By Bulldog Drummond
Yes this is the world of post-fact football. A world in which facts are just irrelevant, unnecessary and so last-century, because now we have OPINIONS.
As all football journalists now openly acknowledge, facts get in the way of the free flow of beautiful prose. Facts are too complicated for football supporters to take in. For fans live in world devoid of facts and are taught by their leaders that facts are unnecessary (listen to a Boris Johnson speech for example).
Facts require journalists to work because they are pesky little things that are of irrelevance to the wider world. And above all people simply don’t want facts.
Except well yes, the odd fact does slip in. Like the fact that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang always has a wonderful winning smile when scoring, or when celebrating signing a contract. I hope he has trademarked that smile, and has some good post-career advertising campaigns lined up!
But to be serious, let’s move on to today in the Guardian ahead of the WHAM game. Here we have talk of Arsenal’s feel good factor (a non-fact if ever there was one). But wait, there is more, because it is vital to drop into any pre-match preview (I know that is tautology but so is “self-isolate” when it comes down to it) the notion that although Arsenal beat WHAM last time around WHAM were “mightily unfortunate to “lose to Alexandre Lacazette’s goal”.
Which presumably means that if they had lost to a Bobby Gould goal that wouldn’t have been unfortunate.
On a more positive note they tell us “Aubameyang looks to have been further energised by the fluidity Willian has brought to Arsenal’s attack and that relationship should receive further opportunities to flourish here.”
That’s an opinion.
So shall we try a few facts? Yes I hear you cry (metaphorically of course for these are the days of lock down). Here’s the injury league table
Last update: 17/09/20 16:09:46
- Chelsea: 9 players injured
- Arsenal: 8 players injured
- Crystal Palace: 7 players injured
- Newcastle United: 6 players injured
- 12 clubs on 5, 4, 3, or 2 players injured
- West Ham and three others on 1 player injured
So what on earth is going on at Arsenal? It must be that bloody Wenger with his crazy training techniques, over-training them, putting down the wrong grass, telling the players to stretch the wrong muscles, getting them to run too much and too fast…
[Mr Bulldog Drummond has been taken away to a darkened room for a while, while I, Poodle Drummond, his son, will take over the column for the foreseeable future…]
Although to be serious for a second, it is odd that we have so many injuries so early in the season. Still at least Chelsea are never knowingly outdone on this score.
Here’s the table of the knocked over as all taken from Physioroom.com
|Player||Reason||Further Detail||Potential Return||Status|
|Shkodran Mustafi||Thigh Injury||Aug 25: “Positive progress, is now off crutches with good mobility. Aiming to return to full training in October.”||31/10/2020||Ruled Out|
|Pablo Mari Villar||Ankle/Foot Injury||Aug 25: “Progressing well and has now stepped up rehab. Started running inside, alongside gym and pool work. Aiming to return to full training in September.”||26/09/2020||Ruled Out|
|Sokratis||Calf/Shin/Heel Injury||Sept 11: “Sustained mild strain to right calf in training. Aiming to integrate back into full training within the next week.”||19/09/2020||50%|
|Granit Xhaka||Ankle/Foot Injury||Ankle Injury||19/09/2020; being assessed||75%|
|David Luiz Moreira Marinho||Upper Back/Neck Injury||Sept 11: “Neck spasm. Currently being assessed and undergoing treatment with good response.”||No Return Date||Ruled Out|
|Emile Smith Rowe||Shoulder Injury||Sept 11: “Protective sling will be removed by the end of next week and aiming to integrate back into training soon afterwards.”||No Return Date||Ruled Out|
|Gabriel Martinelli||Knee Injury||Aug 25: “Due back in the UK on Aug 31. Will step up his rehab with the aim of a return to full training by the end of the calendar year.”||No Return Date||Ruled Out|
|Calum Chambers||Knee Injury||Aug 25: “Will continue with running outside and light ball work. Aiming to be back in full training as soon as possible this calendar year.”||No Return Date||Ruled Out|
So do we have anyone left? Hopefully we have Aubameyang who will play in the back line, midfield, forward line and be captain. He could also take over as linesman if need be.
And the ultimate irony is that the one and only player who is in trouble with an injury at West Ham is… Jack Wilshere who has an ankle sprain.
Let’s finish off for now with West Ham so far this season
|08 Sep||Southend United v West Ham United||W||1-3||Football League Trophy|
|12 Sep||West Ham United v Newcastle United||L||0-2||Premier League|
|15 Sep||West Ham United v Charlton Athletic||W||3-0||League Cup|
So, powerful victories over Southend and Charlton in the Trophy and League Cup, but oh dear, bit of a slip against Newcastle Un.
We’ll look at this further, anon.
The media and Arsenal latest
Fulham v Arsenal
- How Fulham 0 Arsenal 3 was a total disaster… for journalists
- Fulham v Arsenal: how the journalists got it wrong. Part 2
- What the media won’t tell you about football, part 4 – referee variations
- The final transfer rumours: 3 new names to make 66 players tipped for Arsenal
- What the media won’t tell you about football, part 3 – referee home bias
- The real live facts that the media won’t ever touch (part 2)
- Could this be the best PL season ever for Arsenal in terms of goals?