Oct 022011

For a variety of time constraint reasons that I won’t go into, this blog has been somewhat neglected of late. The most frustrating thing is that I’ve only had time to write after matches that have gone badly – Newcastle, United, Blackburn, yet every time we’ve won a match, I haven’t been around to pen anything.

Last weekend, before the victory over Bolton, I said on Twitter that you could thank me for our upcoming victory, because I knew I’d have no time to write about it afterwards, so clearly we would win. The bad news is that I will be able to comment on this afternoon’s derby. Uh oh, indeed.

I’ll get to the Spurs game later, but I want to take a quick look back at the last fortnight, and comment on the frankly hilarious portrayals in the press. Now, before I start, let me state that I understand the way the media works. They are not looking to be fair, to be reasonable or to avoid offending people. They are looking to sell papers, and right now stories about Arsenal being in crisis sell papers, just like equivalent columns on Liverpool did this time last year. So there is a natural slant to many pieces (not all – I can understand the frustration of those in the press that do aim to be fair), but sometimes the agenda is so painfully obvious that you can only laugh.

Take the Carling Cup game. We attracted a ‘mere’ 46359 people to a home game against a side three divisions below us. Yes, it was the lowest attendance at the Emirates, but frankly that is only because our attendances are always so high. The Sun and Sky Sports tried to make an enormous deal about this ‘disastrous‘ figure, one that was still higher than any other in the round. When the ‘fanatical’ City fans failed to sell out their smaller stadium in their first ever home Champions League tie, what did we hear? That’s right, nothing.

That one made me chuckle, but the Champions League reports just flat out irritated me. The comparison between the write-ups for United and Arsenal were baffling – we played the weakest side in our group at home, went 2-0 up, then relaxed, let them back into it at 2-1, but held on for the win. United also played the weakest side in their group at home, also went 2-0 up and also relaxed and let their opposition back in. However, they conceded three times before grabbing a late equaliser.

Net result? We were ‘wobbly and unconvincing‘ while they ‘showed the hallmark resilience of champions‘. Give me strength.

Arsenal were the only English side to win in the Champions League this week, not that you would have known it from the press, but what struck me the most is how the other three fell into the exact traps that we have become accustomed to witnessing Arsenal plummet into. Take a read of these and see if they sounds at all familiar:

United – played great football and controlled the game before getting complacent, making silly defensive mistakes and letting the opposition back in. Urgency only shown at the end of the game when losing. [Arsenal of the last 18 months – great going forward, terrible in defence]

Chelsea – dominated the game, missed a hatful of chances before conceding a stupid and unnecessary late equaliser. [Arsenal of the last four years]

City – insipid performance away from home in Europe, ravaged with indiscipline (Arsenal of the late 90s, early 2000s)

Essentially, each of the three took Arsenal’s collective flaws of the last ten years, rolled them into a package and barfed out a disappointing result. And all three were praised – United for their resilience, Chelsea for creating so many opportunities, and City for the way they handled the Tevez affair. Meanwhile Arsenal, the only English winners, were ripped from pillar to post.

As I said, I understand the media slant, and the reasons behind it. Expecting it to change in the short term is unrealistic. But it would be nice if there were reports on the match itself, rather than how the match could be spun to fit preconceived agendas and ideas. Because frankly, that gets pretty tiresome.

All of which brings me neatly to this afternoon. Spurs, the Sky Sports darlings (probably because of the endless interviews ‘arry gives – seriously, does he spend any time with his squad?) are the pre-match favourites, a fact that was amusing me greatly while they were a goal down to part-timers Shamrock Rovers on Thursday night, and we are, of course, in ‘disarray’. We certainly have issues – the continuing injuries to Vermaelen, Koscielny and Djourou mean that Song will again partner Mertesacker at the back, while Gervinho’s absence means the woefully out of form Arshavin will surely get another chance,  but I would be very interested to see how an Arsenal win would be reported.

Right now, Spurs are the chosen ‘free ride’ club. I’m not sure quite why, but you’ll struggle to find negative stories about them anywhere, and we have very much taken Liverpool’s ‘disaster club’ mantle. So how would they react to a convincing away victory?

I don’t honestly think we will get that resounding win, because nothing is ever comfortable in these games anymore. But last season’s pair of fixtures were painful in the extreme, and we owe them.

Time to deliver. Come on Arsenal.

  15 Responses to “Criticised even when the other English sides out-Arsenal’d Arsenal”

  1. The worst thing that will happen in today’s north london derby is Mike Dean .up guns

    • Yeah, I’m worried about that too. We have an awful record with him in charge.

    • talk about refereeing in Premier League, for the last 2 seasons it has completely changed, game after game teams lose points not because they are weak but because of inconsistent referees who know only to go by the book rather than being keen on what is happening in the field, take for example, yesterday an everton player Jack Rodwell was sent off against liverpool because of a very harmless tackle on Suarez later in the same afternoon i saw a leg breaking tackle in manu- Norwich game that only a yellow card was given then i wondered which tackle deserved a red card or which referee is right.

  2. Wow.i cant believe someone wrote about this.I have been wondering is it me alone or something is wrong with me ?.Man, your article is so right.Arsenal have become a business for the media. Why is it that media hate arsenal so much anyway.
    i have also observed this: When arsenal win,the win doesn’t get a praise but more emphasis is put on how arsenal were poor and struggled to win But let manu win in the same style,you hear how the media boot-leak fergies team by saying manu showed the steel of champions to hold to their lead and emerge winners.To me English Media is becoming stupid to the eyes of those who are keen and observant.The only problem is that, the keen and observant are few compared to those who have been carried away by the media and to some pitiful extend numerous arsenal fans.Good observation Pete.

    • Yes, the ‘winning while not playing well is a hallmark of strength’ appears not to apply to us.

      To be honest, I don’t see it as a big problem. If we create a siege mentality within the club, we’ll be better off for it.

  3. I only saw the last 20 minutes or so of the United-Norwich game, but Norwich created at least 3-4 clear cut opportunities, most of which when United were only 1-0 up at home to a newly promoted side and Norwich even hit the post once. United managed to score at the other end in the last 10 minutes, *still* let themselves wide open, and eventually won. Norwich had 17 shots on goal according to Soccernet. What was the reaction?

    “Canaries ground down by superior Manchester United” – 101greatgoals.com

    • feygooner. i watched the full match, am telling you if norwich had a good striker or had it been another team that has been in premier league for a long time manu could have lost by a margin of 3 to 1 goal.i could not believe it was Norwich playing and creating so many open chances at old trafford.then the media end with headlines like “Canaries ground down by superior Manchester United” i believe if it was arsenal who won in the same style as manu yesterday, today we could be reading headlines like,” poor arsenal escape with a lucky win”

      • Absolutely. I saw a great stat before yesterday – United have conceded the most shots on goal of any of the twenty Premiership clubs.

        That is a truly staggering statistic.

  4. The worst that could happen is if we lose

  5. lovely article!

    We Arsenal fans shouldn’t be goats following the foolery of the media.
    This article shows exactly how biased the media can be.

  6. sky sports and their rag the sun has relentlesly undermined arsenal for months, arsenal football club is a business are they not damaging that business why is sueing someone out of the question after all every thing else looks sueable these days could buy another player

  7. Not only that, but even the transfer sagas. After Cesc and Nasri, now it’s Van Persie and Walcott. Van Persie has 2 years left in his contract and stories are already surfacing about him leaving in January. This clearly vindicates your point the media coming up with these stories just to sell their stuff. Some of the garbage that is written/told is just beyond belief! If it weren’t for Arsenal, some of these guys would literally be selling papers! It seems, AFC puts food on more people’s plates than you think, albeit inadvertently sometimes!

  8. I knew this all well true after I’d had a great night out at Shrewsbury at home, we’d conceded a goal but we won’t with gusto, The Ox bringing the Stadium to its peak.
    The next day, the back page of The Sun doesn’t even have the result of our game, only a picture of the upper stands looking empty and a silly caption about with a few fans scattered here and there and how the Arsenal are in disarray or some rubbish.
    Fair enough if our attendance in a League game was 46k out of 60k, then that sort of article can acceptably be written but it is a bloody recession you know, not one team with upwards of 40k seating space is going to sell out, and they know it.
    I prefer the lower stands, I would only buy upper stands tickets if it was against Top Opposition (Barca, Madrid, Milan Teams, Man United, Chelsea, Man City) and I’m sure a lot of Arsenal membership members feel the same way.
    Again, we are the only ENGLISH team to win in the Champions League this week(our Englishness being a focal point for attack by the collective media), but we are still ripped apart by the media while Man Utd, Chelsea and Man City take plaudits for terrible performances and moments of madness.

    Someone said this, even if Arsenal won their next 20 games 5-0, the media would still have a problem with them and Arsene Wenger, and now I know it to be true.

  9. And that was the mistake some of us were making at the start of the season. The press kept screaming negativities about Arsenal and some of us being unsuspecting followed doggishly. I’m happy we’re finally seeing it the way we should. They said we couldn’t hold on to slender wins, yet none said anything when the Swans fell 1 nil, none of em biased press said nothing about Arsenal holding on against Olympiakos. Its obvious some people wanna pull Arsenal down, a la Liv’pool last season. Let’s see what they have to say after the derby today though…

  10. English media always personify arsenal as a mocking piece of shit. Lets beat tottenham,and in the next few hours they will fucking been complain’n why t’ham missed all those goal scoring chances against a depleted arsenal side. They jux #PussyAssCowards

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