Defeat hailed better than victory – ask the British press


It’s been quite a week – if anyone had told you back in May that in December you would be celebrating a Michael Owen hat-trick in Germany for the club and that Sir Alex Ferguson would describe the possibility of playing Michael Carrick at centre back against Villa as “good news” you would have either carted them off to the loony bin or checked their pockets for a copy of  Grays Sports Almanac.

Indeed, the worst revelation over the last week where United have had 8 defenders missing was the worrying sign that Owen Hargreaves didn’t even make the bench in Wolfsburg when it seemed assured he would be ready for at least one of the group games. The week started with one disgruntled Serb winger angry at United but the one we did sign, Tosic, will have every right to feel aggrieved – after all, it was at his cost that Hargreaves was named in the Champions League squad.

This is on the back of one of those bizarre fortnights that began with United’s kids being tore a new one by the media, a home defeat against Besiktas was tangible proof we struggled to score without Ronaldo and Chelsea as the only contender in a one horse race for the Premier League.

As things stand, United are back in the hunt for a fourth successive league championship after two consecutive four goal shows away from home – we are the only side of the “big 4” left in the Carling Cup and topped our Champions League group winning all of our away games. On top of that, we’ve been linked with Sol Campbell. Crazy world.

Chelsea, meanwhile, continue to show that they are not quite the impenetrable, flawless outfit the media are trying to build them up to be, Arsenal’s kids get shown up as not quite good as the media build them up to be with Arsene Wenger’s continued pattern of raping his clubs history for a series of contemporary gimmicks, devaluing competitions that he has never won (yet somehow escaping a press backlash – strange how United’s youngsters can have over 20 shots against Besiktas and be labelled flops, and Arsenal’s get called “the Pride of Britain” – draw your own conclusions there boys and girls), while Liverpool..? No, that’s too easy.

Now, just to elaborate on my little bugbear with Arsenal – I quote from the Sun (I know..) who I were expecting to really rip into those underperforming little scrotes.

With five teenagers in the line-up Arsenal had an average age of just 21 years and 215 days beating the record set by Ajax six years ago against Club Brugges by 140 days

Well done, Arsene. Your team lose again but you have a shiny new “record” that will deflect any criticism. Indeed, he had his excuses ready made.

These youngsters play exactly like the first team, and they represented Arsenal well tonight, despite the fact that they are the youngest team to have played in the Champions League.”

Yes, Arsene, when you’re picking players solely for that purpose, that’s what will happen. Before any Arsenal fans start whining about injuries, United had them, and no-one could have blamed Fergie for naming a side with an average age of under 21 years and 215 days, but he didn’t, he chose to protect the integrity of the club even if by doing that it meant playing Michael Carrick at centre half. Having said that, I’m sure they would have had a go at Fergie.

You may ask why I, a United fan, am concentrating on Arsenal. The simple fact of the matter is we all like to read about football – that’s why you’re here, probably, not because of any particular love of my blogging, but you just like reading opinions. I’m the same. You’ll also then be aware that much of what is reported in the tabloid media gets repeated verbatim by Joe Public. Somewhere between the garbage being printed and a debate over a pint, this kind of idiocy becomes gospel.

I’m running a feature in our forum that is noting all of the Sun’s “player ratings” and on Saturday, Antonio Valencia had an absolute stormer at West Ham, scoring one, making another, in probably his most assured performance yet. He got a 6 out of 10.

It’s enough to baffle the mind on any ordinary day but consider this. I had a squizz at how Arsenal “rated” last night – and I watched the game, so I believe I’m entitled to scoff a little. For those who don’t want to click the link, here are some highlights. Walcott, Wilshere, Merida, all 7/10, Song, 8/10, and Ramsey, get this, 9 out of 10. This is in a 1-0 turnover in GREECE, my friends.

I know what you’re thinking – well, you’re probably not, because you’re not as anal as I am, but just for the fun of comparison, Darron Gibson scored two stonkers against Spurs last week. How did he fare? You won’t be surprised to hear he got a majestic 8. Well done, Darron, but not quite reaching the lofty achievements set by Ramsey just yet.

In fact, going by the Sun’s opinion, the mighty Ramsey put in a shift last night that is better than any United player all season. Rooney at Wigan? Giggs at Spurs? Giggs against City? Giggs at Pompey? (Giggs anywhere this season come to that) Fletcher against City? Even Owen’s hattrick performance, getting him a 9 – think of that, he had to score a hat-trick against the German Champions to even COMPARE with the apparent masterclass put on by Ramsey last night.

“Well done, Yolkie, you’ve pointed out the Sun’s opinion on football is worthless”. Quite.

But it’s not just the Red Tops.The Independent lead the match report with “Ramsey shines while young Gunners lose with honour“. He had a good game (9 out of 10 if you believe the Sun) but the crux of the matter was he individually and the team collectively were not good enough to beat a Greek team. Lose with honour? Did I fall asleep and miss something? They had 9 shots, that’s less than their opponents, and around a third of the opportunities created by United against Besiktas when we were apparently so disgraceful.

Perhaps you’re beginning to see how annoying it is, the myth perpetuated by all corners of the media is okay to laugh at but it’s not so funny when the quality of our own players gets understated while those of rivals is overplayed, to the extent where one is hyped up because his parents chose to name him after the short bloke from Top Gun. Yeah, he’s bound to make it then..

I’m sure Darron Gibson earns enough money for the media reflection not to lose him any sleep but as a professional it should annoy him – as it does me, and should annoy you, as a supporter – that he can run a game against an experienced Spurs side and score two belting goals yet his performance still apparently pales in comparison to someone who for all the huffing and puffing scored nothing and created nothing against a Greek side who beat them. This sounds like Ramsey bashing, it’s not, I actually like the kid (but soon enough he will be lauded to high heavens to the point where I won’t be able to stand him, he’ll be spitting at or slagging off legends who have won more trophies than he could ever dream of, believing his own hype).

Look at the media perception of Anderson and Fabregas. Fabregas is now just casually mentioned as “one of the best” while Anderson is woefully underrated. I’ll get panned for saying it but as things are I would rather have Anderson. The Brazilian has played a big part in our trophy rich recent history and after some criticism last season, has really started to kick on this year. Fabregas? Well, he’s been given the captaincy to stop him leaving to sit on Barcelona’s bench. He’s had the team built around him and regularly has two other midfielders doing the donkey work to help his statistics look favourable with notable dips in form when he doesn’t have two alongside him. And he’s won a total of, well, let me see. He was a substitute in the Arsenal team that won us on pens after getting battered in the FA Cup Final 2005. does a weekly stat run of each team with Fabregas’ assist tally given a new hyperbole alongside it each week. No mention of Giggs who has more assists in all competitions – although he was mentioned this week, who “only has one less assist than Fabregas”. That may be Premier League only but no mention of the fact that Giggs has started three league games fewer in that competition, either.

Now, though, I’m just descending in the intricate details of it all and I could go on forever. But maybe that’s the point, the fact that I could go on forever with more than just a valid argument to deconstruct the media perception that somehow failing to win has become a better achievement than winning. Of course it’s only a couple of months ago since there was a deluded Scouser claiming he had “irrefutable proof” that Torres was better than Rooney on the back of a hat-trick against Hull. He went onto claim that Kuyt was a more effective winger than Valencia. Those articles seem to have dried up, eh la?

And, to throw a cherry on top, all I’ve heard for the last two weeks is how solid Chelsea are and how they don’t look like getting beat or throwing the title away (this is even after two defeats) and how United still haven’t played well this season, this after two brilliant away performances that have been better than any performance by any other team in the league this season (bar the Spurs battering of Wigan of course).

But it’s getting to something when an Arsenal team with 3 defeats in 4 has had more praise over the last few days than our side that are playing some brilliant football in the very pits of footballing adversity.

I’ll end this rant/article/blog with a bit of perspective that maybe just sums up the entire piece in a nutshell. This week Paul Scholes was the latest to say that Ryan Giggs is the best player in the history of the club. By somewhat awkward reasoning, placing him ahead of the wonderful Best in the clubs ranking, this automatically creates a growing argument (one to which I subscribe and have done for well over a year) that he is the best player in the history of the game.

At 36, probably still the best and most natural dribbler of the ball in the domestic game, possibly the most intelligent player in the league, and on his day – thankfully, his day is still quite often – he is the most unplayable player in the league. All this in a career where he has avoided the media limelight and therefore his career began and will end encompassing the top level careers of the likes of Del Piero, Rivaldo, Beckham, Figo, Zidane, Ronaldo and Scholes of course, all of these at some point or other considered better than Giggs despite most of them themselves saying Giggs was the best.

It’s somewhat a reflection of the way that football and the general opinions about the game have been dominated and clouded by an agenda driven, negative media that backs the wrong horse for success time and time again and then refuses to truly appreciate the fact that right now we are still experiencing the best manager and the best player in the history of the game.

Of course it’s more important to win trophies than have people write nice things, and of course there’s always the thing of knocking down a winner, but it would be nice to think that somewhere, achievement equals respect. What kind of message are we as followers of the sport sending out when we are saying if you win you will not get any notable recognition but if you dive, spit and show disrespect in finishing as also rans you will be hyped as the best?

The financial riches in the game have never been greater; however, football was far richer back in the day when the proper greats were applauded by all and not subjected to derision because of jealousy.

49 Comments on Defeat hailed better than victory – ask the British press

  1. This is a great piece of fact… i like the arguement
    10/10.Tabloid statics are somewhat biased and thsts not gonna help the game. just too much ranting going in the wrong direction.i hope the Red devils win the title so everyone knows who’s the real deal.

  2. Whoa.. that is one hell of a rant fella. The fact remains that the tabloids all print a load of rubbish and a journalist will pick a particular angle and just run with it. The story was written before the game even kicked off and we would have had to lose 3-0 for that story to have been re-written last minute. ‘Arsenals youngsters wow!.. A player who shock horror, shares a name with another of the earths 80 billion inhabitants..Tom Cruise!!..’ I mean..its pitiful really.
    Dont let it worry ya fella. Most true gooners are well aware of the fragility of Wengers youth project, and whilst we are proud of the kids, we’d much rather have trophies to show for it. The next couple of seasons will show whether we can have our cake and eat it..I’m not sure.
    Finally, I’d say that Wenger and Ferguson are the two managers who the press enjoy cajoling with the most.. Benitez is on borrowed time and Chelsea.. well, they really arent interesting enough to farkin write about. Talk about a souless club.. nice neo nazi fans though.

    Anyway..good luck for the rest of the season. Rather you win it than Chelsea/

  3. You obviously do not have a fucking clue about football pal!!! you are a typical scum fan …………….stuck so far up your own arse all i can see are your toes!
    I was going to write a counter argument to all the bollocks you have just written but after reading the line “I would rather have anderson than fabregas” I really would rather not waste 3 mins of my life arguing with an absolute dipshit! so all i am going to say is……………….don’t give up the day job pal!!

  4. Perhaps the fact that your youngster Darron Gibson is in fact 22 and the same age as Fabregas whereas Aaron Ramsey is 18, might colour the ratings somewhat. Gibson should have made the breakthrough years ago.

    Some of your points are valid, others are laughable (using trophies won to argue that Anderson is better than Fabregas. By that reckoning Djimi Traore or David May are better than say, Bryan Robson).

  5. Good article (though you should chill out on the Sun player ratings – I’m sure you know they don’t mean anything – somwetimes you get the feeling they haven’t even seen the game) but although the Wolfsberg win was great away against a team that needed to win and is statistically a potent attacking threat – although they could have scored a few more than they did, the team was clearly chosen to win, with far more senior players chosen out of position rather than actually playing the real backups in those spots.
    Whether that highlights a difference between the teams where Arsenal seem dependent on young players because they can’t buy ready made guys (or maybe because winning every game is more important to SAF), I’m not sure and I did think Arsenal looked woefully short of a cutting edge at times but (even though Gibson could not have done much more to press his claim in the games he’s had) it’s still the case that the Arsenal team was much more developmental in what was basically a run out to protect the first teamers and it’s perhaps not so surprising that the press are generous towards a team that probably did deserve an away draw in the CL with 5 english players under 20, one of whom is called Tom Cruise.

    Not sure about Anderson v Fabregas either – I really rate Anderson but Fabregas has 9 goals alreaday in a season where he’s looked out of sorts almost as much as he’s looked inspired.

  6. Mate, get over yourself.

    Giggs is a legend, fair play.. Anderson is crap and no way would he be preferred to Fabregas. hahaha good joke though.

    Ramsey played excellent yesterday. I watched the United Spurs game (where they absolutely dominated United) and Gibson did nothing apart from his goals. Ramsey was the best player on the pitch yesterday..involved in everything!!! Do you think Leonardo (Olmpiakos goal scorer) should be given higher rating than Ramsey just because he scored a goal? And listen to yourself mate, your having a rant over the SUN’s Ratings.. Pathetic!!!

    good laugh though

  7. wow somebody bitter! First ur taking ratings from the sun! Get over it its not exactly the fortress of football knowledge! And even tho arsenal lost they played an actual reserve team reason for it? Because they could utd had to play their strongest team because 1st spot wasn’t. Gaurenteed! An for the anderson over fabregas opinion, u must b having a laugh! To point out I’m not an arsenal fan or man u fan jus a general football fan but to see views like this make me realise how stupid some ‘fans’ are! Take a proper look at the matches and then write a blog.

  8. Away to Olympiakos in the Champion’s League is slightly harder than Spurs in the Carling cup. Ramsey is so far superior to Gibson (and the rest of your youth players) it’s embarrassing!

    And Anderson over Fabregas…yeah of course mate! Living in a f*cking dream world

  9. wow somebody bitter! First ur taking ratings from the sun! Get over it its not exactly the fortress of football knowledge! And even tho arsenal lost they played an actual reserve team reason for it? Because they could utd had to play their strongest team because 1st spot wasn’t. Gaurenteed! An for the anderson over fabregas opinion, u must b having a laugh! To point out I’m not an arsenal fan or man u fan jus a general football fan but to see views like this make me realise how stupid some ‘fans’ are! Take a proper look at the matches and then write a blog.

  10. Its posts like this the phrase ‘get over it was invented for’. Is it really that big a deal. ‘oh he scored more than he did in a pathetic papers dream team rating’fucking hell

  11. Gents.

    I think you’re being a tad unfair on the topic raised by Yolkie. If you read deep enough, this isn’t to do with some match ratings that are published by a single paper – it is to do with the bias towards London clubs, mainly Arsenal, from national Newspapers.

    You guys may recall a piece by Stephan Howard in 1999, which discussed the fact that ‘even if Manchester United win the treble, people will remember the way Arsenal played football’ – pure drivel if you ask me. Trophies are the main objective of any manager in the game and playing nice football along the way gives you more respect – like the Arsenal side of 2002.

    Lets put it this way. Its easy to come on a blog a shoot down the author with moronic swear words, insults of a five year old and generally sensitivity that resembles a stereotype homosexual – but why not argue as to why you think Yolkie is wrong? Sure thing – they are only ratings in a paper – but they are papers that are read by millions and, in my opinion, are replicated in some pieces by so called respected journalists. Its not a question of being paranoid – just my opinion from what I read. I guess we all think everyone is against our club.

    Lastly, I didn’t see the match yesterday but I really think Yolkie put together an insightful and thought provoking piece, which should be debated in a mature fashion – rather than some of the rubbish that has been posted. I think that Ramsey is a fine footballer and I’m disappointed that we didn’t sign him in 2008. Fabregas is an inspirational player and even before Gallas came to the club I saw him as the captain of Arsenal. I also think that Fabregas is a better player than Anderson (having said that Anderson has got the better of the two when they’ve gone head to head), but we shouldn’t belittle the qualities of the Brazilian. He is a superb box to box midfield who has all the qualities to attach and defend at top level. He plays better in a three man midfield, but then so does Fabregas.

    I ask you this, would you have responded if Yolkie had have been discussing Chelsea? Of course not. The only reason you did was because he was claiming that Arsenal receive more positive comments in the national press than they ought to. If you disagree I would argue why you do – BUT – in a mature way.

    Stephan/old skool gunner – Thanks for you posts. Always welcome to discuss events involving United/Arsenal.

    Daz – Brilliant. You’ve made yourself look like a demented cretin. Why not respond in a more…..forget it – its lost on some people.

    John (Football intellect) – I don’t know who made you king of football, but why not read a little deeper into the article rather than presume its just about ‘ratings’ in one paper.

  12. another manyoo fan whingeing, moaning and crying. over the years you have spent millions on players, created great youngsters but still cant admint that arsenal are a better football team to watch….and built on a fraction of the price, with millions to spend wenger would be bossing the premier league for years. fact.

    anderson or fabregas? c’mon mate that must be a joke.

    all this from a toon fan, and i admit our team is crap, and AWFUL to watch… shola amoebi is the worst player ive ever seen, at least im honest.

  13. “Arsene Wenger’s continued pattern of raping his clubs history for a series of contemporary gimmicks, devaluing competitions that he has never won (yet somehow escaping a press backlash – strange how United’s youngsters can have over 20 shots against Besiktas and be labelled flops, and Arsenal’s get called “the Pride of Britain” – draw your own conclusions there boys and girls)”

    You lost at home.. We lost away.. Big difference. and let not get too dramatic with the raping and gimmicks and all that.. He has tried the best with what he has got. You worry about ur history.

    ” he chose to protect the integrity of the club even if by doing that it meant playing Michael Carrick at centre half”
    We were top of the group nothing to lose. You had to get a result to top group. If you had topped your group, by not losing to pub team at home, even Alex would have rested some more of the first teamers.

    Sun’s ratings are pretty poor, I dont even know why ur hyping it up. The manager and the fans know how well his players have played and thats wat matters.

    Darron and Ramsey – Darron is 22, Ramsey is 18 lets wait for a couple of years b4 we say who is the best.

    Anderson and Fabregas 🙂 – Lets not go that way.

    Rooney and Torres – mmmm.. tough one this

    “Arsenal team with 3 defeats in 4 has had more praise over the last few days than our side that are playing some brilliant football in the very pits of footballing adversity.”

    Hope we are seeing the same media coz I havnt seen any praise for the past few days. Only today based on yesterday’s game.

    “And he’s won a total of, well, let me see. He was a substitute in the Arsenal team that won us on pens after getting battered in the FA Cup Final 2005.” Giggs has not won anything in the internationals.. Is he a poor player because of that ??

    “that he is the best player in the history of the game” – Even I think Giggs is a great player but this is a lil too much isnt it .. maradona, pele, zidane.. well ur entitled to your opinion..

    and finally..

    “Of course it’s more important to win trophies than have people write nice things, and of course there’s always the thing of knocking down a winner, but it would be nice to think that somewhere, achievement equals respect. What kind of message are we as followers of the sport sending out when we are saying if you win you will not get any notable recognition but if you dive, spit and show disrespect in finishing as also rans you will be hyped as the best?”

    this is where u have lost it 🙂

  14. Kenney – thanks for your contribution but just wondering, what has spending lots of money of players have to do with the argument? Arsenal bought Reyes for £17Million, but you never hear of that as a criticism of Wenger’s buying.

    We went in for Ramsey as well in 2008 and he chose Arsenal. Good luck to the lad. But I don’t understand the money issue? Its not like we’re this huge financial machine and Arsenal are the poor oppressed club. Danny Fiszman is always banging on about the money that is available – I did a post earlier in the season about Rooney’s penalty against Arsenal in the 2-1 victory. I claimed that Arsenal lack a good quality defensive midfielder and a goalkeeper, with many match going fan’s agreeing with. Now Diarra of Madrid is apparently available for transfer in January – will Wenger risk buying him OR would he prefer to stick with the much improved but not yet European class Song?

  15. I have to disagree with this “rant”.

    I don’t believe Arsene disrespected the competition, his side has already won the group and so the result didn’t make a difference. You and everyone else knows that Fergie would have done the same if the top spot wasn’t on the line in the Wolfsburg contest. The only reason the top spot was on the line was because your kids got a fortunate draw at home to CSKA and lost to Besiktas.

    If we compare Olympiakos and Wolfsburg’s seasons thus far: Wolfsburg are lying in midtable mediocrity in Germany whilst Olympiakos are current unbeaten atop the Greek league (in december), the same ground that Chelsea lost in the knockout stage in the champions league either last year or the year before.

    You wanna talk about the media loving arsenals kids… how bout the love for “old” darren gibson, scores a few goals, does fuck all else in the games and is hailed a wonderkid.
    He’s the same age as Nasri, Cesc, Diaby, Denilson and Song, all of whom have been playing and scoring for 2/3/4 years now…

    4. In regard to choosing Anderson over Cesc. cough.

    £0 cost; 250 appearances; 38 goals; 78 assists.
    internation caps/goals: 47/5.

    £18m; 92 appearances; 1 goal; 11 assists.
    international caps/goals: 8/0

    You just mugged yourself off.

  16. old skool – Thanks for the comments. I’m glad you were able to see what I meant in that it’s not a dig at Arsenal per se.

    Daz – so basically you won’t comment because you disagree strongly with my opinion?

    Stephen – I try and steer away from the “trophies prove you’re a better player” because of the very same example you choose. However there has to be a parallel at some level otherwise you can use the same argument to say Lee Trundle has a football brain that Cantona and Bergkamp could only dream of! Not that I’m saying I believe Anderson and Fabregas have that sort of comparison, and I wouldn’t expect any Arsenal fan to agree wih me, I expect I’m even in a minority of United supporters who have this view. The two obviously bring two very different styles of play to each others midfield. At some point though the trophy count does come into it, clearly not if you listen to Scousers who having seen their team’s true colours this year are trying to make out like they were the best last season.

    Also, I take your point about respective ages but it’s all relative at the end of the day.

    Chris – I know what you’re saying about player ratings. It’s still a work in progress and I know they are pretty crap indicators but the point is about the media’s reflection of United. Fabregas is doing well so far this season after a poor showing last season but that is as much down to Wenger building a team around him than faith in Fabregas’ inherent ability to run the game. In 2007/8 he had Flamini doing all his donkey work for him, last season he didn’t, this season Wenger has gone back to having three midfielders. Clearly it’s an effective system that brings the best of Fabregas while Anderson generally gets more work done. Again as I’ve said it’s all a matter of opinion and mine is that I prefer Anderson.

    Given a settled run and a clear run of fitness Anderson always plays well and generally dictates the tempo of a game, I can accept that sometimes he needs to be more intelligent in his use of the ball but that will come in time. Anderson can offer far more in terms of imposing himself on a game than Fabregas can in terms of natural ability, this for me is proven by the fact that Anderson doesn’t need anyone to do the work for him to make him look better.

    Mister – Goals win games, Gibson scored two of those and Ramsey while playing well played well in defeat and didn’t score or create a goal. Maybe it is bias on my part being a United fan but I would rather my player do the former than the latter. The “rant” isn’t specifically about the Sun’s ratings, as I said above, it was used as a point to illustrate the bigger picture.

    Dave Turd (nice name) – the point is that it colours the general consensus of the morons, I stated this in the blog, to the point where now it becomes commonly acceptable to react as Jules has done below, Arsenal get a couple of pannings over the last fortnight and because of kind press some fans start believing said hype.

    Jules – I can see that our youngsters pale in comparison. That much is painfully clear by your sides success over the last few years and the wonderful result you achieved last night. Thanks for perfectly illustrating the point of the article, and swallowing all the crap that you read about your own team.

    John/123 – the point about taking the ratings isn’t to do with them being a “fortress” of knowledge, but I think I’ve addressed that numerous times in this response. I think, again, the fact that you believe it to be so nailed on that Fabregas is better is due to what you’ve read, so it’s sweetly ironic you’re telling me to “watch matches”. I’ve detailed above why I believe Anderson to be better.

    Gar26 – I agree with the sentiment of what you’re saying and that’s in essence the point of the blog. Even by reading the comments in reaction to this blog.

  17. kenney – clearly you’re entitled to your opinion but I would challenge you on who is better to watch. You think Arsenal, fair enough. They may be able to pass Hull and Stoke to death and knock in a shedload against the Derby’s of this world but can you give me a true example from the last 5 years when they have done it against a quality opponent or when they have managed to do it consistently against the better teams? They haven’t, because they lack that quality.

    I suppose it comes down to the quesiton, do you prefer Boston Celtics or Harlem Globetrotters? We’re not playing non-competitive football, boys. When it came to the real deal United absolutely blitzed Arsenal in the Champions League last season with football that was breathtaking.

    But, again, I guess that’s illustrating my point, the whole country is buying into the opinion that this Arsenal team is better than it is. And Stretford-End is right when he says it could easily be Chelsea or Liverpool that I write about, I just happened to choose Arsenal because of the reaction to last night.

    (Won’t go back on the Anderson/Fabregas topic I did it to death in my last reply)

    Bops – I’m a little confused by most of your points but the Gibson/Giggs ones are clear. I wasn’t really comparing Gibson and Ramsey straight out, just the reaction to their performances. Had the roles been reversed I’m pretty sure the media would not be having a collective masturbation over Gibson’s performance – yet I can still vividly remember the 2 week Sky Sports News love-in demanding Wilshere go to the World Cup on the back of a pre-season goal.

    Re : Giggs – The only thing I can really say about the three you mentioned is that each won a World Cup, which is hardly Giggs’ fault that he hasn’t, like it isn’t Best’s, Puskas’ or Cruyff’s. Take that away and I can argue til the cows come home about the merit of believing Giggs is the greatest, there’s nothing anyone else has done at club level that can’t really be said about Giggs (respectively, of course). But that’s for another blog, I think.

  18. It should be made criminal to make the arguements about/on football on a black/white premise. (wink:)

    Interesting rant:
    cos it raises some deep and quite intruiging posers about the philosophies of club football in england, and what the press -of men and women with own persoanl dispositions – make of it all…

    This is what I make of it all:
    There is one mighty ‘thing’ going the way of manchester United, that most football fans – the anti united brigade especially- tend to miss;

    That football – winning, can be so darn mental!

    It is why as Roger Federer or Serena Williams, true champions of their sport, must not ‘think’ let alone tolerate defeat.

    Even where it looks honourable, or good. Or playing half Injured.

    It is why United is quite literarily expected to make something happen, back against the wall, losing a game, time permitting.

    It is why you must set out to win, even if it might be too costly, to other preconcieved notions about priorities.

    And citing the example of Arsenal – and I do like to watch them when they play -, it is where their predicament irks even a non-gooner.

    For every game you lose, and justified off, with this and that, glowing grammar either in the sun, from the managers mouth, the mentals’ of the atheletes, heck! of the team suffers.

    In that sense, it is a good thing the press turned on the OT lads performance of Beskitas. They then know the burden they carry.

    As for those player A v player B comparisions- Its in the end pointless, for we all know how good Torres is in front o goal….even if all that talent’s gonna have to suffer through the horrors of Europa league now….

    Whoever sang “It was a beautiful /team / game….

  19. Dan, fair enough. I’ll respond in kind.

    1. Yeah, we can disagree on that point – I can fully agree that Fergie would have fielded a weakened side, he did that at home to Besiktas. The point I’m making isn’t the team selection per se, Ferguson has track record for putting out bizarre selections, but Wenger chose a side that he would never normally have done with the sole purpose seemingly to create the youngest side. Not one borne out of neccessity but one that gets an accolade even in defeat by the virtue of it being the youngest side. By that token he may as well have just fielded the under 10’s and had done with it.

    2. I don’t think the Greek league is as strong as the German league. The German league does seem to be getting better too, just look at Bayern’s result. I will however concede that Wolfsburg clearly seem to be suffering from a Championship hangover, but this is inconsequential given that we won anyway.

    3. I’m unsure what you’re saying here. Criticising him for scoring goals? He’s just breaking into a United midfield that when you think about it has been ridiculously tough, it’s difficult not to mention incredibly harsh to criticise him because he’s not yet Paul Scholes. You can mention those other players, Gibson played a huge part in a Carling Cup success last season, which means he has as many trophies as all of them put together. Again, trophy count isn’t a completely brilliant way of illustrating, but it shows he’s capable of performing to a high standard in a winning side, something that the Arsenal collective are yet to prove.

    4. Already addressed this point in another reply. But, stats look wonderful, don’t they? Anderson hasn’t had the same freedom and protection as Fabregas. And, if we can use colourless statistics (not sure where you’re getting them from anyway?), we can use the trophy count, which I’m sure will look quite good for Ando and not so good for Fabregas.

    As a footnote, I can’t believe the reaction the Anderson comment has generated. It’s perfect illustration of what I was saying, it’s like winning means nothing anymore, Fergie may as well tell Anderson to forget about trying to win a game and just wait until we play Burnley at Old Trafford and concentrate on getting a 100% pass conversion.

  20. What a waste of my 90 secs, I can’t believe an adult (assumed) like you can be so infantile as to produce a rant with this level of mediocrity. First place, Arsenal FC did not pay the media to write those comments about which you’re having a coronary. Second and most importantly, no one cares about your dim-witted opinions. So keep them to your self!!!

  21. Strange Yolkie. How often havnt we heard baby asernal lacking spine. Man U better , more experienced. Wenger does not shake hands and all are angry. Fergie insults refs media silent. United had lost 3 and Arsenal lost 3 prior to chelsea game press said arsenal not good enough. United play like champions. Rooney dives etc….. Please dont get worked out about not getting praised this time cos all are now seeing the sense in the Arsenal way beauty and which is now going to transelate ot profits (Money and Trophies) ask west ham , city etc… they envy arsenal now….

  22. So it’s just your opinion that anderson is better than fabregas. Maybe you should think about that, and the fact that prob around 98.5% of neutral fans would disagree, most of them strongly, and think that maybe, indeed, you are a tad bias. Your “opinion” only shows that you have little perspective when it comes to such matters.

    In the end of the day, you damage your own credibility regarding anything football-related by saying such things, and then laughably attempting to back them up with ridiculous spurious rationalizations ie trophies over goals/assists/skill, anderson does more work, etc. when nearly every football fan in the country can see your full of it.

    Your opinion doesn’t mean much I’m sorry to say. Maybe if let go of the belief that EVERYTHING about Man U is inherently superior you would have a better perspective on footballing matters.

  23. what you fail to mention ismost of uniteds youngsters aint even young, 22 is not a young player in somepeoples squads, ramsey is 18, gibson is a good player but he has 4 years on him, did you not see your best player fletcherget run ragged by ramsey a few weeks back? did you not report that? and anderson is absolute turd,he has gone backwards

  24. I can’t believe you moan about the press. Yours is the only manager that when he moans gets painted like some evil genius. Were supposed to believe he does as ‘mind games’. Fuck off.

    In addition, the papers write what will sell papers. So you often get the benefit of the doubt because of the glory hunters that follow your lot.

    Arsenals side was excellent last night. Your ‘kids’ as you call them had your strongest CB in the side and Gibson is the same age as Cesc.

    That’s why we got credit. Furthermore, we had one player over 10 years older than the rest, thus the average was not a fair judgment and the mode age should have been used.

    However, it does not matter. The papers will pick on whoever they like. It just astounds me that you could quote the sun as being pro Arsenal over your lot. You’re more deluded than your manager.

  25. hi mate.gooner here.must admit i would be a bit pissed off too reading the reports in papers if it was the other way round.but you are missing the point a bit.obviously you are the 2nd richest club in the world,and your bench is a lot stronger than ours.that was our stiffs,and we didnt have a lot to call on.but the kids played well,but not good enough,we didnt have a mister owen.he is still best finisher about,defoe not good enough 2 lace his boots.our youth system is hopefully gona come good soon.did have 9 english in squad last night.bit of a shock 2us not used to that,he have some great english players and obviously others 2.but how many came through your youth system.ginger and giggs much did your english boys cost.av 20 mill each at a guess.i have bin 2 see cleverly play at watford,he looks likes he has got it,lansbury looks better you can see i am a bit basic on this computa a gooner season ticket holder.i no you cant shout up your team if you dont win things,but you wouldnt be a proper supporter if you didnt.we will do you this season i am sure.make sure you keep shrek fit for the world cup

  26. and your mention of fabregas having two other midfielders to do his donkey work, did ronaldo not have parkand rooney doing this for him last year,now to your midfield, do carrick and fletcher not do donkey work with anderson or are they strikers now? you londoners need to stop readin the london editions of the sun, get up north where you belong if you dont like london media dissin your northern club

  27. Excellent article!
    i agree entirely. Anderson has barely achieved a 5 from the Sun all year and he has had some brilliant games. Unfortunately there are two many bitter gunners fans commenting with their jealous comments.

  28. kobst. “So it’s just your opinion”.


    Just like it’s your opinion to disagree with me. I may have little perspective and I openly admit to seeing things from a slightly (or more) biased viewpoint, after all I love the club I support.

    I will take umbrage with the comment “your opinion doesn’t mean much”. My opinion means exactly the same as your opinion. I’m not afraid to not always go with the popular flow.

    I’m not afraid to back an unpopular theory just as you are unwilling to accept my theory asto why I believe Anderson is better. My opinion might not be worth much to you but let me go on record as saying I was one of the few backing Fletcher from when he made his debut because I trusted in what Fergie saw in him. I back the effective but unpopular 4-3-3 in tough away games.

    I will continue to back Anderson while he continues to improve and stamp more of his authority on the United team, influencing our play and putting in big performances against rivals such as Gerrard, Fabregas and Essien on our way to winning trophies. You can continue to back Fabregas as he scores and assists lots of goals against the Burnleys, Blackburns and Derby’s of this world yet consistently fails to dominate big games and subsequently wins nothing.

    One thing I do find humorous is your disregarding of what I consider to be an effective argument and then just saying “goals assists and skill” is somehow irrefutably ‘better’ (what planet you’re on thinking Fabregas has anywhere near the same amount of skill as Ando I don’t know, but that’s by the by), I look forward to seeing your statistical breakdown of why Lee Trundle and Matt Le Tissier were better players than Eric Cantona.

  29. Right so what have we learned:

    – Yolkie shouldn’t quote the national press – even though its the place all football fans turn to in the morning (online or in print).

    – Fabregas can’t be criticised or compared to a player that Arsenal fans presume is inferior (even though it is arguable that he outplayed Fabregas on a number of occasions – but i’m sure there are going to be some excuses for poor old Cesc).

    – Kobst quotes statistics out of his arse. Honestly mate 87% of people think that.

    – Jaja only wants to read pro Arsenal comments. Honestly Jaja, we’d much have preferred to have played ‘amazing football’ over winning the Premier League three times and European Cup once in the past four years.

    – 75% of Gooners in this blog need to take the stick out of their arse, open their eyes a bit and discuss the world of football outside of Islington.*

    * Statistics provided by Kobst.

  30. lol – I may have failed to mention that but that’s because it has nothing to do with the point I was making.

    Once again, let me make it clear, this isn’t a blanket criticism of Arsenal’s kids, it’s to do with the media interpretation. Regarding the Scotland Wales game, I did watch it, I didn’t report it, Ramsey was outstanding in that game, Fletcher wasn’t, but surely you’re not comparing the two, and furthermore, that you’re not using the shower of sh*te that is the Scotland national set up at the moment as any yardstick?

    You’re right regarding the Ronaldo point. He did have Rooney doing his donkey work and making him look better, that’s something I’ve said many times over, but looking at Ronaldo now, doesn’t really seem that he’s a bad player does it? I can’t stand him but I can’t deny he’s the best in the world. You must be having a laugh if you say Carrick and Fletcher do Anderson’s donkey work, or you’ve just not watched us play.

    And try as you might, but saying “read the Northern edition” is in no way a reasonable explanation for how one player can score a goal and set up another in a 4-0 win and get a rating of 6/10 while one can do play well but ultimately do nothing and lose and get a 9.

    brdgunner – Stop using the tired old “glory hunters” thing, any proper football fan doesn’t need to be told that United are traditionally the best supported club in the country and were in the many years when glory was a distant memory.

    To answer your point, again, I’m not saying they didn’t deserve credit. Indeed they did, I would say they did well to lose to an experienced side by only one goal. But that’s the point, isn’t it, perennial underachievement is still underachievement and surely as Arsenal fans you should be frustrated by it most of all, being told they’re a young side and learning, I’ve heard the same thing for 4 years. There’s a reason that Arsenal keep finishing 3rd and 4th and not winning trophies, it’s because of the ability of their players, likewise, if United win trophies the difference can’t just be one or two players.

    As a consequence of that, if Arsenal’s players are overachieving in defeat, and coming up some way short of United, doesn’t that speak volumes about the quality of said players?

  31. is lampard better than anderson. cos Fab is rated with lamps and gerard. If you have the chance of fielding Fabs and Anderson wht would be ur choice

  32. Uhhh was I dreaming or did Fabregas win the Euros with Spain last summer?

    Also, I can’t see your point about Anderson being better than Fabregas because he doesn’t have to do the “donkey work”. Does that mean that because the United team had to defend while Cristiano Ronaldo did his magic up front, yet never tracking back, he was overrated too?

    Also, when you beat us in the Champions League last year, we had about 7 first team players injured, and a tall lanky tw*t who didn’t bother doing anything. I’m sure if roles were reversed and we had a full squad to select from, whilst some of your key players were injured, it could have been a different story.

    Do you forget how we played you completely off the park in a 2-1 win in the league that season?

    With regards to the newspaper articles, I could show you a few that said that United were gearing up to go on a “record breaking winning run” from now until the end of the season, with no real basis for this view whatsoever. Some writers favour certain teams with their articles. There are just as many articles condemning Arsenal as there are hyping them up.

    The main reason some are bigging Arsenal up is because the team was actually a reserve team. The only first team player was Alex Song. Manchester United had Carrick, Anderson, Evra, Fletcher and Valencia. They were expected to win. Arsenal’s reserves were expected to lose (and by a fair few goals too) so to show a good account of themselves in a hostile atmosphere against a team unbeaten domestically this season was a commendable achievement.

    Everyone has a different opinion, just like I have mine, and you have yours. Just because someone’s opinion isn’t the same as yours doesn’t make it wrong, it just makes it different.

  33. listen,you talk about anderson being a big part of united success recently also bringin fabragas into the debate,uniteds squad is and has been clearly better than arsenals obviously, but then you go and say you cant compare scotland to walesin thecase of darren fletcher getting run ragged? so how is the two comparisons any different,man forman who is a better player fabregas or anderson regardless of who they play for,stop bendin the rules of this debate to suit certain players, now i will admit that fletcher is a good player and ramsey played in a stronger team,but do not fool yourself by talkin about fabregas and anderson in the same breath

  34. in regards to ronaldo currently yes he is a better player but that spanish league is rubbish, and in the championsleague he has walloped some shit teams but his free kicks are amazing, but 40 goals in one season in my oponion that was testament to the character of rooney grafting and the other united guys graftin for ronaldo,if the shoe was on the other foot and roon was uptop ron wouldnt have put the work rate in, so in a way he is ot so great,but in other ways great

  35. alexferguson could also be a bit more media friendly instead of sending some unknown out to talk to press after united lose, this could also be a reason for the press takin the piss

  36. KOfi – at the moment, yeah, Lampard is better. Lampard is also better than Fabregas and better than Gerrard. Do I believe Anderson will be better than them all? Yes.

    If I had the choice I’d still pick Anderson, he has so much potential and is so good already, he is effective in a two and a three, can do a stifling job like he did on Essien at Stamford Bridge or he can run a game.

    Gareth, you’re not dreaming, but I’m pretty sure Spain aren’t Arsenal, Fabregas wasn’t a starter in that tournament, and Brazil can’t play in it so it’s a bit weird to hold it as a marker against Anderson. I’m not saying he didn’t make an impact but to use that as an argument seems a little weak.

    Already answered the point about Ronaldo elsewhere.

    Regarding the semi-final :

    Teams are at the bottom. Can’t figure out the 7 players you’re talking about, you might want to elaborate, fair enough Gibbs was exposed but surely you can’t pin it on that. If you can’t even accept that you were given a masterclass then how on Earth can you wax lyrical about the weakness of my own opinion?

    By the way the last thing you said is totally correct, I am not saying anyone’s opinion is wrong, because by definition it can’t be. But, there are plenty levelling that one at mine.

    lol – the comparisons are clearly different, I’ll leave you to figure that one out because we’re concentrating on a club debate.

    I’m not “bending the rules” to suit certain players, I gave Ramsey his kudos, and I keep repeating the same thing about Anderson. Anderson has played well and is improving in a United team that has been winning trophies and is still challenging for trophies. Clearly he’s not perfect

    Fabregas’ form took a noticeable dip when he had only one player alongside him, anyone can see that, and with two players working for him now he looks good again in an Arsenal team that he inspires but yet can only inspire them to at best third place.

    I’m not saying that is a bad achievement, it is a good achievement, but that’s the point. Is it not?

    And at the end of the day it’s my opinion, I already said in my very first reply I know it’s not a popular one.

    Refusing to acknowledge there is at least a worthy comparison when Anderson has already achieved so much in the game (and so much more than Fabregas) says far more about the opinion of the people who’ve replied to this blog than it does about my own opinion.

  37. To elaborate on the “clearly he’s not perfect” part I was going to say there is much he needs to learn, he was entrusted with a responsibility in the Champions League final that was beyond him, but the fact that he was at least trusted with it showed Ferguson has a strong belief in him.

  38. lol – I more or less agree with what you said about Ronaldo, however you can only perform against what’s in front of you, and if people think Messi is the best when he plays against the same standard then the argument is perfectly valid in support of Ronaldo.

    Should Walcott be condemned? No, that’s too harsh. I don’t think Wenger did him any favours by saying he should go to the World Cup when he didn’t even trust him to even make the bench at Arsenal for 6 months and clearly it’s been a gamble that hasn’t paid off as (so far) he has been very hit and miss. Wenger has always been known for liking athletic type players and usually gets it right so it’s just unfortunate that in Walcott’s case it was an expensive and high profile one.

    It seems a bit bizarre that a footballer seems to have such little footballing ability but he is still young so it would be so harsh to get on his back.

    Now just because I think some are over hyped, I don’t think going the other way is the answer.

  39. What has the strength of United’s squad and Ferguson’s rotation policy at the side of Fabregas’ selection for Spain got to do with it?

    The comment about Spain wasn’t even a reflection of Fabregas’ talent, Xavi and Iniesta are the best two midfieldrs in the world. I was merely commenting that it’s not as if Fabregas won that tournament on his own and by the same token as it’s impossible for Anderson to play in it the comparison is null and void.

    If Fabregas were at United I struggle to see any convincing argument that he would get any more time on the pitch than Anderson.

    When he’s been fit he’s generally been in, and when he gets a run of games Fergie doesn’t tend to drop him until he gets injured.

  40. Breathe easy mate….anyone who takes any note of newspaper player ratings doesn’t know arse from elbow. The fact is that the papers like stories about young players, and half the arsenal team had no PL or European experience is noted accordingly. Also Ramsey was by far the best player on the pitch last night, running the game, setting up several chances and havign a shot cleared off the line so his high ratings were appropriate.

  41. *I’m not saying that goals/assists/skill mean more than trophies, I’m saying that you saying that trophies mean more than goals/assists/skills is crap.

    *98.5% was an estimate, not a statistical fact, I think that was clear. But go on, take your own poll…ask a neutral supporter of a premier league side and ask who they rather have straight up. How many in 10 will say Anderson? My estimate is 1-2 in 10.

    It’s one thing to choose one of rooney or torres, evra or cole, terry or ferdinand. Those comparisons are actually interesting as reasonable people could disagree. Fabregas v Anderson? You are entitled to your ‘opinion’ but you are well in the minority my friend, an outlier, like a college grad that doesn’t believe in evolution.

    *I’m sorry for my own bias as I didn’t know suggesting cesc has better ‘skills’ than anderson was so ridiculous. Youre impervious logic was proved me wrong. I must be crazy. Silly me.

    *saying a player has never dominated in a big game is such a lazy unimaginative way of putting down a player. The thing is, it’s hard to compare anderson and fabregas in this respect because the fans+media simply don’t have the same expectations of anderson as they do fabregas. If anderson has an indifferent spell, he’s not going to catch the same amount of attention as cesc if he does the same. If anderson, god willing, score 1 and makes 1 against an even decent team ie spurs, you boys will be all over his genitalia where as that’s basically another day in the office with cesc.

  42. I do not agree with Everything you say but I understand where you’re coming from. I think Fabregas IS better than Anderson, for now. I think there are a couple of gears more in the young Brazilian! As far as the continuous “tongue up the A***” media where Arsenal’s “youngsters” are concerned, I think that the media in general tend to ignore United’s youth team. I guess everybody has their heroes…
    People should understand that this is a United blog, if you don’t like what you read, P*** off. We think our team’s the best just like you think Fabregas is the next best thing after sliced bread.

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