The sloppiness of journalists in these excitable times. 3rd is easily within reach.

by Tony Attwood

Most of the time it is the sloppy writing that annoys me.  And most particularly when a journalist writes a piece about Arsenal which is fair enough and a reasonably decent piece but then throws in some gratuitous rubbish along the way.  Just to remind us that this is Arsenal we are talking about.

As an example let us take Daniel Zeqiri in his article in the Telegraph, “David Luiz is no clown and Unai Emery can have no excuses after Arsenal’s transfer window.”  Why mention excuses, when Emery has not, as far as I recall, made excuses.  He doesn’t go on and on about injuries.  He doesn’t talk about lack of money.  He doesn’t criticise the fan base for booing Arsenal players.  He doesn’t blame them for turning almost everyone from Ozil to Maitland-Niles.

Now to be fair, most of the article is really quite reasonable.  And when he opens with the standard negativity that all journalists seem to employ (to the extent that one begins to wonder if it is written into their NUJ contracts), well, it looks like the same old same old type of article.  As when he writes about “Emery’s inability to improve the away form or goals conceded column”.

Now since the issue of away form has been a central concern here, let’s follow this up…

2017/8 19 4 4 11 20 31 -11 16


2018/9 19 7 4 8 31 35 -4 25

So last season we scored 11 more goals and conceded four more goals than in the season before away from home.  As a result we got nine more points away from home.  As I have said throughout the summer, it was not enough but it shows an improvement on the away form.   If that improvement continues at the same pace then this coming season we should have an away form which garners 34 points and has a goal difference of +3.

Taking last season’s away form table as a guide, that would have made us the third most successful away team in the league in terms of points and the fourth best in terms of away goal difference.

Let me spell that out so that people like Mr Zeqiri get it.  If we have another season of the “inability to improve the away form” that he found last season, we’d have the third best away team in the league.  Since overall we were only two points away from fourth place and three points from third, it is not hard to realise that we would have been third in the full league table.

Now I know third is not a trophy, but it does mean another step forward, and a return to the Champions League.

Of course we might argue that just getting up to third is not really much of a return for an outlay of something around about £140m less the money we have received from player sales, but it would be progress.

He also does make the good point that David Luiz is a through ball expert, and given the sort of forward line Arsenal will put out this coming season, that is exactly what we need. 

At the end he points out that, “Arsenal have surpassed expectations this summer but that will not insulate Emergy and his players from criticism should things take a turn for the worse.”

Now that is a really interesting sentence.  Arsenal surpassed expectations on spending because the media, following the lead of the notoriously inaccurate Arsenal Supporters’ Trust and its camp followers said that Arsenal only had a budget of £40m or so this summer.  The media really ought to check out its sources – but no, in football, that seems to be asking too much.

But he is right – the first draw and Arsenal will be criticised again and again and again.  But the writer is virtually out on his own when he notes that we have Holding and Bellerin to return, and that Chambers is still in the squad, plus he is positive about what Guendouzi did in his first season.  These things are all to his credit.

So why when he has such information at his finger tips does he speak of our inability to improve the away form, when in fact another dose of the same this year will be another positive step forward and leave us as being the main challengers to Manchester City and Liverpool the season after that.  That is if Manchester City survive the attentions of Uefa for another season.  Maybe they will, but you never know – in these excitable times anything can happen.

10 Replies to “The sloppiness of journalists in these excitable times. 3rd is easily within reach.”

  1. OT BUT…..

    What a window! Amazing what 40 or 45 million buys these days, lol. Pepe, Ceballos, Tierney, Luiz and the Brasilian lad Martinelli. Disappointed Nketiah was loaned out, I thought him first team for sure. Iwobi to Everton looks done and maybe even, hope against hope, a deal for Mustafi.
    Third indeed, Tony. Third indeed! COYG!

  2. Off topic.
    Sane diagnosed with ACL injury after a challenge by Liverpool’s Alexander-Arnold last Sunday.
    Rob Holding sustained an ACL injury after an off-the-pitch challenge but the same Alex.

    Just hoping it’s just pure coincidence s.

  3. @Ac – now we all know he isn’t that sort of player and Liverpool certainly aren’t that sort of team!

  4. have an excellent pre-season analysis of the 2019-20 potential and likely performance/issues for AFC, presented by Adrian Clarke. It doesn’t factor in Tierney or Luiz yet it is overall very positive.

  5. Thanks to the antics of certain ‘supporter ‘ groups for their tireless bitching,moaning and less than noble efforts in their attempt to derail the Arsenal during this transfer window.
    Very glad that the club chose not to place their trust in them, but rather totally ignore them , and went about the business in their usual secretive way.

    Am quite satisfied with the deals we have done on dateline day. For the entire transfer window , I remained aloof , but the bug bit a few hours before the close, and I was following the David Luiz drama rather intently.

    It appeared that many bored Chelsea fans , who had no personal transfer dramas to follow , were trying to piss off the Arsenal fans with misinformation !

    Up the Gunners !

  6. I agree Josif. After it happened I replayed the incident many times on

    Holding had played the ball and was standing on the side line when Rashford clattered into him late and deliberately (with the ball nowhere to be seen) causing Rob to fall awkwardly off the edge of the pitch resulting in that season ending injury. Neither referee nor linesman saw a thing (why doesn’t that surprise me).

    Funnily enough I read a piece recently that said that Rashford had apologised to Rob, but Rob didn’t blame him for the injury.

    The really galling issue is that at that time Rob was playing really well in partnership with Sokratis, and had he not been injured our goals against column would have been substantially better.

    Hope to see him back with Sokratis soon COYG

  7. @BarryL. Exactly my thoughts too. If there was no malicious intention on the part of Rashford, why the apology then?

    Football is a contact sport, I agree, but when you make a tackle knowing fully that you have no chance of getting it, but that you are very likely to cause the opposing player an injury, then your apology afterwards should be rightly called to question.

    Rashford needs to see this and take full responsibility for the consequences. At least to the extent of ruling that out of his own game as a professional.

    Aside from the loss inflicted on Holding’s team, what about the suffering and setback on a fellow professional? Suppose it turned out worse, and the man gets a career-threatening (or ending spell, God forbid) how does that make Rashford feel?

    His apology doesn’t cut it for me. He was deliberate and reckless in coming at Holding, knowing fully well that his tackle was late and there was no chance of winning the ball at all. If that was not malicious, then I don’t know what is.

    That the officials did not deem this a punishable offence before and after the game is curious to say the least. A clear indication to me that they are either incompetent or possess an insidious agenda against anything Arsenal.

    Not even a slap-on-the wrist kind of thing. Sad.

  8. What will it take for some of you to believe that PGMOL are corrupt and selectively blind in their officiating.

    There is now an added tool for the corruption to glorify -VAR. A selected selectively blind cheat wiil man the VAR to ensure only what needs to be seen will be.

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