With Arsenal rising these are confusing times for journos, but how will it all end

By Bulldog Drummond

It is always amusing to watch football journalists struggle, but struggle is what they are doing at the moment as they try to find ways out of the mess they have created by predicting that Arteta would be out by the end of October, and Arsenal would struggle all season against relegation.

And most certainly in Buckingham Palace Road, home of the Telegraph, they are seriously wondering what to do too.  For even that newspaper now has to note against all their normal inclinations that, “Arsenal are flying high – Mikel Arteta must keep young guns fit if they are to challenge for top four”.   Wow, we ain’t heard “top four” since the “fourth is not a trophy” days.

Now journalists can’t let us be carried away, so it is widely noted we have not won at Anfield in nine years, which gives us a feeling that we are being set up for a fall.

Although elsewhere the Telegraph tells us that “Analysis” [by which they mean forefinger and calculator] “of the last seven seasons shows that teams finish, on average, within 2.6 places of their league position after 11 matches”  They don’t give details of what that would mean, so I’ve done it.

Position now Team Likely position at end of season
1 Chelsea Between 1st and 3rd
2 Manchester City Between 1st and 4th
3 West Ham United Between 1st and 5th
4 Liverpool Between 2nd and 6th
5 Arsenal Between 3rd and 7th
6 Manchester United Between 4th and 8th
7 Brighton and Hove Albion Between 5th and 9th
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers Between 6th and 10th
9 Tottenham Hotspur Between 7th and 11th

So there we are, not quite guaranteed a European place but we could get one and it could be the Champions League, the Europa League or the Tiny Totts Conference Division.   I really do hope it is not the last – although if it is, I trust the board will make the tickets the same price as the League Cup.   (And incidentally congrats on keeping the price down all the way through including the quarter final).

Actually some of the other Telegraphic predictions are quite interesting, such as Ole Arsenal Solskjaer will be sacked, West Ham won’t end up in the top four, Gerrard will dramatically improve Villa and Newcastle will be relegated (which will give us a laugh).

As ever, however, the paper doesn’t quite know when to stop with the analysis and they then go on in depth about managers.  So I thought I would take a glimpse at how they balance our old chum Patrick Vieira and our new boss Mikel.

It’s all pretty meaningless but it is the Telegraph…

Mikel Arteta Patrick Vieira
Football 8 6
Inspiration 7 7
Current performance 7 8
Career achievements 5 4
Interviews 3 2
Good to share a pint with 3 3

All silly stuff as I say, but it does show the length these journalists will go to, to find something negative to say about anyone associated with Arsenal.  “Good to share a pint with” as a judgement for managerial competence is a bit bonkers even for ex-admirals.

Yet there is something interesting – surely they haven’t been reading Untold…

“It is an indication of the drastic turnaround in Arsenal’s fortunes that they are currently the Premier League’s in-form side. If the league table started in September, after three games and following the closure of the transfer window, Mikel Arteta’s team would be top of the pile.

“On that measure alone, it is surely fair to say that the division’s youngest side, led by the division’s youngest manager, are ahead of the expected curve. When they recalibrated the club strategy this summer, signing six players aged 23 or under, they accepted that it would not be a quick fix. This was a long-term rebuild, and many supporters braced themselves for more short-term pain.

OK they couldn’t quite bring themselves to note the old “4th is not a trophy” lark, but good to know they have got the gist.   Welcome to the real world Daily T, even if it is only for the weekend.

14 Replies to “With Arsenal rising these are confusing times for journos, but how will it all end”

  1. Consiering the fact that Oliver is the referee fo, if I am not mistaken, the 4th time in 12 games, visibly we’ve popped-up on PIGMOB’s radar and I am definitely not optimistic about any neutrality from the officials.

    As far as I am concerned, I’d be really happy with a tie.

  2. This is a really tough game.

    If Liverpool are at their very best, even if we are at our very best, we are likely to lose.

    I would like us to play well and give them a great game. If we do that, win lose or draw, I will take it as a positive. It’s very hard to be ‘happy’ when you lose any game, but that’s different to seeing such a defeat as yet another Apocalypse, which is what we tend to get from the media, and sadly certain sectors of our fans, every time we lose a match.

  3. To be fair to Oliver, we’ve won 2 of those 3 games and he’s dished out 2 yellows to us and 4 to our opponents.
    If it was Atkinson then I’d really worry…

    The problem is Riley, it always has been.

  4. I know there’s a few folks on here who like a punt, thought I’d let you know that SkyBet are still offering 11/1 for Arsenal to finish above Liverpool.
    Unless I am very much mistaken, those are absolutely bonkers odds when you look at the fact that we have so far raked in 2 more points this calendar year than Liverpool.

  5. Mathew Campbell

    Exactly. And ‘Bonkers’ odds is what I always look for.

    What non punters don’t always understand is that just because you back something at ‘bonkers’ odds means you think it will actually happen. What you actually believe is that the chances of it happening are in reality much much more likely than the odds suggest.

    Given that over the last 12 months, or a seasons worth of results if you prefer, we have acquired more points than Liverpool. This suggests if both Liverpool and Arsenal continue to play to the same standard for the rest of this season that they have over that fairly long period, there is a reasonable chance we will finish above Liverpool. That doesn’t mean it is a certainty, or even likely, but it does, as you suggest, indicate a much better than 11/1 chance, which as you suggest is much too big.

    You may have seen me mention on here that I had a small EW bet at 200/1 on us for the PL prior to the Villa game because that was a ‘bonkers’ price, given over the last 2/3rds of last season we were the 2nd best team in the PL.

    Again it doesn’t mean it’s a certainty, or even likely, but it does mean that it far more likely to happen, given our form, than once every 200 years.

    And I was proved correct because immediately after that one victory (which was hardly an earth shattering shock) we were cut to around 60/1 to 80/1, which is in my opinion still too big, but at least a little more realistic. If, and of course it is still a big if, we win tomorrow, or even draw, then even those odds are going to look pretty silly.

  6. Hi Nitram – with you all the way.
    Much like the bulk of posts on Untold, it’s all about trusting the facts over the narrative, and of course the narrative right now is that Liverpool are a far superior team to Arsenal, even though the facts say we’re neck-and-neck!

  7. Apparently, Bayern Munich fans have announced their intention to sue the club over its failure to accept a motion to end its sponsorship deal with Qatar Airways.

  8. Barcelona has just cancelled a crypto/NFT deal with its digital partner – Ownix, after some inconveniences caused by the arrest of a consultant. Ownix have also ended their agreement with the same consultant.

  9. Not that confusing it seems as they simply keep spouting the same misleading, mindless garbage they always do.

    This is the sort of crap I mean and it’s on the BBC web site right now:

    “‘Trust the process’.

    The phrase has been something of a mantra for Arsenal during Mikel Arteta’s time as boss.

    From the outset, here was a respected former player, schooled in management by the great Pep Guardiola, with a plan to lead a lost club back onto a purposeful path to glory”.

    —A lost Club ?

    Okay so we’ve been out of the top 4 for 5 seasons but given it was the BBC, among the rest of the media, that kept telling us it meant nothing anyway, that hardly counts as ‘lost’ then does it, especially when over those 5 years we’ve won 2 FA Cups and 2 community shields, which is more than Spurs have won in over 30 years, and Liverpool won between 2007 and 2018, and I don’t remember either of them being called ‘lost’ at any time. And lest we forget we’ve won 4 FA Cups and 4 community shields in the last 8 years alone.

    How under any reasonable assessment is that a club that is ‘lost’ ?

    “In the darkest days, most notably the three straight, humbling losses to begin this league season, it became a stick with which disgruntled supporters sarcastically beat the Spaniard”.

    —3 defeats and it’s ‘the darkest days’. Seriously ?

    Disgruntled supporters ? Don’t they mean the supporters ably stirred up by the very likes of the BBC ?

    “The Gunners were meek at Brentford”

    —No we wasn’t. As I showed recently we dominated every aspect of that match except the goals. Our finishing was remiss I know, but meek? We battled to the last seconds of that match. Their keeper pulled of some ‘worldies’. We hit the woodwork a couple of times. We had 8 players playing that do not start for us now due to injuries and covid at the time. We was never meek and we fought to the last second.

    “brushed easily aside by Chelsea and battered at Manchester City to leave them bottom of the table without a point or goal to their name”.

    –Yes we didn’t play great against either, but both are possible Premier league champions. Top teams in Europe. We were still short of players. Still settling in new players in to a totally new system in a new league. We played one with 10 men.

    Only a blind man could not see there was enormous mitigating circumstances.

    “It was the first time since 1954 they had lost their opening three league matches and each showcased familiar failings – an absence of a clear, coherent and effective tactical plan, costly errors, a soft underbelly and too little fight”.

    —Cliche after cliche after cliche.

    The familiar failing. No plan. A soft underbelly. No fight.

    All those ‘familiar’ failings yet somehow we had just finished the last 2/3rds of a season as the 2nd best team in the country. All those ‘familiar’ failings yet somehow over the last 8 years we’d won 4 FA Cups as well as 4 Community shields. All those ‘familiar’ failings yet even during our austerity years we maintained CL status, for a long time on a zero net spend, setting a record of consecutive CL qualification 2nd only to one of the Spanish giants.

    Honestly, will this endless, mindless, media drivel ever stop !!

  10. Nitram,
    Just read that BBC article and thought exactly the same as you. I’m not sure which bit got me most annoyed. Maybe the garbage about how Arsenal supporters were feeling after the first 3 games of the season. I knew Brentford would be very difficult, especially with the injuries. We played well against Chelsea (European Champions) again with injuries and lost to Man City (Premier League Champions) with 10 men most of the game. The media were so excited with the opportunity to rubbish Arsenal that they didn’t bother with perspective, but that is not within the boundaries of their thought processes. And what annoys me most is that they get paid a lot of money for writing trash and a lot of people gobble it up.

  11. Man. City have become the latest Football club to back off from a “digital partnership”. They have suspended their partnership with 3Key only a few days after announcing it.

  12. AllenC

    I know it’s an absolutely disgraceful piece of writing. Nice to see you use the term I keep banging on about, ‘perspective’, because it is only with perspective can you make valid and reasoned argument.

    As I said elsewhere, non of us regulars are genius’s, not even may I humbly suggest Tony 😉, but we managed to judge those 3 matches in the light they should be judged.

    And what we concluded was that we had the nucleus of a very good side and we would almost certainly rally, as we have done over the next string of matches, once the absentees returned, the new players settled, and they all got used to Artetas system.

    At the end of that article he says, and this is really telling as to the mindset of these people:

    “They did rally to eighth”

    So 2/3rds of a season, or put another way, 24 matches, of playing to a standard 2nd only to that of the eventual champions, with the 2nd best defense in the league, is dismisses it out of hand in just 5 words.

    Yet just 3 defeats warranted all this:

    “In the darkest days, most notably the three straight, humbling losses to begin this league season, it became a stick with which disgruntled supporters sarcastically beat the Spaniard.

    It was the first time since 1954 they had lost their opening three league matches and each showcased familiar failings – an absence of a clear, coherent and effective tactical plan, costly errors, a soft underbelly and too little fight”.

    As I suggest, an absolutely shameful piece of biased, inaccurate, shit stirring garbage. And as you say, he gets paid to write that crap.

  13. I’ve also seen bits and pieces about the fact Arsenal should be aiming for more than top 4, which is true.

    But my question is when was that ever any different ?

    Are these people, even perhaps Arteta, suggesting that Wenger for example, didn’t start every season with the ambition of winning the Premier League ? Of course he did. Top 4 was not the aim, it was the MINIMUM he wanted, needed, to achieve. And that is different all together.

    Wenger wasn’t failing to win the Premier League because he wasn’t trying to, but because we wasn’t quite good enough, and we wasn’t quite good enough because our 3 main rivals where spending around £50 Million net per season on players, often on OUR players, whilst we were spending ZERO, as we payed for a new stadium.

    That’s why we didn’t win the Premier League, not because we wasn’t trying to.

    But this is typical of how the journalistic narrative of Arsenal works. We din’t not win the Premier League because of all those real World factors, oh no, it’s because we lacked ambition. We didn’t try. We set our sights too low.

    And so it goes. Arsenal cant just lose. They have to be ‘bullied’ into defeat. Be ‘Gutless’. Lack fight. No spirit. No leaders. On and on it goes.

    As demonstrated in that crass BBC report, cliche after cliche, trashing every aspect of the club.

    Nope Arsenal can never just lose. They can never just not be good enough. Oh no, it is always so much worse, so very much worse than just that.

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