have been painted in turn as dirtier then Mourinho teams or Spurs or Man U or the biggest whingers around.
    And the “Pompey chimes” are from teams like Huddersfield are all the more galling for being so at odds with reality.

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