The nonsense ratings: what the bloggers are saying ahead of Watford v Arsenal

By Bulldog Drummond

The last in our little series of seeing just how much information we can get out of a blog or newspaper commentary with the reviews selected from the most popular pieces about Arsenal found on the internet.

First, the Daily Cannon with “Unai Emery gives baffling Nicolas Pepe update”

Rankings out of ten.

  • The headline:  0. Yes it was an update, but the bafflement was totally on the part of the writer.  And just because he is baffled it doesn’t mean that the original comment was baffling since there is no universal measure of bafflement – unless you do a survey.  Mr Emery said, “We decided to keep him here with us and we were working with him to have him ready for Sunday and we think he will be. It is a small problem. Where is it? I don’t know exactly.”  Now I don’t find that baffling at all.  At the moment my knee is hurting slightly, but I don’t know exactly what part of the knee is not right.  Fortunately I am not baffled.  And besides that is not the manager’s problem – it is the medical staff’s issue – they find the problem and help the player fix it, and then tell the boss he is all clear.
  • Importance: 0.   In one sense the issue is important-ish because it is a small problem, not a major injury but that importance is removed by the comment “You would expect the head coach to know every tweak that his players complain of so for him to not know is baffling.”  No, I want to coach to focus on tactics and selections.  What we have here is a player saying “I feel a minor twinge” (or something like that”) which is what they are always instructed to do, but the medical team can’t find what’s causing it.  The coach is told by the staff looking after the physical and mental well being of the players how the players are in general and whether they can play.  That is how it works.
  • Discovery of hitherto unknown facts: 0 None at all
  • Likely to be true: 0.  Within the piece there is a line that says, “Given that players usually improve their fitness by playing…” which is simply not true.  In many cases players improve their fitness by resting.  In other cases by working in the gym, but avoiding exercising a certain muscle.  There is no “usually” about it.  If there were we would not have the phrase “match fit”.
  • Total score: 0%

This little piece in the Canon was based on a report in the Daily Mirror under the heading “Emery puzzled over Pepe’s ko” which they kindly reprinted in full – and for that they do need complimenting, since so many blogs don’t cite sources.  So I thought I’d try our simple little four point analysis on that piece as well…

  • The headline:  3. “Puzzled” suggests there is a puzzle – but a player having a minor pain somewhere – is that really a “puzzle”?   Certainly not in the same way as the knocking sound coming from the left side of my car when I drive it and the garage mechanic saying “Sorry mate, I don’t know what’s causing that.”   Or more profoundly the fact that the magnetic north pole of the earth is moving is a puzzle, because no one is quite sure what is causing it.  But this?  No.
  • Importance: 0.
  • Discovery of hitherto unknown facts: 0   This actually deserves a minus score because the article says “Unai Emery did nothing to allay rumours about the severity of Nicolas Pepe’s injury when he could not identify where the problem was.”   That is nonsense, in that quite often people have minor aches without knowing what is causing it, and it is not the manager’s job to try and counteract what the rampantly anti-Arsenal negativists in the newspapers write day by day.  Indeed to try and do that is impossible.  Over the years on a number of occasions we have pointed out gross factual errors by journalists and it has made no odds at all.   All that happens is that a new story appears starting with “Arsenal deny…” written in a way to suggest the club’s spokesperson is lying rather than the newspaper person who is making the story up.
  • Likely to be true: 0.  “Emery did not help matters” the article says in relation to answering questions about the injury.   But he told the truth.   So if the paper is saying that the the truth doesn’t help them in their endevour to rake up some feeble story, yes I guess that is true, but I don’t think that is not what they were intending to say.
  • Total score: 0%
And our third review, this time from Just Arsenal News who say, “Arsenal cannot have any excuses if they do not beat Watford”
  • The headline:  0.  Absolute nonsense.  There are always excuses – if by excuses we mean reasons.  The referee might give some dodgy decisions.  We might get an injury to a key player early on.  And if by excuses we mean ways of dodging the truth – of course the club can – everyone can, every organisation can.  Trying to make one moment or issue into a pivitol moment in the season is a regular journalistic thing, but it is hard to do except in retrospect since we don’t know the future.
  • Importance: 0.   The argument reads, “If Arsenal want to be serious contenders for a top-four spot or dare I say, title challengers, then they have to be beating teams like Watford on their own ground.  There cannot be any ifs or buts or excuses, Arsenal has a better squad of players than Watford and it is unrealistic to suggest otherwise.   That is not being arrogant, it is a statement of fact.”  Yes, Arsenal does have a better squad, but no team wins every game – even against lowly teams.  Look at Man City yesterday.   Or how about the score: Arsenal 1 Portsmouth 1.  Or Charlton 1 Arsenal 1.  Or Bolton 1 Arsenal 1.   Or… ok I won’t bore you stupid, unless I already have, but those scores have something in common.   They all came from 2003/4 – the greatest season in the club’s history.  Defining a season or a team by one match really is rather silly.
  • Discovery of hitherto unknown facts: 0 None at all
  • Likely to be true: 0.  What is the difference between a reason and an excuse?   Generally an excuse is untrue, or at least likely to be untrue.  I am not sure Arsenal deal much in excuses: they tend to deal in reasons.  It’s the bloggers who make up most of the excuses.
  • Total score: 0%

OK, that’s the series done.  It was just a little exercise to fill in during the interlull although I did find the issue of thinking about what the texts really meant quite interesting.  But that’s just me I suppose.  We’ll try and find something else tomorrow.