What the opening game means, and a perfect piece of gaslighting

By Tony Attwood and Christophe Jost

The Athletic is in no mood to compromise, and indeed in no mood to back off the gaslighting.  They say, “Despite getting their first semi-proper pre-season under Mikel Arteta, Arsenal began the 2021-22 Premier League season as they ended the last…”

So let’s consider this “as they ended the last” bit.

I am not sure how many games “as they ended up the last” actually includes.  But let’s keep it simple: the last ten in the league, or maybe the last five in league.  (The Athletic is always vague when it does its full-on gaslighting thing, so we have to cover all angles).

Now gaslighting means refusing to enter a debate with real facts, and that is exactly what the Athletic does.  Just as when they told us that Disgruntled Arsenal fans to launch breakaway phoenix club based in Surrey – Dial Square FC”

That was an unfortunate article to say the least, in that it opened with the assertion that Arsenal were called Dial Square until 1893, which if you have ever read any book on Arsenal, or indeed looked at the Arsenal History Society’s daily blog, or our series of articles on 1886 (the year of Arsenal’s foundation) you’ll know this is completely untrue.  Arsenal only played one game (and that in 1886) as Dial Square.

But anyway, the Athletic is still out there Arsenal bashing and gaslighting.

The truth about the “where they left off” comment is that with their last ten league games last season Arsenal won six, drew two, and lost two.   And in case the next argument is that we only played teams in the bottom half of the league, these games included West Ham (sixth last season), Liverpool (third), and Chelsea (fourth).

And just to help a bit further: 30% of the Premier League came in the top six last season.  And 30% of our last ten games were against top six clubs.   And we won 60% of those games, and lost 20%,  And scored 18 goals conceding ten.  Mostly we won during the last ten games.  This time we lost.  So the same as how we finished last season.  So obviously not, it is hard to imagine how anyone ever thought it was true.

But when you are gaslighting, denying reality is the first concern.

There is another interesting issue: the opening games of the season tend not to be very good at predicting what happens at the end of the season.

Last season the early league table was a bit confusing because not all teams played games at the same rate, but even so you can get an idea of how it went.   Here is the table on 26 September last season.  The penultimate column (“Final”) shows what position the teams ended up in, while “Variance” shows how far away each club was at this early stage, from where it ended up.

Pos Team Pld W D L Pts Final Variance
1 Everton 3 3 0 0 9 10 -9
2 Leicester City 2 2 0 0 6 5 -3
3 Arsenal 2 2 0 0 6 8 -5
4 Liverpool 2 2 0 0 6 3 +1
5 Crystal Palace 3 2 0 1 6 14 -11
6 Chelsea 3 1 1 1 4 4 +2
7 Tottenham Hotspur 2 1 0 1 3 7 0
8 Manchester City 1 1 0 0 3 1 +7
9 Aston Villa 1 1 0 0 3 11 -2
10 Leeds United 2 1 0 1 3 9 +1
11 Brighton and Hove Albion 3 1 0 2 3 16 -5
12 Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 1 0 1 3 13 -1
13 Manchester United 2 1 0 1 3 2 +11

Of course we may ignore the fact that Manchester City have spent a billion or so in 10 years, and still, they are still totally incapable of equalling Mr Wenger’s record of an unbeaten season, achieved on a fraction of the cost.  What is wrong with them?

Certainly, if the press has any ‘balance’, they ought to start questioning Guardiola’s tactics – after all he did not lose his top three strikers just before the game as Arsenal did.  

But most of all, we wonder this: where are the conjectures about the owner calling Guardiola right after the game to remind him of his obligations and express his anger, deception, despair, (choose whatever you want), about selling half the players and not getting Messi and Haaland before the transfer window closes ?

Eventually the media will catch up, although we fear it could take them a little while.  There will, in the meantime, be much use of a Supercomputer (there is always a supercomputer, even though those are strictly reserved for somewhat more serious matters), and so much use of cloud resources that the FBI will go onto red alert with the thought that someone has hacked the Amazon’s server hosting infrastructure.

But yes, we can be sure, eventually the truth will out and it will be confirmed

No team that has lost it’s first game of the season has ever been able to go Invincible !!!

Incredible, is it not ? Can you believe this statistic ? We’ve checked, double checked, called in experts from all over the world.  Still, our first findings were confirmed. We know how to count.

So now we await the inevitable: the “spotted at the airport” report in which Messrs Guardiola and Arteta are seen being put on a plane to… well where?

Somewhere hopefully where the real football news can be published seriously without invented comments about Arsenal starting this season as we ended the last.  We didn’t.  We had two forwards ill and their first replacement injured.

Here’s another thought.  After just one match, half of the Premier League have given up the quest for an unbeaten season.  Given the reporting we have been seeing we’re surprised no one has mentioned that.

8 Replies to “What the opening game means, and a perfect piece of gaslighting”

  1. Interesting statistic that no team, having lost the first game……..

    However the matter is much more serious than that to genuine supporters (who are not detractors and who want the club to succeed). Having seen all of the pre-season games (in person in Edinburgh and Glasgow) the team look very uninspired and uninspiring.

    The rumours surrounding the absence of our two main strikers (illness….unspecified) is also less than confidence inspiring.

    Perhaps your website might look at possible solutions to on-field and off-field problems rather than deriding the team’s detractors.


  2. D Citrin, well we did exactly that through last season. We watched the change in tactics so that the number of tackles, fouls and yellow cards was reduced, and then saw the club rise up the league.

  3. We play 2/3rds of a season to a level that is 2nd best in the country and apparently it means nothing.

    We lose 1 match and apparently that alone means we are crap.

    You couldn’t make it, we’ll unless you’re in the media, in which case that’s all you can do.

  4. With a better rub of the green on 3 key decisions, the Friday result might have been different. But it wasn’t. And while every team has injuries and the opportunity to buy, it could well be that our best 11 come September might feature 5 or 6 players who did not feature on Friday. I’m happy to be patient, and see how the first 3rd of the season pans out.
    If, come Xmas, we are not at least in close striking distance of the top four then something needs changing at a club with European level high transfer expenditures, high wages, and a manager who has had a full pre season and will be approaching the “average tenure” of a premiership manager.

  5. @ Dublin Gooner and Nitram.

    I didn’t enjoy the match on Friday, but I, too, am not seeing the sky falling. The team is still gelling and there may well be a transfer or two as well, so we support our club and are patient that they will get things together.

  6. They sleepwalked through the match. I don’t think the team respected the opponent. Very little purpose with the exception of Smith-Rowe. Hoping a change from that, home to Chelsea.

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