Why Do TV Pundits Hate Us?
Television commentators and their so-called expert summarises love to hate Arsenal. They derive no greater pleasure than criticising Arsenal, always looking for faults in our game.
On Saturday, Tony Gale was the summariser for Sky Sports, he loved to point out how many problems Blackburn’s free kicks, or corners were causing Arsenal. Djourou actually won most of the aerial contests with Roberts, but this had to be ignored by the impartial Gale. He then loved it when Blackburn were crowding Almunia, calling it a great tactic, even though these players were not even attempting at getting the ball, merely forming a wall around Almunia. When Blackburn’s Diouf joined the fray, Gale wanted Almunia booked or even sent off for allegedly brushing his head against Diouf’s head. The second half was a different story as Arsenal asserted their superiority on the game. When Pedersen fell down with no Arsenal player’s around him, Gale did not call him a cheat or demand he gets booked for what was clearly the biggest dive in Premier League football.
It is not restricted to Tony Gale. Former Arsenal football Brian Marwood and his sidekick and Liverpool fan Alan Parry would always team up for Arsenal visits to the north for evening kick-offs. The script was always the same. Arsenal’s character would be tested on this cold, windy night. The opponents were always praised for their physical play, even if that meant kicking Arsenal players from start to finish. On one occasion, when van Persie fell to the ground after being challenged by a Sheffield United player, Parry and Marwood call van Persie a cheat for falling over and making a meal over the challenge. Replays, however, showed that van Persie was punched in the stomach, but this was a minor point for the Arsenal hating duo.
What was a shock was to see Alan Smith constantly criticise Arsenal the other night against Roma. Smith kept this up for the whole game, even when we were in the ascendancy and Roma were playing for penalties.
All this hatred of Arsenal is because over the last few years we have fewer English players than Chelsea or Manchester United in our squad. The theory is that foreign players do not the physical side of football or that if you cannot handle 90 minutes of long ball football you must be a rubbish team. This criticism of Arsenal is uncalled for and comes from players who were brought up on long ball football, a style of football that drove fans away from stadiums. There is nothing great in seeing the best players in the league being kicked for 90 minutes or team wasting time from the first minute. Sky Sports analysts need to start to criticise these tactics, here is not place in football for these negative tactics.
Last night’s FA Cup clash was typical of the bad press we get, despite the time wasting from Hull City which marred the game, the press have not commented on this at all, Phil Brown (a former Sam Allardyce acolyte) should have been questioned as to his team’s tactics. Instead, we have all the ballyhoo over an ALLEGED spitting incident.