By Bulldog Drummond
There’s an interesting division in the media today between the right-wing Daily Mail and the left-leaning Guardian today. The Mail gives a positive account of Arsenal and the Guardian rages ever deeper into its continuing anti-Arsenal approach which utterly denies that there was any improvement in the results in the last two thirds of last season, and refuses to acknowledge last season’s dramatic tactical reformation (which as we have seen, is now being copied by Manchester United).
Thus the Mail has an interview with Mr Arteta and quotes him as saying of the Arsenal fanbase and the media, ‘They know what we are trying to do. They can see it. And if you can’t see it and don’t see it, it’s because you don’t want to and you want to see something different.
‘But they really know what is coming, what we’re trying to do and they will be there for us. Because they know, as well, that our young players need them. Arsenal fans, when things are a little bit difficult, they are always behind the team. I can say that for sure as I felt it from when I was a player here.’
There is particular emphasis on the use of young players of whom Mr Arteta says, ‘They can cope with the level of pressure because of the levels of excitement, the passion and enthusiasm they have.’
For the Guardian, half of its lead football stories today are about Arsenal, and all three are negative, with the main piece headed “Another defeat and Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal DNA may not be enough to save his job.” And the way the Guardian runs the story is particularly interesting:
“for all the talk of identities and DNA, very few [clubs] actually have a cogent philosophy that binds first team to youth sides, or at least not one that has been in place for long enough to turn out a player who can return almost two decades after their debut to find an academy still turning out players shaped by the same prevailing idea.”
Interesting because the “cogent philosophy” that is denied is exactly what Arsenal have. Indeed our piece yesterday Why Chelsea can tackle and Arsenal must avoid it like the plague shows exactly what the Arsenal philosophy is and where it comes from. If you have been following this you will know: when Arsenal tackle almost every tackle is called as a foul. It was true through last season and was true in the Brentford game. But the media is in utter denial.
Yet perhaps most interesting is the fact that the Guardian doesn’t debate this huge discrepancy between how the clubs were treated by referees in last week’s game, through the whole of last season, and indeed in the season before. No, they ignore the issue and instead talk about Mr Arteta getting the sack. It is the most perfect piece of gaslighting you are ever likely to see.
As for the teams, The Guardian does note that Saka and Aubameyang are available again, but have them in the substitutes.
Sports Mole suggest this line up, to accommodate the Chelsea win that they also predict. The Guardian also has this self-same selection
Chambers, White, Mari, Tierney;
Saka, Smith Rowe, Pepe;
The Short Fuse go with
Holding, White, Tierney;
Maitland-Niles, Sambi, Xhaka, Saka;
Pepe, Martinelli, Smith Rowe
The Standard try an interesting approach by refusing to give us a lineup but charging in with a prediction (that Arsenal will lose 1-2). Also, they do give us their prediction for a Chelsea lineup. Perhaps the idea is that we won’t be able to put a team out all, possibly with the squad refusing to take the pitch unless all the journalists are removed (although much as it pains me to say it, perhaps they ought to leave the reporters from the Mail in place).
Mad about EPL give us
Hector Bellerin, Rob Holding, Ben White, Kieran Tierney;
Granit Xhaka, Albert-Sambi Lokonga;
Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe, Nicolas Pepe;
SportsKeeda give us the form guide which I think is rather helpful because all these statistics about how many tackles a team can undertake before a foul is called, and how many fouls equal a yellow card, are all a bit complex and difficult to understand. Football should be a simple game, as with…
Arsenal form guide in the Premier League: L
Chelsea form guide in the Premier League: W
And the team
Pablo Mari, Rob Holding, Ben White;
Cedric Soares, Kieran Tierney, Granit Xhaka, Albert Sambi Lokonga;
Emile Smith Rowe, Bukayo Saka, Nicolas Pepe
But Sports.bwin deserve a mention because they actually come out and say that Arsenal will win. They go with
Tierney, White, Chambers, Mari,
Smith Rowe, Sambi Lokonga, Xhaka,
Pepe, Balogun, Martinelli.
I think that is the only mention we have had in Balogun in the starting XI.
Bets are being taken on Arsenal losing their first two league games in a row (which in effect of course means just losing to Chelsea) but as we have already said that is what we did in 2018.
|12 Aug 2018||Arsenal v Manchester City||L||0-2||Premier League|
|18 Aug 2018||Chelsea v Arsenal||L||3-2||Premier League|
And before the point is made that in 2018 we were playing two top six teams, perhaps we might add that in 2018 we hadn’t lost all three of our centre forwards prior to the opening match. But that, I suppose, is what the media might call “mere detail”.
- Arsenal v Chelsea: leaderless, clueless and visionless Arsenal (report)
- Arsenal v Chelsea: why Chelsea can tackle and Arsenal must avoid it like the plague
- Arsenal v Chelsea: the injuries, plus referee ineptitude and disaster areas
- All change with PGMO and the refs.. But what change?
- The last five years proves one big thing: nothing is guaranteed.
- Injuries Time to sack Tierney according to one part of the media
- Next season starting lineup and the new Financial Fair Play rules
- The huge bias of referees is proven. PGMO and media fight back.