When it comes to commentating on Arsenal, gaslighting seems to dominate.

By Tony Attwood

We’ve been discussing gaslighting in football for some time now, with a couple of summary articles yesterday.  At the same time it is clear that a fair number of correspondents do seem utterly fixated on accusing Untold of supporting conspiracy theories, without producing any evidence.  And that is getting bizarre.

And we have now reached the point where seemingly no matter how many articles Untold produces saying we don’t believe there is any conspiracy, we will get comments from readers denying this!

But let’s try and clarify.

Untold has put together, in the last two seasons, a collection of statistics which have not been contested by anyone.  Indeed the vast majority of them come from the official Premier League website.  So unless readers are wanting to argue that the Premier League themselves are involved in presenting false statistics (which would indeed be interesting) what we base our arguments on are facts.

Now it is interesting that when we presented our first set of figures in this series (which related to Leicester) the response from their fans was not to deny them but rather to explain them through reference to player injuries. No accusations of having a conspiracy theory, but rather explanations for the extraordinarily high level of tackles that Leicester were putting in, combined with the extraordinarily low level of fouls and yellow cards given against them.

That was proper debate.  We countered with additional facts; more proper debate.

But with the Arsenal fans who replied to our earlier article Is there an anti Arsenal agenda, or are we actually awful? there was the repeated suggestion that we believed in a conspiracy theory, which the article shows we do not.  Our view is that this is an example of the very common issue of “gaslighting”

Gaslighting is an approach which rather than being based on reasoned debate and argument (as those Leicester fans engaged in), is based on the denial of the validity of the entire debate by ignoring the presented facts and instead claiming that we were suggesting there was a conspiracy, when we were in fact doing the opposite.

Which then raises the question, does it matter?  Surely, it is argued, football simply goes on irrespective of the debate.

The fallacy of that argument can be seen by our stats which show that Arsenal are given referees who had out multiple cards more regularly than referees who had out few or no cards.

The high-carding refs hand out yellow cards equally to both teams on the pitch so there is no bias visible.   But the facts show Arsenal get these high-carding referees more than any other club, so there is a tendency for Arsenal to get more yellow cards overall, and thus get more players suspended.  It could even be that the word spreads among the players that transferring to Arsenal can be a problem because as a player you will be yellow carded more with Arsenal than if one played for other clubs.

That debating point never got any publicity even though Arsenal were right at the top of the yellow card table despite having cut their fouls down.   Not even when a list emerges showing just how many times in a season Arsenal get a high carding referee.  No one was willing to debate the issue, even though there were statistics available which formed the basis of the debate.  But when Leicester’s high tackling rates, two years ago, suddenly started attracting much higher levels of fouls and yellow card some Leicester fans did debate the point – not accuse us of having a conspiracy theory.

The statistics from the opening game this season are interesting.  Arsenal had 22 shots on target but didn’t score.   That makes us think of our inexperienced forward line, and suggests that with Adebayor and Lacazette on the pitch a couple of those 22 shots would have turned into goals.  We also had 14 off target which again would have been reduced as the on target number went up, if the regular players in the team.

In short there were interesting statistics in that game but 

a) the media hardly touched on them at all

b) Untold was accused of suggesting there was a conspiracy against Arsenal, when we did nothing of the kind.

As a result, the real debate doesn’t happen and the gaslighters who proclaim that we are pedalling a conspiracy theory, stifle the real debate.

The question now is, why are so many people wanting to accuse Untold of engaging in conspiracy theories, when we clearly are not?

Do bad starts to a season mean a terrible season? The facts.

9 Replies to “When it comes to commentating on Arsenal, gaslighting seems to dominate.”

  1. The latest ‘reports’ are that both Auba and Laca are being offered for sale in the markets.

    It is really quite amazing how media come up with rumour that unsettles fans and eventually the players themselves.

  2. There has also become a trend for players of other other clubs to uniquely make unnecessary derogatory comments towards the Arsenal team & players in the aftermath of a victory by their team. It started with ‘hero’ Deeney & his ‘cojones’ comment. You know the bully who did prison time for kicking a student in the head.
    I today sent the following email to Brentford FC ……

    f.a.o. The Owner / Chairman,
    As an Arsenal FC fan I admit that Brentford deserved their victory on Friday night & to celebrate it with vigour.
    It’s disappointing however to see the unedifying comments subsequently thereafter from your manager & particularly 2 players about the targeting of Arsenal team weaknesses & perceived weaknesses of individual players. So easy to state in the aftermath of a success but very cheap & unworthy.
    It however shows a distinct lack of class & not an image of the club I would expect that you would be happy to see as being perceived or at least I would hope not.
    I am sure you would not have liked it if Brentford had lost & Arsenal players & officials had made patronising & derogatory remarks.
    As you know of course, that would not happen or it would be dealt with as it was with Guendozi who made references when on field to the vast gap in pay with the Brighton players.
    Despite his ability & potential greater future such, he was swiftly eased out.
    As an Arsenal fan there are many things I am unhappy with currently but I do know the club historically has always been respectful to other clubs & continues to be so in this different modern era of the game.
    I wish all the best to Brentford FC this season & hope successes on the field are not tainted with disrespectful behaviour off it.

  3. I personally agree, I watch the game without the voice comments. Just before the second goal the goalkeeper was held tightly by an attacker the var officials, the referee and the linesman did not see, the commentators went dead. They are all so negative about Arsenal I do no recognise their inputs

  4. Adebyor is 37 now! I don’t think he woud have helped 😉 “That makes us think of our inexperienced forward line, and suggests that with Adebayor and Lacazette on the pitch a couple of those 22 shots would have turned into goals.”

  5. On Friday night we were poor full stop, with the whole performance smacking of being unprepared, stale & “samey” (I’m not buying the “illnesses” up front as an excuse).

    However, I was getting increasingly frustrated (not only with the performance as my frustration levels had already peaked long before the final whistle on that score) but also with Sky’s whole presentation being geared to “Brentford stunning Arsenal” and winning the game (no surprise to us long suffering Gooners).

    All Gallagher lacked was to be standing there fully decked out in a Brentford shirt and bobble hat !!!!!!

    High-fiving and basically celebrating with Brentford supporters after the final whistle – “subjective / neutral commentary” …. I think not, in fact about as far as you could possibly get from it.

    Of course there will always be the deep seated Arsenal Liverpool/Manchester United historic rivalry, but at least try to “park” that whilst your on air.

    In more years that I care to remember following The Arsenal Carragher’s display had to be right up there as one of the most openly biased exhibitions of commentating I have witnessed.

    However, do we bring it upon ourselves …………. probably.

  6. A J

    As soon as I read “long suffering” I realised you could only be about 10 years old. Ah bless.

    Honestly, your mum should keep those passwords better hidden.

  7. Thanks for the constructive reply Nitram.

    Not that I have to justify myself to you or anyone else, but I happen to be 67 years of age, with my first Arsenal game being in 1959 a 0-1 home loss to Sheffield’ Wed’s !

    Much (Arsenal) water under the bridge since.

    Not sure what in my post offended you so much, but you’ll be glad to hear my first and last post on Untold Arsenal.

    Have a nice life.

  8. AJ dont blame a blog for an individuals response. I would have been scribbling in the sand if I took umbridge at some of the love shown to me. If you get a response, it means some truth hit the mark. If you get abuse it means some truth got through to the stupid.

    Stay true to yourself and don’t lose hope & belief.

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