Knock, knock. How a newspaper publishes two anti-Arsenal pieces in one day

By Tony Attwood

There is a little article in the Guardian today.   It is by Daniel Harris.   He has apparently written two books, On The Road, a journey through a season (currently unavailable through Amazon – although that doesn’t say much as most of my books are the same) and one on cricket.

And he opens his article with this.

“Arsenal were dreadful for significant parts of last season, and a lot of that was down to Mikel Arteta and his players.”

So, “significant parts.”   What is a significant part of last season?  The first third, I guess was a significant part, because at the end of the first third Arsenal were 15th in the league.  You might remember that.  We’ve written quite a bit about that.

But that was the first third.  Then came the next two thirds.  And if the first third was a significant part, what were the remaining two thirds?   The two thirds in which Arsenal were the second most effective team in the league.  Was that a super-very-extra significant part of the season – but one that we don’t want to mention?

Now the next bit of that opening sentence is right – a lot of it was down to the manager and the players.   And that is true for the next two thirds too – because, well, who else is  there?

That was the bit when the club decided to stop tackling, having realised that they were being penalised far more readily than any other club for their tackling.  In the end the club cut the number of yellow cards they were receiving almost in half.

As a result of that they became the second best performing club in the league.  Just like now – over the past 10 games (last four of last season in the league, first six of this season, in the league) 

So what does this mean…

“Arsenal were dreadful for significant parts of last season, and a lot of that was down to Mikel Arteta and his players”

The bit that is all wrong here is the “s” at the end of “part”.  It was one part.  The first third.  And of course a lot of that was down to the manager and the players.   There were other culprits – the massively negative media and the referees association (PGMO) ought to be mentioned too for the way it picked refs, but yes, a lot was down to the players and the manager.

So why write this?  Presumably just to knock Arsenal.

And for the Guardian, why publish this?  Presumably just to knock Arsenal.

And why does the media like to do this?

Well, to answer that let’s have a look at another article in the paper today. “Masterful Granit Xhaka the living embodiment of Arsenal’s dream derby”

This is a piece about Thierry Henry and Daniel Ek sharing a box at Arsenal Stadium, in which there is talk of “Those stormy days in May, when Ek sought to exploit the fury surrounding Arsenal’s decline.”

Which is weird because May was the height of Arsenal’s revival, not decline.  And I wonder how someone like Nick Ames, a professional football writer, doesn’t know this.

Here are Arsenal’s results for May…

Date Match Res Score Competition
2 May 2021 Newcastle United v Arsenal W 0-2 Premier League
6 May 2021 Arsenal v Villarreal D 0-0 Europa League
9 May 2021 Arsenal v West Bromwich Albion W 3-1 Premier League
12 May 2021 Chelsea v Arsenal W 0-1 Premier League
19 May 2021 Crystal Palace v Arsenal W 1-3 Premier League
23 May 2021 Arsenal v Brighton and Hove W 2-0 Premier League

Decline Mr Ames?   DECLINE???????????

Those five league games in May included one against one of the old-time top six, so it wasn’t as if it was an easy run.

Now by chance this morning we were looking at the end of last season and the start of this season, and wondering what Arsenal’s record is like compared with other clubs over that same period of time.  The article was “Across the last ten league games Arsenal are second best in the premier league.”

You might remember the piece and the league table:

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Liverpool 10 8 2 0 26 7 19 26
2 Arsenal 10 7 0 3 14 13 1 21
3 Manchester City 10 6 1 3 24 9 15 19
4 Chelsea 10 6 1 3 17 7 10 19
5 Manchester United 10 5 2 3 19 13 6 17

And maybe you will realise why we have just published it again.   Because the media are ceaselessly making up stories about Arsenal.   Two negative articles about Arsenal today in one paper.

Will we, tomorrow, for balance, see two articles extolling the brilliance of Arteta and co in turning everything around?  Or will they just sail on looking for more ragingly negative anti-Arsenal propaganda?

The latter I imagine.

So now that funny chappie who writes in complaining we always write about the media and how boring it is might write in again.  And in case he does let me explain.

This is a constant anti-Arsenal campaign and some Arsenal supporters buy into its mindless, factless, tripe.  That’s why someone has to point out just how factually wrong the media is. 

Arsenal were the second best team for the last two thirds of last season.  Arsenal have been  the second best team in the league across the last 10 rounds of Premier League action.

Someone needs to say it.

Guardian: stop gaslighting.  It is beneath you.

17 Replies to “Knock, knock. How a newspaper publishes two anti-Arsenal pieces in one day”

  1. I ‘now what you mean about the anti-Arsenal media. Another example can be found in Jason Burt’s match report in today’s Telegraph. Burt is a regular Arsenal knocker, and whilst he acknowledged Arsenal’s great first half performance, the tone of his report suggests Spurs were unlucky not to get something out of the game. But I’ve come to expect this from him, and some of his colleagues, notably, Matt Law, Sam Wallace, etal.

  2. Even if they did deserve something out of the game, which they didn’t, I don’t recall much sympathy for us at Brentford, despite registering most shots on goal over the entire weekend.

    Brentford have since proved to be anything but a pushover.
    We were embarrassed by all accounts.

    This endless criticism no matter what we do is a pathetic joke and as Tony says, needs highlighting at every opportunity to at least try and counteract the effect it most certainly has on way too many of our fans.

  3. As a supporter of over 60 years and a season ticket holder for about 35 years my take on it is – ‘Bollocks to the lot of them – it’s all a mixture of sour grapes and envy’.

  4. Of course, we were “embarrassed” by Brentford, “bullied” by Lukaku, “Humiliated” by Man City, then given an easy ride by both Norwich and Burnley (despite the latter having been widely tipped to beat us by the time-honoured method of “getting in our faces” – ie repeatedly fouling our players).

    Then, most recently, we have been made to look good by an abject performance by Spurs, who are now characterised as an inadequate team, (despite being hailed as top team in North London and potential champions after first 3 games).

    Interesting that as part of this narrative, Harry Kane, hitherto the greatest ever footballer in England. if not the world, has suddenly become the scapegoat for everything that is wrong at Spurs.

    My favourite media moment, however, is not from a journalist, but that well-known expert Souness (the man who was a total failure as a manager, responsible for ruining the legacy of Shankly,Paisley,Dalglish etc. at Liverpool, as well as Keegan and Sir Bobby Robson at Newcastle) being unable to conceal his hatred of Arsenal by his attempts to attribute our result entirely to Spurs’ incompetence. It seemed that even the other pundits listening to him and the man from Sky were smirking at his discomfort and bitterness.

  5. I guess the simple answer to such garbage is don’t buy the Guardian and don’t read the Guardian.

    Football.London posts garbage so I don’t click on it.
    Just Arsenal News posts garbage so I don’t click on it.

    The answer is in your own hands, it always has been.

  6. Allezkev, you are absolutely right, of course. Sadly, many people are not so discerning and are more inclined to believe the published and broadcast nonsense, whether it’s the Guardian or the Torygraph or Piers Morgan or Paul Merson et al….

  7. Guys,

    not aknowledging the wrongs being done is not an option. We must if I may say, bring the fight to them, even at our minuscule level. Always ridicule their behaviour, not let them say stuff unhindered. That is what Untold has been doing for years with the so-called press and the PIGMOB.

  8. They write the same story every time. Just change the opponent and the score. Disparage the defense, the tactics and remind the reader that Arsenal don’t spend. Don’t let the facts interfere with the narrative. Besides being a craven approach, it’s just incredibly lazy.

  9. I feel better suddendly. Here is a piece of the Sp*rs coach saying he chose the wrong side.
    Woah… I mean, yeah it could not have been the Arsenal players being so much better. This would mean them players and the coach are doing a good job, and recruitment was ok as well.
    No, the answer was Sp*rs poor playing.
    I am so relieved. I mean. I’ve been living the past 15 or 20 years in a world where Arsenal can play no good.
    If that were to change, my whole world would just collapse.

    Thank God the Guardian and the Sp*rs coach got it corrected just in time !

    We were lousy, and won because Sp*rs were ‘un-playing’.

    The world is allright after all !

  10. I don’t get it. This site routinely dismisses the corporate press as utter garbage (which it is!) but then constantly obsesses over the Arsenal coverage in the same corporate press. Seems like such a victim mentality.

    There are so many other really interesting topics discussed on this site which seem much more worthy of further investigation.

  11. Soop

    This site dismisses a lot of what the press says as utter garbage.

    It does not dismiss its impact on how Arsenal fans view their players, manager and Club, which can often have a destructive and harmful impact on all of the above.

    They are 2 completely different things which I thought was perfectly clear. Obviously not.

  12. Soop, I am not sure which topics you have in mind, as you don’t say, but we do get through a lot of topics here, ranging from Fifa’s take over of African football, to the way Arteta cut our yellow card tally in half last season, from the reason why there were more away wins than home wins last season to what exactly happened after Christmas Day to turn our season around last year. We’ve covered all of that from scratch because no one else will. But please do write in and tell me what else we ought to be covering, that would be in line with our name, “UNTOLD Arsenal”

  13. @Tony thanks for the reply mate.

    I really enjoy all of the topics you’ve mentioned, as I find them both interesting and compelling. You present real data to backup your arguments and positions which is really good to see. The fact that you have this data further reinforces how utterly shit our corporate press is, but we know that already.

    The only exception (for me personally of course!) are the articles which highlight perceived anti-Arsenal coverage in the mainstream press. Why not just ignore that rubbish and focus on the real stories, backed up with real data and stats? It’s so much stronger and more objective as opposed to the purely subjective articles about us being smeared by the general press. If you don’t care about the press, why obsess about what they publish?

    Anyway, just my 2 cents!

  14. @Nitram

    I’m not sure I agree. From what I see the fans that are influenced by the mainstream press are just as easily influenced by tweets/YouTube/etc and tend to gravitate towards 2 quite extreme positions:

    1. either we should all blindly support everything our club/players/etc do regardless or you aren’t a “true fan”… or,
    2. nothing our club/players/etc do is good enough unless we’re beating Chelsea 4-0 and winning the Prem.

    The fans in the stadium have generally been extremely supportive and patient with the team and club, but have at times voiced their disapproval, which I think is fair. These fans are reacting to what they themselves see on the pitch, not what they’ve just read in some rag written by some jumped up idiot calling himself a journo.

    Guess you see it differently, but that’s cool too 🙂

  15. @Soop,

    I don’t know how long you’ve been supporting Arsenal. But I do rememeber the late Wenger years, followed by Unai Emery. During these years, nothing was off limits, starting with the so-called press just lying blatantly about Arsenal, then shifting goal posts (4th place is not a trophy), encouraging AFTV which brought its lot of acid onto the fan/club/team relationship resulting in what we all know happened.

    The general negative attitude has not stopped, starting with ex-players. But in general the supporters are now muh more behind their team, and hopefully UA and some other places have been helping shift the mood.

    But the so-called press has not changed. Sunday, it was the Guardian just blatantly lying about how most of last season Arsenal were in shambles when all numbers show the tide turning on Boxing Day with the upset against Chelsea and Arsenal being the second best team since then.

    So taking the out, putting their sh*t work on display for all to see is what has to be done.

    And US does not limit itself to the press. Refereeing is another topic where abuse is being called out. Like what was done about tackling. And ask Leicester what they think about it…

    UA is just a consequence of all the crap that is circulating. It would be more fun to talk about the team, the games, etc. That is sure.

  16. Back in the day , the press pre -wrote their bullet points before the match , they arrived with a note pad and mainly only added something if it was noteworthy and they happened to notice between their hospitality drinks . Desmond ( the man they can’t gag ) Hackett was a prime example , often hit both sides of the door jam as he raced to a phone to get his copy in .
    Nowadays it’s more sophisticated with mobile phones and ways to send their stories but I suspect the tradition of preconception and alcohol consumption remains .

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