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July 2021
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Exceptionally good news for Arsenal; except the media don’t see it.

by Tony Attwood

Of course the negativists were dubious about Arsenal’s chances against Olympiacos; doubly so when they saw the substitution of Elneny, complaining he was exactly not the player we needed at this moment, and pondering how Arteta could make such a crucial mistake as such a critical moment.

The Guardian follows this point of view, with its review of last night’s game concluding, “maybe Arsenal will reach the point where conceding maddening goals becomes irrelevant as the bulk of quality at the other end holds sway. But that looks some way off.”

Goodness knows how much Arsenal would have been condemned had we merely drawn the away leg of a European tie.

But there we have it.  Lose and its our fault.  Draw and we just about got away with it.  Win and we are conceding maddening goals.

Do they say this about Chelsea?  I suspect not, but in the League Chelsea have conceded just three fewer goals than we have and they have played a game less than we have.

Do they say this about their darling Tottenham Hots? I can’t recall seeing that, but they have conceded exactly the same number of goals as we have in the League.

Or what about the mighty West Ham, currently the media’s pen pals.  Rushing up the league to get into Europe full gallop ahead what a wonderfully fine club so excellently run and they have let in three more than we have.

This reporting is ludicrous.  We have lost one in the last seven – that is since Valentines Day, although I suspect such commentators don’t particularly notice that moment since any loved one will have long since got bored by the monotony of the remorseless criticism.  Indeed not for the first time was I reminded of that moment early in the Unbeaten Season when the Times reported that Arsenal fans were saying this was the worst Arsenal team they had ever seen.

Did anyone actually say that?  Who knows? The comment was written by a football journalist.

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Fortunately Mr Arteta doesn’t seem to read blogs and newspapers, preferring to spend his time working with Arsenal, and here we do see signs of development and recovery; a plan which is starting to bear fruit.

The Guardian’s reporter – a Nick Ames, described by the Guardian as “a football writer for the Guardian” which I would think is about the most dour description there has ever been, talking of Arsenal being “too clever for their own good.”

Arsenal = clever?  Not something that’s normally in the narrative.  And he went on “Every Europa League tie carries a profound sense of jeopardy for Arsenal…”

So how many games have we lost so far in the Europa this season?   Oh, I’ve forgotten, and I can’t count them because my fingers are too busy typing this.   And to be fair at least the writer had the grace to say that this team is better than the team that was knocked out a year ago.   Except we weren’t knocked out a year ago.  No we “nosedived” out.  I remember the piece well.

So now they talk about the need to “avert disaster at the Emirates next Thursday.”   And it is this rampant negativity that causes so much difficulty for Arsenal.  If you were a top quality player and a move was being mooted, would you consider a club that gets this sort of reporting day in day out?  Every victory followed by a warning that we need to be so much better.

Yes, the league position is immensely disappointing, and unless we do have a terrific run between here and the end of the season it will mean our worst finish since 1995.  That is troubling, but failing to rejoice in a jolly performance like that last night just ensures that it gets harder and harder to recruit the players that the bloggers and journalists tell us we are ceaselessly chasing.

And then when Arsenal doesn’t buy the players they tell us we so desperately need, we are criticised as a club for failing to put things right, as if the mere mention of Arsenal calling means the player drops everything gets a covid jab and comes to England… to be insulted by journalists and “supporters” alike and told he is not good enough.  If it were me I wouldn’t bother coming.

And let us at this moment just compare how we are treated in the media, after a 3-1 away win in Europe, with Tottenham who had a 2-0 home win.

Tottenham’s headline is “Harry Kane doubles up to sink Dinamo Zagreb and put Spurs in driving seat”.  

Yep, we’ll “probably get away with it” in a week’s time.  While for Tottenham their report ends with a quote from Mourinho.  is “A third goal would have fitted the reality of the game very well.” For Arsenal the report ends, “They will probably get away with it in a week’s time, but their season depends on it.”

17 comments to Exceptionally good news for Arsenal; except the media don’t see it.

  • Re Sentment

    Good morning Tony, serious question, did you want to be a journalist and never made it, bit like the security guard who was rejected from the police for being too small.

  • Arsenal should ignore negative publicity from the partisan and biased press and concentrate on their project aimed at making them great again,there is light at the end of the tunnel.

  • No, I wanted to be a writer. Started out in my teens writing about rhythm and blues, spent quite a while working with magazines, and then out of the blue managed to write a book which took off very unexpectedly. Had about 80 published, so they earned a few bob along the way. So tell me about yourself and what you’ve wanted to do and achieved, or not.

  • Nitram

    Good morning Re Sentment.

    Serious question, did you actually want to be a sarcastic little smart arse when you grew up, or have you become one just by chance ?

  • Philip Amswych

    Good morning Tony – your use of stats to prove a point cannot be faulted… it’s “here is the EVIDENCE” rather than merely a humble opinion or lazy journalist. So your points about the number of goals conceded compared to other teams is, in and of itself, undisputable. The only thing missing in my humble opinion (not with full evidence to back it up) is the fact that even with the relatively small number of goals conceded, how many are actually a result of the opposition working for and creating for themselves and how many are the result of our own players not executing properly. Oppositions set traps with high press, and all too often we seem to fall into it. Last night we conceded one, should have been two (when Luiz got caught), and could have been three (Odegaard’s cross defence pass).
    All in all though, aside from that, there is so much to be positive about our progression and I very much hope that MA’s project is allowed to flourish.

  • Steve Vallins

    The British media wants needs hero’s and villains , good against evil and Arsenal have never been the goody or hero . We have a history of 135 years and joined an organisation which all its founder members came from the midlands area and up to the north of England . It’s only in recent years I think that the FA relocated to London .
    Have we ever been accepted in this organisation or just been tolerated because over the many years of our existence we have only been given short praise and long ridicule by the press/media . We have in various stages in our history broke the northern dominance , but missing from our trophy cabinet is the winning of the European Cup / Champions League .
    We have been and are being treated differently by media , the FA and PGMO does all this go back a long long way ?
    Sorry it’s a bit random lots of thoughts going on .

  • Nitram

    Tony

    I think we are a very good side. Apart from Man City and Liverpool* I think the next 6 or 8 teams are much of a muchness.

    They say the table doesn’t lie, which by and large is true, but it can be misleading. Like can happen within any one match. You can be the better team and lose. It happens. Unfortunately this season it has happened to us quite a lot, for various reasons. Shooting ourselves in the foot with individual errors. Poor finishing. AND being royally screwed by VAR.

    2 of those are in our own hands and if we’d been better at either we would be further up the table. But we haven’t been and that’s nobody’s fault but our own.

    But the 3rd is totally out of our hands. As we have pointed out many times, and as mick shelly showed with this link https://www.101greatgoals.com/news/pure-bad-luck-or-cause-for-concern-a-thread-of-all-the-major-decisions-to-have-gone-against-arsenal-this-season/ we ARE royally screwed by VAR.

    I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say errant or at the least extremely harsh VAR decisions have cost us as much as 9 points. That alone would have us on 47 points, just 3 off of the top 4 and right in the mix for a Europa league spot, and I believe that would be a far fairer reflection of where we are at this moment in time.

    Lets not forget we are in yet another transition phase, yes of our own making, and transitions are notoriously difficult.

    Yes we have spent a lot and we should be doing better but many things have contrived to leave us in what I believe is a false position.

    Fair application of VAR alone would of seen us in the top 6.

    Despite what so many in the media keep saying, as do a fair few fans, I think all that money spent, despite some signings not working out, has left us with a great squad, that even without any additions, will I believe seriously challenge the top 4 next season.

    Overall I am extremely positive about this squad and believe with another season under both the youngsters belts as well as the new signings we will see a vast improvement.

    We need to hold our nerve. Back the manager and the players. Ignore the endless negativity the media enshroud the club with and I believe things will come good.

  • Philip I’d go along with much of what you say. I think however that most teams have a situation in which they are exposed two or three times and in which the opposition should score – but doesn’t. Simply because forwards make mistakes as much as defenders do. It is just that as Arsenal supporters, we see Arsenal’s errors more than other teams’ errors. So any game that ends 1-3 should probably have ended 2-4… but it is our perception and worries (or perhaps I should just say my perception and worries) that make it seem that we just got away with it.

  • Apangu iddi Amin

    But the reality is that Arsenal like doing things in a joking way when they are in the danger zone which always cost us points and they dont want to learn from those mistakes they keep doing it again and again.

  • Mike T

    Tony

    Worth validating this comment

    Do they say this about Chelsea? I suspect not, but in the League Chelsea have conceded just three fewer goals than we have and they have played a game less than we have.

  • Mikey

    @ Apangu iddi Amin

    “…they don’t want to learn from their mistakes”!

    With all due respect, do you really believe that given the choice to learn from mistakes or wilfully keep making them, professional footballers choose not to learn? This would mean they opt to damage their own credibility, diminish their career and potential lose their job or certainly get transferred to a lesser club on lower wages. Do you really think they do that on purpose? Personally, I think that’s highly unlikely and the negativity of perpetuating such a concept serves no useful purpose and is potentially damaging to the club.

    Please explain your claim.

  • Nitram

    Philip Amswych

    “…..is the fact that even with the relatively small number of goals conceded, how many are actually a result of the opposition working for and creating for themselves and how many are the result of our own players not executing properly”.

    You may of missed it, but as I pointed out on the match day thread, arsenal.com themselves had noted that 7 of the last 14 goals we conceded were from individual errors as you suggest they may of been.

    What this suggests to me is that tactically, as a team, we are defending very well. Pressing well from the front. Covering well on an individual basis. Getting back and set in the usual 2 banks of 4.Things like that.

    The problem is playing out from the back, not defending per se.

    And regarding that, this has been a problem since Emery first tried to introduce it. It was heart in the mouth stuff then. It is heart in the mouth stuff now. But overall it does work because as Arteta himself pointed out, we have scored goals as a result of playing this way.

    And as Tony says, it happens at other clubs too, but it just doesn’t register in the same way. In fact we have forced similar errors on others and scored a few goals as a result.

    So yes of course we need to iron out these individual errors, and I’m sure we will. But I’d be far more worried if we were still defending as we were a few months ago when we were conceding 10 plus shots on goal a game on a regular basis.

  • Dublin Gooners

    The root of the playing out problem seems to stem from Leno. He dallies and slows things down giving time for traps to be set, and makes the wrong decisions. It all starts with him (much as i think he’s otherwise a top goalkeeper).
    Maybe time to give Leno time to reflect, from the bench.

  • Chelsea have played 28 we have played 27. We’ve conceded 28 they have 25.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    Why are we surprised that the MANCHESTER Guardian is biased against Arsenal?

  • Menace

    Nitram – don’t point a finger at VAR. Remember that VAR is only PGMOL behind a screen!! They are the biggest influence in the EPL not the players, press or TV. The PGMOL are the corruption that has taken football together with the unscroupolous owners into disrepute.

    Football should always be owned by supporters clubs and not by foreign investors or wealthy individuals. The soul of the game is competitive sport by teams owned by supporters clubs.

    This can only be maintained by transparent associations at a local and national level.

  • Menace

    Playing out from the back is ‘Initiating Transition from the Goalkeeper whilst maintaining possession of the Ball’. The key to this is the intelligence and vision of the Goalkeeper.

    The Goalkeeper must ascess the situation in front of him and realise the benefits of forward momentum with the best chance of retaining possession. Midfielders are key in showing for the initial pass, failing which the Goalkeeper is resigned to a short pass to a defender creating local risk or a risky long ball to the opponents half. The reward only occurs if retention of the ball extends possession into the opponents half.