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October 2020
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Some questions asked, not many answered. Arsenal, Liverpool, FFP

By Tony Attwood

It has been an interesting few days.   Guardiola attacked the media – which was expected but still interesting, for it will be illuminating to see how the media respond.  Will they bow down and worship him, as they have consistently done since he arrived in the UK, or after an attack like this will they respond?  Normally they make fun of anyone saying the media has got it wrong.  This time I suspect they will bow down and kow-tow.

However LaLiga president Javier Tebas seems to be made of stronger stuff than the British football media, as he has responded and is quoted in the Mail as saying “We all know what City do… there was no surprise among the majority of us.”  He is also reported as saying that the CAS is not up to standard and was effectively now ‘dead.’

That view might resonate with quite a few people involved in football, given the secrecy of their deliberations and operations, and the number of times they find in favour of the appellant – although normally they only cut the sentence in half rather than wiping it out totally on the technicality of it being brought in too late.

He also raised the issue of state-owned clubs, currently citing Manchester City, and Paris Saint-Germain.  And indeed that is an interesting time to do this given that Newcastle could become a third such club.  The question then is will the privately owned clubs – the vast majority – simply let the state owned clubs walk all over them in terms of finances.

And indeed Mr Tebas raised a point that has often been raised by Untold about CAS when he said, “there is no transparency.”  Our point has been exactly this: why is the final court of appeal always so secretive?  It is nice to have someone else asking the question, other than Untold, even if it has taken a crisis as big as this to bring it to the fore.

Jose Mourinho also called the CAS decision ‘a disgrace’ and Jurgen Klopp said it was not ‘a good day for football,’ which is interesting.  They might all kowtow to the CAS and let matters pass, but I am not sure this will happen.

Indeed it is perhaps a sign that both CAS and Uefa realise that they have got themselves into a terrible mess which they might find it hard to back out of, as we hear from the Mail that “Man City hold peace talks with UEFA as Aleksander Ceferin and Khaldoon Al Mubarak meet after hostile FFP battle… with both parties expressing ‘a keen desire to work closely together going forward’.”

But this isn’t the only interesting debate in the news.  A number of newspapers are starting to ask why  Leicester’s season has taken a downturn.  They are not exactly leaping into the statistics that Untold provided concerning tackles, fouls and yellow cards, because as we know, the British media hate numbers, feeling that British people can’t do maths (a joke often replicated by Sky and BT commentators on TV).  However this might be the moment they edge there.

The Telegraph has the headline, “Expensive transfers require a leap of confidence – without it, football’s biggest names could be stranded,” wondering if the big transfers will be able  to happen at all, even with the transfer window now extended into October.

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This lack of big name transfers however could upset Mr Arteta who was quoted by the Mail as saying last night, ‘The gap between the two teams today is ENORMOUS… you need quality players.’  The Mail adds ,”Mikel Arteta urges Arsenal board to spend big on improving his squad.”   The trouble with that approach is that it is exactly what Mr Emery persuaded the board to do last summer, so in effect Mr Arteta is saying, “you know what we did last summer and I am telling you it failed.  Let’s do it again.”

However he might have a point in one way because it will be hard for Arsenal to continue to win games with just 31% possession as they did last night. It is a clever trick and it makes for wonderful viewing, but will other clubs fall for it?

The stats also show that Arsenal had three shots to Liverpool’s 24, two on target (both goals) to Liverpool’s eight, and committed 14 fouls to Liverpool’s ten.   That latter is inevitable, as referees invariably give more fouls against Arsenal, but the other figures look very interesting.   Can we really keep winning games on three shots against 24?  It will be fun to watch if we can, as the opposition get more and more frustrated.

Meanwhile there is an absolute determination not to link the building of the Qatar stadia with slave labour to the anti-slavery and Black Lives Matter campaigns currently running.  Not a word about human rights abuses in Qatar and its use of slave labour in building its stadia is allowed to be presented on any newspaper.    The Telegraph instead goes with “Fans can binge on four televised games a day during Qatar World Cup group stage.”

Which is not just sad, but actually horrible given the way the grounds have been built.

4 comments to Some questions asked, not many answered. Arsenal, Liverpool, FFP

  • Menace

    A glimpse of the officiating in an article that glides past Arsenals future following the Liverpool vistory ignores the two important incidents that could have added to our injury list and derailed our progress further. The leg breaking tackle on Saka and the attempted kick at Holding are typical of the incidents that our officiating ignore when Arsenal are recepients. It is important to highlight these so that some correction might be made in the future.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    Sane’s kick out reminded me of Patrick’s yellow/red card at ManU those many years ago. No contact, not even close but our number four was publicly eviscerated for it. Holding should have done a v. Nistelrooy and made a meal of it.

  • goonersince72

    A bit off topic but for those who criticise this site for pointing out the media bias against AFC, I give you today’s Guardian column by Jonathan Liew. Arsenal won the match, mind you.

    https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2020/jul/16/arteta-shows-promise-in-beating-liverpool-but-arsenal-errors-remain

    A backhanded compliment followed by a scathing take down of the club. I’m not surprised.

  • Menace

    Here’s a real surprise but let’s not count chickens yet.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/53347268