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BT Sprout disgrace; Xhaka and Mustafi brilliant; Arsenal win; Mail critical

By Tony Attwood

“For some clubs it is easy,” Mourinho said. “You just break the rules, you forget the financial fair play, you spend what you want and you get the good players. Easy. For some other clubs, it’s more difficult. You want to follow the rules. You don’t want to be seen with the eyes of breaking the rules and not playing a fair competition and for this profile of club the situation is more complicated.”

Which was fair enough. He could have gone on to mention that when you have a final court of appeal that hears cases in secret anything can happen, and as we have shown over the years, does.  There is a whole article on the perfidious nature of CAS and its secret meetings here.

But still that is the way football works, and given the huge amount of media support Uefa, Fifa and CAS has (in that few journalists criticize them, while no media in the UK is covering the current cases in Switzerland against Fifa), we have little chance of getting a fairer system.  Yes we can blame Manchester C of course, but we should also be blaming the English media, in particular BT Sprout, and the FA for giving them a contract which allows semi-finals not to be played not just behind closed doors but behind closed contracts.

So what happened?  How, with all that money, a grossly incompetent FA (see goodness how many previous articles on that subject) and a compliant CAS holding court cases in utter secrecy, and an inept Uefa that seemingly takes so long to reach a decision its data can’t be admitted, could Arsenal actually beat Manchester C?

And not just Manchester C but also the media’s beloved favourites, Liverpool, a few days earlier?

And not just that (again) but do it with the worst defenders ever to have set foot on a football pitch?  And I know that because so many people have written to Untold to tell us what the media tell them every single day: Xhaka is a disgrace.  Mustafi, a joke.  Bellerin utter rubbish. And as for David Luiz, well, as soon as you see his name on the screen you know it is all over.

So let us pause for a moment.  Our centre backs were Shkodran Mustafi and David Luiz.  And it makes me think: if we can get results like these in consecutive matches with the endless bitching, backbiting and card waving that goes on from people who claim to be Arsenal supporters but actually act in ways that destabilises the club, and which has led to three managers in two years, the greatest expenditure ever in a transfer window followed by calls for the club to spend “serious money” and “supporters” turning against Arsenal players over and over and over again supporting the media rather than the club, just think what we could do if we had real solid ceaseless support for the team and the manager that is, rather than demanding endless, endless changes.  Imagine what we could do with the sort of stability we had in the days of two doubles and the unbeaten season.

(Mind you, even in the unbeaten season the Times ran a report claiming that Arsenal supporters at the Manchester C away game were stating that this was the worst Arsenal team they had ever seen.  Still, the Times might have made that up.)

Of course last night we also had to contend with that most disgraceful and appalling of TV stations on the planet: BT Sport.   This was the station, you might recall, that having bought the rights to the Emirates Cup a few seasons ago spent most of the build-up to the opening game complaining that the maths involved in calculating a winner (3 points for a win, 1 for a draw, 1 for a goal) was far too complex for the Sprout team in the studio to understand.  As a result much of the programme involved the turnips laughing at the competition they were supposedly covering.  The only benefit was that for a short while after, following numerous complaints from fans and from Arsenal, they laid off complaining about the club.

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BT Sprout have been just as terrible ever since, but capped it all this year by refusing to allow anyone other than a full subscriber to their pathetic service to watch the semi-final live.  So here am I, along with other season ticket holders refused the chance to go to the game because of the health crisis, now refused the chance to see the game live on TV because BT Sprout won’t do the decent thing.  I’m not demanding it for free, but a one-off fee for a single match is surely the least they could do.  Apparently they wouldn’t even let Arsenal supply free passes to season ticket holders in return for a one-off fee from the club.

BT Sport, the most pathetic sports broadcaster imaginable.  That decision last night should make the League refuse to deal with them again – but I’m not holding my breath.

Of course this doesn’t mean that other media outlets were gushing over Arsenal.  “It took Arsenal eight minutes to construct a move in the City half,” said the Guardian in its report of the second half.  Well, maybe so, but that was eight minutes which added to the Man City players’, (whose club owners are so rarely criticised for their absolute denial of human rights to so much of their population) level of frustration.

What was particularly amazing was that Arsenal conceded 71% of possession, while Manchester City fouled their way through the game committing two and a half times has many fouls as Arsenal.  And those were just the ones the referee awarded.  Arsenal, the club that commit more fouls than any other!  Wasn’t that turn around worth a mention?

Of course this has given the media a bit of a tough time after all that crowing about Arsenal’s incompetence with all those “compilations of David Luiz’ worst moments.”  Sadly Untold is just about the only place that even mentions the worst moments of the commentators and journalists, and come to that, the CAS.

The fact is that the media will attack Arsenal and Arsenal players constantly, no matter what, and it is up to us supporters to counter this.  But what often happens is that our fans get on the backs of our players.  And the result, I suspect, is that fewer and fewer players want to come to Arsenal to play in front of both a hostile media and a hostile fan base.

Yes our results against Manchester City have been poor of late, and we didn’t hide from that in the previews, except to mention that all runs come to an end.  But what does not come to an end is the media’s remorseless attacks on Arsenal.  Even after a performance like last night the Mail comments on Arsenal and “the kind of comedy defending that has become one of their hallmarks.”

We have just beaten a team that has the budget of a whole nation behind it and that is what they have to say.  It just shows what we are up against.

14 comments to BT Sprout disgrace; Xhaka and Mustafi brilliant; Arsenal win; Mail critical

  • Bernard

    But reason to be cheerful, we won, Tony. I woke up with a smile on my face and I expect to be smiling all day. I’m looking forward to watching the second semi final with a feeling of superiority, knowing that we can beat whichever team wins.

  • The Blaster

    I wish Untold still did match reports. It can’t be fun solely being critical of this and that and remain silent when there are things to celebrate and smile from ear to ear about. When we have had defensive errors in recent pasts it has almost always been because the midfield has let them be exposed, and as has been said somewhere , the most successful teams in 2020 defend en masse and attack en masse and, while we have always had occasions where we’ve done that, it’s been blips. In the heyday of Wenger, the defence was never left exposed but as time had gone on the team had just not been consistently working as a unit. That seems to be back again. The players you’d mentioned are now in an environment where individual errors are not picked on… only the team’s unity and effort. As it should be. There’s a lot to be very positive about. Why not be positive?

  • Why not be positive? Of course I was delighted with the results of the last two matches, and overall the way we have picked ourselves up in the matches after the first two following the restart.
    What frustrates me is that the downturn need not have happened, and the forces that caused the downturn (the negative fans brought together by AFTV) the card carrying and plane banner flying “Wenger out” mob, all backed so totally by the media, are still out there ready to inflict more wounds upon us.
    Arteta has worked wonders, I accept that totally, and of course I want it to continue, but the forces that work solidly to bring Arsenal down are still out there, awaiting their chance to strike again.

  • GoonerGal

    Tony, please can you let me know who the commentators were on BT Sprout1 last night? Making a formal complaint – their anti-Arsenal negativity was bang out of order. Just need their names. Cheers!

  • Dec

    All so true Tony, all the bad guys from the media to Qatar to the PGMOL and the rest are still out there and good on Untold for standing up to them. But today is a happy day, a day to smile and remember the times when it was such fun to be of the Arsenal. Wednesday was good, yesterday was brilliant, tomorrow might be crap again, so just for today let the bad guys sulk in the corner, let Frankie and Ole squabble over the right to loose to us in the final of The Arsenal Cup and let Leicester wipe the smug grin off Jose’s face. And let us dance in the sun and feel like it was so many times when Le Boss was in his prime and when Denis and Thierry and Wrighty and Co made mugs of the best of the rest.

    Of course, maybe tomorrow won’t be crap?

  • gunnerpete

    Great and thruthful article mate. Apart from the media which we all know has an anti Gunner agenda, it was great to see just what a great squad we already have, considering that we had 5 top quality first team players out for the season. It would be great for morale if just once the media would say ‘ I wonedr how Chelski, ManC, Manure, Liverpool even Leicester would be doing with 5 top stars out for such a long period. Of course they will not because we all know that those trophy buying clubs above would just buy even more top stars to have cover. The very fact that we had so many kids in the squad (and it would have been more but for injuries)shows the potential of AFC. As for the game, well it was obvious to me that most of the right wing media were not even there. Arsenal dominated the 45 minutes and should have had the game wrapped up by then. Auba gets all the praise but most of his goals come from briliant moves that he is part of. I look forward to seeing exactly the same team against whoever and next year see Rowe-Smith and balogun added to the squad.COYG

  • Sorry GoonerGal but I ditched my BT Sport subscription after their appalling behaviour concerning the Emirates Cup, so I didn’t see the game live. I listened on Arsenal.com and then watched the BBC late night highlights. I can’t see it on their website either.

  • mick shelley

    GoonerGal
    I think the commentator was Ian Darke and the co-commentator was Martin Keown.
    Darke is notoriously good at stressing Arsenal’s apparent failings which he did as well as ever last night. He must have mentioned our recent losing run against City half a dozen times in the first 10 minutes alone. Keown is one of many ex Arsenal players who seem only to keen to be overly critical about his ex club.

  • Nitram

    GoonerGal?mick shelly

    Ex Liverpool player Steve McManaman was also on co commentry.

    During the build up Darke was at pains to mention how Man City had won on their last 9 visits to Wembley stadium whilst failing to mention that Arsenal had also won on their last 9 visits to Wembley. Funny that.

    By the way Darke it’s now 10 soon to be 11 !!!

    When Laca scored after being wrongly called offside our own Keown actually praised a) the linesman for making a wrong call and b) the ref for blowing his whistle too quickly rather than let the move play out and c) VAR for not changing the errant decision.

    3 errors and our own Keown agrees with every one. You couldn’t make it up.

  • Nitram

    Sorry forgot the 3 – 0 Carabao cup final defeat to Man City.

    Blimey, how could I forget that ! Apologies to Mr Darke.

  • Giordano Bruno

    The Court for Arbitration of Sport was created solely for the purpose of letting the offending parties (Manchester City, Chris Froome etc)reconsider and increase their initial offer of hush money. A money making machine.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    In fairness and to be fair in assessing and judging the money spending spent by all the traditional Premier League top-six club sides in their quest and drives to win titles, (Arsenal inclusive) it could be said that they are all guilty of spending big money sometimes crossly too which could be translated to buying titles. But that depends on the passion of the owners of the clubs to see their clubs win titles. The top-six PL clubs have all been selling their players sometimes for big money making and also do a times spend big money a times astronomically too to recruit new other ones to improved on the match playing quality of their clubs squads to win titles.

    But since CAS have now passed the judgement of exoneration that exonerated Man City after their appeal making to them to quash the charge and punishment leveled against them by Uefa for breaching their FFP Rules, however, I think the judgement passed by CAS that exonerated Man City of breaching the specific charge of Uefa’s FFP Rules brought against them has been quashed to become a precedent judgement for which no any other club should in future be charged by Uefa for the same specific offence for which Man City were charged I suppose.

    Nevertheless, for the sake of transparency and proper accountability to be seen being made, I think CAS appeal court hearing sessions should not be shrouded in secrecy but in open appeal court hearing determination with the representatives of the legal team of the 2 parties involved in the appeal hearing in attendance. And equally a number of neutral journalists representing some reputable media organization in Europe should also be in attendance of the appeal court case hearing to cover it. I think it is only when CAS does this things that they can exonerate themselves from suspicion of manipulating appeal trial cases to favour usually the appellants probably after receiving some favours in kind of money from them to pass rulings to their favour.

  • Menace

    I have no issues with truth. What offence did Chris Froome commit?

    Do not assume the media is honest. Chris Froome is the greatest cyclist that ever represented GB in the Tour. His treatment by the bigotted media and sports reporters has robbed him of national accolades that some of his peers have been gifted despite their very obvious misdemeanours.

  • markyb

    The Daily Nazi head of sport reporting was or is a lifelong Spurs Fan so no surprise really

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