By Tony Attwood
FURIOUS Arsenal fans blocked Mikel Arteta’s car and told him to “do yourself a favour” and leave the club after Sunday’s 2-0 loss to Chelsea.
That was the headline in the Sun earlier this season while the Mirror weighed in with “Arsenal set Mikel Arteta sack deadline.” Even the bookies got involved with Paddypower running, “Time to get your coat? Mikel Arteta odds-on to be next manager sacked.”
I wonder how many idiots lost their money (or got run over). But it wasn’t just the Sun and Mirror who were doing this. “Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has no more time to get it right” reported the Metro, although “reported” is perhaps an exaggeration.
It was all a bit like SportCal announcing “English Premier League back on Match TV in Russia from 2022-23”, adding that “Match TV, the Russian sports broadcaster, has regained exclusive rights in its home market to English soccer’s Premier League from the 2022-23 season onwards. A senior employee at the broadcaster, owned by Gazprom Media, is quoted as saying that the deal … runs for six years.”
Of course, misinformation and ludicrous fortune-telling are what football journalism is all about. “Mikel Arteta will leave Arsenal before the end of the season” said the Sun, while as late as this January this year the Express was still running the barrage of untruth with “Arsenal face transfer emergency as exits could leave Mike Arteta with just 17 outfielders”.
And what actually happened? Of course the media won’t mention it, but if you are interested in the form of various clubs (which is rather important if you are wondering a) can Arsenal retain fourth place or b) can Arsenal overtake Chelsea and get into third is actually important) the answer lies in the form table.
Now some have said the last six games table we have been running off and on is too short term, so let’s go to the last ten games table. Ten games is just over one quarter of a season, so not a bad measure of form. Here is the table.
We are top by virtue of goal difference, having performed better than Manchester City and Liverpool across the last ten games, and yet curiously I haven’t heard any commentator mention that, let alone run the table. Of course, someone might have talked about it while I nipped out to the loo, just before an away game on TV (I get to the home games these days but rarely the away matches), but I have also been reading the newspapers fairly assiduously and there hasn’t been any mention there that I have seen.
So it must be a fluke mustn’t it?
But on the other hand we do, across this last quarter of a season, have the most wins, the second-most goals scored, the best defence and the best goal difference.
So, you may ask, what of Chelsea, that most highly spoken of club among the media elite, tipped to be back in the time this season. And what of West Ham, the journalists’ favourites, the club who never got their stadium for nothing with no rent to pay, from Boris Johnson, when he was London mayor?
And of course Tottenham, who Team Talk recently told us “pulled off a masterclass in January as data analysts have claimed they signed one star for less than half his transfer value” because “With Conte, Spurs are getting a manager who is known to have his sides extremely well-drilled and versatile”.
Looking once more at the table for the last quarter of a season we find…
|7||West Ham United||10||5||2||3||16||11||5||17|
Actually, we might also like to note that not only are we fourth in the league with games in hand, our goal difference has been improving too.
Only five teams in the league have a positive goal difference and we are in fourth on that measure…
|6||West Ham United||28||13||6||9||46||35||11||45|
although as noted above in the last ten games we are equal top in terms of GD.
Of course, as we have regularly pointed out, the media has been saying that Arsenal have a harder run-in than other teams, so fourth is not only not a trophy but not even a likely outcome (they say). I’ve already shown that is a total fantasy and a complete load of nonsense (The idea that Man U have the advantage over Arsenal in the run in, is twaddle).
And now, suddenly, according to the Mail “Manchester United have 99 problems, but Cristiano Ronaldo is only one… there isn’t a single element of the club right now that is functioning as an elite team should.”
So maybe it is Tottenham who are going to be our biggest challengers to get fourth place. For they really were the media’s favourite until such a short time ago. Yet even over there, it’s all gone a bit quiet.
- Arsenal – the “monster” Manchester City created (according to reports)
- Manchester City v Arsenal: The Big 7 Stats, and comparisons of the last 6 games
- Manchester City v Arsenal: surprising statistics and a result prediction
- Arsenal’s 25 man squad – is it already full?
- Yet another example of the way the media tries to put down Arsenal