Thursday 12 March 2009

The bias and the spin

I wish I could have been in Rome last night, unfortunately my lack of a commitment to the cause and the fact that my job has the flexibility of an ironing board meant I couldn't be there. I shall leave the match report to the boys who made the trip but I do feel the need to pass a little comment on the coverage of the game by various bits of the media.

The Arsenal-Roma game was shown so little respect by the media in the first place, it was almost as if it wasn't being played and that Manu are the only team that matter, the way in which the media doesn't strive for any kind of objectivity in these matters is quite disgraceful and highlights their rank bias in favour the nauseating merchandising machine that is Manc-chester United. If Jose Mourinho did assault a Manu fan then may I be the first to congratulate him, it's one of the only sensible things he's ever done in his career, for some reason I suspect that the Manc complaining is probably a dishonest liar who was not assaulted and just wants to get Mourinho in trouble by this 'mummy, he hit me' act.

Then the game itself. Firstly Roma away is a very tricky fixture, in fact the Chavs got comprehensively beaten there recently, so expecting us to go there and roll them over would be unrealistic. Secondly calls for Walcott and Eduardo to start were stupid, neither are match fit, so with Arshavin cup tied and Adebayor out, this was the only eleven Arsene could have picked. It was not vintage Arsenal by any means, but Roma didn't create nearly as many chances as we did in the first leg and the way in which we battled hard in the face of adversity was definitely something to be commended. It is this heart that was missing in the early season, we may be slightly lacking in one or two areas but at least the effort and desire is there now. There was no doubt that Almunia and Diaby put in outstanding performances last night as well.

The negative media reaction was something that I expected. Despite the fact that over the two legs we shaded it, the media chose to highlight our luck in the second leg and not our bad luck in the first leg. The media seemed almost disappointed that we had made it through. Compare and contrast this to there Manc loving as they ignored Manu's great fortune and lethargy in the first half against Inter, if Inter had taken one of several great first half chances for the away goal Manu really could have been in great trouble, there was no mention of 'luck' for the Mancs though, strange that.

I expected better from our own so called fans. Mr Leopold Mendacious seemed on the verge of suicide as we got through, why can't this annoying individual just put a sock in his whinging gob? Our great friends at 'Le Grove' who seem to so admire Arsene that they gave their blog a french twist with the name accused Arsene of 'crowing' as he dared to be proud of his side, how dare you Arsene, you must be damned either way as some people just have to be negative all the time. Just look at the Arsenal side versus the Manu side in terms of costs:

Van der Sar, O'Shea, Evra, Ferdinand, Vidic, Carrick, Scholes, Giggs, Ronaldo, Rooney, Berbatov.

Almunia, Sagna, Clichy, Toure, Gallas, Nasri, Denilson, Eboue, Diaby, Bendtner, Van Persie.

By my calculations its about 140 million versus 35 million. Anyway I preferred the Addict's take on events, he noticed our character and grit despite what some are saying, if we can't enjoy moments like this then how very spoilt have we become? Arseblogger summed it up nicely too, sometimes 'get the f*ck in' is all it comes down to. We're into the bloody quarters, it isn't that bad is it? And frankly I'd accept playing badly every game between now and the end of the season if it means we win the Champions League, we've seen brilliant football some years with no trophies, I'd happily taken a biggest prize of them all with some awful football along the way! Come on you Gunners!


Anonymous said...

Fair play to you for this excellent comment. I have to admit I came away from the game feeling very negative, frustrated that we can't ever seem to really turn a corner (just when you think this team has done so, they play badly, making stupid mistakes the very next game). Only after reading a few blogs like yours, some match reports commenting on the penalty shootout, and a good Times piece from Patrick Barclay (not all the media have dismissed us), I realize that I've let our poor performances this season cloud my view of this game. Some of us fail to recognize how incredibly tough it was for our players (lacking in so much confidence) to coolly slot in those penalties in such a hostile atmosphere at such a crucial moment--Denilson and Theo hadn't even taken any penalties in their professional careers before. In other words, your very good blog has helped turn this doomer around. Thanks. Here's Barclay's piece in which he actually has positive things to say about us last night:

Anonymous said...

You might be right 1979, perhaps I am stupid. But, make no mistake, we got extremely lucky last night. Poor tactics and a lack of mental strength from our players caused our disjointed performance and almost saw us go out of the Champions League.

Yes, over the two legs we were the better side. And I am pleased that we are through.

But we just as easily could have lost last night 2-0 and gone out. I wonder how many bloggers would have written the their reports this morning with praise for our team and manager had that occurred?

Well done to our players in the penalties, but for the rest of the match - improvements are desperately required.

1979gooner said...

Poor tactics maybe. I don't buy the lack of mental strength.

If we'd have gone our last night it would have been because of missed chances in the first leg, a lack of stength and experience in the spine of our team and possibly the tactics in the second leg.

The problem was that given the lack of personnel (ade, arshavin) plus the not match fit (eddy and theo), i don't think arsene had much choice with his line up.

I'm not saying it was brilliant or awful, it was somewhere in between, we did ride out luck of course.

I don't think going on about the obvious weaknesses in our side after every game is particularly productive.

However we will need out luck to win this competition, so let's hope it continues.

If you look at the sides that have won the competition over recent years, they have all needed a lot of luck and could easily have gone out at various stages of the competition.

It is amazingly rare for a club to dominate to such an extent that they win every game convincingly along their way to the cup.

Having said that I'm not saying we are good enough at the moment, we are a bit short in certain areas, however vast improvements have been made over the course of the season.

Anonymous said...

My comment about lacking mental strength refers to the inability of most of our players to cope with the atmosphere and occasion last night.

Our passing was loose, tackling was poor and no one was brave enough to run at the defenders or take the game by the scruff of the neck. Everyone was looking to someone else to make something happen.

Some of this can be explained by the pressure Roma put us under when we had possession. But the way our players constantly knocked passes they received 5 yards away from themselves and lost possession when they would typically control the ball, shows me they were too nervous and overawed by the occasion.

They managed to compose themselves for the shootout. But it should have never gotten that far.

Nevertheless - and I feel very strongly about this point - as supporters, we can have different opinions and share dialogue that reflects our perspectives in a respectful and reasonable manner without calling each other stupid or being close-minded when another persons view conflicts with ours.

I happen to be a critically minded person. It's the way I am in all facets of life and it serves me well in my vocation. It also makes me quite a miserable sod at times. But I never show disrespect to another Arsenal fan when I don't agree with their thoughts. And I never write anything disrespectful about our manager even though I do not agree with his tactics very often.

One last thing, even though I am skeptical about this current team, I kick every ball when watching us play. Last night I was in agony watching that match. I hollered at the TV incessantly and I stood for 80% of the match full of anxiety as I willed our players on. When Tonetto missed his spot kick, I let out an enormous "YES!" and collapsed onto my sofa. The rest of the evening I spent with a sore neck and shoulder from the tension I endured. My wife just looks at me like I'm an absolute idiot. Am I not a true supporter? Because I sure feel like I care about The Arsenal to the core of my being.

1979gooner said...


I am not quite sure why you think I called anyone stupid.

I may have criticised some Arsenal fans, but in my mind they deserve this criticism for their relentless negativity.

I do believe in sharing dialogue and speaking reasonably. However with all things there are exceptions to this, as some people do not listen to reason.

1979gooner said...

ps the complete lack of respect that some have shown to certain players and the manager this season has been really sad, I really think if you show no respect that you aren't entitled to be shown much respect yourself

i know this bites both ways, but it often comes down to what one thinks is reasonable anyway

Obsinho said...

Back from Roma, and massviely disappointed by the reaction of some blogs. Read Arseblog sitting in the Roman sun on Thursday and thought that summed it up well - we're through, what more do you want? It's a cup competition, you win a game at a time.

How many Utd fans are there saying "we were so lucky that Terry fell over, we were shit and I don't care that we won the Champions League, the performanc was not good enough". None because that would be idiotic.

We did all we needed to to get through. Job done, next round please. Some players may not have been great on the night, but everyone of them put their everything into it - to come back and see Denilson slated really gets on my tits. He had the corage to take the 5th penalty, scored and celebrated to show how much it meant to him for Arsenal to go through. But he's not Gerrard (or Gareth fucking Barry for christ's sake) so he's an arse and should be written off.

How mad is it that we need to carp at both the media for their bias, and also our own fans for their negativity. What a bunch of shitbags most Gooners really are.

We don't deserve a team in the quarter finals of the Champions league, FA Cup, and 5th in the Prem. That's far too good for 90% of the morons who claim to be gooners.

Anonymous said...

Obsinho @ very true

y cant arsenal fans be more supportive !!

1979gooner said...

Spot on Obs,

that what I was trying to say in a way!

When the effort wasn't there earlier in the season there was so much criticism.

There is certainly no lack of effort now.

If we can keep our run going, win a cup or two and get fourth spot in the league, I am sure there will still be a few morons whinging.

Anonymous said...

1979, I'm not looking to make this into a soap opera. I read many Arsenal blogs, but this is the only one I regularly post comments to.

The reason for this is that I find this blog to have more balanced comments than other blogs so I feel safe enough to express my view without fear of being flamed as I would on various other Arsenal blogs comments sections that are heavily bent towards unrealistic optimism/pessimism.

So here is what disturbed me: I wrote a comment prior to the match against Roma when I saw the starting line ups under the "Roma nerves" comments section. You can review that comment. But my comment revealed my disenchantment with starting Eboue and Bendtner over Walcott and Eduardo and the reasons for that perspective. You then wrote this blog which stated "calls for Walcott and Eduardo to start were stupid, neither are match fit". Ouch! Stupid? I may be. But I felt my comment were fair enough and written respectfully.

Perhaps you hadn't read my comments prior to posting that blog. But I think it's a bit too harsh to whimsically call it stupid when some people question Mr. Wenger's decisions. That's part of being a football fan, isn't it? Speculating on our formations and tactics, and playing a bit of fantasy manager with mates on how you'd like to see us line up?

I agree that some are overly aggressive in the way they convey that, which causes others to get defensive. That often descends into name-calling unfortunately. But let's ignore those types and be above that kind of futile arguing ourselves.

Posting comments hear is an outlet for me and theuraputic at times. So I really just want to get on with everyone and move forward.

Obsinho said...

Rhinogooner, 1979 will not have made any reference to your comments in his blog.

It would have been in reference to published opinion on oteher blogs (I'd guess the ones he normally has a pop at) so don't worry.

Not starting Walcott and Eduardo in a 4-4-2 could have backfired, but ultimately they weren't fit to play/start a game which would require focus and aggression from the whistle. I am sure to be in the minority, but on the day Bendtner was the most dangerous outlet we had in the final third.

He tired and started to force his football towards the end, and did become sloppy. But the biggest liabilties on the night were the fullbacks, who were poor both in and out of possession. In my opinion,this is why all wingers (Bendtner/Eboue/Walcott)couldn't get into the game and looked out of sorts.

1979gooner said...

Hi Rhino,

Indeed I hadn't read your comments,

the word 'stupid' is perhaps unfair, apologies for my crudeness if this is how it came across,

I just feel that given their recent lack of games neither would have lasted anyway near 90 minutes of such an intense game,

if we'd have started both then we'd have had to use both subs up fairly early, which would have really limited our options and it could have also resulted in us using all our subs up prematurely and then getting an injured played who could not be replaced,

playing either from the start was an option but it would have been a huge gamble,

it is interesting that obs points out how poor the fullbacks were,

look at clichy's form this season, he's been very poor and made numerous awful errors,

however because he's gael clichy he's largely escaped a lot of criticism,

I have recently wondered about Gibbs taking over in the long term, maybe this is stupid and naive of me, however he seems to be a bit more solid and dependable than gael,

part of the reason for clichy's form must be fatigue, he's played so many games,

sagna has not been as poor as clichy, but there's no doubt he's not been as good as last year

1979gooner said...

Anonymous said...

Don't sweat it 1979. I should have given you more of the benefit of the doubt in view of your past interactions. I overreacted a bit perhaps. I appreciate that we can have dialogue about it though.

Regarding Clichy's performance this season. I agree that he has been sub-par. And it disturbs me to say that as I've always rated him.

But I think he escapes criticism more easily than some because of his past performances and because the effort is ALWAYS there. Supporters are more ready to slag a player off when they appear disinterested or lazy and perform poorly. Especially when they haven't proven themselves yet.

And Obsinho, regarding Bendtner, no worries, I'm a big fan. I don't feel he has taken his chances as well as he should have this season and I don't think he is being utilized to his strengths. But I think he has a bright future. I can see what he is trying to do when he is out there, it just doesn't come off for him too often right now. But he can give us something that other players in the squad cannot. And that will be a useful outlet when teams come to defend in the future if we can get him in the box and our players learn to cross!