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July 2021
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Arsenal: “a disappointing end to what started as a promising campaign.”

By Tony Attwood

The Mirror newspaper has published the result of a survey in which it says, “Arsenal fans seem to have faith in most of their squad ahead of the 2021/22 season.”

Now I would argue that is perfectly reasonable given the dramatic turn around in tactics and the extraordinarily powerful final two thirds of last season.   But that finding gives the Mirror a problem, for they have never admitted just how good Arsenal became nor what a dramatic turn around in the season they had.

Indeed now their favour excuse for Arsenal’s improvement (that we only played lower grade teams in the last two thirds of the season, and so had an easy run in), has been blown away with a review of  the actual matches: Arsenal only did well after Xmas because the fixtures were much easier, they have faced a difficult choice…

Either ditch their own research because its results were not what they wanted, or admit they were utterly and totally wrong (which would be honourable).   Ultimately they went with. “Despite what many Arsenal fans would consider a rocky season, they believe they only need a few changes in their squad ahead of the start of the Premier League.”

And there is an interesting juxtaposition there – because part one of the sentence asserts that many fans consider this to have been a rocky season.  But their own survey shows that this is not true.   So we find what we have always suspected: they value their assertions and fixed beliefs above not only other people’s research, but even their own surveys!

They continue, “In fact, many Arsenal fans think they already have some stars who can help them climb the Premier League table next season.

“Bukayo Saka (99%), Kieran Tierney (99%), Gabriel (97%), Thomas Partey (97%), and Emile Smith Rowe (97%) all topped the vote for the players fans think Mikel Arteta should keep…”

But the real killer, the really wonderful, amazing, incredible statement on the whole evolution of last season comes from that amazing outlet, the Express.

“Arsenal finished eighth last season, a disappointing end to what started as a promising campaign.”

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So when was this a promising campaign?   After just six matches Arsenal were 11th.  Across November / December Arsenal had seven league matches in a row consisting of five defeats and two draws.  Arsenal hit 15th by match 11 and stayed there until finally coming out of the run on Boxing Day with a 3-1 victory over Chelsea.

Ahead of that Chelsea victory the league table looked like this…

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Liverpool 14 9 4 1 36 19 17 31
14 Leeds United 13 5 2 6 22 24 -2 17
15 Arsenal 14 4 2 8 12 18 -6 14
16 Brighton and Hove Albion 13 2 5 6 15 21 -6 11
17 Fulham 14 2 4 8 13 23 -10 10
18 Burnley 12 2 4 6 6 18 -12 10
19 West Bromwich Albion 13 1 4 8 10 26 -16 7
20 Sheffield United 13 0 1 12 7 24 -17 1

Arsenal were 17 points behind the leaders after just 14 games, while being four points off relegation and the Express calls this “what started as a promising campaign”.

The Mirror of course also gets it wrong saying, “Arsenal endured a disastrous first full campaign under the inexperienced Spanish boss, failing to build on the high of their record 14th FA Cup triumph.”  In fact Arsenal did build on that FA Cup victory, through the last two thirds of the season where they  outperformed every other team in the League except Manchester City.

The Mirror then plays its old trick of quoting its own website by way of backup…

“As reported by football.london back in May, the Gunners have aspirations to sign a minimum of five players this summer, all of whom would strengthen an array of different positions within the squad. FoLo”.

Sadly, but inevitably, some blogs believe all this gibberish.  But some go even further into negativity as when the blog “She wore a yellow ribbon” comes up with the headline, “Arsenal have to sell before they buy”.

One wonders with that what happened to the claim that Arsenal had a quarter of a billion pounds to spend which was reported in  HITC, Star, Just Arsenal, Express, Caught Offside, Football London, Arsenal Insider, Team Talk, Goal, and so many more.

But of course you know, that’s journalism for you, if it doesn’t fit your prejudice, ignore it.

We are truly in the era of Newspeak in football.  Facts are not just ignored, but the opposite of what they show is reported as the truth.  And this summer has shown that the menace of Newspeak is everywhere.

6 comments to Arsenal: “a disappointing end to what started as a promising campaign.”

  • Nitram

    Tony

    One thing I would say is, if this Mirror survey is genuine and large enough to be truly representative, I am pleasantly surprised.

    Not that I don’t think they should be optimistic because given the last 2 thirds of the season they should be, but because it shows that despite the endless negativity spread across all the media platforms, as highlighted here by your good self, Arsenal fans seem to see it for the bo££ocks it is.

    As I say pleasantly surprised and heartened by it.

  • Raj

    When were the players who were causing problems in the dressing room sold or loaned off. Was it just before christmas or in January?

  • Raj

    I do believe the upturn in fortunes came after the removal of Mustafi, Ozil, Gendouzi & Kolosanic from the Club.
    Please do an analsis of if this was the case.

  • Fair point Raj and I will look it up, but of course them leaving doesnt prove cause and effect. I’ll see what else there is to find. Interesting that it is yet another point that has never been explored in depth by the media.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    The only people disappointed with Arsenal’s performance last season must have been the biased media , the idiotic so called experts and the doomsday bloggers .

    The more saner of us knew (or were hoping for )a better showing in MA’s first full season. And I like to think that he did , albeit it took longer than we had hoped.

    We are not a big club , we do not have the enormous resources of some clubs , and we don’t sell our souls to the crooked forces.

    Am waiting for this EURO 21 games to end , and for our season to get started . Come on the Gunners !

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