By Tony Attwood
1: The attempted robbery of Ozil and Kolasinac.
I think it shocked every member of the team, Of course their hearts went out to their colleagues and friends, but there was more, because this made it clear that given the incredible increase in knife crime on Britain’s streets, following the dramatic cut in police funding over the previous six years, they were all in real danger.
There were 43,516 knife crime offences in the 12 months ending March 2019. According to the BBC this is an 80% increase from the low-point in the year ending March 2014, when there were 23,945 offences. It is the highest number since comparable data was first compiled.
If having two of your work colleagues attacked isn’t going to “cast a cloud over Arsenal’s pre-season” as the Express (ever anxious to tell us that Britain is a wonderfully safe place to live because of the caring governing that we have) tells us, I am not sure what is.
2: Xhaka’s response to being substituted …
…and having the captaincy removed was far from good. But the cause of his anger was in part the constant booing and jeering of him by alleged fans, and the negativity in some of the press, always quick to pick up on any negativity at Arsenal.
I’ll try for the nth time to make my thought on this clear – it doesn’t matter how badly a player plays booing him and ceaselessly criticising him is never ever a helpful thing to do. It always makes it worse
3: Attacks by fans on club
It doesn’t stop, ever. It goes on day by day week by week. It happens inside the ground, outside the ground with the videos made, and on blogs, on radio stations etc.
The radio stations to give one example love it – running a phone in show is about the cheapest form of radio there is, and Arsenal fans are queuing up to get on. There was a time when the radio shows found other reasons for certain clubs having problems. Now, with Arsenal, there is just one.
4. Remourceless deluge by media
With the radio stations running this all the time, TV, newspapers and the blogs join in because very very few “outlets” will ever question the dominant approach of the media at any particular time. Standing out against the dominant view simply brings abuse.
So the media unite. Arsenal are failing because of the manager, and poor players. Nothing else.
5. The English “sack the manager” culture
Clubs across Europe can on occasion sack the manager when things go wrong. But I doubt that any country goes into manager sacking with the speed and regularity of English clubs. It is as if no other reason for failure can be imagined, so the manager is sacked.
And if the next manager doesn’t work, sack him. And if he doesn’t work out, sack him.
It is the sack the manager culture that is a central cause in clubs failing. Fortunately for Man U they let Ferguson fail and fail again, without sacking him, and thus they gained the most successful manager in the history of the League.
6. Lack of luck
Luck does play a part in all games. The ball just inside the goalpost is brilliant, the hitting the post is inaccuracy. But in fact some of this is luck. The occasional diversion, the tiny fraction of extra spin… it happens, and luck does not even out over time when there are so many variables as there are in a football match.
The cards you get in playing a classic game will even out between good and bad hands, as long as the dealer is not bent, but football has so many more variables that very long runs of bad luck can be found.
7. PGMO on VAR
The implementation of VAR this season has been weird. A year later than much of the rest of Europe, and then implementation in a way very different from that which was seen in the rest of Europe. And for what purpose was there a delay? None positive, at least when one looks at Arsenal’s situation. At the very very very least, one of our draws of late should have been a win – a win which itself might have given enough confidence to the club and its players for performances to improve. Personally I think we have lost four points through VAR.
Nothing reduces the players’ determination and drive as much as the feeling that there is something wrong with officialdom.
8. Media refusal to mention Uefa match fixing
Throughout the rest of Europe, Uefa’s report on the fact that match fixing is now out of control and getting worse has been reported and analysed. But not in the UK.
The question as to “why not?” is one that is occupying a lot of minds in the game beyond England, and a few within this country, and the only explanation I have heard is because the PGMO and League are petrified that evidence will emerge of match fixing in the PL.
That of course affects all clubs, but clubs on a bad run of “luck” are always affected worse when it comes to psychological matters.
9. Rumours on Aubameyang and Ozil
The rumour mills have been going berserk this season and have spent a lot of time working on two of our best players. I doubt that this has helped Ozil, or that it is currently helping Aubameyang.
10. The “We care do you” protest.
Before the season started Arsenal Supporters Trust said that Arsenal had a maximum of £40m in transfer funds. They then produced a document which attacked Arsenal stadium as being a soulless place, and then attacked the transfer policy of the club, and its playing style, along with the manager and virtually everyone else. Arseblog, Black Scarf, The Gooner, Le Grove, Redaction, 7am Kickoff and many of the rest all joined in what was the most negative unified campaign against Arsenal I have ever seen.
Did they really think that they could come out with such a strongly negative report on the club, and that it would have a positive effect, or a neutral affect?
If so, they are sillier than I have ever thought.
They stoked the fires of negativity in the press, and that fire has become a roaring, raging furnace ever since. They have a lot to answer for, and a few lines of apology at this stage would not go amiss.
And that is why Arsenal are doing poorly, and why some players are not playing as well as we might have hoped.
- Arsenal v Tottenham; the team and some rather jolly recent history
- We are running out of referees, and the reason is the PGMO.
- Arsenal v Tottenham: the key fact the media won’t to tell you – and why they won’t
- Arsenal v Tottenham: different clubs, different managers, different successes
- Arsenal v Tottenham with clubs now getting more cards than they put in tackles!