Arsenal News Review Reviewed

August 15, 2011 — by Rob Kirby

Where's the News Review, Myles?

Nonstop bitching about one’s team evokes the sentiment: If you hate the team so much, don’t watch them. Of course, if you’re from North London and have been a lifetime supporter of Arsenal, for example, you’re not just going to up and change allegiances to Tottenham or Manchester United. But once you’ve griped once, twice, three times, you’re out. Move on and shut the hell up.

But even more annoying are people who do not support the team, yet decide to tee off at every opportunity.

Myles Palmer runs a site called Arsenal News Review. He is a very intelligent writer, clearly knows the ins and outs of the sport and has written professionally about the game for many years. He wrote a book on Arsene Wenger that is always one of featured links on the homepage. He admits openly that he does not support Arsenal. Fair enough. However, he posts near-daily entries pointing out the many atrocities of Wenger and his “failed youth project.” He writes extensively about La Liga teams, often launches into diatribes on Arsenal as the 21st Ligue 1 side and is fixated on the English national team. He constantly beats Wenger with the stick of how the manager refuses to develop English talent, despite all evidence to the contrary.

If you despise Arsenal, why do you run a site called Arsenal News Review?

I wrote Palmer once and posed that question. I also suggested alternative, more accurate names for the site:

More Bitching About Wenger (subtitle: Don’t Forget to Buy the Book!)
Non-Arsenal News Review From a Non-Arsenal Fan

I have read the site for a few years, as a way to gauge the most negative possible sentiment of the team (counting my letter, this is I guess my second gripe—I get one more…). Now, however, I have decided to no longer put myself through the torture. The perspective is not only biased, but deeply flawed.

Palmer bashes Arsenal but religiously praises Chelsea, Manchester United, Barcelona and Real Madrid. Why not forget about awful Arsenal and blog about one of the other teams?

Oh right, the book.

The site also contains music reviews and big-ups to other cultural phenomena. Because that’s what a site dedicated to Arsenal news review is all about.

But let’s address the issues:

Development of English talent. Wenger gave young Academy player Ashley Cole his early first team break, as he now has Kieran Gibbs in the same position. Wenger last year gave Wilshere, a product of the Academy, a huge opportunity at 18, putting him into the first team as he has done previously with young talents such as Fabregas and others. A teenage Theo Walcott went straight into the first team, as may Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, both of whom Wenger brought in from Southampton at considerable cost. If I’m not mistaken, Southampton still lies squarely on English soil. I will check again. Aaron Ramsey spent his final years schooling years at the Colney grounds and now claims a starting XI spot (but he’s Welsh, totally different kettle of fish). The half-English Carl Jenkinson has mooted the possibility of playing for the English side (currently plays for Finland, his “better” half). And Ghanaian-born Emmanuel Frimpong now plays for England—don’t let the name fool you.

Wenger is French and has connections in France that enable him to spot and secure talent at reasonable non-inflated prices. A few intelligent signings: Thierry Henry, Patrick Viera, Nicolas Anelka, Bacary Sagna, Emmanuel Petit, Robert Pires, Gael Clichy, Samir Nasri…the list is too long. The business success of it, quite profitable, and they happened to be quite good on the pitch. Many an astute French African signing, as well.

At present, Sagna, Laurent Koscielny, Abou Diaby and Sebastien Squillaci are Arsenal’s French players on the senior squad (I think we can omit Nasri by now, and Squillaci might well get relegated to the reserves whenever a new defender arrives). Two played at Newcastle. Compare with Chelsea, who also played two on Sunday (Malouda and Anelka). That would make them as French as Arsenal. Chelsea are bucking to overtake Arsenal as the new 21st Ligue 1 side. Not only do they have also have a French 20-year old (Kakuta) and as many African Francophones (Drogba, Kalou, Essien) in the senior squad, they just signed a young Belgian goalkeeper. Mon Dieu!

Chelsea also had one Portuguese starter, two Portuguese on the bench and a Portuguese manager, who recently defected from Porto. They’re the 15th top-flight club of Portugal! Add three regular Brazilian starters (Luiz, Alex, Ramires), and there’s a whole lotta Portufrancophonics going on at Stamford Bridge.

Meanwhile, back in the UK, Wilshere, Ramsey, Gibbs and Walcott have broken into the current starting XI and as go-to subs. Frimpong came on as a sub on Saturday, likely soon to be joined by Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jenkinson, who both sat on the bench against Newcastle. Other Britishers given first team Premier League and Champions League playing time in the last year? Henri Lansbury, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, Craig Eastmond and Thomas Cruise, as well as Mark Randall, Kyle Bartley and Gavin Hoyte in previous years.

By the way, if you don’t like non-Arsenal-bashing posts, don’t read ‘em.

Move along, nothing to see here.