People laugh when Arsenal fans claim there’s a constant attack on the club from the media, who jump at the most minuscule of chances to attack on all fronts. However, it’s real, and it’s clearer than ever. Various papers and ‘journalists’ have jumped at the chance to single Arsenal and certain players out like a school bully, and all this has happened in a week. Bayern Munich were always going to bring attention to Arsenal’s campaign, but the sheer pettiness of the criticism the players and club have received recently is incredible. We know papers sink low just to get a few likes, but has it ever been this low? And the worst thing is people start accepting these cheap opinions as the norm.
Firstly, there’s the one obvious place to start. Mesut Ozil, heralded by ‘The Special One’ as the greatest number ten currently in the game, Arsenal’s record signing, Wenger’s new Dennis Bergkamp shaped toy, has again been heavily criticised and blamed for Arsenal’s failings. Yes, they’ve been at it again. It’s his entire fault. Everything. Oh, Arsenal lost again? Yeh, it’s Ozil’s fault. What a villain Ozil is, ‘Stealing a living’. He’s a waste of money and lazy. The same Ozil who played on whilst he was injured against Bayern, which has been dismissed and deemed as ‘Not trying’? Ridiculous. It’s very sad that he has once again felt the need to defend himself and make excuses via Twitter and Facebook.
Where’s the 20 million pounds Fellaini criticism, Soldado or Lamela’s? And what about the invisible Aguero against Barcelona? Was he even there?
Next, there’s the quite humorous contrast in reaction to the Bayern/Arsenal and Barcelona/City games. First, let’s roll back a year. Aggregate score line: Barcelona 0-7 Bayern Munich. That night they announced themselves as the best team in the world, and this year they only got stronger. Putting the current games into context: Arsenal went to Bayern, 2-0 down and injury hit, whilst City travelled to Barcelona with a huge, capable squad that only money can buy, also 2-0 down. Arsenal’s star signing injured himself in the second minute, and played through to half time. He was substituted. Arsenal were also playing with four first team starters injured. They drew 1-1 to the team that has won thirteen on the trot and are undefeated all year. For the second time in as many years, Arsenal are undefeated away to the best team in the world. Meanwhile, City played a near full strength team to tackle Barcelona, a team slightly lacking since precious seasons. They lost 2-1. It’s also worth mentioning that City avoided a stone wall penalty and an incorrectly disallowed goal. It’s that famous City linesman at it again. Whilst embarrassing diving auditions and play acting, practically cheating, caused Arsenal all sorts of problems.
How the media saw it: ‘Arsenal not good enough’, ‘City hold their heads high’. It’s mind boggling.
It gets better. Adrian Durham on fire again. Arsenal fans are apparently deluded for being excited about the prospect of winning The FA Cup. Apparently, winning The FA Cup, with all its past glories and history, is not a measure of a successful season. Apparently, facing Wigan (The cup holders) in the semi final is not a reason to get excited, because they are a championship side. There’s no mention of four of the top six teams in the Premier League, who we had to beat in order to book our place at Wembley. Nope. There’s no need to acknowledge that if it’s Arsenal. Petulant agenda.
And what about the Chelsea love in, and the Mourinho drool fest? There’s been no talk about the Ramires dives, which have steadily accumulated Chelsea precious points. Then there’s all the mind games Mourinho plays with the media, all the little snide and clever remarks. It’s boring and sad. Chelsea have played a game less. If Arsenal or anyone else for that matter win that game in hand, and beat Chelsea at the same time, it leaves them only one point clear. So it’s no such foregone conclusion after all.
Reading back through, it sounds like one big ramble. In a sense it is. But somebody needs to. It would be nice, for a change, to see a balanced view from the people who are paid to give their opinions on the sport. All the recent Arsenal criticism and player attacks is completely off the mark, and is simply born from a collective but personal agenda. In the words of John Henry: ‘What do you think they’re smoking over there?’
Photo by Marcus Hansson