The media always have their favourites, but eventually even they begin to have doubts

By Tony Attwood

The Daily Mail’s headline comment, “‘They don’t have much to celebrate’: Jose Mourinho bites back at Arsenal tweet mocking their defeat by Sheffield United… but Spurs face a task to finish above their rivals ahead of Everton clash,” reminded me that even the media’s favourites must sometimes slip down the pecking order a little.

And there is no doubt that of late Tottenham have been the darlings of the media when it comes to north London, not just in the last 10 years but over many decades before that.  True, they haven’t won anything in the last ten years, but they have come third in the league twice and were runners up in the Champions League.  Plus their top goal scorer Harry Kane knocked in 41 goals one season, which is pretty remarkable.  And they have been in the top six throughout the decade.

That indeed is more than enough for the media.

Arsenal on the other hand haven’t had the best of media coverage – perhaps because a lot of their fans have been rather fed up, and so have fuelled anti-Arsenal sentiment.  And we do have a lot of ex-Arsenal players in the media, claiming life was better in their day.

But still, Arsenal also came runners up in the league once in the past ten years and were third three times.  Our top goal scorer of the decade RVP scored 37 in 2011/12, not quite as many as the Tottenham man but still quite good.  And eight years in the Champions League was part of a record breaking run of consecutive appearances for an English club.  (In fact for any club other than Real Madrid).

Yet perhaps most significantly Arsenal have won three FA Cups, to Tottenham’s nil in the trophy room.    But 2009/10 to 2016/17 were the “fourth is not a trophy” years which fed into the media’s hands, and no one even seems to remember our coming runners’ up in 2015/16, largely because everyone talked about Leicester.

But it is really of late that things have gone awry for Tottenham.  Their last nine games have given them one victory (over West Ham United – not the toughest of targets), two draws and five defeats.

Date Game Res Score Competition
19 Feb 2020 Tottenham H v Red Bull Leipzig L 0-1 Champions League
22 Feb 2020 Chelsea v Tottenham H L 2-1 Premier League
01 Mar 2020 Tottenham H v Wolverhampton Wanderers L 2-3 Premier League
04 Mar 2020 Tottenham H v Norwich City L 1-1 (2-3) FA Cup
07 Mar 2020 Burnley v Tottenham H D 1-1 Premier League
10 Mar 2020 Red Bull Leipzig v Tottenham H L 3-0 Champions League
19 Jun 2020 Tottenham H v Manchester United D 1-1 Premier League
23 Jun 2020 Tottenham H v West Ham United W 2-0 Premier League
02 Jul 2020 Sheffield United v Tottenham H L 3-1 Premier League

But the love-in has ended, and even snide remarks by the Tottenham manager about Arsenal don’t really cut it any more with the media.

Indeed as the Mail has said, “Of all the missteps made at Spurs in recent times, the mismanagement of the squad has harmed the club the most.”   And here that we see Tottenham being given the same treatment as Arsenal have for years.    Selecting out certain players who have been sold (they cite Walker, Kieran Trippier, Christian Eriksen), some who have gone backwards in terms of performance (Dier, Dele Alli) and newcomers who have not lived up to expectations (Serge Aurier, Davinson Sanchez, Tanguy Ndombele).   How often we have seen that “analysis” given to Arsenal, at our expense?

The problem for Tottenham is in part the one that Arsenal faced – the media falling out of love with the management, which then results in the media doubting the players.

But this minute review of Tottenham’s situation, reminds us that Arsenal are getting better write ups at  the moment not just because of the results (four straight wins, and six wins in the last eight in both competitions) but because there is an easily identifiable solution to perceived problems – in Arsenal’s case the same whizzo bunch of youngsters of whom before it was said, “you can’t win anything with kids.”    Saka, Nketiah, Maitland-Niles, Willock… all had a part to play in the last game and there are many more lurking behind them just waiting their turn.

Yet the fact is that the media love to spot problems which they can say are simple to understand, and then solutions which are equally simple to portray.   Which is where Tottenham lose out at the moment.   They don’t have a simple solution, because the problem is not just where they are in the League …

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Liverpool 33 29 2 2 72 25 47 89
2 Manchester City 33 21 3 9 81 34 47 66
3 Leicester City 33 17 7 9 63 31 32 58
4 Chelsea 33 17 6 10 60 44 16 57
5 Manchester United 33 15 10 8 56 33 23 55
6 Wolverhampton Wanderers 33 13 13 7 45 36 9 52
7 Arsenal 33 12 13 8 49 41 8 49
8 Sheffield United 33 12 12 9 34 33 1 48
9 Burnley 33 13 7 13 37 46 -9 46
10 Tottenham Hotspur 32 12 9 11 51 44 7 45

…but they also have the mountain of debt because of the stadium, at a time when the virus means income is negative.

The timing is hardly their fault, but it does leave them, as with some other clubs who have been borrowing like mad (Wolverhampton is another example) just at the least opportune time.

However Tottenham must know that it is not going to continue this bleak.  The media can’t live for long without knocking Arsenal, and it must only be a matter of a week or two before we, once more, are the centre of their ire, irrespective of results elsewhere.



6 Replies to “The media always have their favourites, but eventually even they begin to have doubts”

  1. Huge cause for Arsenal to celebrate is that they are not managed by Mourinho.

  2. goonersince72

    “All the negativity will return at the first loss.”

    Of course it will.

    Prior to our defeat at the Etihad we had gone 11 domestic games unbeaten which at the time I believe made us 2020’s only unbeaten side, domestically, in Europe, and look what happened after that 1 defeat away to one of the best teams in the World.

    Follow that with a second defeat and Talkshite were straight in to a night of Arsenal bashing, reading out a text from my own brother saying what a ‘gutless’ bunch we were.

    They never bothered to check that he hadn’t even watched the match.

    Yep, 1, god forbid 2 defeats, and the Arsenal World will again be in a catastrophic melt down.

  3. Well, look at that comment in the Guardian about the Spurs-Everton game :

    “Never,” says David Miller, “have two mediocre teams worked so hard to prove that they are mediocre. “

  4. To be honest, I watched the match and it was dire. Despite being 1 nil to the good, thanks to a deflected OG, I think it took until the 55th minute for Spurs to register their first bonified shot on target. They finished the game with just 2 shots on target. Everton managed 3. So yep, not great.

    But I think it would be silly to start claiming that this Spurs team are as bad as what we saw last night. This is, by and large, the same group of players that got to a CL final and finished top 4 for the last few seasons.

    The reality is they are somewhere between the 2. They were not, despite reaching that CL final, anything like the 2nd best team in Europe, or even England. And they are now not the 10th best team in the PL, as they stood before KO last night.

    My view on the PL is that Liverpool and Man City are a notch above everyone else, I think most people would agree with that. Sorting out the next half dozen or so is the tricky bit.

    Personally I think the next 4 or 5 are the usual suspects, Man Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal and yes Leicester and Spurs, despite their recent poor form. Wolves and Sheff Utd have done extremely well and deserve the credit, but in my opinion they are over achieving, and in time will find their level in the table which will be mid/upper mid table.

    So despite us leaving ourselves too much to do to achieve top 4 this season, next season I reckon the battle for those last 2 top 4 places will be between the usual suspects of Man UTd, Chelsea, Spurs, Arsenal and possibly Leicester.

    What order they will finish in is anyone’s guess.

    Man United: Will they spend a fortune and improve, or indeed regress as has been shown to of happened before. Solskjær certainly seems to have them heading in the right direction.

    Chelsea: Will their new signings (Any more?) consolidate top 4 and perhaps push them to challange for the title, or will they regress having spent big again, because as we have seen that can happen. But history shows that improvement is more likely though.

    Spurs: IS this just a blip or is their lack of investment over the last 5 years finally catching up with them? Will they spend this summer?

    Leicester: Vardy is getting on. Have they the money to rebuild? Has their bubble burst? I think, as would most outside Leicester I believe, that they are the most likely to fall away, but they’ve shocked before.

    Arsenal: Well what about us. New manager. Lots of young players. Departures? Can we sign anyone? Do we need to sign anyone? All those questions make us the hardest to predict.

    The manager seems good. He seems to have the players on board. He has us heading in the right direction.

    The young players look extremely promising, but it is just promise. They have to step up a level. If they do, and depending by how much, could be the deciding factor as to whether we stall where we are, consolidate back into the top 4, or even push on with an outside chance of at least a run at the very top. Very hard to call.

    That may be made easier if we keep PEA. Also the forgotten man Ozil. I have always liked him and if, and it’s a big if, he still has what it takes, a flying Ozil is a massive plus. Alas I have my doubts.

    But back to the present, despite their poor form, underestimating Leicester and Spurs would be a big mistake but I’m hopeful of a win against Leicester and would take a point at WHL.

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