By Sir Hardly Anyone
The Daily Mirror has published its starting XI for Arsenal for next season, and it makes interesting reading. Not least because it includes Hector Bellerin, who the Mirror has been saying that Arsenal should get rid of, all summer. Because that is the opposite of what they have been saying over and over again.
As you will see below, we have (in the space of about three minutes) picked up 13 stories from the last couple of weeks all of which tell us that Bellerin is going or should be going.
In any other walk of life this would be designated psychological warfare, but in football it seems perfectly ok.
Of course this is in addition to all the general pieces, one of which had the headline “Arsenal urged to complete three transfers to bounce back from “very disappointing” season” and is accompanied by a comment from David Seaman, “I feel a little bit sorry for Arteta because he’s not got his own team yet, or his own squad. He’s inherited players from previous managers.” The article doesn’t tell us who the three players are.
Now that is just part of the general anti-Arsenal publicity we get – no mention of the turn around a third of the way through the season, the amazing tactical changes, the third best defence in the league across the whole season… none of that.
Instead Seaman raises the point, “All of a sudden we beat Liverpool and Chelsea, then we lost to lower teams. That’s his biggest problem,” but he doesn’t give a solution other than buying more players.
Elsewhere the Mirror is running the headline “Arsenal transfer round-up: £35m Ruben Neves deal ‘close” and the paper comes up with this rather amusing line up for the new season.
Bellerin White Gabriel Tierney
Saka Odegaard Smith Rowe
Now this line up has two shocks in it. First Onana would probably be banned for life and Arsenal get a 12 point deduction if he played, at least until December, because although Onana had his appeal against drugs offences won, in the sense that his sentence has been cut, that sentence has only been reduced to nine months meaning he will still be banned until towards the end of this year.
But what is even more interesting is that the side includes Bellerin. Interesting because of late the Mirror has been running “Bellerin out” stories so much that it can really only be called fanaticism. Here is but a selection – there have been many more and they are all in the Mirror. They don’t all have Bellerin in the title, but they all do in the article.
- “Mikel Arteta sends Hector Bellerin a warning as he edges closer to Arsenal exit”
- “7 Arsenal players most likely to leave in Mikel Arteta’s ruthless summer clear-out”
- “Hector Bellerin ‘to lead Arsenal exodus’ with Gunners set for summer transfer shake-up”
- “Mikel Arteta’s four Arsenal transfer priorities as five stars ‘at risk of axe'”
- “Mikel Arteta’s summer transfer spending spree uncertain as seven Arsenal stars set for exit”
- Bacary Sagna suggests Hector Bellerin will leave Arsenal – ‘He wants a new challenge’
- 5 Arsenal players at risk as Mikel Arteta draws up “very clear” summer transfer plan
- Arsenal legend Tony Adams says Gunners should sell Hector Bellerin AND Cedric Soares
- Juventus ‘willing to offer two players’ including Adrien Rabiot for Hector Bellerin
- Hector Bellerin could leave Arsenal in summer transfer due to Mikel Arteta agreement
- Hector Bellerin heads towards summer crossroads with Arsenal decision far from clear cut
- Arsenal can complete Hector Bellerin swap deal in dream transfer scenario for Edu
- Hector Bellerin ‘prepared to consider Arsenal exit’ as PSG target right-back
That list of headlines show the level of attack that players can come under, and it is no wonder that some players lose their nerve. It has to be said that outlets like the Mirror tend mostly to heap this sort of negativity only on Arsenal players, but even in Arsenal’s case the sheer level of the assault is extraordinary.
Indeed it amounts to nothing less than psychological warfare, and indeed it is undoubtedly part of the reason why Arsenal find it difficult on occasion to bring in players that initially want to sign for the club.
The question is why – and I’ll come back to that shortly.
The enemies of Arsenal and how they are trying to destroy our club
- “We’ve got a really successful keeper, let’s get rid of him”
- “Arteta’s making unusual decisions”. How Keown was more right than he knew
- Wenger and Arteta: two revolutionaries each under ceaseless attack
- The enemies of Arsenal
- How the English media followed Trump as a way of attacking Arsenal
- The stupidest thing said about Arsenal this week
- WSL North London Derby – reflections on the game at the Emirates
- Arsenal have not got the youngest team in the PL. Or have they?
- Arsenal are the most fouled team in the Premier League. Why?
- Partey setback, AFC man hauled off, new C Ronaldo signing, Arteta desperate