Outrageous attack on Arsenal as recent games give boost to hope of top four finish

By Tony Attwood

There is a screamingly funny and utterly lunatic article in the Guardian this morning, in its regular post-weekend series “Talking points from the weekend’s action”

It is by Tim de Lisle (author of “How to Write Well”), whose profile on Wikipedia reads, “De Lisle is a feature writer for The Guardian, focusing on cricket and rock music. He is the editor of the magazine Intelligent Life, is the rock critic at The Mail on Sunday and also edited the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack in 2003.”

Now you may notice that there is not much mention of football therein.  Or to be exact, no mention at all of football at all.  So it is funny that the Guardian picked him to write the “Talking Points” article, although it does explain how the article includes this…

“Now that there’s a clear bottom three, the race for fourth ought to be the most interesting thing about the Premier League. There’s just one problem: the contenders don’t seem very bothered. Spurs have lost three games on the trot, Manchester United have become draw specialists and West Ham’s only win in four is a meagre 1-0 against Watford. Chelsea, who led the table on 1 December, have slumped so badly that they may yet join the dogfight. And so could Wolves, who suddenly have four wins in five. They are now above Spurs. The same goes for Arsenal, whose winner at Molineux on Thursday was their first goal since New Year’s Day. If any of these clubs can go on a decent run, they’ll find themselves in the Champions League.”

Reading that, and having no other information on the subject you might well be inclined to think that Arsenal, like much of the rest of the top eight teams in the league, are in a slump, going nowhere at all, and indeed as likely to slip into the bottom six in the league as stay in the top six.

Which would make a peek at the form table, made up of the last six league matches of Premier League clubs, come as something as a shock.   

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 6 5 1 0 11 2 9 16
2 Arsenal 6 4 1 1 13 3 10 13
3 Liverpool 6 4 1 1 11 4 7 13
4 Wolverhampton Wands 6 4 1 1 8 3 5 13
5 Newcastle United 6 3 2 1 7 7 0 11
6 Brighton and Hove Albion 6 2 4 0 9 6 3 10
7 West Ham United 6 3 1 2 10 8 2 10
8 Chelsea 6 2 3 1 9 6 3 9
9 Southampton 6 2 3 1 11 9 2 9
10 Manchester United 6 2 3 1 8 6 2 9
11 Tottenham Hotspur 6 2 1 3 7 10 -3 7

So Arsenal is a contender, and yet “the contenders don’t seem very bothered.”

Tottenham (whom the Guardian, with obvious familiarity and support invariably call “Spurs”) have as the article points out “lost three games on the trot, Manchester United have become draw specialists and West Ham’s only win in four is a meagre 1-0 against Watford. Chelsea, who led the table on 1 December, have slumped so badly that they may yet join the dogfight.”

And I think this is what happens when a) a part of the media has a clear anti-Arsenal agenda, and b) it brings in a person who is not a specialist in football matters to write about football. (Indeed, why would you ever do that?)

I doubt anyone will have told the poor sap to “knock Arsenal”; rather he would have simply picked up the fact that this is what the Guardian does, whenever reporting football.

So “the contenders” don’t seem to be very bothered.  (Present continuous tense, please note, meaning, “in recent games leading up to the last and going forward”).  Arsenal have the second-most points in the last six games, the most goals scored, the second-best defence, and the best goal difference.  And “don’t seem to be very bothered.”

Now I do get regular correspondence asking why I have this “fixation” with the media.  Yet it is palpably obvious to me that the media does influence how some people think – because we see hundreds of blogs all the time copying their message: Arsenal are useless, incompetent and going nowhere. 

I feel that by pointing out that this is simply a media agenda, just as not criticising the PGMO is a media agenda, it may help a few people realise what is going on.  Our pieces such as Are clubs and the media trying to unsettle Saka and force a transfer? try and point out what the media is up to.

Here is the league table as it stands.

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 25 20 3 2 61 14 47 63
2 Liverpool 24 16 6 2 61 19 42 54
3 Chelsea 24 13 8 3 48 18 30 47
4 West Ham United 25 12 5 8 44 33 11 41
5 Manchester United 24 11 7 6 38 32 6 40
6 Arsenal 22 12 3 7 34 25 9 39
7 Wolverhampton Wanderers 23 11 4 8 21 17 4 37
8 Tottenham Hotspur 22 11 3 8 28 29 -1 36

To overtake West Ham and get into fourth, we must win one of our three games in hand.  To overtake Manchester United we need one draw in our two games in hand over them.  As for the mighty and much beloved (by the media) Tottenham Hotspur, who have played the same number of games as we have, we simply have to keep doing better than they are.

And yet, as the Guardian chooses to say, “the contenders don’t seem very bothered”. 

It’s a funny ol’ game, this media business.

How many points do Arsenal need for fourth place this season.

11 Replies to “Outrageous attack on Arsenal as recent games give boost to hope of top four finish”

  1. The biggest test to Arsenal will be their fixture list, postponed games includes game to Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham, at the end of the season, they will also have to face Man Utd and West Ham. With the impending fixture congestion towards the end as the postponed game are rearranged, they may end up facing other CL contenders in consecutive fashion over a short period of time. If they pass the test, then they fully deserve the CL spot.

  2. Stanton

    Which is a fair comment, but as we are obviously not bothered I cant see it happening myself, can you ?

    unless of course all the other contenders continue to be be even less bothered than we are. That might just give us a squeak.

  3. I wonder why Arsenal isn’t even expected to celebrate their goal?
    So when next a Saka or a Martinelli score what do they do to please the media?
    And other teams should wildly celebrate when they score against Arsenal, especially at the Emirates?
    Such a prejudice against the Gunners!

  4. This from footbal365

    “The celebration police broke their own laws in north London as they helped reshape a constantly shifting Champions League qualification race. Whether tripping over shoelaces, aiming firearms at their own feet, checking the dental health of gift horses or following any other idiom defined by general inopportune incompetence, none of West Ham, Manchester United, Arsenal or Spurs seem particularly interested in carrying the baton for any prolonged period.”

    So despite our recent premier league record matching the mighty Liverpools football365’s Matthew Stead seems similarly incapable of seeing whats right under his nose, calling us ‘incompetent’ and not “particularly interested in carrying the baton for any prolonged period”.

    One ignoramus failing to see the reality of the situation is ridiculous, 2 suggests it’s more than just ignorance.

    But like most drainpipes this one also has a history of criticising everything we do.

  5. Yes, the Guardian may well write some of this and a slice of that and maybe a bit of the other but is anybody actually reading it or listening to it because outside of the BBC I’d hazard a guess that they really aren’t?

    What uninformed talking heads in the print and broadcast media opine about Arsenal really doesn’t make any difference to me and I’d imagine many other Arsenal supporters, so long as Arsenal continue to against all the PGMOL odds, keep getting positive results in our remaining 16 cup ties and what some no-mark writes in the Guardian or anywhere else for that matter will make no difference at all…

  6. @John L,

    yep, now that you state it, it is surprising there was no headline like :

    another week-end like so many in this new year with no points for Arsenal…. Arteta must do more to motivate his team !

  7. @Stanton…yes, and I am curious to see how they rearrange the fixtures. In reality, there are many openings but the powers that be may be more interested in the fixture lists of the CL teams than us.

  8. FROM NITRAM. Posted by Tony on Nitram’s behalf because of technical difficulties at our end.


    “what some no-mark writes in the Guardian or anywhere else for that matter will make no difference at all…”

    Anyone who believes that simply has no understanding of how, not only the media/mass media works, but how people work.

    Just search the web for articles on the media and how it affects opinion and you will be flooded with papers and articles explaining in depth exactly how we are all massively influenced by what we read in papers, hear on the radio and see on the TV.

    It is said that elections have been won and lost on the back of one front page headline in a tabloid. That is how powerful the media can be.

    Trials have collapsed on the back of the medias influence on peoples opinions. No possibility of a fair trial because people have already made their minds up on the back of what they have read.

    This opening paragraph from an in depth paper on the subject sums it up pretty well.

    “The role of the media in shaping public perceptions and opinions about significant
    political and social issues has long been the subject of both speculation and research. It is widely accepted that what we know about, think and believe about what happens in the world, outside of personal first-hand experience, is shaped, and some would say orchestrated, by how these events are reported in newspapers and communicated through the medium of radio and television”.


    I have even likened what the media do to us as a form of propaganda. Again from and article among many on the internet explaining how propaganda works:

    “Historically, however, true propaganda hasn’t been full of outright lies or deception, as many people believe. Rather, it’s the statement of facts and beliefs with the intention of influencing a particular audience, trademarked by the omission of any details that might persuade the audience to the other side.”


    Ring any bells?

    There is no question it works which is why it has been used to influence opinion and control peoples, for thousands of years, and it is still used today.

    You constantly coming here telling us that you are not influenced by what the papers say about Arsenal is fine. But to suggest that others are not is merely your opinion, and it is an opinion not shared by a vast majority of intellectuals and scientists that have studied this subject in depth over many many years.

    Why on earth do you think the rich and powerful own and control 90% of what is said in the media?

    Please tell me where you get this idea that people aren’t influenced by what’s said in the media?

  9. @ Nitram

    Having studied the Politics of Media at Uni (albeit many years ago!) I can only concur with your conclusions.

    I tend to read various publications in order to get alternate perspectives on an issue and then do some fact-checking of my own. I doubt I’m in a majority in doing that, in fact I suspect I’m part of a very small minority.

    Given how many times I hear people in my local spouting the same garbage that was spewed out on the last match of the day with no interest in hearing facts or evidence to the contrary, it seems pretty clear to me, that the majority of football fans do as little independent thinking and/or fact-checking as the electorate in general.

  10. There’s a serious misconduct in the media in the way they portray Arsenal FC. Going on since Arsene Wenger. The question is why. Not the usual pro-Liverpool, Man Utd, Man Utd and Tottenham thing. Something much more than that. As I understand, Arsenal FC is the only club run properly with a proper business model. Now, Newcastle has entered the ever growing sugar daddy club, the clear perspective beyond football must be researched. Is it because of politics as Kroenke family are Republicans or is it the club refuse to join the crime business model adopted by other clubs?

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