Football in turmoil as media change tack but blogs still attack star players

By Tony Attwood

Is football really falling apart, or is it just the media finding something else to write about?   Take a look at these headlines from the Telegraph which suggest there is a certain change of approach going on…  (They were all on the Telegraph’s site on one day).

*** Manchester United academy head Nicky Butt arrested for assault.

*** Chelsea will remain a club in limbo until Roman Abramovich decides whether he wants in or out.

*** Paul Scholes charged by FA for allegedly breaching betting rules

*** Exclusive: Cardiff City accuses Nantes of breaking Fifa rules over Emiliano Sala transfer

*** Barnsley make formal complaint to EFL and FA over Joey Barton’s alleged assault on Daniel Stendel

*** FA clears Wayne Hennessey of making a Nazi salute because he had not heard of Adolf Hitler

*** Guardiola questions how much fans care about Champions League
*** Club launch campaign to crack down on ticket touts
Only that final headline has a positive feel to it, although in itself it leaves me wondering why this has taken so long and why the club is not Arsenal – it is in fact Chelsea.

Of course these are not the only headlines – but it is notable that they are all published in a matter of a couple of days by one paper.   The blogs however have not yet caught up.

For example, Caught Offside, at the time the headlines above were being published came out with “Get him out of the club’ – These Manchester United fans blast star for ‘awful’ performance…”  It is of course a re-run of a piece they and/or others have run before about Arsenal players, and this is another trend.  Final a format and repeat it over and over again but for different clubs.

The Guardian headline, “Solskjær must chuck out Manchester United chintz or Ole years are doomed” is one that they could have written, and indeed probably have produced, with different names, in relation to Arsenal.

And of course Arsenal are not immune to this kind a rampant negativity, as with the headline, “Not good for the team’, ‘Overrated piece of garbage’ – Loads of Arsenal fans slam key man.”   That comes from   If they follow the trend they will be doing pieces on other clubs with a minor variation of the headline.  The player in question is Aubameyang.

And that is interesting because by my reckoning he has been doing quite well this season, what with being our top scorer and well up in the Premier League rankings too.  Here is the list of scorers at the time of writing.

Player Club Goals Assists
Sergio Aguero Manchester City 19 7
Mohamed Salah Liverpool 19 7
Pierre Emerick Augameyang Arsenal 18 5
Sadio Mane Liverpool 18 1
Raheem Sterling Manchester City 17 9
Harry Kane Tottenham 17 4
Eden Hazard Chelsea 16 12
Jamie Vardy Leicester 15 4
Paul Pogba Manchester United 13 9
Alexandre Lacazette Arsenal 13 7

So we need to get rid of our top scorer, who is currently third highest scorer in the league.  A player who has a minutes per goal ratio higher than anyone other than Aguero.

And meanwhile the criticism goes on.

Ian Wright slams Arsenal player; says he’s been an ‘absolute nightmare’ shouts HITC, the player being Mkhitaryan.  While the Boot Room actually gets worked up about who was voted man of the match, as if it mattered.  They wanted Leno not Aubameyang.

The Transfer Tavern is at it too with “Disastrous: Report shows Arsenal wasted precious money on flop signing” with comments about Denis Suarez.

So it goes on.  The negativity is rampant, and although of itself that doesn’t matter too much – it is just that it is clearly read by a lot of people, and presumably some of them do actually believe it.

I am all in favour of the media turning their thoughts away from the rampant negativity that the blogs are wrapped up in, and you never know, one day the blogs might feel that way too.  Certainly if they supported the club they would stop it.  It doesn’t change anything and the only impact can be to make people feel bad.  Is that really positive support?  No of course not.   It is knocking the club for their own profit.  Not a very pleasant way to earn a living.

11 Replies to “Football in turmoil as media change tack but blogs still attack star players”

  1. The nature of “news” I’m afraid, Tony.
    What would you have in the Daily Tonygraph instead?

    “Nicky Butt helps old lady across the road”

    “Business as usual at Chelsea”

    “Paul Scholes only has the occasional flutter on the Grand National”

    “Cardiff City has excellent business relationship with Nantes”

    “Barnsley forgive Joey Barton as he is trying to be a reformed character”

    “Wayne Hennessy, whose speciality is 20th century history, condemns anti semitism”

    I’m not sure you’d get much of a readership, Tony, but worth a try. Let me know how you get on.

  2. Another screwy bit of officiating. The foul counter had almost nothing happening foul wise for most of the game, but ended with 10 fouls to Man$ity and 10 to the spuds. The first card (of 3) of the game, in the 86th minute. The spuds inflicted 2 treatments on Man$ity, one requiring immediate substitution and the other delayed substitution by 14 minutes or so. As near as I can tell, not even a foul associated with either treatment.

    For a game they supposed only had an 8% chance of winning, the 1-0 scoreline to Man$ity doesn’t look very impressive. That simple model of mine gave them a 61% chance of getting the draw.

    Our game against Brighton has now been changed as well. See Arsenal website.

    A few articles about that other Man$ity/Spud game, where VAR came into things. I didn’t watch the game, but according to one person nobody suggested that the last goal was offside. So who asked for VAR to rule on it?

    The author of that piece, felt that this would be the beginning of the downfall of football as a spectator sport.

  3. Gord – I’m interested as to why your treatment / substitution mathematical model seems not to care one jot about context. What is the point of it? Genuine question.

    I only ask because de Bruyne was substituted because of an injury that had nothing to do with a Spurs player and Aguero played on fine for 15 minutes after picking up a knock in a perfectly fair challenge with Vertonghen. We don’t know why Aguero was substituted and, even if it was as a consequence of that knock, there can be no blame attached to Vertonghen.

    So what is your model trying to show? It certainly doesn’t show what you claim it to show.

  4. With that loss by the spuds, they have 4 games remaining. Three of those teams are in action now, with I believe no score. So, just updating the spuds data (and not those other opponents, whose games are in progress), the spuds are forecast to finish on 75 points now.

    Watford has scored, but spuds don’t play them, nor do the spuds play their opposition (Huddersfield).

  5. With the other games played, there was a tiny adjustment to the spuds, still expected to be 75.

    ManU is looking like 73.

    Chel$ea is looking like 73.

    And we seem to be looking at 77. Go St. Totteringham!

    Watford get the symmetry prize, for having 49 points with 49 goals for and 49 goals against. Leicester is close with 48,48,47.

  6. My model has nothing to do with treatments.

    I am not watching the game, just looking at commentary and statistics.

    In terms of de Bruyne, thank you for commenting. Just because a “collision” (in the physics sense) with a spuds player didn’t immediately preceed the need for treatment, doesn’t mean that one (or more) collisons with spuds player(s) before the treatment didn’t cause the need for the treatment. But yes, it is possible for players to hurt themselves.

    An example of an injury which can have some delay between collision and need for treatment, is a hamstring injury.

    In terms of Aguero playing on for 15 minutes, I agree it is possible that he was withdrawn from play for other reasons. Now in terms of his collision with Vertonghen, was the collision of a type which is explicitly allowed in football (shoulder to shoulder with the ball within playing range)?

    I am pointing out treatments, because they _can_ indicate an independent measure of illegal play. There can be other reasons why treatments are needed. There something like 90% of treatments do not involve cards can also have multiple meanings. But if one doesn’t ask questions, you are unlikely to find answers.

  7. Joey Barton is an absolute disgrace and I’m absolutely dumbfounded that he’s still employed
    Well done to City earlier! Phew, it was tense!! Now let’s go & win 3 points tomorrow COYG

  8. Gord, your points model seems to be working well.
    Your treatments is truly innovative and the assumption that a protagonist’s contact is the cause of treatment is fair. The injury might take some time to manifest a reaction as adrenalin masks the pain. The balance between the treatments and cards is more difficult as officials ignore several contacts as ‘part of the game’.
    Unfortunately Arsenal contact is more ‘part of the game’ than contact with other teams. The attitude that skill & quality can be beaten by physical abuse seems to be part of a social weakness. The continious ‘in their faces’ pundit mantra encourages the physical abuse that PGMOL seem to allow without comment.

    Despite all of this Arsenal will win success.

  9. Thanks Menace.

    At the moment, it seems possible that Sir Emery may help the appearance of St. Totteringham this year. Which I think would be a wonderful achievement (entirely ignore the medja).

  10. Gord and Menace.Two of Untolds special ones who havent got a clue about the game of football.In fact of the 10 regulars or so who frequent this site the majority these days just want to talk about referees so called bias and not about the game itself.Gord you didnt watch the game but are able to comment on the officiating of it.Sometimes you put your special friend Menace to shame.

  11. Marca had an article about de Bruyne’s injury, which according to the player puts it as self-inflicted. I can accept that, it is possible to injure one’s self.

    But, the premise the PGMO are traveling suggests that all of these treatments have nothing to do with foul play. And that is not a good assumption.

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