By Tony Attwood
It has been rather difficult to pick up much information about the Arsenal v Brentford friendly game although we were given the Arsenal team…
Cedric, Walters (Awe 46), Holding, Tavares (Souza 76),
Elneny, Lokonga, Maitland-Niles (Patino 85),
Marquinhos, Nelson (Sagoe Jr 90), Nuno Tavares
and from that it is possible to think that one purpose of the match was to put Nuno Tavares on display as there has been talk of a loan deal with Atalanta who arrived last summer from Benfica for around £6.8m.
And there is a report in the Express on Tavares saying that Arsenal are yet to decide whether they would be willing to include an option to buy within the agreement, as they believe Tavares is “still a talent for the future.”
According to Luca Bendoni, Tavares is set to secure a loan move to Serie A side Atalanta this summer “to get some much-needed experience under his belt – with the player reaching an ‘agreement’ with the club.” Although Football.London (owned by Reach plc, the same company that owns the Express, but which clearly has different sources) says, “Arsenal’s Nuno Tavares loan deal in doubt as Edu ‘fails’ to reach crucial agreement”. Quite why the word “fails” is in inverted commas and what that is supposed to imply, is not clear. But then it is FoLo, so no change there.
So maybe that was what the whole game was about. Although it was also interesting to see Reiss Nelson get a full game. He and Ainsley Maitland-Niles were involved in the build up to Eddie Nketiah’s goal: his fifth goal of the summer. Were those two on display for buyers, or was Arteta looking to see if they did have an important role to play as subs, and in the Europa League and League Cup?
And it is also interesting that Marquinhos was there all the way through as well and according to the official report came close to scoring on two occasions.
Football.london praised Marquinhos’ performance (although I am not 100% convinced they actually had a reporter at the match), describing it as ‘another lively display’ in which he ‘appeared to impress’. (It also has what it claims to be is a video of the match on its site, but that doesn’t appear to want to load, so we can’t get a look at what goes on – unless you can find the video elsewhere.) Here is a video of him scoring, and he does look impressive.
But the main story that emerged concerning the Brentford friendly game was that Arsenal lost their perfect record in pre-season friendlies. And to Brentford – the team that beat a patchwork Arsenal side on the first day of last season in the defeat that preceded two more reversals, and led to all those notorious headlines about the worst start since Noah went into the boatbuilding business.
However, it is also worth noting that although the Arsenal team was very much made up of players who got very few games last season the Brentford side included such players as Henry [who made 35 appearances last season for Brentford] Onyeka [24 appearances] and Mbeumo [35 starts].
A somewhat imbalanced pair of teams, therefore, and all seemingly done to put one or two players on show. We perhaps will never know who, unless one of the Arsenal team from that match does suddenly get a transfer or a loan fixed up.
Meanwhile elsewhere, I was struck by a line in an article in the Telegraph about Everton which said, “As with any organisation, the figurehead dictates perceptions of everything else.” The article “There is one good reason why Everton fear another season of struggle” made one simple point, that “under Farhad Moshiri, nobody can be entirely sure how different this season will be from the last six”.
So the point is made – all organisations have a figurehead who dictates how we see everything else.
It is an interesting notion, but one that I think is not only wrong, but also at the heart of the problem with the way that football is portrayed.
Of course, the media in England would never ever admit that it has a “head of football” who dictates how we see everything. They claim to be reporting football as it is. So the argument seems to be that all organisations other than media organisations have a figurehead who dictates perceptions of everything else.