By Bulldog Drummond
The basic news is that Arsenal are getting ever closer to signing Mudryk, and Emile Smith Rowe is ready to start a match. Saka is also expected to be fit to play. Reiss Nelson and Gabriel Jesus are unavailable although both are in recovery mode.
As for Tottenham, for their home game against Arsenal they have three players who will be almost certainly unavailable, whlie Bissouma has completely recovered and Rodrigo Bentancur is also likely to be available.
As for the result, a win for Tottenham would put them just eight points behind Arsenal having played one game more than Arsenal. Not exactly “bragging rights” as the media like to call it. And we might note in passing that Tottenham lost their last home match – against Aston Villa. It was only Villa’s second away win of the season.
So the momentum is with Arsenal which makes life difficult for the media who are left suggesting that Arsenal have been struggling with matches against Tottenham as the Telegraph suggests in its piece on Tottenham against Arsenal in the past.
But is that actually true? For if we have learned one thing in the years of running Untold Arsenal it is the need to check each and every statistical statement made about Arsenal in the media.
Across the last 19 games between the two Arsenal have won just six, there have been six draws and there have been seven Tottenham wins. That in most walks of life would be called balance, not one team struggling in matches against another.
So let’s try just the last ten. Tottenham have won four, Arsenal have won four and there have been two draws. Again balance, not Arsenal struggling.
All right let’s bring the number right down. The last five games between Tottenham and Arsenal. Tottenham have won two and Arsenal three. Arsenal have scored eight and Tottenham have scored eight. No, the reality is across recent history, no matter how this is measured, Arsenal and Tottenham have been balanced in played each other. The reporter is once again making things up to fit the pro-Tottenham agenda.
So what do Tottenham and their media pals do ahead of this game? Well, the Guardian runs the headline “Conte turns up pressure on ‘favourites’ Arsenal and calls for referee respect” Arsenal, he says, will start facing more and more pressure and “extra challenges” as he adds that he “hates people that try to” intimidate officials. It is a theme taken up across the media. “Don’t try to intimidate officials – Conte warns Arteta ahead of Tottenham vs Arsenal” according to the Daily Post
Meanwhile, the media are indeed now generally also busy telling us that actually Arsenal aren’t really that good, noting that when Conte won the league with Chelsea in 2016-17, his team were nine points clear by this stage of the season, while Arsenal are merely five ahead of second-placed Manchester City after the same number of games. Hardly being ahead at all, really. It makes one think that if Tottenham were to win, the next headline would be about Arsenal’s relegation worries.
Unfortunately for Conte, or at least the Conte reported in the Guardian, his conclusion is hardly dramatic. It reads, “It is a battle between Arsenal and Manchester City.” Well, yes, I think we knew that.
But at least the media have finally agreed on how they are going to attack Arsenal from now on – it is by suggesting that the team will always “get players around the referee at contentious moments” and that the FA has finally woken up to this tactic by charging the club with bringing the game into disrepute, invading Ukraine, global warming and being horrible cheaty type people who don’t play the game to the high levels of fairness known to exist in England.
Which brings us neatly to the referee Craig Pawson. Overall in the Premier League, 56 games this season have been away wins out of the 178 games played. That is 31%. 41 games have been draws – 23%. The rest, 46%, have been home wins.
Mr Pawson has overseen ten premier league games this season so he is not one of the busiest Premier League referees thus far in the league (the busiest have undertaken 14 or 15 Premier League games.)
And for once things look like they might be moving in our favour, in that Pawson has overseen 30% of his matches as home wins, 50% as away wins and 20% as draws. Indeed in terms of the referees who have overseen ten or more PL games this season he is top of the league for awarding away wins.
We’ll continue with this point in the next article.
- What the media won’t tell you about football 5: Fifa lends money to Switzerland
- What the media won’t tell you about football, part 4 – referee variations
- The final transfer rumours: 3 new names to make 66 players tipped for Arsenal
- What the media won’t tell you about football, part 3 – referee home bias
- The real live facts that the media won’t ever touch (part 2)