Some Arsenal fans seem to think there is media bias against Arsenal; some almost make a living out of claiming that the whole world is biased against Arsenal (I won’t name anyone). Some are claiming that the injury Mikel Arteta received in a clash with Jordan Henderson last Saturday was deliberate, but that this is even more deliberately ignored by the media for two reasons: it’s an Arsenal player (and all the media hate Arsenal), and the perpetrator was English and the victim foreign.
Now MAYBE the media do sometimes ignore the failings of our Brave English Lads (TM), like when Wayne Rooney does his Tom Daley impression, while going overboard on Johnny Foreigner – Eduardo v Celtic being the most quoted example. Also it’s obvious that some presenters, producers, commentators and pundits have allegiances to certain clubs and bias against others, and it’s quite possible that there are some bitter and twisted Spurs fans in positions of power that ill-befit their intellect and abilities. Even as I write, Sky Sports News have started their bulletin with the fact that Arsenal will go seven years without a trophy rather than Arsenal beat Italian champions 3-0. Personally I see this as them saying “Arsenal are a big club who spent eight consecutive years finishing in the top two; if they’re not even challenging for the title that’s news”, not “everyone hates Arsenal and is biased against them”. Maybe it’s a Spurs fan producing the show and he wants to rub it in – well so what? They wouldn’t bother mentioning it if Arsenal weren’t a big club would they, bias or not?
Back to Arteta and Henderson. I don’t believe the collision was a deliberate attempt to injure Arteta, I don’t even think it was a deliberate collision. I’ve looked at the video from two angles (front and back), and in my opinion it’s just unfortunate. Arteta is going one way, Henderson is going the other; Arteta doesn’t see him coming and gets clattered. I’ve seen people say Henderson gave Arteta a right hook. This is blatant nonsense. I’ve seen people say it must be deliberate because Henderson leans in to the contact, or thrusts his body towards the opponent. I think Henderson is moving his body forward in order to get past Arteta in front of him rather than have to wait for the Spaniard to cross his path. A video angle from the side might show this better, but I haven’t found one. However, it’s hardly an uncommon way of moving your body in a football match, I do it all the time myself. I expect someone on some forum has already put forward the theory that Henderson was just jealous of Arteta’s hair. Or perhaps his wife.
Evidence just from the video looks to me more like it was an accident than any sort of deliberate foul play. Add to that the fact that Henderson has so far been booked just once this season, and it doesn’t look as though he has a record of making many tackles, never mind harming anyone, so why suddenly assault an opponent for no reason? He has no reputation as a hardman or nasty piece of work. By contrast, Robin van Persie has been booked at least five times.
Conspiracy theorists in general wind me up. Arsenal conspiracy theorists even more so. Obviously there is corruption in sport, but not everyone not all the time. And if anyone tells me the moon landings didn’t happen I will personally shove their head up Buzz Aldrin’s arse.