How “I think that was positive” was turned into “Arteta’s worried” by the media

By Tony Attwood

“I think we showed some really positive stuff and some worrying stuff when we gave the ball away in difficult positions, and when we had to do defensive organisation, it opened spaces in difficult moments.

“For what we could do against that team and where we are in pre-season, I think it was positive.”

That is what Mr Arteta said in his press conference.  And, if he ever thinks of such things Mr Arteta might well be wondering why he bothers to speak to the media at all. given that the Mirror interpreted that comment as “Mikel Arteta ‘worried’ by Arsenal as ‘difficult situation’ comes back to haunt them”. 

Indeed so concerned are the Mirrovians (who deserve a silly name like that since they are behaving like a bunch of aliens) that we get the “worried” message not only as quoted above as their headline, but repeated later in the article saying, “Mikel Arteta has admitted he is “worried” about his Arsenal side ahead of the new Premier League.”

The Mirror also admitted in another Arsenal article that Xhaka is not leaving, despite their saying that he was on at least a dozen occasions previously, while noting that “Mikel Arteta has ruled out Granit Xhaka leaving Arsenal saying he is a ‘key member of our squad’.”

It ought to be a bit embarrassing for the Mirror, but instead they have come up with the notion that Xhaka was “close to joining Roma just a few weeks back.”   And yet this is immediately contradicted in the same article when they speak of “Roma’s unwillingness to stump up the cash”.

Yet as we have published before, but the Mirror and other newspapers are never willing to mention, Xhaka was incredibly highly rated by CIES Football Observatory, whose credentials for this sort of analysis are unimpeachable.

For the last month of last season their ranking included these players

  • 1. Nicolas Pépé: 94.8% 
  • 2. Granit Xhaka: 93.7% 
  • 7. Martin Ödegaard: 92.3%
  • 10.  Mohamed Elneny: 91.0% 
  • 13. Joe Willock 90.0% (Newcastle United FC)
  • 13. Gabriel Martinelli  90.0% 
  • 13. Bernd Leno.  90.0% 
  • 18.  Gabriel Magalhães  89.2%
  • 31. Calum Chambers  87.6%
  • 32. Rob Holding 87.5% 
  • 32.  Emile Smith-Rowe 87.5%
  • 35. Thomas Partey  87.4% 

Which raised the question, why on earth would we be selling the second most highly rated player in Europe at the end of last season?

Incidentally if you do want to see what the value is of any players, the Football Observatory have a nifty device which allows you to type in the name of a player, and get his value there and then.   That links gives you Saka’s value – for anyone else just write in the name of another player over Saka’s, click the mouse and you get the valuation.

Joe Willock incidentally is showing at 30-40 million euros.  This despite the Daily Telegraph (which proclaims itself “news website of the year”) claiming on 14 July that “Newcastle close to agreeing deal for Joe Willock to return to club on loan.”  Are we really going to loan such a valuable player?

At least the Independent were closer to the truth when they suggested that Newcastle didn’t have enough money to be able to buy Joe.

Anyway, moving back to that list of players from CIES Football Observatory, it is important to remember that the list was of players from across Europe, and Arsenal having 12 in the top 35 reflects the club’s form after Christmas, last season.  But since the media chooses not to mention that, they then can’t go on and mention figures such as those suggested by the Observatory.

And this is what gives us the full picture of the media.  There is no media conspiracy, as one reader recently suggested that we think.  Of course not.   The media follow each other with their stories because most of the stories are made up – and making up stories is dirt cheap, and very simple.

The fact is this – if a newspaper is noted for making up stories, then it becomes something of a laughing stock.  So instead of doing that they invariable quote either a hapless pundit, or say that the tale is “according to reports” (or “reportedly” – which means the same thing).    Then if you ever go on the chase of searching for the origin of the story, there never is one – the story goes round and round, each citation reporting that it comes from, elsewhere or “according to reports”.

What happens when a blog, such as this one, tries to go down the line of using evidence rather than newspaper invention, is that we come up with completely different stories.   Such as our analysis of the way in which referees for Arsenal games are chosen according to their propensity for handing out yellow cards.  See for example: The shocking statistics on how referees have affected Arsenal’s league position

So we can expect the media to carry on as before, focusing on their own unreal topics because a) that requires no research and thus no cost and can be knocked out in 10 minutes, b) because everyone else is doing it and c) they’ve got away with it so far, so why stop now?

If you want some facts and figures to back this up you can try our key data tables piece and then for more information there are links to many of our previous articles on this topic on the home page. 

Gaslighting: how refereeing in the Premier League is manipulated, and why the media never speak about it.




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