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Arsenal: Not even the best team in London? Well, today and historically, we are.

by Tony Attwood

Jonathan Wilson in the Guardian on 1 October wrote a diatribe against Manchester United, in which he proclaimed that the game between Man U and Arsenal  was of little consequence.  The heading was “Manchester United v Arsenal felt and looked like a mid-table game.”

Now if you have been reading my rambles over the years you will know that I take the view that the football media deliberately set up articles (or at least encourage their writers and the freelancers they use, to write articles) which follow a particular approach.

One of the main approaches is one in which the facts don’t matter if the mainstream vision is pushed.  And this vision is one in which (among many other things) there should be no continuous reminder of the fact that something very dodgy may be going on in terms of the financing of some football clubs in the Premier League.  Another vision is the refusal to point out that fans endlessly demanding that managers should be sacked, rarely helps a club.  Another is the fans booing or regularly writing negative commentaries about their own clubs’ players doesn’t help matters.  Another is that there is nothing amiss with PGMO being a highly secretive organisation in contrast to some referee organisations in Europe.

With these approaches established, the writer can then get away with saying pretty much anything, as with the line in that particular article that “Manchester United and Arsenal aren’t even the best sides in their respective cities any more”.

That gave me a little shock as I drove home in the early hours of Tuesday morning because even in my bleary state I will still able to calculate that Arsenal were indeed the top club in London.

And yes, it seems that is so….

Club P W D L F A GD
1 Liverpool 7 7 0 0 18 5 13 21
2 Manchester City 7 5 1 1 27 7 20 16
3 Leicester City 7 4 2 1 13 5 8 14
4 Arsenal 7 3 3 1 12 11 1 12
5 West Ham United 7 3 3 1 10 9 1 12
6 Tottenham Hotspur 7 3 2 2 14 9 5 11
7 Chelsea 7 3 2 2 14 13 1 11
8 AFC Bournemouth 7 3 2 2 13 12 1 11
9 Crystal Palace 7 3 2 2 6 7 -1 11

OK only top in London by goals scored, but even so.

Of course the argument can then be put – well, it hardly matters if Arsenal is above WHU, the Totts, Chelsea and Palace or not, given we are seven points behind Liverpool™   But actually it does, because the ceaseless misrepresentation of Arsenal by that newspaper through countless minor inaccuracies is what builds up the whole picture of Arsenal as a club in dire straits.

Indeed if you have been here for a while you might recall (with a very good memory as well as a long service award) the time I had a go against the Guardian’s most esteemed football writer because she slagged off Arsenal for having only two players who reached double figures in terms of goals one season.

Yes she was right – except for the fact that only one team had three players in double figures, and they did it by having three players with 10 goals each.  Arsenal were in fact, in terms of goalscorers, in an elite group of half a dozen who had two or more players getting above nine goals in the season.

It is this drip, drip, drip negativity which is quite unnecesasry, and serves only one purpose – to cast Arsenal as a hopeless case and create more and more negativity among the fans.

Why knock Arsenal so much with these little falsehoods?  It is because Tottenham have a bigger and newer stadium or a better press box with more hospitality offerings and because it helps patch over results involving the Tinies conceding seven goals in one game?   Or do they have some hidden reserves in their youth team we haven’t yet fully seen?  Or is Chelsea superior because they have a Russian owner and new no stadium?   Or Crystal Palace because they still have Zaha.  Or to cover up West Ham’s defeat to Oxford Utd in the League Cup by 4-0 (and of course Tottenham’s exploits in the same competition).

Of course we don’t know but Barnay Ronay stayed on the official script with his line, “Highlights fail to hide plight of two fallen giants lost in transition”

Yes Arsenal are fourth not first, but have suffered the disruption of a forced change of manager – forced upon the club by the prolonged Wenger Out campaign and the same groups’ invented stories about only have £40m to spend in the summer.  They’ll probably do the same next season as they are already trying to blacken the name of Emery, despite the obvious logic that by protesting against Mr Wenger all they did was made things pretty much the same.  So they decide to do it again by protesting against Mr Emery and the result will be….  well you can guess.

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