By Tony Attwood
Last night’s match confirmed the turnaround in Arsenal’s fortunes, in the club’s approach, in the desire and willingness of the team not to give up, and the inventiveness of the manager in the way he can re-organise the team and galvanise the players.
Between August 2015 and October 2019 our record against Liverpool was awful…
|13 Jan 2016||Liverpool v Arsenal||D||3-3||Premier League|
|14 Aug 2016||Arsenal v Liverpool||L||3-4||Premier League|
|4 Mar 2017||Liverpool v Arsenal||L||3-1||Premier League|
|27 Aug 2017||Liverpool v Arsenal||L||4-0||Premier League|
|22 Dec 2017||Arsenal v Liverpool||D||3-3||Premier League|
|3 Nov 2018||Arsenal v Liverpool||D||1-1||Premier League|
|29 Dec 2018||Liverpool v Arsenal||L||5-1||Premier League|
|24 Aug 2019||Liverpool v Arsenal||L||3-1||Premier League|
|30 Oct 2019||Liverpool v Arsenal||L||5-5||League Cup|
Three draws and six defeats. Of course it came about because Liverpool were on the way up, while we were initially rebuilding and then wracked with internal dissent and in-fighting as Black Scarf, AST and AFTV combined to express constant, remorseless negativity, claiming everything from directors taking money that could have been used on transfers and putting it in their pockets, through to the notion that abusing the players and the club somehow constituted support.
To recover from that awful situation looked nigh on impossible, and yet it has been done by Mikel Arteta, and done in under three quarters of a season. For of late our record is …
|15 July 2020||Arsenal v Liverpool||W||2-1||Premier League|
|29 Aug 2020||Arsenal v Liverpool||W||1-1||Community Shield|
|28 Sep 2020||Liverpool v Arsenal||L||3-1||Premier League|
|1 Oct 2020||Liverpool v Arsenal||W||0-0||League Cup|
… three wins and one defeat in four. An extraordinary transformation.
Of course there are still many battles to be to be fought, and the newspapers are already out there fighting them. For example, rather than make any mention of this amazing turn around in form the Guardian focused on the notion that this was “a terrible game” in which the teams “showed very little attacking quality in the 90 minutes.”
Ah well, I must have tuned into the wrong match. The one I watched saw two teams with a lot of talent working hard to find a way past each other. But apparently I was quite wrong because the Guardian told us, “all things considered, that was a harrowing game.”
Now of course you may think I am completely wrong. You may feel that it was “harrowing” rather than interesting to see the two sides trying to find a way round each other. Indeed you might feel that Liverpool had come into the match full of the expectation that they were going to roll Arsenal over, on the basis that it was “only Arsenal” and when they couldn’t they were completely dumbfounded. And if so you, like me, might have enjoyed the surprise they felt when they realised this Arsenal side was not for rolling over.
Indeed pictures of the Liverpool manager showed the surprise, moving from all the smiles at the start to the looks of utter anguish as the game went on. He knew what was happening. Sadly it seems the Guardian journalist (a “Paul Wilson” who we are told was at Anfield) did not.
In fact the anti-Arsenal rhetoric is now so ludicrous anyone not knowing the history of the media in terms of Arsenal would think it was some new form of humour. At one point Wilson attempted to portray the Arsenal players to animals, accusing them of howling at the referee – which really is going too far. As we know any attempt to influence the referee by strong or loud talk from an Arsenal player gets a yellow card. I saw none in response to the moment in question. The Guardian it seems has found itself another fantasist.
At the end of the game the Guardian told anyone who was desperate enough to try and follow the match with their on line coverage, (which was fortunately not Pat and myself, as we were watching it on Sky), “Arsenal’s midfield has been lamentable today. So Arsenal fans may be concerned to hear reports that PSG have decided to make an attempt to prise their long-term target Houssem Aouar from Lyon.”
It is just knock knock knock all the way, all the time.
Of course not every “outlet” (as they are called these days) is quite so extreme as the Guardian when it comes to knocking Arsenal. Yes they all do it from time to time but not in every single game no matter what.
The Daily Mail ran the headline after the match “Arsenal knock Liverpool out of the Carabao Cup! Bernd Leno produces goalkeeping masterclass with superb saves from both Harry Wilson and Divock Origi in Anfield penalty shootout.” True they don’t have anything much to say about the team performance but they do recognise the man of the match and realise that “Arsenal repeated the feat of beating Klopp’s side in the same manner as they had done at Wembley in the Community Shield five weeks ago.”
There are one or two more balanced opinions around. Reuters for example tells us that, “Liverpool had the better chances and should have been awarded a 44th-minute penalty when Diogo Jota was brought down in the box.
“The Gunners also appealed for a penalty in stoppage time when James Milner fell and handled the ball.”
That is what one might call a balanced summary. But for the rest of the season, it seems, we are going to get endless total, absolute and utter negativity from the Guardian with none of the insightfulness and balance that it likes to claim is a central part of its reporting.
At least we know what to expect.
But in reality this is the new Arsenal, the revitalised Arsenal, the Arsenal that goes into each match feeling it has a chance. Black Scarf, AFTV and AST with their crazy negativity have been seen off. It’s just the Guardian left out there on their own. The Arsenal are back.
- Arsenal have to sell two just to get legal; more if we sign anyone else.
- Infantino looks sunk; but if he takes down Fifa as well, what replaces it?
- Which club is trying to emulate Leicester tackling game from last season?
- The home and away scandal: ignorance, or cover up?
- The reason why Liverpool and Man C are ahead of Arsenal.
- How which referee a club gets has a major impact on the result of each game
- The statistical evidence that shows PGMO are biased against Arsenal
- How European football has taken up the fight against clubs breaking FFP