By Bulldog Drummond
As is the media’s tradition when Arsenal have a bad result, the knives are out for the players and the manager, with ceaseless negative commentary. It is an absolute fundamental of these writers that they have no impact on events, they only report, but that seems very unlikely.
Sheffield United have a poor home record with only Fulham’s being worse (and that just by goal difference).
|19||Sheffield United home||15||3||1||11||10||22||-12||10|
By itself, this should indicate an easy Arsenal win, but the media assault upon Arsenal has been so intense that much will depend on how the players are coping with the attacks. Reactions can be anything from worry over making a single mistake that will cause the player to be hounded by the press and assaulted on antisocial media, through to anger which can boil over into reckless fouls. Either way, the media get what they have predicted; a poor Arsenal display.
Of course, it is necessary for the media to continue to attack Arsenal, in order to avoid even a second’s consideration that they might be to blame, with their endless criticism, sniping, and attacks bound to have an impact on even the most hardened player. In such circumstances, the apparent signing of Balogun is little short of a miracle.
After a run of five without defeat, Arsenal have now had four games without a win (two draws and two defeats), but the most distressing fact is that in the last seven league games Arsenal’s results are three wins, two draws and two defeats, at a time when every point was vital to try and climb into the top six and get an automatic European place.
|14 Feb 2021||Arsenal v Leeds United||W||4-2||Premier League|
|21 Feb 2021||Arsenal v Manchester City||L||0-1||Premier League|
|28 Feb 2021||Leicester City v Arsenal||W||1-3||Premier League|
|06 Mar 2021||Burnley v Arsenal||D||1-1||Premier League|
|14 Mar 2021||Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur||W||2-1||Premier League|
|21 Mar 2021||West Ham United v Arsenal||D||3-3||Premier League|
|03 Apr 2021||Arsenal v Liverpool||L||0-3||Premier League|
During this spell we have scored 13 goals.
Over the same period of time Sheffield United’s Premier League results have yielded just one win and two goals.
|15 Feb 2021||West Ham United v Sheffield United||L||3-0||Premier League|
|20 Feb 2021||Fulham v Sheffield United||L||1-0||Premier League|
|28 Feb 2021||Sheffield United v Liverpool||L||0-2||Premier League|
|03 Mar 2021||Sheffield United v Aston Villa||W||1-0||Premier League|
|06 Mar 2021||Sheffield United v Southampton||L||0-2||Premier League|
|14 Mar 2021||Leicester City v Sheffield United||L||5-0||Premier League|
|03 Apr 2021||Leeds United v Sheffield United||L||2-1||Premier League|
Anything but a clear and easy win is liable to cause major eruptions in the media.
The collapase of Sheffield United is particularly extraordinary when one considers the final table of last season
Injuries, the psychological impact of the poor start, some bad luck… all of these factors and more of the same seem to be the general reason given for the club’s collapse, and after 12 league defeats in the first 13 games (the other was a draw) their season was pretty much dead and buried.
Chris Wilder finally left last month, but under the caretaker manager Chris Heckinbottom it has been more of the same in terms of results.
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