People listen to pundits on television who tell them what they are supposed to think and they keep repeating that until pretty soon they say, 'Oh, well that must be true.'
Benjamin Carson, weekly opinion columnist, The Washington Times
I had intended to write about the committed performance from both Crystal Palace & Arsenal teams, and of the Gunners stunning start that saw them have an unheard-of 88% possession rate after a quarter of the game.
I was also going to praise Palace’s intensity – even if I was going to ask why they couldn’t have played like that every game this season.
(It does make you wonder why players in general don’t play at that level that every game – Palace and the football world saw an honourable, passionate & searingly honest football man lose his job in the week because his players failed to do so. It was a mark of Holloway’s achievements at Selhurst Park that Arsene Wenger issued a full and generous tribute to the Bristolian – something I failed to hear when Tony Pulis lost his job…)
I was also going to mention the raw & raucous atmosphere in the ground aided by the commendable Palace Ultras & their incessant noise, not to mention the large travelling contingent.
I would have issued concern at the pivotal Flamini going off early with a groin injury especially in light of our upcoming fixtures, whilst accepting that Foy on balance probably called Arteta’s red card correctly – even if the notion of our ex forward dribbling 40 yards before firing an unstoppable shot past the impressive Chesney was a tad too unbelievable.
Hell, at a push I was even going to try & say something positive about Chamakh – even if the best I could think of was that Easyjet now fly direct to Bordeaux from Gatwick.
But all that went out of the window when I watched Alan Hansen’s ‘analysis’ of our performance on Match of the Day.
I looked on in disbelief as they used footage from a game against Everton in 2010 to criticise Arteta’s positioning prior to his sending off.
I was at that game – it was played in a snowstorm - and after a cowardly performance from Denilson (remember him?) a late goal by Pienaar in a move in which Fabregas, N$sri & Alumnia were by-passed saw a tenacious Everton side grab a deserved point.
Could I just point out to Alan that none of the players concerned are even at the club any more - nor is the system, or majority of the personnel the same.
In a show populated by retired footballing pygmies who are smug, inarticulate, bland, genuinely stupid - or all four - this sets a new low even by their ridiculously sloppy, biased & lazy standards.
Why stop there though?
For the World Cup in Brazil next summer why don’t the BBC, in an attempt to explain Germany getting knocked out simply show Geoff Hurst’s disputed goal in 1966 and highlight Franz Beckenbauer being out of position?.
Why stop at football?
What passes for a sports desk at the BBC these days could show a re-run of Headingly 1981 in an attempt to illuminate an Aussie batting collapse at the Gabba next month.
They could even enlighten Formula1 fans with Lewis Hamilton mounting a chicane for McClaren in 2009 in expounding why his Mercedes let him down in 2013.
It doesn’t even have to be limited to sport.
You could explain how Argentina invaded the Falklands by making reference to Singapore falling to the Japanese in 1942 – you could even clarify how the Russio-Japanese War of 1905 caused the collectivisation of the Kulaks thirty years later.
The possibilities are simply endless thanks to this new, revolutionary concept pioneered by Motd.
The fact is that it was shockingly poor TV by the BBC and showed all that is wrong with the dreadful Match of the Day in it’s current guise: inadequate, complacent & flawed.
“Maybe we were not the sharpest but we were serious and determined”, said Arsene Wenger on Saturday. (Shame Motd couldn’t even say that of themselves).
“We want to win with style but that is not always possible.”
What it does mean however – not that Hansen would admit it- is that Arsenal have finally regained the ominous ability to win ugly. And for that they should be applauded by the very same pundits who took great joy in deriding the fact we had a soft underbelly over the last few years.
I know he wasn’t on the show yesterday but I have also had enough of listening to dullards like Alan Shearer on anything to do with football.
And while we’re at it Alan please talk us through your critique on Arsene Wenger’s managerial shortcomings in light of the nine games in charge of Newcastle United that saw you lead them into ‘The Promised Land’ – aka The Championship.
For an England legend who I spent years following around the globe witnessing him scoring goals for The Three Lions, to not even be able to bring an insight into the simplest of tap-ins, let alone world class strikes by an array of great Premiership players, whilst still keeping his job on Motd, suggests, like the poor & taxes, he will always be with us.
Unlike the deranged & disturbed Mark Lawrenson who is gradually being ushered into doddering semi-retirement by a grateful nation. Incidentally the best future roles for him I have read as suggested by twitter include a camp receptionist at The Bates Motel or an extra on The League of Gentlemen.
But what level of punditry do you expect when Hansen once labelled Theo Walcott as lacking a football brain – and this the very same afternoon he scored a league hat-trick, a year after he scored a hat-trick in an International away qualifying fixture?
Whatever your views on Theo to simply label him as that, is to label yourself as an idiot – I want to know ‘why’ you think that, I want you to explain & analyse, illuminate & elucidate your reasons – and if you can’t do that then why are you being employed as a football pundit?
Here’s one for the Motd team: I think I would rather be lacking in a ‘football brain’ than have no brain whatsoever like the irrelevant and self-serving Robbie Savage.
Of whom, incidentally, I once spent 90 minutes watching attempt two footed tackles on Patrick Vieira – and when the great midfielder tired of Savage’s pathetic & underhand attempts to hurt a fellow pro and flew into a crunching tackle that the Leicester player’s neighbours back home would have felt, laughed my head off when he screamed like a girl, shocked and too full of pain & professional shame to even roll around.
I don’t expect anything from Robbie Savage. I used to expect more from Motd & Alan Hansen. After Saturday night’s drivel I don’t anymore.
It would be pathetic if it wasn’t so embarrassing.
Its Arsenal v Liverpool next Saturday: two historic clubs with tradition, heritage and world class players. It will tell us a lot about both clubs title challenges. I will be back in my usual seat at the Grove and can’t wait to watch in the flesh what should be a cracking game of football.
Who knows I may even catch the highlights somewhere on Saturday night if I don’t get too drunk either celebrating, or drowning my sorrows afterwards.
Just don’t expect me to watch it on Match of the Day.
Follow Layth on twitter @ laythy29