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January 2021
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Surely it is the journalists who are bloated not the Arsenal squad

By Tony Attwood

It started with an article that turned up in The Athletic who asked “what is the latest news on Arsenal’s attempts to trim their bloated squad?”

Then it spread like a virus to France with an article in France24 “Arteta says ‘priority’ in transfer window is to trim bloated squad”.

Browsing I found it in the Jamaica Observer,  “Arteta says ‘priority’ in transfer window is to trim bloated squad…” and in Vanguard News “Arteta seeks to trim bloated Arsenal squad” and in Nigeria News “Arteta seeks to trim bloated Arsenal squad.”

Then it came back to England and in the Daily Mirror we had the manager “has admitted that he plans to trim his bloated squad,” and in the Telegraph where “Arsenal begin trimming bloated squad” and the Express which has  … “Arsenal’s priority will actually be to try and trim their bloated squad,”

Then back to the blogs where we need to “reduce the size of a bloated squad” (Highbury House – which gets a link as it also commends The Athletic on its journalism) and  on and on and on and on and on.

So just how bloated in our bloated squad?  And why does everyone use the word “bloated”? It must be very bloated because all those “outlets” call it bloated and surely they didn’t just copy it from one person to another did they?  I mean they could have said swollen, puffed up, blown up, distended, inflated, enlarged, expanded, tumefied, bulging…

Sol, let’s see… here’s the squad members aged over 21 left over after Part 1 of The Season.
  1. Alves Soares, Cedric Ricardo
  2. Aubameyang, Pierre-Emerick
  3. Bellerin, Hector*
  4. Borges Da Silva, Willian
  5. Ceballos Fernandez, Daniel
  6. Chambers, Calum*
  7. Dos Santos Magalhaes, Gabriel
  8. Elneny, Mohamed Naser Elsayed
  9. Holding, Robert Samuel*
  10. Lacazette, Alexandre
  11. Leno, Bernd
  12. Maitland-Niles, Ainsley*
  13. Mari Villar, Pablo
  14. Moreira Marinho, David Luiz
  15. Mustafi, Shkodran
  16. Ozil, Mesut
  17. Partey, Thomas Teye
  18. Pepe, Nicolas
  19. Runarsson, Runar Alex
  20. Tierney, Kieran
  21. Xhaka, Granit

That is 21 players, out of 25.  Now we know that only 17 of these can be Foreign and that includes Scots, so all the ones who are Not Foreign have a *.  Trouble is only four of these players have a star as far as I can tell.  Which is why we can’t sign any more foreigners (or Scottish people, or N Irish).

So does that make us bloated?   Actually no, it makes us rather thin on the ground.

Thus the question arises, why have so many outlets used the phrase “bloated squad”?

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The first thing to be clear about is that journalists are by and large lazy sloths who copy each other all the time.

And to prove that here’s a funny thing, the term “bloated squad” is not just being applied to Arsenal.  Although it was rarely if ever heard prior to last month, it is now the go-to phrase of the day for most football journalists covering most clubs.

Indeed The Athletic, in a case of sublime laziness and a pure case of holding its readers in utter and total contempt not only has Arsenal with a “bloated squad” but also offers us such insights as

  • Brighton bring back fresh faces but must trim bloated squad …
  • Lampard’s bloated Chelsea squad…

and on and on

And of course it gets picked up everywhere else as well…

  • We still want to make money so we left with a bloated squad of rubbish (Sam Pilger in Man Utd tweet which is worth a quote since he doesn’t like The Athletic either).
  • Everton Trimming a bloated squad. (Football Project)

In fact bloated squads are everywhere.  Indeed EVERY SQUAD IS BLOATED!!!

It is just another example of what the media does all the time.  Someone thinks up the phrase “bloated squad” and applies it to a club, and then all the other journalists, anxious never to have to exercise a single brain cell, for fear of overdoing it, use the same phrase.  In fact I suspect they have the list of 20 Premier League clubs and simply work their way up and down.

Arsenal have a very small squad, if one really wants to get down to it.

What makes Arsenal’s squad so very interesting at the moment is that we are going to have room for our up and coming youngsters.  Not all of these will make it, but some will, and the great thing is that because our squad is anything but bloated, we will have space for them because most are pure HG.

Balogun, Guendouzi, John-Jules, Medley, Martinelli, Nelson, Nketiah, Saka, Saliba, Smith Rowe, Willock…

 

 

 

3 comments to Surely it is the journalists who are bloated not the Arsenal squad

  • mick shelley

    We are in the age of the cliche and ‘catch phrase’ I am afraid Tony. We see it all the time in the media whether mainstream or blog and it soon filters down into common usage on twitter, facebook etc etc.
    Another example which is currently being used extensively is the phrase ‘xxxxxx finally breaks silence’ as though the player/manager in question has been sworn to secrecy but has at last been forced into admitting whatever it may be. another example is the usually incorrect use of the word ‘snubbed’ whenever a player decides to not sign for a particular club.
    As you say it is lazy and to a lot of people, me and you included, extremely annoying but unfortunately in todays world (and not just the football part) the cliche and catch phrase is king.

  • I had long suspected The Athletic of being a fake news site. This solidifies my opinion. If you listen closely to their youtube videos you may notice they pretend to have the inside word on Arsenal by using a few carefully worded phrases that sound authoritative but are, in fact, opinions or observations based on the obvious.

  • Mikey

    More BS since, by definition, “bloated” is a comparative word. If everyone has a similar size squad then it is completely inappropriate.

    We all know how much BS there is in the football media and the laziness, as you have demonstrated, is beyond comparison. I can’t bring to mind another profession where plagiarism is lauded over originality.

    What I find most annoying though is the fact that these people can’t just look at a situation from an analytical perspective and actually consider the issues in an informed and intelligent way. They just have to be critical. They can’t just see a situation for what it is and simply explore the dynamics. They have to condemn, they just can’t help themselves. They must be very sad people with such a myopic approach to life.

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