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Soccerlens Daily – Paranoid Arsenal, Angry Chelsea, Confused Newcastle, Tottenham in China and more

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Some people got pissed off yesterday on a few of the articles. Here’s the thing – personal abuse (i.e. calling the author shite) is not on. You want to do that, go and setup your own blog. If you’re going to comment, do the responsible thing and criticise the opinion instead of the man.

On to today’s news:

1. Wenger – responsible or not?

Arsene Wenger is an articulate man and when he says that he’s not ‘responsible’ for the death threats sent to Taylor, he’s right (even if he’s playing to semantics). Of course he’s not responsible for them. He didn’t send any (and the comments that he made, he retracted after Taylor went and apologised to Wenger – something I don’t understand why since the only person who deserved an apology was Eduardo), nor did he ask anyone to send those death threats.

Here’s the thing though – just as football fans watching the match at home on TV have their views on the game partially shaped by the commentator’s statements, Arsenal fans too have their views partially shaped by what Arsene Wenger says.

So, the night of the incident and the morning after, when Arsenal fans the world over were hurting and the headlines gave more weight to Wenger’s initial comments rather than his retraction, a lot of stuff was said about Taylor, on blogs, in comments and on forums. Are you seriously suggesting, Mr Wenger, that Arsenal fans formed their views independently of what they’d read of your comments and what the media had written? You give football fans, and the human race in general, way too much credit then.

2. Wenger plays his final card

Well done, Monsieur Wenger. You have rolled out the ‘Arsenal are VICTIMS’ spectre right on time, hoping to spark a siege mentality in your players and deflect any criticism that comes your side’s way in the coming months. This victims-speech has been played before, and everytime it’s the same story:

  • Arsenal come to play football
  • Other teams come to kick Arsenal
  • And at the end of the day, if Arsenal lose, it’s more often than not because they got kicked off the park
  • If Arsenal win, they are superior human beings as well, because they played football and won despite being kicked

I hope, Mr Wenger, that even if you do not realise the insanity that you have put out there, you do realise that what you’ve said will influence the millions of Arsenal fans around the world, who will now go on and on and on about how they are kicked so much, or in embarrassment at your comments, will attack other managers for their comments (waiting for an attack on Fergie any minute now).

Stats are a wonderful thing – you can prove anything with them, 45% of all stats are made-up anyway, and they don’t tell the whole story either. Of course, if you get the stats wrong, you pretty much concede your point but for Wenger, his rant is so powerful and will ring so true with Arsenal fans on a subconcious level that we can pretty much guarantee this sort of paranoid self-pity for the rest of the season. God help us…

3. Avram Grant Fights Back

Grant is right to criticise the media for the mess they’ve created – but in part it’s also Grant’s responsibility to stamp his authority not just in the Chelsea dressing room but also on the English media. So far he’s come across as the nice guy and against the backdrop of Chelsea it’s not exactly an authoritative persona.

Grant needs to start shouting and getting angry, if only for show. It sucks, but that’s one of the few ways the media will understand that Grant is really in charge of his club.

Of course, lose to West Ham today…or not beat Arsenal / Manchester United at Stamford Bridge, and nothing can save Grant from the press then.

4. Champions League Final Tickets

Uefa will allocate 21,000 tickets to each club competing in May’s final while 10,500 have been put up for general sale. Uefa’s arguments (William Gaillard speaking):

“Seventy-five per cent will go to fans. Last year it was only 65%.

I don’t there is any other competition in the world that guarantees that many tickets to fans, especially when you compare it to the World Cup or competitions in the past.

Not all can go just to the two clubs. There should be tickets for fans all over Europe as well as the local fans in Moscow, who would like to see such a prestigious game.”

What do you guys think? Should everyone get the chance to see the final or should the stadium be equally split between the fans of the 2 competing clubs?

5. Owen Hargreaves – the model footballer?

An excellent interview with Hargo.

6. Newcastle’s Basic Problem

Owen: Confidence is low in the Newcastle camp
Martins: Keegan makes sure that we are positive and don’t feel sorry for ourselves

Someone isn’t doing their job then, I guess?

And that’s besides the obvious point – that the players are also responsible, both in terms of their own morale and their abilities on the pitch.

7. Tottenham and Newcastle to play in China?

Through a complicated mess of linking together both Tottenham and Newcastle, Hytner (who must be praised for his investigative reporting although I’m 99% sure someone else gives him the facts and he just speaks on them) manages to convince himself that maybe, just maybe, Tottenham and Newcastle might play a pre-season friendly in China. The conditions are perfect (Spurs have qualified for Uefa Cup, Newcastle won’t), the relationships are there, and both clubs have Chinese links too. There’s a Game 39 link thrown in for good measure as well.

What they don’t have though, is any clear intention of wanting to play in China. Surprised they didn’t mention Woodgate and Jenas…

8. Game 39 Watch

Pitch Invasion passes on the text of a recent meeting between Scudamore and the FSF. Makes for interesting reading, once you get past the initial bias.

Gary Andrews has written about it on Soccerlens as well – do have a read.

Off for the weekend folks, see you guys on Monday.

Comments (9)

  1. Ahmed –

    Are you implying in some way that the comments & the retraction afterwards were calculated on Wenger’s part (possibly to generate this exact kind of response)? I just get the strong sense that they are after reading your article (& i should know better than that…or should’nt i?).

    Wenger cannot help the way media portray things. He retracted his comments quite quickly & he raised a good point that different challenges should warrant different kind of punishments. So i think you should get off his back on that aspect.

    He also raises the point (albeit more subtly) that this physical aspect of the English game needs to be curbed as much as possible. Maybe that’s why the English team is so shite eh? They spend half the time kicking the opposition instead of the ball.

    As for the siege mentality, its all well & good for your old hero Mourinho (yes i know you love him a lot) to twist & turn & shimmy with his various comments & create this outrageous persona on stage for the ‘siege’ mentality that you talk about here. So its not ok for Wenger to give it a go? Wenger does have a fair point in this regard where teams against Arsenal try & kick them off the park, at the same time i concede that other managers in the top flight have a right to voice the same complaint. So at the very most Wenger is whinging. So what? SAF never whinges?

    And get this straight. You’ve mentioned elsewhere in this site that at most Taylor deserved a yellow card. I disagree. This whole season referees have come down very hard on feet first & studs up challenges & this one definitely warranted a red card.

    Also, most of the death threats are from Croatian fans (i’m basing this on what i’ve read in the English media so feel free to correct me if you know first-hand otherwise) so please, don’t tar Arsenal fans with the same brush until you know for sure its a concerted effort by a group of them.

  2. Check my website, no death threats from supporters there, we even refused to sign a petition calling for Taylor to be banned by FA.

    This article is a disgrace – it accuses Arsene and Gooners of something they havent done and then argues for a yellow.

    Look at the photos of the foul, it is studs up over the ball and shin high on Eduardo; it is reckless by any definition it deserves a red.

    Yes Wenger was wrong to call for life time ban, at no time did he call for death threats.

    By the way why are Arsenal paranoid but Chelsea only angry?
    Are you a pyschologist?

  3. How can you honestly expect Bilal to be objective about an injury like the one that Eduardo suffered. The man supports Man U. You remember the number of ‘accidents’ that Roy Keane inflicted on other players throughout his career? Right…there you go. To a Man U supporter, any injury that doesn’t happen to one of theirs is naturally an ‘acident’.

    It helps when the injured party is non english, and the thug that inflicted the injury is English as well. ;)

  4. I don’t think that anyone would ever try to suggest that Arsene Wenger is directly responsible for the death threats and Ahmed withdrew that mistaken comment yesterday.

    I’m not surprised Taylor has received the threats, whether they are from Arsenal or Croatia, because there are always a few idiots who do things like that. Anyone remember the ref from the Portugal game who disallowed Sol Campbell’s goal?

    99.9% of football fans are perfectly rational and nearly all Arsenal fans whilst not being happy with Taylor, would not dream of making such threats.

    I disagree with Ahmed in relation to the colour of the card. I think red was correct and the three game ban is correct.

    Let’s hope todays football is free from incident like that and we can just talk about all that is good in the game.

  5. Idiotic article full of convenient innuendo and suggestions intended to imply that Arsene has influenced Arsenal fans to hate Taylor, as if the fans would not have made up their minds anyway. Then we move from innuendo and psychic views to rubbishing statistics because hey, stats are made up anyway, as if innuendo is not. Arsene’s protests are seen as a rant, however Avram Grant’s protests are not. As to how Mr Psychic differentiates between the two we are not sure. In all this, no meaningful argument supported by facts is ever put forward as to whether Arsenal are actually discriminated against, only gospel that they are not. Meanwhile, the players get maimed, and we are still counting. Perhaps Arsenal players simply have weak bones. Or better, perhaps Mr Soccerlens will simply acquire a brain and save us the agony of reading rubbish.

  6. Spiral,

    Wenger cannot help the way media portray things

    But he knows how they behave, right? And please don’t give me the Fergie crap, I accept criticism of him when he rants as well.

    I like Mourinho and I dislike Mourinho. I like it when he’s funny, but last season there were many times when he was plain annoying. I call him the master-baiter for good reason – he makes a career out of it and I’ve come to respect his ability to attract attention (while at the same time dislike his methods of doing so).

    Oh, and Spiral – there’s a reason I don’t trust the media’s viewpoint on everything. They’re in the business of selling stories, and they pick and chose those stories that sell the best (part of it is explained in this article).

    Graham,

    I’m not surprised Taylor has received the threats, whether they are from Arsenal or Croatia, because there are always a few idiots who do things like that.

    Idiots like that are everywhere, not just in football.

  7. Ahmed –

    So basically you’re admitting to the fact that you THINK that Wenger’s move was calculated? Have i got that right?

    You think that Wenger knows quite well how the media operate so he makes the controversial statement & then when nobody’s looking, he makes the retraction & covers his ass quite nicely & manages it so well that the media is still concentrating on his first controversial statement & the resultant death threats happen anyway. Have i understood all that correctly?

    Wow, you give Wenger waaaaay more credit than even I think he deserves! I didn’t know he was so sadistic & machiavellian that he could orchestrate this whole scenario that way. Basic point, Wenger made a dumb statement in the heat of the moment…he realised it…he retracted it. What more is there to that?

    Every manager takes advantage of creating the siege mentality within their own team when it suits them. Watch Liverpool closely in the next couple of months. Get over it.

    Btw, i appreciate the retraction from the other article, all things being equal…

    Hey, i don’t trust the media anymore than you do. That’s why i asked for examples of Arsenal fans going off the reservation. So far i’ve read its all Croatians. If you know any different then please tell me. It could be the English media is focused intently on the Croatian angle, so if you know of any Arsenal fans acting that way i would like to know. But i will NEVER assume otherwise until i have proof. As it is my access to that kind of information is kind of limited anyway.

    Let me clear things up for good. In no way do i think that Taylor deserves a life ban or any other dumb shit Wenger said initially. I believe he deserved a red card. I also believe that he deserves more than a 3 game ban but that is still an open debate that i accept as part of a changing game. I’m not losing sleep over it. But don’t forget the fact that Eduardo has suffered what could be a career ending injury, & by all accounts (again from what I’VE read) he hasn’t forgiven Taylor at all.

    What i’m trying to say is that the FA needs to set down strict guidelines & change the ‘physical’ nature of the English game for the good of all its players.

    Or do you want more stories like Diaby, Eduardo, Busst & Haland?

  8. since your previous comment was based on a false assumption, there’s nothing to argue about.

    Agreed with the last bit.

  9. Wenger spitting his bull will just make united mentally stronger.He is really conceding victory right now.1 point