And so the anti-Arsenal tales continue, but here is the truth…

By Sir Hardly Anyone

The headline in the Daily Mail today says

Arsenal ‘looking to sign at least FIVE players this summer including Max Aarons and Yves Bissouma’ in bid to resurrect club’s fortunes following torrid season… with Mikel Arteta ‘set to prioritise finding midfield partner for Thomas Partey’

Now you’ll notice the use of “following torrid season” whereas in fact the more appropriate phrase would be “following amazing recovery since Christmas.”

But having established that line we find something even more extraordinary and bizarre, as the paper announces

  • Arsenal are facing a season with no Europe for the first time in 25 years 
  • Gunners boss Mikel Arteta insisted his side must be ‘ruthless’ this summer 
  • And claim they are looking to strengthen in at least five places 

Let’s consider these three points:

First, 25 years in Europe is not only an English record, it is, in terms of Europe, better than any other club save Real Madrid.  So better than Barcelona, better than the lauded and praised Manchester United under Sir Alex Ferguson, and obviously far, far better than the johnny-come-latelys like Manchester City and Chelsea.

Chelsea have just had their fourth consecutive season in Europe.  Manchester City have just had their 11th consecutive season.  Liverpool have just had their third consecutive season.  Manchester United have just had their fifth consecutive season.  As for Tottenham, well, best not to ask.

So 25 consecutive seasons is surely something to be amazed at, to celebrate, to do a retrospective on.  But no.  It’s used to knock the club.

Second that claim that Mr Arteta has said Arsenal must be ruthless this summer.    The word ruthless comes up three times in the article

  • Gunners boss Mikel Arteta insisted his side must be ‘ruthless’ this summer 
  • Boss Mikel Arteta insisted his side needed to be ‘ruthless’ if they were to continue the rebuild at the Emirates Stadium.
  • Boss Mikel Arteta insisted the club must be ‘ruthless’ in the transfer market this summer

Three statements, but no explanation.  And then the coup de grâce

According to, the Spaniard is wasting no time and has already identified targets in five positions he wants to add reinforcements”.

Football.London is part of the Daily Mirror group, and is the most rabidly anti-Arsenal source of all, pumping out a new story on Arsenal’s demise every two hours day and night.  The Mail is quoting the Mirror owned site!  They must be getting desperate.

But let us have a look at exactly what Arsenal have achieved since Christmas Day, since clearly the message is not getting through either to the bunch of wombats running the Daily Mail (or to their less literate cousins at the Mirror).

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 23 20 0 3 57 17 40 63
2 Manchester United 23 12 8 3 42 21 21 44
3 Arsenal 22 12 5 5 38 20 18 41
4 Chelsea 22 11 6 5 26 19 7 39
5 Leicester City 22 11 6 5 39 27 12 39
6 West Ham United 21 11 4 6 34 26 8 37

Now that table is perfectly real – it records all the league games from Christmas Day onward, and it tells a much more realistic story than the full table – simply because in focuses on more recent issues.

Indeed only a total idiot would take data from last year and use that when there is much more recent data available.

This table also tells the whole league that by having let Manchester City walk their way through all the regulations about finances, they have taken full advantage and we now have a league looking rather like the German league.  A league in which because of the money available, we all know who will win each year.

And just in case you are not familiar with the finer points of German football here is a list of their recent champions

Season Champions Notes
2012–13 Bayern Munich Treble winners
2013–14 Bayern Munich Double winners
2014–15 Bayern Munich
2015–16 Bayern Munich Double winners
2016–17 Bayern Munich
2017–18 Bayern Munich
2018–19 Bayern Munich Double Winners
2019–20 Bayern Munich Treble Winners
2020–21 Bayern Munich Season not finished

I don’t personally think that is a particularly wonderful model to follow but obviously some in English football think it is ok, otherwise they would have curtailed Manchester City’s ability to spend money donated by their owner.

But we can only play with the system we have, and in that context we are doing well.

I suspect the Mail and the Mirror, and indeed other “newspapers” (I use the word in its wildest sense) will continue to proclaim that Arsenal must change.  Not because they are unaware of Arsenal’s brilliant run under Mr Arteta, but because Arsenal success is exactly what they don’t want.

They have invested years of propaganda in Arsenal failing, and are still basking in the glory of having sided with Black Scarf and Arsenal Supporters’ Trust in fermenting antagonism among the supporters.

So they will continue their propaganda to convince the naive that Arsenal are rubbish.  Our job, perhaps on our own, hopefully with the support of a few other blogs, is to counter this nonsense and show their stories (so readily re-published by so many blogs and other newspapers) for what they are.

Arsenal against the media

9 Replies to “And so the anti-Arsenal tales continue, but here is the truth…”

  1. I like your analysis. My hunch is that the data would show that for quite a few seasons now Arsenal has been a team of two halves. in the first half of his first year Unai Emery was very close to the top, but the last ten (coinciding with Ramsey’s injury at Napoli) it was in relegation form. In the 2019/2020 season the form after Christmas is probably just as good as the 2020/2021 after Christmas form. Why has the team become so inconsistent? I will add my voice to the ruthlessness choir. Arsenal need to be ruthless in games with mid table teams. In this case losses to Villa, Wolves, Everton and draws against Burnley and Fulham (all after Christmas) marred what was a remarkable post Christmas recovery. If Arsenal had won all those games, which were winnable (given how the team dominated the matches),they would be on 68 points and third on the table.
    Consistency is key.

  2. Winner, that’s an interesting point. I have access to the data, so I will have a look at where we stood half way through each season, compared to the end, and try and publish it later today, if I can.

  3. Thanks Tony for continuing to give us the one remaining positive site amongst the Arsenal blogs.
    Untold Arsenal continues to be an oasis of positivity surrounded by a desert of negativity.
    Even Positively Arsenal has become a posher version of Le Grove now with constant urging for Arteta to be sacked both by the writers and most of the regular commenters. It used to be, like Untold, a haven for reasonable, positive Arsenal supporters but not any more.
    Anyway I look forward to next season with enthusiasm as I believe we will continue to improve on the recent upturn in form we have shown since Christmas.

  4. I think it is obvious why Arsenal have regressed over the last decade or so.
    Useless owners, a board and Executives not fit for purpose and a set of Managers that either overstayed their welcome or were not up to the task.
    When a club has been allowed to deteriorate the way AFC have, there is only one outcome.

  5. Gary, it would have been a more interesting comment if you had given us a model that you think Arsenal should have followed. But I’ll see if I can answer your point in a post.

  6. Gary

    There is a crumb of truth in what you say but without statistics it is just what you ‘think’ and nothing else, and without context it means very little and lacks credibility.

    Since the arrival of Wenger you can break our success, or lack of, into 4 distinct periods.

    The 8 seasons between 1997/1998 and 2004/2005:

    3 Premier League Titles

    4 FA Cups

    These were Halcion days built on Wengers revolutionary methods and in depth knowledge of players across Europe, especially France. Without spending fortunes he gave Manchester United, a bigger and wealthier club, a decent run for their money. Both clubs left the rest of the clubs in their wake.

    Due to the limited capacity of Highbury it became obvious to Wenger and Arsenal football Club that if they wanted to continue to challenge at the top they had to build a bigger stadium. It must be remembered at this time match day revenue was a massive part of the financial model of any football club, unlike today were TV revenue and global marketing has superseded that as the larger revenue streams, as well as, and more crucially as far as Arsenal were concerned, the arrival of the mega financing owners, which brings us neatly on to the 2nd phase.

    The 8 seasons between 2005/2006 and 2012/2013:

    No Titles

    No FA Cups.

    5 x 4ths and 3 x 3rd place finishes.

    Now this is were context is crucial because on the face of it this is a major downturn in performance. But when you take into account the arrival of Abromovic and his Billions, then the arrival of the Mansours, allied to the fact we were now repaying an enormous stadium date restricting the cub to a zero net spend in the transfer market that actually continued for 10 years.

    So rather than failure, either by the club or the manager, maintaining top 4 status, which was absolutely crucial and despite the ridicule heaped on Wenger is now accepted as such and way more important than the FA Cup for example, was in context a remarkable achievement.

    The 4 seasons between 20113/2014 and 2016/2017:

    No Titles

    3 FA Cups

    1 x 2nd, 1 x 3rd, 1 x 4th and 1 x 5th

    This period saw us emerge form the absolute austerity of previous years into a period of relative prosperity. We started to buy what could be classed as marque signings.

    That’s not to say we had the spending capacity of the Man Utd, Chelsea or Man City who were still on a different level as to how much they could and would spend on players, but it was better.

    On the back of this extra expenditure we secured 3 more FA Cups and all but in 1 season when we missed out by a point, we maintained our top 4 status.

    But it has to be remembered top 4 was now not as easy as it was. We not only have 3 mega spenders to deal with, but the massive increase in TV money meant more and more teams had more and more money to spend on players.

    Also by this stage Wengers vast knowledge of the European markets was no longer the advantage it was and in any case potential signings knew that those 3 clubs vastly superior wealth meant it would be increasingly difficult for us, or anyone else for that matter, to challenge for the title and with the honourable exception of Leicester City, and Liverpool, who are hardly paupers themselves, so it has proved.

    So again, given the context, how 3 FA Cups, a 2nd, a 3rd, a 4th and a 5th can been seen as failure I do not know. But failure it was seen as, and on the back of such failure we saw the end of Wenger.

    Then we have the final period of 4 seasons which span 2017/2018 to 2020/2021:

    Now I concede the last 4 seasons have seen us fall to a level that is bellow both what we would hope and expect, even in context.

    Given the money we have spent we should be doing better than we have. But 4 years is not 10. And even then there are reasons, if not excuses.

    Following the departure of Wenger, which was by and large invoked on the behest of the fans, it was always going to be tough after such a long tenure. Man Utd experienced similar trials and tribulations.

    Have the board got the subsequent managers wrong? Maybe.

    But even if they have, it happens. As I say, Man Utd have chopped and changed managers and have seen a decline in their success, despite being the richest club in the World.

    Liverpool chopped and changed managers and won nothing. Then they acquired Klopp, a proven top class manger. It still took him 3 years to win anything.

    Spurs chop and change managers and still they’ve won NOTHING.

    Nobody else, with again the honourable exception of Leicester City, do as well us us.

    We are a successful, well run football club that is having a poor patch. That’s all. Where this sense of entitlement that we should NEVER have such a spell comes from I don’t know, but maybe that’s just me ?

    So okay, 4 seasons of failure, but in the context of what we are up against with 3 mega spenders and Liverpool FC, one of the biggest clubs in the World, it is not the end of the World, and certainly not deserving of ridiculous level of criticism we endure.

    But when one has to exaggerate, and applies zero context, you know the argument is lacking in credibility.

  7. Well put excellent
    If only the media would put some of your energy into their so called articles
    Then maybe be we would have a bit more balance in the coverage of our club
    We might have less of the negatively by our supporters
    I keep finding myself defending the club from the lies and bias put about by all sections of the media and quoted at me by other arsenal fans
    Keep up the great work and get behind the team

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