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Arsenal v Sheff U. This is not anti-Arsenal bias in the media, this goes way beyond that.

By Tony Attwood

Allow me, if I may, to give an example of what I mean by bias.  This comes from Nick Ames speaking of Sheffield United against whom Arsenal play this weekend.

“Against Arsenal they will probably be required to go with what they have got, but the same goes for their opponents given the uncertainty over Houssem Aouar’s arrival. Arsenal often struggle to get going when they are expected to take the initiative in games, as they recently showed against West Ham. Even if United have to ride their luck again, digging in could finally get them back on their feet.”

“Often” in that paragraph above is illustrated by one match – the game against West Ham, in which WHU played a totally defensive game.  One example is not “often”.  If we look at other examples of Arsenal playing teams from the lower portions of the league in recent months we find a decent number of goals going in against the likes of Watford, Norwich and Fulham.

“Digging in” normally means playing a defensive game without any attacking intent, hoping to keep the score at 0-0 and then with luck snatching a winner as the opposition throw caution to the wind and leave themselves open at the back near the end of the match.  And these days Arsenal are normally finding a way through.  Not always, but often.

From this starting point, rather than make any mention of the amazing turn around in form of Arsenal in the latter part of last season and the early stages of this, or what actually happened in the second Liverpool match of the week, the Guardian focuses on the notion that this was “a terrible game” (without any stats to prove that) in which the teams “showed very little attacking quality in the 90 minutes.”

Shots are the normal way of measuring attacking intent, and the average number of shots per game in the Premier League this season, according to Footstats is 11 per side, or 22 per game.  In this game according to Football Critic which publishes these stats for each game, the total number of shots in the game was in fact 22.  It was a perfectly average game in that regard.  Yes Liverpool dominated as we know, but that is not what the Guardian is beefing about.

But let us consider Arsenal’s form, because surely what we predict on is form…  And let’s not play games with predicting on the basis of three or four games.  We will take every game except the FA Trophy in which under 21s play, and PL2 which involves the under 23s.  And we’ll go right back to my last birthday which happens to be in June.

So that is 11 games last season and six games this season.  16 games.  That surely is enough for even the dumbest of dumbo journalists to get the idea of form.

Date Game Res Score Competition
25 Jun 2020 Southampton v Arsenal W 0-2 Premier League
28 Jun 2020 Sheffield United v Arsenal W 1-2 FA Cup
01 Jul 2020 Arsenal v Norwich City W 4-0 Premier League
04 Jul 2020 Wolverhampton Wanderers v Arsenal W 0-2 Premier League
07 Jul 2020 Arsenal v Leicester City D 1-1 Premier League
12 Jul 2020 Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal L 2-1 Premier League
15 Jul 2020 Arsenal v Liverpool W 2-1 Premier League
18 Jul 2020 Arsenal v Manchester City W 2-0 FA Cup
21 Jul 2020 Aston Villa v Arsenal L 1-0 Premier League
26 Jul 2020 Arsenal v Watford W 3-2 Premier League
01 Aug 2020 Arsenal v Chelsea W 2-1 FA Cup
29 Aug 2020 Arsenal v Liverpool W 1-1 (5-4) Community Shield
12 Sep 2020 Fulham v Arsenal W 0-3 Premier League
19 Sep 2020 Arsenal v West Ham United W 2-1 Premier League
23 Sep 2020 Leicester City v Arsenal W 0-2 League Cup
28 Sep 2020 Liverpool v Arsenal L 3-1 Premier League
01 Oct 2020 Liverpool v Arsenal W 0-0 (4-5) League Cup
17 games.  Counting losses turns out to be the easiest.  Three defeats.  OK let’s have a go at counting draws…  Oh, just one.   Which must leave 13 wins.  Which turns out to be pretty much the best form of any club in the league over this period leading up to this weekend.

As for this week’s league cup game against Liverpool! 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.  Yes Arsenal defended a lot, but that was because we were playing Liverpool! the team granted the honorary exclamation mark, because of their astounding skills and abilities as noted in the press at every turn.   But apparently no, because despite having the average number of shots for a match, the Guardian told us, “all things considered, that was a harrowing game.”

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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 around 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 that surprise, moving from his jolly 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, although I find that hard to believe,) did not.

More anon…

8 comments to Arsenal v Sheff U. This is not anti-Arsenal bias in the media, this goes way beyond that.

  • Andrew Banks

    Why not write about something else. Your constant focus on the press bias is embarrassing – you seem to have a fetish about it. Don’t you realize that after a while it makes you look like an idiot

  • Laos Gooner

    I was not in any way harrowed by the League cup game, in fact I was very entertained by it. A great chance to see varied line ups from both teams, plenty of youth players and some players we do not see all the time which was an intriguing tactical encounter. The fact that most failed to mention either the elbow or handball incidents does make you question whether they attended the match or matches. The reports on the Prem game also lacked such details. I feel the only value in these scribblers work is to show just how badly the truth can be distorted. I have long since given up on the majority of British source for any kind of news. I extend my sympathy to anyone who is still reading the drivel that is published by these failing limp dish cloths that think themselves journalists.

  • Well, Andrew, unlike you, quite a few people do feel that the newspapers have an influence over some people, and that a constant pushing of a certain view brings it constantly to people’s minds. This suggests that the regular attacks of AFTV, Black Scarf and AST on Arsenal were encouraged and enhanced by the negative propaganda put out by the media which has its own specific agendas. The only way to counter that is to put it out – and many of our readers to appreciate that.

    As for the “something else” – that suggests to me that you have not been reading Untold very thoroughly. We are as you might know the only UK publisher covering the court case in which Fifa is effectively on trial in Switzerland, we are the only place that covers the issue of Leicester’s outrageous tactics last season, the only place that looks at the ratio of tackles to fouls to yellow cards, and so on. I am sorry you have missed those.

    On the other hand we do have people who come on this site and read articles which they clearly don’t like. I am not sure why you are embarrassed by the articles or why you particularly care how you think others perceive me, but probably the best way forward for you is to stop reading. There are after all many other blogs that you can read.

  • Maxwell

    Andrew Banks. Anyone who reads Tony’s observations regularly will know that he is anything but an idiot. It is true that certain agendas resurface frequently, but as few people elsewhere are addressing these issues (FIFA corruption, referees, the media), I for one am thankful for Tony keeping them constantly in view. If no-one highlights bad stuff, what happens then? It becomes accepted and acceptable. It progresses unchallenged.

    You do not say whether you disagree with this idiot. It may have been more revealing for you actually to give your opinion on the matter of an anodyne, uninforming, ill-informed, lazy corrupt media (there, you have my view at least!), than on the intellectual capacity of the writer.

    Finally, if you don’t like what the subject is, you can always skip the article and read something else.

  • Maxwell

    Sorry Tony: the above should read “idiot”!

  • The mickster

    I’m not sure Id disagree with the observation that we have somewhat ‘laboured’ against the more obdurate of opponents, but then most teams do, also the Villa defeat should be put into context of the schedule we were on, as was evidenced by some very heavy legs, having played 3 games more than them since the restart.
    A little bit more creativity from the team wouldnt go amiss though !

  • Dublin Gooner

    I do not buy a newspaper and rarely read them, so cannot say they are biased or not. But to say that the ‘press’ (by which I think on this site is mainly meant the UK national papers – with special ire reserved for the poor old Guardian) is biased against Arsenal would I have thought require an analysis the breadth and depth of which would be beyond any of us. But as you can “prove” anything from selecting your chosen examples, I’m sure Tony will be able to keep proving press bias as long as he draws breadth.

    The only reason I can think that “the Press” would be biased against Arsenal is that it serves their interests. Other than creating interest, controversy and clicks, how does the press benefit from being biased against Arsenal? As opposed to, say, Spurs?

    If we believe there is “bias” against our team we will see it at every turn, as will the supporter of every other team who believes the press is biased against them. But that doesn’t make it so.

  • I’m much obliged to you Maxwell. I think you might enjoy the article that has been published at 1230 Saturday.

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