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The media conspiracy against Arsenal. Part 1: How it unfolded.

By Tony Attwood

This is the first part of a short series that pulls together the evidence which reveals a significant conspiracy against Arsenal set up and wilfully maintained by much of the media.  In it I take a look at what has happened in terms of media reporting of Arsenal, how it has warped the general understanding of what Arsenal has achieved, and also, why so much of the media has bought into this story.

Of course I do understand that it is perfectly possible to explain what has happened in terms of laziness, gross incompetence and ignorance by a range of journalists and bloggers.  However, that argument is somewhat reduced in its effectiveness when one recalls that many of the people involved in the on-going assault we have seen against Arsenal, are really quite intelligent, and must have been fully aware of what they have been doing.

Also I must acknowledge that some (but not all!) of the arguments, data and table in this series has been presented before, and I do hope you will excuse my presenting it again, but it seemed to me helpful to the understanding of the thesis explored here if everything could be gathered into one series, rather than leave you (assuming you are interested o course) endlessly referring back to previous articles.

So, to begin…

Most people would agree, I think, that buying in new players and possibly even changing the manager, simply on the basis of the first three games of the season, when the squad was already undergoing major changes in defence and was affected by an outbreak of illness among several of the senior players, would have been a pretty damn stupid thing to do.  Especially when the last two thirds of the previous season had been such a spectacular triumph in terms of results, and achieved through such a clever tactical ploy as cutting out tackles.

But the Arsenal manager determined to bring in various players to reshape the defence in the opening weeks of the season, while more and more and more transfers were demanded in August by the footballing media as they ignored two simple but highly relevant facts.

What we can now see is that the first match of that infamous run of three defeats contained only four players who were to become regulars in the first team lineup as the season developed.  So, given the patchwork nature of the team for those first three games, and the fact that the newcomers were still getting used to each other, or not even on board yet, it makes sense to see how Arsenal performed after those first three games.

In fact, taking out those first three Arsenal and looking at every club’s last 19 games (in other words, for Arsenal, all the league games after those first three), Arsenal are shown as the third-best performing team in the league.  We have gained five more points than both the billionaires of Chelsea and the third lowest-scoring team in the league Wolverhampton, nine more than West Ham (always the media’s darlings), and 12 more than the now derided Manchester United, and those eternal hopefuls, Tottenham Hotspur.

Thus, as noted in the last article, if we look at the league table for the last 19 games we can draw the reasonable conclusion that things are going ok.  (In case you missed it, here is the top of the league table for last 19 games with data from TWTD)

H O M E A W A Y
Pos Team P W D L F A W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester C 19 8 0 1 24 6 8 2 0 25 7 36 50
2 Liverpool 19 6 2 0 21 5 6 3 2 28 13 31 41
3 Arsenal 19 7 2 1 18 6 5 1 3 16 10 18 39
4 Chelsea 19 4 5 1 21 10 5 2 2 15 7 19 34
5 Wolverhampton 19 4 2 3 8 7 6 2 2 11 7 5 34
6 West Ham U 19 5 1 3 16 13 4 2 4 15 12 6 30

Of course, it can be argued that this table is artificial given that we have actually played 22 games, so that is what should be included in the league table.  “One can,” I am told, “do this sort of thing for any club by artificially starting the count at a moment advantageous to that club.”

But that misses a key point.   Based on those opening three matches the journalists, broadcasters and bloggers became united in claiming that Arsenal desperately needed to buy new players.  The club’s management (Arteta and Edu in particular) were grossly incompetent, it was said, failing to buy the right men, failing to renew contracts, and just generally failing.

Yet that league table above shows that with the newly formed defence we didn’t need a totally new team.  To have started buying in new forwards could have totally upset all the work that was done last summer in reconstructing the defence.  Yes Liverpool and Manchester City have scored many more than Arsenal, but we are only two goals shy of Chelsea in attack, and way ahead of everyone else.  We can improve – but it’s crazy to try and change everything at once.

Besides, we have been making real progress over last season, even if we take into account those first three games of the current league season all of which were lost.  Here is the comparison chart for the first 22 games last year and this year.

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
10 Arsenal 2021 22 9 4 9 27 22 5 31
6 Arsenal 2022 22 12 3 7 34 25 9 39

So there has been a small general step forward.   But that eight-point improvement hides something much bigger and much more important, as I will cover in the second part of this series, later today.

Today in Arsenal’s History: 15 February 2015: 85 years after beating Middlesbrough in the cup Arsenal did it again

4 comments to The media conspiracy against Arsenal. Part 1: How it unfolded.

  • Nitram

    And as I showed in the last article this is how a table would look starting from our turn around last year, including those infamous first 3 games this season.

    1 Man City…………50 – 126
    2 Liverpool………48 – 92
    3 Chelsea……………48 – 89
    4 Man Utd……………49 – 88
    5 Arsenal……………46 – 86
    6 West Ham…………49 – 85
    7 Tottenham…..46 – 73

    3pts from those 2 games in hand puts us level with Chelsea.
    8 Leicester ……44 – 66

  • Glenn

    @Tony we all get your point, however you should also know that the “Media” may not be ignorant or incompetent or against arsenal as you imply. They might just not be as willing as you are to make excuses for arsenal as indeed they shouldn’t. Failure to plan is planning to fail. In this our good run over 19games, some other teams have had to endure squad decimation just like we did at the beginning of the season, did you take out the results from their total points? Last year Liverpool was decimated by injuries, they dealt with it, got alternatives some of whom have displaced previous regulars like Joe Gomez. The fact that we have a different squad from the beginning of the season is not even all down to injuries, some of it is due to us dropping underperformers or realizing that other players can do a better job than previously intended regulars e.g Ramsdale replacing Leno.
    In summary, just because you are willing to make excuses for arsenal every season, don’t expect that Media to go along with you. They expect teams to be prepared for a gruelling 38game season and to hit the ground running, we don’t make excuses when a team wakes up in the 4th game, especially if it turns out that such team finds the mountain too hard to climb to eventually reach their objective

  • Andrew Banks

    Where are your comments about the positive reviews Arsenal and Arteta are getting in the press, like today’s Mirror article. One of quite a number of positive reports about Arsenal.

    Personally, while I am delighted we are doing better I don’t think Arteta will last, but I would like to be the first to admit I was wrong about him.

    Your nonsense about the press continues. I suspect that even if we have another Invincibles season and are portrayed as footballing gods you would still be reporting a conspiracy by the press.

    Nonsense

  • Andrew I am again amazed. You so dislike what Untold does and yet you keep on reading and writing in. Amazing. But to answer your question: the media commentary on this site has the objective, (and I really do think everyone gets this except you) of pointing out that the media is often very out of touch with what goes on in football, but instead has its own agendas which it will pursue as much as it can.
    The point of our recent commentaries has been that even in the time of success for Arsenal (like the fact that over the last 10 games Arsenal has the best record of any club) they can’t quite bring themselves to consider that.
    The current success shows how silly the early criticism of the club was and how lacking in insight the media was. And insight is what they claim to have – as for example with the endless chatter about who the club will next buy – chatter that is only 3% accurate at best.
    But don’t let it worry you.

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