By Tony Attwood
One might have thought that after last night the media could have toned it down a bit and given Arsenal some real praise. Or if they wanted to knock Liverpool, maybe (even it is very late) returned to the miracle of the false positive that let them a) pull out of the first match, b) have the same players miraculously on display in the second match and c) ensure that the media never mentioned the oddity of this extraordinary cluster of false positives all in one place.
Consider this from Jonathon Liew in the Guardian. “…a distracted Aaron Ramsdale flapped indeterminately at the cross, in the first act of a timeline that almost certainly ends with him palming a Kylian Mbappé shot into his own net for England at Qatar 2022.” Good, I’m glad we’ve got the anti-Arsenal future sorted.
So psychologically feeble are Arsenal, we are told, that had Liverpool scored at the last, it “would have been a crushing blow going into Sunday’s derby against Tottenham, the sort that extinguishes all hope in an instant.”
” Arsenal” we are told “did enough to lose.”
And then “The last hour of the game was frequently ugly, frequently boring, and for the most part just as Arsenal wanted it.”
Or “for the most part it was pretty painful stuff.” Yep, that’s the Guardian.
Above all, the impression we get is that Arsenal are a dirty bunch of thugs picking up yellow and red cards all day long. But the reality is Arsenal have the second lowest level of fouling in the Premier League committing nine fouls against the opposition on average in each league game. Only Manchester City get penalised for fouls less with 8.76 per game.
Liverpool are the 14th worst team for fouling in the Premier League this season picking up 10.45 fouls per game from the men of the PGMO – a figure that brings them closer to the likes of Brentford, Crystal Palace, Leeds United and Southampton, than to Arsenal.
But of course, let the gentlemen of the press not mention that, but instead focus on Granit Xhaka once again. And focus not on the fact that Arsenal were so good at handling this match that even after Xhaka was sent off, Arsenal could still control the match.
Incidentally, I even heard a comment last night about Arsenal having the worst red card record in the league this season. And do you know, that is true! Although if you look at the table you’ll perhaps have a slightly different perspective on this… Here it is – red cards in league matches this season, with Arsenal top.
|Rank||Club||Red cards in league games|
|7.||West Ham United||2|
|9.||Brighton and Hove Albion||1|
Now that table is taken from the official Premier League site and obviously the first seven clubs are all equal – Arsenal only being there by virtue of alphabetical order. But there we are top of the red card league.
Indeed, one might well expect tomorrow’s newspapers to run the headline “Arsenal have twice as many Premier League red cards this season as Tottenham.”
Above all what made this such fun was not just that the media had been predicting Arsenal’s demise (which they have recently been celebrating) but that the tables show that Arsenal have a far poorer history this season away from home than Liverpool achieve at home.
But for next week’s match, that is not how it is. And although we don’t normally publish these tables until just before each game, it is worth contemplating now.
|Pos||Team||P||W||D||L||F||A||GD||Pts||Pts per game|
These figures of course only include league games, not cup ties, and they do show that Liverpool score many more away than we score at home, but even so, we get the wins and a greater average points per game. There is hope for us yet!
And, just in case you are about to trot off and see what the other papers are saying about last night’s heroics, I can save you a bit of trouble. The Telegraph leads with
and the Daily Mail has
‘How many more times?!’: Arsenal fans rip into ‘clueless liability’ Granit Xhaka after the midfielder picked up ANOTHER red card early on in their Carabao Cup semi-final at Liverpool… leaving his team-mates to play over an HOUR with 10 men
But still, these dead beats must have their fun. And here’s one I really like
It’s behind a paywall, but in case you don’t subscribe it says, “Mikel Arteta, the Arsenal manager, has claimed that Sunday’s north London derby with Tottenham Hotspur is at risk of being postponed if his side lose any more outfield players.”
Well, if Liverpool can do it, why not Arsenal? False positives here we come.
- Is there a way to stop negativity in the Premier League?
- How often are Arsenal getting the same referee this season?
- Arsenal’s 19 players on loan, and the new Fifa loan regulations
- Are Arsenal making progress? Are all our transfer targets the wrong players?
- Arsenal v Burnley: Burnley’s problems, Arsenal’s team