The most ludicrous commentary ever written about Arsenal

By Tony Attwood

Recently the Mirror published a piece in which they said that, “Admittedly, it is still very early in the season, and Arsenal know after last year not to judge things at this stage of the campaign”.

And yet this is a newspaper that habitually makes judgements very early in the season.   For indeed in the same paper that on 31 August last season wrote that Arsenal were “paying the price for Mikel Arteta’s disastrous £140m spending spree”.

No admission then of it being early in the season!  No, straight in with the judgement.

Which raises the question, if Arsenal know “not to judge things at this stage of the campaign” why hasn’t the Mirror, which relentlessly comments upon Arsenal’s activities, learned the same?

For after three games last season the Mirror wrote, “Mikel Arteta outlined the huge task facing Arsenal this summer, but after spending almost £150million the same old problems have already reared their head.”

So again, if Arsenal know not to judge things at this stage of the campaign, why doesn’t Ben Husband of the Mirror know this?  Perhaps it is because the man who wrote the inept “Arsenal paying price for Mikel Arteta’s disastrous £140 million spending spreet” in the Mirror isn’t even a football writer.

In that article he wrote, “The club record £50million swoop of Ben White, along with the £30million move for Martin Odegaard means the Gunners have spent almost £150m this summer, more than any other side in the top-flight.

“But if Arsenal were hoping for those changes to reap immediate benefits they were sorely mistaken.”

Now, with this season’s results, anyone semi-decent, honourable, or honest would by now have published a total abject apology for that comment.  But if it has appeared, I must admit, I have missed it.

Of course what Husband wrote tries to excuse himself by making out that he is just reporting what others are saying, but that is a feeble excuse.  For although he said, “Arsenal go into the first international break rock-bottom of the table, with critics circling around both men in charge of transfers at the Emirates” the simple fact is, he was one of the critics.

And obviously if the Mirror group, or indeed Reach plc which owns the Mirror and a host of other newspapers and websites, had an ounce of decency in them they would not only have sacked their writer, but if he refused to apologise they would have apologised on his behalf and announced that they have put in place a series of measures to ensure that they never again employed anyone with such a limited understanding of football.

But no, they have left statements such as “A number of the signings still appear very green and someway away from the type of players that can help propel the Gunners back up the table,” on their website.  With no apology.

And the Mirror and its staff writers who slavishly follow the rampant anti-Arsenal line maintained the view that “Despite their heavy spending, there are still serious areas of concern within Arteta’s line-up” for months to come, refusing to publish league tables based on later results as the full team bedded in and started getting the results.

Now if you are a regular reader of Untold you will know that not only is this a constant theme of Untold, but that we have other readers who feel we should stop writing about the media’s coverage of Arsenal.

So we thought it might be a good idea explain in simple statements why we are so critical of the media.  The point is not just that they make prognostications and generally get them so wrong, but also they ignore key issues.  Issues such as

  1.  The fact that some referees have a very solid home team basis, as the statistics show, while the reporting also fails to comment upon the research that has shown beyond dispute that crowds influence referees.  Refs could be trained to overcome this, but because PGMO will not admit it exists, and the media refuse to cover the topic, the whole issue is hidden from the football-going public.
  2. That given the home bias of some referees it would surely be much safer to have enough referees so that no club gets any referee more than twice in a season – once home and once away.  Without that clubs can find themselves endlessly overseen by referees who have a bias against them.
  3. That the media simply will not contemplate the fact that there might be something wrong with the system of refereeing used in the Premier League, including for example the fact that PGMO is an ultra-secret organisation that does not even have a website, and most certainly will not give interviews.
  4. That while the media is happy to cover every other aspect of football from 100+ invented transfers each summer to commentaries on how each club needs to change its approach in order to improve, the media itself will never ever tackle the statistically proven fact that some referees have a home-team bias and others an away team bias.  
  5. That PGMO is ultra-secretive and will not allow referees to be interviewed after the game, as they are in some countries.
  6. How it can be that some clubs are tackled and fouled far more than others.   And how it can be that the more a club tackles the lower the percentage of those tackles which result in fouls becomes.
  7. How Leicester was able to get away with its multiple tackling without fouls approach for so long.  And then how it started to ratchet up more penalties than any other club in the history of the Premier League, until that was reported by Untold, at which point refs suddenly stopped given Leicester penalties.

There are more problems – but that is a few to be going on with.  But if you want to keep reading, try this

7 Replies to “The most ludicrous commentary ever written about Arsenal”

  1. I make sure I don’t read anything from the mirror for the exact reasons and facts you mentioned in the article. Great piece by they way.

  2. I don’t have too many disagreements with what you write but I would say that point 6 doesn’t necessarily stack up. It could be that a club works out a way of reducing the chance of getting a card for a tackle and then goes on to commit more tackles in the knowledge that this gives them an advantage, no?

  3. Keep up the good work. Only by using stats to call out bias and poor decision making will we ever see a fairer EPL.

    Easier this year I replied to a Twitter rant by Piers Morgan by posting your URL showing performance stats towards the end of the season. He never responded, but I like to think it got him thinking. I would love to see him start tweeting your findings. People might then listen.

  4. Given that Arsenal had just lost the first 3 games, criticism was expected. It’s the same with United currently. These are teams with stature, history, fan base, massive revenues and budgets. They will attract interest, the kind you won’t find with Crystal Palace. But seeing Arsenal’s current position despite previous media commentary, it’s clear the chatter counts for nothing. The mirror is in the business of selling sports related articles, Arsenal are in the business of winning points. If the mirror wrote articles that reported that Arsenal has beaten Bournemouth 3-0 and left it at that I doubt they would sell much. If Arsenal also stopped to listen to Mirror I doubt they’ll get far with their play. The Mirror can write the articles they want but if Arsenal are winning matches, why should we stop to look?

  5. Lol @Tony, this article honestly is garbage. You are attacking the media for what exactly? Proving the point you are making? After 3 games last season we had done poorly and were told so, I didn’t see you predicting that we’d win the league after the first three games last season, so why should the mirror have done so? This is what people have been saying, don’t give us this your criticism of the media with the benefit of hindsight, it’s too childish. You’ve had 3 games already, make your predictions and we’ll compare with the media who you say you know better than

  6. Ben Husband – What exactly is a “Digital Sports Writer” anyway? Is it some sort of 21st Century computer construct? If so, it is in the same league as Mr. Husband’s dubious prose. “The club record £50million swoop of Ben White”. What is he jabbering on about here? Is Ben White an Eagle, or some other gifted bird of prey, with an eye for expensive trinkets?

  7. I watched MOTD2 tonight. At the end of the programme, they showed the league table, running from top to bottom, mentioning the teams from second to seventh place. No mention of the team at the top.

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