Do Arsenal really urgently need a striker as the media says?

By Tony Attwood

The point about our recent series (links at the end of this article) on The Media Conspiracy is not specifically to show that the media is made up of a bunch of ill-formed or highly speculative writers, but rather to show that the approach the media has taken to football leads to a misleading perception.

This perception feeds into supporters, whose attitude toward the club they support is changed because of this process.

The issue becomes confused because of the “Third Person Effect” which has been studied in much detail by psychologists, and which in essence shows that people tend to perceive that mass media messages have a greater effect on others than on themselves.  Because people tend to think that they are immune while others are not, they tend not to demand proof for what the media says, and so do take note and are often influenced by what the media says.

This situation is amplified when various different media outlets all pump out the same basic story – in the case we are following that a) Arsenal desperately need new players because the club is not doing very well and b) these are the players that “insiders” can tell us Arsenal are chasing.

Once that is believed, then the failure of Arsenal to buy between 95% and 100% of the players nominated is seen as a failure of the club, rather than a failure of the mass media.

But this would not work if supporters did not accept the primary premise that Arsenal are doing badly, a message that is pumped out daily.  Indeed we’ve often quoted the article in the Times newspaper in the early stages of the Unbeaten Season, in which the reporter claimed that the fans at an away game said that “this was the worst Arsenal team they had ever seen”.

So everything is based on the notion that Arsenal are doing badly, and therefore are likely to lose subsequent games, and thus need new players.  But in fact the simple use of league tables recording everything from the last six league games to the last 19 league games show that since the opening three league matches Arsenal have been operating at top four standard.

Not well enough to win the league, but well enough to reclaim a top-four spot, which is obviously the preliminary to challenging for trophies once again.

Some people do of course deny that the media has any power in creating the perception of individuals – but then if that is the case it becomes a lot harder to explain why the media manipulates reality in this way, hyping up certain false analyses (Arsenal are doing badly, Arsenal are terrible at handling contracts etc) while ignoring statistically proven reality.

As such we can read contemporary media stories in a new light; as a way of creating a false narrative in order to keep readers returning to the source to find out what happens next.

Just looking at the top stories today shows this in action. 

Arsenal mission to hijack Spurs’ £72m dream signing confirmed by Harry Kane Man United stance (Football.London).   The story reads “According to Calciomercato, Lautaro Martinez could leave Inter Milan this summer, with Arsenal interested in signing the forward.”   In its entirety the original piece reads

“Lautaro Martinez potrebbe lasciare l’Inter a giugno. Il Toro, in scadenza nel 2026, piace ad Arsenal e Manchester City.”

Translated that reads, “Lautaro Martinez could leave Inter Milan in June. The Bull, whose contract is due to expire in 2026, is liked by Arsenal and Manchester City.”

That is it.  That is the full story.   But Football.London then quotes the Daily Mirror (both sites owned by the same company, and interchanging stories throughout the day) to add suggest Arsenal are in a dog fight to get the striker we desperately need.

So let us see where Arsenal sit in the league table based on goals scored in the last six league games.

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
2 Arsenal 6 4 1 1 13 3 10 13
1 Manchester City 6 5 1 0 11 2 9 16
3 Liverpool 6 4 1 1 11 4 7 13
9 Southampton 6 2 3 1 11 9 2 9
5 Manchester United 6 3 3 0 10 5 5 12
7 West Ham United 6 3 1 2 10 8 2 10
12 Leeds United 6 2 1 3 10 14 -4 7
8 Chelsea 6 2 3 1 9 6 3 9

Now as we have tried to point out before, tables like the last six league games are good indicators of current form, but it is also handy to check that there is not a statistical quirk somewhere, when doing that.  If we take the last ten matches therefore and do a league table based on scoring we find Arsenal are no longer top but… 

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 10 9 1 0 29 5 24 28
3 Arsenal 10 6 1 3 21 8 13 19
2 Liverpool 10 7 2 1 18 7 11 23
5 Tottenham Hots 10 5 2 3 17 12 5 17
4 Manchester United 10 5 4 1 15 8 7 19

So it goes on, day by day.  An endless stream of misinformation in a society in which many people who believe that they are never influenced by the media are misled into thinking Arsenal need transfers – in order to make the irrelevant and ultimately false content of the media appear relevant and true.

And that is the world we live in.

8 Replies to “Do Arsenal really urgently need a striker as the media says?”

  1. Sorry Tony but if looking at the last 6 competitive matches it’s 4 goals scored.

    There is no doubt that the two games (Leeds & Norwich away) we’re both good results but both were pre the window and massively distort matters

  2. I don’t even take the news from those papers seriously,i rarely do read them actually,news from the sun, guardian, football london and even the athletic. Most of their stories are based on what they don’t know,just baseless rumors.

  3. I watched Lautaro against Liverpool yesterday – he was surprisingly (I’d never seen him play before) poor, technically in particular.
    It’d take a blind man not to see the way our young team has improved lately, and not to admire the very “Grahamesque” spirit of this bunch; but we do have a “striking” problem, or so I think
    I’ve been a die-hard supporter of Laca’s ever since he signed up, but holding on to “top4” ambitions with a CF missing the clearcut chances he’s had in the last 3 or 4 games is just not sustainable … Brentford home looks like the perfect game for him to build his confidence back though
    Now, unless we buy Haaland, I hope we’ll stand by the lads we have in store: I can see the imperfections in Eddie’s game of course, but he’s one of the very few natural-born-strikers left in professional football; Folarin has already shown what a classy lad he is since he put on the Boro shirt, now he needs to score, but that’ll come soon; and lastly there is Biereth, who is such a classical CF, strong, shock-proof, shrewd, and a very subtle finisher too
    Can’t we – the fans – just believe in one or two of these lads, forgive them the mistakes they’re bound to make, and give ’em time to finally find their feet??
    And lastly maybe, just maybe, our scoring record would improve if our top scorer – Emil – didn’t spend so much time on the bench …

  4. Reading the piece about Sp*rs today in the Guardian, it is striking. They report on a club that is bleeding players and money. About a coach who basically explains away any problems the team might have in the next months, how it will hamper development. He may not be a specialist in failure, but he is taking all precautions to let the shit hit the higher level : it wasn’t me ! We are a club for youngsters but it will take time !

    Is there any comment, any incisive sentence from the so-called journalist ? Nope. Basically, they report or should I say transcript/translate an interview in Italy as if they were the Sp*rs website doing the Sp*rs PR. Maybe Sp*rs budget cuts are so deep that they cannot afford doing it themselves anymore, so the guardian comes flying for help.

    Compared to the beating Edu and Arteta are taking for not having had new players, this speaks for itself. And I don’t even mention the fact Arsenal have the youngest team and Sp*rs just signed 2 (two) young players….

  5. I don’t know if we need a striker but, if we want to win the title we need something.

    We currently have a very good, very young squad, with enormous potential. The big question is though, will it be enough to win the Premier League, even if these young guns turn out to be the World class players we all hope and think they will be ?

    I honestly don’t know the answer, but what I will say is, about a Month ago a did a piece where I showed that even Man Utd’s Golden generation, that eventually went on to great success, including achieving a treble, had 4 World record (at time of purchase) signings playing alongside them.

    Whether these guys will need that, whether we could even buy them if they did, is impossible to answer.

    Ideally this current group of individuals will be enough, but history suggests that is highly unlikely. What ever way you want to look at it, if we want to challenge for the title, we do need to improve, the question is, where ?

    Well despite our goal scoring not being that bad, I would still suggest that it is the amount of goals we score that needs addressing.

    Now what is ironic is that for the last few seasons our lack of goals has been down to the midfield not contributing enough. By and large, between them, our ‘forwards’ have contributed what you would want from them, give or take. But now our midfield IS contributing at the required level, the ‘forwards’ are not.

    So maintaining this higher midfield goal return, whilst at the same time upping the forwards contribution by say 10 to 15 goals between them, will be crucial if we want to be pitching in there with Liverpool and Man City.

    The question is can I see that 10 to 15 goals coming from our current incumbents ?

    Well as much as I like Laca and Pepe I cant see it coming from them.

    So that leaves Martinelli and Saka.

    At this seasons current rate of scoring Saka will end up with 10 goals from 32 games and Martinelli 8 from 32. Obviously that is not enough.

    We need those 2 to progress to nearer 20 and 15 respectively, which could be enough.

    So it’s a gamble. Do we wait till we get in to next season to see if those 2 guys can deliver the goals we will need to challenge for the title, or do we try and find at least ONE ready made 20 plus goal a season player ready to go next season ?

    Difficult one.

    Ideally we hold our nerve and our faith is rewarded, but it’s a risk.

    And just to add, even if those two guys do reach the required level, they will still need back-up.

    Interesting times.

  6. If we assume that Nketiah and Laca are off in the summer even with Balogun returning then yes we need two strikers. The rumour. I’ll will turn but let’s see what we do in the Summer.

  7. Let Martinelli lead ahead of Smith Rowe, Odegaard and Saka. He might bag a goal or two and he’s certainly up to the high press. He has too much pace for most centre backs. Strikers will be available in the summer and AFC should be back in Europe and will be able to attract one if needed.
    With a proper defense now Arteta should be able to attack without worrying about the back 5. They’re solid, especially when Tomiyasu is healthy. Ramsdale is a top, top keeper. Forward!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *