By Tony Attwood
If you have been with Untold Arsenal for a while, you will know that in my writing I rather like the notion of proof, evidence, logic and data, instead of simple assertion and rumour.
Transfer stories are of course the home of rumour, and the stupidity of them is that on average each summer only 3% of the tales are shown to be correct before the window “slams” shut, presumably with the tinkle of broken glass.
We expect nonsense from that quarter, because there is so much of it around, but when it comes to any other story, some supporting evidence is helpful.
Such evidence never proves anything 100%, but evidence, along with some basic logic and a look at the coherence of the tale being offered, usually gives us a clue as to whether the piece is mindless ravings of a desperate columnist who has spent too long in the company of the beer, or a well thought through and evidenced informative commentary.
So for example when the Daily Mail proclaimed in headline recently that sorting out the weak Arsenal backbone was an absolute priority for Arteta, one could look at the number of goals conceded, and then compare it with other seasons in which Arsenal did rather well. Their logic suggested that we should find a much worse defence now, than we did in the past. But in fact we didn’t. So the piece is mindless bunkum. Best use it to light the BBQ.
We saw this with the story from the Sun: that Arsenal spent £24m on a one year David Luiz contract. There was no evidence, and to believe the story we had to believe that instead of paying the normal agency fee of 5% of the transfer cost, Arsenal willingly paid 65% of the transfer cost to the agent – for reasons that most certainly would not become clear at this point.
The fact that none of the “outlets” that ran the story even noticed that a key element of the story was missing, and so did not investigate why Arsenal had acted in a way that no club had ever (as far as I could tell) acted before, suggested someone had made it up, and everyone else had merely copied it.
The hope has to be that we might see an increase in the use of proper evidence in football discussions, but unfortunately the reverse seems to be happening – as revealed by The Athletic’s headline “Stats aren’t the definitive viewpoint in football”
3: Managerial changes will result in improvement because no one could be as bad as the current manager.
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