Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Food For Thought for the Hype Merchants

Sometimes, stats don't lie. Van Persie and Wenger can berate the officials all they like, but on Tuesday night, Arsenal did not have a single attempt on goal. The whole game turned into an attack vs defence exercise. While the red card contributed to that in the second half, there were no excuses for Arsenal's lack of forward momentum in the first. They were simply outfought, outpressed and outpassed.

As with that 2005 FA Cup Final, Wenger didn't plan it, it just went that way. Mourinho parked the bus, Arsenal crashed it. They tried to pass, tried to play, but the opposition were on another level, so it became, by accident, a rearguard action.

Keys and Gray may be gone, but the Sky Sports hype machine lives on, and you will still hear many more times this season that the English Premier League is the world's best. Arsenal are the second-best team in said league at the moment. They could not muster a single shot against La Liga's best. A common argument for the current superiority of English football is that the teams at the bottom can beat the teams at the top; all that that really proves is that the top teams in England are either in decline to some degree (United, Chelsea) or still progressing towards being a very good team (Arsenal for the last few years, Spurs, Man City, Liverpool). They are basically arguing that the Premiership is greatest because it has no great teams. Barcelona would wipe the floor with almost every team in that league, just as they do with almost every team in Spain. I have no problem with people stating that the Premiership is the best to watch, even though that is only a matter of opinion, but I would appreciate it if the pundits could just try to be a bit more critical-minded in suggesting why Wolves are able to take points off the top teams.

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