It hurts the fans: The English media's campaign against Arsenal
Note: Article from an Arsenal Fan
Arsenal has fallen easy prey to the vultures in the English media on countless occasions. It looks as if there is a campaign to malign the north London club despite their enviable contributions to the game in the country. Many of the papers and electronic media alike have always found something to pick on the Gunners, mostly for the wrong reasons.
The Gunners are the third most successful club in the land with thirteen league titles, twelve FA Cups and two League Cups to their name. They, therefore, deserve the utmost respect. Unfortunately, the media in England have elected to despise that and always found something to accuse them of. It's true that the Gunners have not won a league title since their invincible season in 2004. That's 14 years down the road. It's quite a wait and a painful one for the Arsenal supporters and fans alike, who had been used to winning titles in the first eight years of Arsene Wenger's Arsenal tenure.
But 14 years are nothing compared to the 28 years Liverpool has spent since the last time they won the title or the 57 years of Spurs' trophy drought. A lot has been made of Arsenal's 14 years without a trophy, so much so that one would think the Gunners last won it a century ago! In any case, Liverpool is the bigger club and their barren spell would make more news than Arsenal's. Unfortunately, it's the latter that does so for all the wrong reasons.
Recently spurs have had an upturn of results especially following the appointment of Mauricio Pochettino. This has seen them finish above Arsenal in the table for two successive seasons. As a consequence, many a pundit have come out full-blooded in praise of Tottenham and how the Lily Whites are now closer than ever to usurping Arsenal to become the bigger club. Well, I find that laughable! It shows just how biased and/or excited people can get. Taking the mantle of a bigger club doesn't happen overnight. Just because Spurs have finished above Arsenal twice in as many years doesn't make them bigger or close to being bigger!
There are so many factors at play here. The history, the trophies, the annual revenue, the valuation of the club, the global appeal, the social media following, etc. Spurs are not winners and that is evident in the way they have always performed in trophy-defining games time and again. They have always been found wanting. Yes, they have had better positions in the table for the last two seasons, but Arsenal has had the better finishes in terms of trophies. Spurs last won a trophy in 2008 (the League Cup) while Arsenal, despite clear signs of decline, has won 3 FA Cups in five seasons since 2013. That is a feat neither Spurs nor Liverpool has been able to achieve. But still the Gunners have been belittled and others praised for achieving nothing! Now, that is hypocrisy of the highest order.
In my opinion, criticism or praise for that matter must be duly delivered. The truth of the matter is Liverpool and Tottenham have been much worse performers in the Premier League since its inception in 1992. In most cases though, most pundits have been silent especially on the Merseyside giants underachieving but vocal on anything negative befalling Arsenal.
Today, many have jumped on the bandwagon that Liverpool are going to win the league. They are entitled to their opinion, but for me, it's of wishful thinking than reality. Speaking to Sky Sports' The Debate, former Man City caretaker manager Stuart Pearce said of Liverpool:
"I personally think they'll win the league this year. I think it's a two-horse race between them and City and they might just come out on top.
"I'm seeing a belief within the group that I probably haven't seen before from the back end of last season. They're hungry as well. They lost the Champions League final and the manner in the way they lost the final will hurt them.
"They didn't win the league last year so I think they've got the hunger in their belly. They're chasing that first title for however long and I think that hunger will get them over the line."
Pearce is just one of several pundits to wishfully tip Liverpool for the title. That, as I have said, is more wishful than real. First, their squad doesn't come close to that of City, both in depth and quality. There's scepticism that Mo Salah may not repeat the same exploits in front of goal, having not done it before consistently and the other forwards do not score enough. They lack enough creativity that they didn't replace when they sold Coutinho to Barcelona. Whatever they are not, City is and whoever tips Liverpool based on the slim hope that the curse of being champions might just haunt Pep's men to swing the title into Liverpool's favour.
It is also a little wishful to think that a team that finished 25 points behind the champions can suddenly usurp them and lift the title. Man City look even more formidable than we last knew them. They have added Riyad Mahrez and are more experienced than they were last season. Yes, Liverpool is stronger than they were last year but are behind City in every aspect on the pitch. To think that they are poised to win the title ahead of City is an overstatement unless City conspires to lose it!
It is true therefore that Arsenal had declined in Wenger's last few years in charge. It is also true that it is 14 years now since they last won the title. It is true as well that Liverpool and Spurs have done better than Arsenal in the league in the last few years, but Arsenal have won more trophies that the two clubs combined in the last 5 or 6 years (6-0). The silence over the underachievement of the two clubs and the outburst against Arsenal was undoubtedly unfair.
They ought to have been accorded the respect they deserve.Published 24 Aug 2018, 08:58 IST