Benfica v Arsenal: what the media is saying ahead of the game

By Bulldog Drummond

Interesting headline on the BBC football website which says “Reaction as Man City go 10 points clear and Europa League build-up” which does not have a single word about Arsenal in the piece.

But then it is interesting that on its football home page the Guardian hardly has a word about Arsenal.  Quite a bit about Bristol City, and Arsenal do get a mention over an issue about a tattoo which has been on the site for days, but a forthcoming match against Benfica… no not a word.

Oh yes and you’ll want to catch up on Shrewsbury Cotterill home after long Covid-19 hospital stay which is highlighted on the home football page   and of course the player’s health is important, but try as I might I could not, at 0745 GMT find a word about Arsenal and the match.

They do have the article “Bournemouth keen to make Thierry Henry their new manager” too, and yes that has a connection, but really, this does reveal the contempt in which this newspaper and others hold Arsenal.

And it is not as if there is nothing to say.  We’ve managed

You would have thought they might have been able to cut and paste something out of that.  But no.

So turning to the other end of the political spectrum, what of the Daily Mail.   They do have an Arsenal headline this morning ahead of the game

“Mikel Arteta refuses to confirm whether Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang broke Covid protocols by getting a tattoo on his hand during lockdown… but insists he WILL be punished if he failed to follow the rules,”

But that’s it until finally, way down the web page we have a piece in which “Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta calls on his side to use their ‘cruel’ Europa League exit to Olympiacos last season as inspiration when they take on Benfica in the last-32”

That is pretty much it all tied up in the headline although they do manage to say “Benfica sit fourth in the Portuguese top flight and Arteta said he is already allowing himself to dream about winning this competition. ‘Victory is always in the back of my mind,’ he said. ‘It is why we are here – to win trophies for this club.'”

Football London are at their pesky worst with the headline “Full Arsenal squad for Europa League clash vs Benfica revealed as Kieran Tierney returns.”  Which literally is the full squad of all the players registered with Uefa for the competition.   You could have read that on Untold last week!

But of course by and large it is the negativity that reigns supreme, as with, for example… To take just one example there is, “Arsenal could offload nine first-team stars as part of summer overhaul” from Sports Lens.   Just consider that for a moment.  The squad is 25 players strong – let us say 22 because we normally don’t fill all the English bred slots.   Nine players out is 41% of the team.   So on that basis we are going to swap around almost half the squad, and expect them all to play as a team whenever next season starts?

I’ll try and remember that prediction and come back to it.

Anyway, the BBC as ever do have a couple of good bits of information for us…

First, “Benfica have won the first leg of their last nine Europa League knockout ties when it has been at home and won 14 of their last 17 first-leg matches in the knockout phase overall.”

Could be tough for us then.

And one you perhaps did not know…

“In this season’s Europa League, Arsenal’s Nicolas Pepe has been involved in 48 open play sequences that have ended with a shot, four more than anyone else.”

That’s not anyone else at Arsenal.  That is anyone else playing in the Europa.

Team predictions up next…

PL Refereeing: where it has all gone so wrong.




One Reply to “Benfica v Arsenal: what the media is saying ahead of the game”

  1. I note that the main article under the Arsenal section on the BBC this morning is an article about David Luiz and how he came to play in Europe for Benfica of course. Being the BBC, the word “calamitous” was inevitably part of the headline even though the article isn’t quite as bad as that. Yes, he played in a game in Brazil as a 19 year old and as a result Anderlecht chose not to sign him. So they believe that word is a must when writing the headline in a story about his career.

    Yes, apparently a bloke who has won every possible trophy as an English player but had a bad game whilst still a teenager fifteen years ago in Brazil, warrants the word calamitous in a headline when talking about his career. But then who does he play for now!

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