Is Arsenal bullied by the media?
Is Arsenal unfairly called out by the media, compared to the other top clubs??
As an Arsenal fan, I don’t believe the club is.
It’s a common view amongst many Gooners out there, but I hold a somewhat contrarian view.
It is true that Arsenal features highly in all common global football networks. But this isn’t some global conspiracy to bully Arsenal.
The poor performances under Wenger were well-highlighted. Accusations of "bottling it", losing games in key moments, losing prime games in key moments of the season, and not having much mental strength nor tactical discipline were very commonplace.
It was often the case that the major sports networks would continually dig the club out, either for the manager's, the players', or the club's hierarchy's non-actions.
Was this fair criticism? Yes. The club held many failings. But was this "bullying" or being "singled out"? Hardly. At least in my view.
The nature of Arsenal's issues was very regular, and not typical for the other top teams.
Whilst no club is always perfect, there are other factors affecting the attention Arsenal has received, and continues to receive. These are:
- Past success - Expectations based on past success are high
- No major financial or structural impediments - Arsenal haven't had major financial issues akin to other clubs, and have been free to spend well
- A manager who had achieved great heights in the past - Wenger attained greatness, and much was expected of him
- Top players - Since c. 2012, Arsenal has had several top/world class players. Alexis, Ozil, etc. along with seasoned internationals such as Giroud, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Walcott, Welbeck, Ramsey, etc. mean that expectations are high
- Having all infrastructural tools in place - Arsenal don't lack the supporting tools to succeed. The training ground, stadium, and other support structures are top notch and second to none
- Arsenal is a huge global club - Arsenal's global branding is only bettered by Real Madrid, Barca, Man United, or Juve. It's going to get attention, no matter what
- Arsenal's fans are very prominent and loud online - This means there will be buzz and content created towards them
- The media needs to make money - They are not charities, and they exist to maximise revenues and/or profits. Any media house would focus on content that gets the most hits, the biggest engagement, and the most potential ad revenue
So there are given reasons why Arsenal get "singled out", and it's not due to the media bullying or being "cruel".
This isn't intended to bash Wenger at all. But this video typifies why specific networks focus on Arsenal. Gary Neville, whilst a Man United legend, has respect for Arsenal as a club in large part since they were United's biggest challengers in his early career. He has witnessed a club and a manager decline, and for primarily self-caused tactical issues, which can be easily resolved.
I contend much of the criticism Arsenal receives is fair and balanced, and due to the scope of issues. It's not just being "bad" or "harsh" or "unfair".