How Fulham 0 Arsenal 3 was a total disaster… for journalists

By Minze A’duble

As we were told in the build up to the Fulham game, “Arsenal’s squad is an incoherent mess.”  That was the phrase conjured up by Sam Dean, a man with a whole two years experience as a football writer now working for the Telegraph.

Of course not everyone was quite so ludicrously idiotic – I mean it does take a prize turnip to write something like that after just two years “experience” (I use the word lightly) as a “journalist” (word used even more lightly).

For example in the Guardian Nick Ames (whose “published content” list is over 500 items long) wrote, “a solid start for Saliba would inspire confidence that Arsenal’s regenerated backline may be able to banish the ghosts of several years’ incompetence.”

Which is a challenge – if you call your subject matter incompetent you need to be pretty damn competent yourself.

As we know, Arsenal’s “incoherent mess” performed well but there was no “solid start” for Saliba largely because, well, you see, he didn’t play.  Sadly thus far neither journalist has issue a full apology, neither has explained their false predictions, and as far as we know neither has resigned.

But that latter fact is not unusual.  No matter how big the errors, how false the predictions, these days football journos simply don’t resign.  They just go on making weirder and wilder predictions.

Typical of the error-ridden pre-season previews was the 1500 words of erudition from Statsbomb which along with every other report I read prior to the game failed to notice that Elneny was an Arsenal player who had played in the last two matches and was performing a magical role.  Instead the journalists, amateur and professional alike, spent much of its space telling us things like “Arsenal’s squad have been an army of misfit toys for a while now. They have talent, but the elite players seem to play the same positions (Aubameyang and Lacazette), and there are almost no peak age players (24-27) in the squad. From a squad building perspective, it has been messy for years.”

Given the way Auba and Laca played against Fulham I would have thought an apology was needed.

The last person we saw perfect the midfield role that Elneny is warming to was Gilberto Silva, the invisible wall.  So maybe that’s the journos excuse – they didn’t notice him.

I am not, of course, saying that Elneny is at the level of the ex-captain of Brazil, but I am saying there is a viable half way house between ignoring the fact that the player played in the victorious Community Shield side, and in the only warm up friendly for the season we were able to watch, and going overboard about the player.   I would argue that going overboard about Elneny is worth a bash because he performed the role so well, but that’s just me.  It is the notion of utterly ignoring a player who has performed well, before the game, and then to cover such gross ignorance, refusing to say anything of note about him after the game.

It is this manipulation of reality to suit the journalists’ own ignorance that I find frustrating.  They seriously want us to believe that the fantasy world they have been creating is in fact how the world is.  When it most certainly isn’t.

What we were told was that Arsenal’s team had been put together quickly and had a complete lack of experience at playing together.  Yet from the Community Shield game to this opener, against two very different oppositions (one the recently crowned league champions, one freshly promoted in the play offs) Arsenal did very well.

And then no apology or explanation appears to have been offered.  Because… well journalists of this calibre don’t apologise, don’t explain, and as a result treat their readers with contempt.

So let us stay with the Guardian’s Nick Ames and understand what he is really up to with this sort of reporting, and this lack of apology.  Unlike anyone at Untold, he’s a professional journalist, and so should have abilities and standards far above anything we have.  We should be able to read his work, take note and learn how the professionals do it.

And on that note, off we go.

In 2011/12 Arsenal came third in the Premier League.  Would we consider that a team with incompetence in the backline could do that?  I suspect not, not least because many professional journalists call this the best team in the world.

Arsenal let in 49 goals that season.  Gross incompetence?  A weak league?  The latter can’t be true because no journalist that season that I read told us that the PL was poor, and that other leagues were better.

In 2015 Liverpool let in 48, and came sixth in the league.  Were they accused of incompetence?  Of course maybe they were, but I can’t find any mention of it anywhere so I suspect not.

In 2019 Manchester United let in 54.  Were they condemned for incompetence?  Once again, if so, I can’t find much mention of it.

Last season Arsenal let in 48, one more than Tottenham.  Tottenham were not called incompetent in defence at least not in anything I could find.  So is that the dividing line?  47 competent, 48 incompent?  Again I looked for mention of incompetence in defence for Tottenham and what I found was a piece on 6 November 2013 which had the headline  Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas hits out at ‘incompetent’ critics” – that was in the Standard.

Now it always seems to me a shame that more managers don’t take the media on – as in my own modest way we are trying to do in Untold Arsenal, but maybe the media think it is not worth it, since they never take any notice.  Or maybe the incompetence lies with the journalists?

We shall continue with this consideration in the next article which will appear shortly.

13 Replies to “How Fulham 0 Arsenal 3 was a total disaster… for journalists”

  1. Very well thought through. I’m now used to the biase reporting towards Arsenal. So, I don’t take most of the journalists and pundits serious.

  2. Don’t let them grind you down . Great start ( probably worst Fulham side I’ve witnessed ) that aside team look very good , with strength in depth . I’m in the ballot for the Sheffield game though it’s sure to get cancelled hoping it won’t and I get to see the new and exciting lineup.

  3. This is the kind of game we used not to win or at least not to win with a safe margin.
    At moments we had ‘the flow’. Just watch the third goal…a thing of beauty.
    Not unlike another we saw against Liverpool, don’t you think ? Goalie, up to the right, cross to Auba, goal…. GRAG if you want an acronym. This will become a standard situation.

    Every one has been complaining for years how we were unable to bring the ball forward…well it’s been a few games and we see moves starting with the goalie and ending with a goal.

    The other very interesting thing we saw is that Gabriel and Willian hit the ground running. One scare in front of our goal and that was it.
    Both the players not only slotted in as if they’ve been part and parcel of the team, they produced on the scoreboard.
    Talk of recruitment that is right on spot and perfect ! And talk of a coach who gets the new guys settled in at warp speed.

    As for quality of play, I can’t say I was seeing a boring game… no I enjoyed it. The idiots commentin on french TV were becoming lyrical…one saying that with Gabriel, this looks like a potential Invincibles II team… the other saying that a top 4 was looking possible. Not that I need them to appreciate a game…

    Arteta is doing a good job. That is what i see.

  4. Excellent reading, thanks!
    I get used to this bias against Arsenal. I just laughing on it. In the last season BBBs Lawreson just was not able to find a fixture that was Arsenal able to win.
    Bs generators they are.
    But we gave them not one but two slapstick/face palm on the pitch where it really matter.
    I happy you mentioned Elneny. He was very reliable in both games and what I really rate is his attitude, he is always highly motivated.

  5. Fake news, sells newspapers. This is an unfortunate fact of life now days, a quick search will show links to, “Free online newspaper generators, to help create your own spoof newspaper articles.” I cannot say for a fact, that professional sports journalists use them, but at times it hard not to believe. Many football supporters (regardless of club), buy a paper on its eye catching headline, be it about the club you support or about another club you dislike, in “A Total Disaster”, that are fall apart, fighting, lower in the table or just get into trouble. It all sells newspapers.
    Our club is held, to higher standards in the news, where the smallest thing can then be blown out of all proportions to attract more people to read it. Where as a smaller club would not have the fan base or potential interested readers to make the fake news worth printing.

  6. Just read the pre-season review in the Guardian about Wolves.

    The title : A top four push looks realistic after another summer of spending

    The article starts with :

    Guardian writers’ predicted position: 8th (NB: this is not necessarily Paul Doyle’s prediction but the average of our writers’ tips)
    Which is one position lower then the last 2 seasons

    So the title is contradicted by the Guardian’s own writers….

    Someone definitely does not know how to read and/or count. Or they are dabbling in fake news and alternte reality.

    Which does not mean I wish failure on Wolves or have anything against them.

  7. WOO HOOM, HOON! Hope that I shall be echoing such happy sentiments for over 50 games this season !

    Got the score right on some predictor site on FB , but got the first scorer wrong . Went for the obvious .

    Gabriel look huge on the pitch. And was commanding , other than that first lapse.

    More of the same please , Arsenal.

    Up the Gunners !

  8. Here is another entry on the Guardian’s blog for the Sp*rs game…no comment !

    “I know it’s early,” says Dom Salmon, “but as a Spurs fan I’d like to apologise to everyone in the world, not just football fans, for the utterly pointless dross we’re going to inflict on you this season. I mean sure, column inches will be generated because, you know “Jose’. But we’re sorry you might end up reading that, instead of, I don’t know, spending time with your kids, your family, friends you haven’t seen in ages.

    “And there’s the actual ‘games’ themselves. Again, you could be pairing socks, doing tax returns, creosoting fences? Useful stuff certainly. But no, you’ll probably NOT be doing that, and instead watch us serving up anaemic, pedestrian bilge, week in week out. Even if you flip channels to Amazon, there’s no escape. And I for one, am sorry it came to this.”

  9. @ Chris – 13 September 2020 – Is this the new normal ? I did try to watch that game , but failed . It was so drab that I decided to check out and laugh at memes on FB !
    And if their trend continues , the Spuds may soon have a whole lot of them dedicated to them !
    And could we , the Arsenal fans hope that St.Totteringham’s Day will once again be yearly rejoiced by us ?

  10. Just switched on Talk Sport at he end of the game and the pundit commentating, (no idea who) said he was underwhelmed by Willian’s perfprmance.
    Well if 3 assists and hitting the post is underwhelming I can’t wait for the day he plays well.

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