Arsenal training methods questioned? No, it’s just antiquated reporting

By Tony Attwood

One of the key points I have been labouring away with is the fact that last December everything changed for Arsenal and as a result the club which measured by the first third of the season was 15th in the league, in the second two thirds of the season was second, beaten only by Manchester City.

It was not something that the media, with its anti-Arsenal message would entertain… at least until now, for the Express has just published an article in which Ryan Taylor, who specialises in articles which seem to proclaim inside information on various clubs, states,

“Last December, Arteta laid on record that he planned to style his Arsenal in a 4-3-3 moving forward but it hasn’t always been an easy ride…

“’We want to move to a 4-3-3 but for that, you need a lot of specificity in every position but now in five or six positions, we don’t have it,” he said at the time.

“Yet still, Arteta has continued to persist with the same shape in hope that Arsenal would eventually come good.”

That final sentence shows the difficulty that the media has with its current approach to football.  For although the media has adopted in full the gaslighting approach to some of its reporting (in which a subject that they don’t want to discuss is ignored, and replaced by something they do want to discuss), it can also be tied to its own past reporting.

Notoriously the Express did a piece Arsenal last season which stated that they club had started well but then faded away – which is the exact reverse of the truth.  Arsenal had a terrible first third of the season then recovered.

Now the Express is stuck with that notion.  The change to 4-3-3 is of course true, but what is missing is that it was part of the tactic to stop Arsenal getting so many yellow cards – something successfully achieved last season.

This summer the manager has chosen to change the defence and bring in several new defensive players who are having to learn the new approach – so a modest start is not that surprising.  But because the newspaper is stuck with its own past false explanations and reporting, it can’t quite move forward.

Of course the Express is not the only paper involved in this.  The Mirror is currently running “Mikel Arteta’s training methods questioned as Arsenal loanee Reiss Nelson suffers injury.”

This features the notion that Reiss Nelson “joined Feyenoord on loan having made just two appearances in the Premier League last season – but his start to life in Eredivise has not gone as planned.”

In fact Feyenoord sporting director Frank Arnesen said he was very pleased to have gained Nelson on loan for a season, saying, “We’ve been following Reiss for months now,” said Arnesen. “Bringing him to Feyenoord in this transfer window was one of our priorities, so we are very happy that we’ve managed that and that we are able to welcome him.

“Reiss is a very creative striker, a rapid boy, good with his feet, who makes things very difficult for defenders in one-on-ones. We can really use a player like that in our forward line.”

So Reiss Nelson has picked up an injury, which is very common among young players who move on loan, as they go overboard trying to impress their new manager while facing a different type of fitness and training programme.  That’s all it is.  It is not about Arsenal’s antiquated and dangerous approach to training.

And yet we get these stories every day.

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

(Footnote: the first ever mention of gaslighting in connection with football other than in this article appeared in the media just six weeks after the launch of the above series on Untold)

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