Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Black & White & read all over?

Not quite, but we're getting there...

Eric Imhof looks at the disappointingly predictable nature of some of the journalism following our epic 2-1 win over Arsenal

If Monreal had seen who was behind him, he may not have looked so composed...

When asked by someone from the Austin Gooners on Twitter what my thoughts were heading into Sunday’s match, I replied “cautiously optimistic” (surprisingly at the time, but less so in retrospect, they concurred). My optimism, as tempered as it was, quickly eroded after Sanchez’s goal, as an all-too-familiar story seemed to be going straight according to script. But as Arsene Wenger said himself after the match, football is sometimes unbelievable, and one can concede at any minute. I just can’t say enough about the many, many things that went right in the twilight of the game, and how happy it made me to see Monk’s men (it’s Monk’s team now, and for the foreseeable future) so publicly vindicated. 

And yet, to read some of the blogs and websites and tweets in the aftermath of the game, it’s as if the Swans just happened to show up to their own ground to watch Arsenal “out-Arsenal” themselves; the Gunners’ opponent couldn't have played a smaller part in proceedings. I guess the impetuous crashing down of a once mighty empire is a more entertaining story than the measured, prudent laying of a solid foundation. And yet, many more people than usual did give Swansea due credit, so maybe a corner has been turned.

Let’s start with the status-quo. In Football365’s weekly “Winners and Losers” column, Arsene made the headline as the first loser, but strangely Swansea wasn’t even mentioned in the winners list. In that post, Daniel Storey writes; 

“So, was this peak Arsenal? A central defender playing at full-back losing his individual battle, followed by a full-back playing at centre-back also losing his, the end result being Arsenal losing a match after leading to rule their title hopes obsolete in November?” 

That’s all well and good; those mistakes were clearly made. But why not mention the fact that Arsene’s counterpart (we’re not mentioning the Swans by name, apparently) deliberately and cunningly exploited these weaknesses with shrewdness? If Arsene was out-foxed, why not mention the fox who out-foxed him? 

And how about his lead from the BBC: 

“MOTD2 pundit and former Arsenal defender Martin Keown expands on his TV analysis of why Arsenal only have themselves to blame as they see another lead slip away in their defeat by Swansea, and what they can do to stop it happening again.” 

Well of course the former Arsenal defender thinks Arsenal only have themselves to blame; the Big Four “drop points,” and all the other clubs are innocent bystanders. 

Meanwhile, and in great contrast, The Guardian rocketed to the top of my bookmarks with both its fair-minded match commentary and actually insightful analysis—featuring, firstly from the former: 

“Credit also to Garry Monk, who picked Montero and kept him on, replaced Bony despite his displeasure, and generally shut down Arsenal, who created maybe three or four decent chances across the 90 minutes” 

Then also from the latter (in Barney Ronay’s great piece): 

It is of course an indication of the feudal nature of English football’s top tier that the presence of Southampton, West Ham, Swansea City and Stoke City in the top nine of the Premier League should be noteworthy.

He even goes on to call this group the “Alternative Big Four.” Cheers. 

A quick scroll down the match report list shows that a good number of other articles actually contain the words “Swansea,” “Swans,” and/or “Gomis” in the title: a very good sign indeed. 

Also worth mentioning is this post on Bleacher Report, which is about Arsenal’s slow but now glaring demise, but which surprisingly begins: 

“Let’s get one thing straight about Arsenal’s latest crisis. It’s not happening in a vacuum. And what most recently exacerbated it was a thrilling Swansea City comeback in which two very good goals were scored.” 

What is perhaps more shocking than the Swans sitting in fifth (fifth!), is that after eleven games [and three prior seasons - Ed] we're actually being acknowledged in the media.

About time, too.

Thanks to Eric for his latest piece - give him a follow on Twitter @AustinJackArmy