By Tony Attwood
We saw it of course last weekend for the match against Crystal Palace. The crowd were moaning about the way a two goal lead was thrown away, and about the lunatic situation over VAR, in which we were unable to see anything on the screen, save that the referee and his PGMO VAR committee decided that the 3rd Arsenal goal was not to be allowed.
Then came the Xhaka substitution and the cheering of the decision was widespread. When Xhaka showed his discontent, it turned to jeers.
Now whether anyone seriously expected the Arsenal team to raise themselves from this situation, of having a penalty given against them on VAR without any evidence presented, then having a perfectly legit goal disallowed without any evidence, and then having the crowd sarcastically cheering the removal of the captain (a captain remember who was voted captain by the players), is a moot point.
I can’t quite see how anyone could possibly think that was going to lead to renewed enthusiasm and dedication by the players. But it is worse than that, because that booing by the crowd let the media and PGMO off the hook.
For me it doesn’t matter if Xhaka is a good player or a bad player, whether he deserved to come off or not, cheering because he is removed and jeering him because he gave a silly reaction, cannot possibly help the rest of the team in the match, nor those of us who are questioning the way the PL is run.
As for the manager, I have presented figures to show that actually Emery is not that far away from Wenger’s performance up to this point in his career. That doesn’t mean I understand Emery’s decision making or his actions in dropping Ozil, but again, I can’t see how booing the manager and demanding his removal is helpful.
After all this was the tactic used against Arsene Wenger and the players he signed, and that resulted in… well, him leaving and Emery coming along. And that raises the question, if the process of booing and jeering and demanding the removal of Wenger didn’t result in a better team, why repeat it now?
In short, it doesn’t matter if Emery was right or wrong on Sunday, or if Xhaka was right or wrong, booing, jeering, and complaining achieves nothing other than undermining the club.
In my view, and yes of course this is just my view, if we want something to complain about, don’t complain about the stadium or the transfer budget (as the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust and its followers have been doing), and don’t complain about the manager and the players (as many people did on Sunday and since), for one very simple reason. Such complaining doesn’t work but can and will harm the club and the players.
On the other hand I certainly think it is worth asking why the media is being so utterly silent about match fixing, in the light of the Uefa announcement that it is running at such a rate that they cannot deal with it any more. The denial of the third Arsenal goal for no good reason, and the refusal to show the VAR replay on the screen in the ground, is suggestive that match fixing happened.
Of course I can’t prove there was corruption, but the circumstances are suggestive. And that is what we should be discussing, in my view.
And if just for a moment, we accept that there is something very very wrong with football across Europe, as Uefa says, but as the British media refuse to report then the moment of that third Arsenal goal being refused was a perfect example of that something being wrong, and that is what we should be debating.
But instead of forcing the media to face that, the crowd’s reaction has once again allowed PGMO and its allies in the broadcasting companies the chance to ignore any suggestion of wrong doing, despite all that Uefa is saying.
Indeed the outcome is that the crowd has conspired with PGMO (at least over its incompetence in handling VAR if nothing else) to allow the status quo to continue.
At a moment when Match of the Day on BBC TV (yes even Match of the Day) is suggesting that something very serious is amiss, Arsenal fans instead divert attention away from the issue.
As you will know if you are a regular reader, I do think there is some evidence (much of which we have collected through the dedicated hard work of supporters of this website) to the effect that there is something very wrong with English football, and the presentation of English football by the media. And that game against Palace was a perfect opportunity to force the media out into the open, and to make PGMO the talking point. After all even Match of the Day in their commentary, started talking about PGMO.
Instead, because of the reaction first of the crowd, and then the anti-Arsenal bloggers, the media has a way out: they are talking about is Arsenal fans booing their captain, the turmoil in the team and the issue of the manager.
It was a perfect opportunity to move the debate on, utterly thrown away. These Arsenal fans are not co-conspirators of course. They are just being silly.
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