Media Can Create A Winning Siege Mentality
Cesc’s outburst in the tunnel at half-time is pre-occupying too many minds; David Moyes sallow complexion and fury are beyond comprehension, his tactic of deflecting attention from his team’s unambitious performance succeeded as hacks tracked down various witnesses who refused to be name. It turned out to be a storm in a teacup that the FA can do nothing about because the referee, Lee Mason, did not take any notice of it.
Presumably that is because Cesc centered his comments on Everton, using them as a focal point of his anger. Those who are old enough will remember Tony Adams calling David Elleray a ‘cheat’ on the pitch at Millwall. The reaction to that shows what a lot of officials feel about being called dishonest. In this instance, Cesc is alledged to have repeated the views of the home support regarding Mason’s performance and called Everton ‘cheats’. Moyes needs to get over it.
The media reaction to this has been astonishing. For whatever reason, there is a definite feeling of a witch-hunt against the Spaniard. Is it because he is one of the last remaining superstars in English football and has made it that he would like to return home at some point? There is an element of that and of xenophobia – you know which media outlets will be plying that angle.
Many of them though are simply trying to exercise their perceived power, they believe their own hype and are frustrated by the impotence of courts refusing to allow papers to print salacious gossip about extra-marital affairs. That even the broadsheets consider this an item worth building into a sustained attack is incredible.
Where Arsenal is concerned, they believe that having cost William Gallas the captaincy, they can do the same with Cesc. Except Gallas was the reason that the armband passed to Cesc, the media witchhunt following St Andrews had nothing to do with the decision; it was all down to Gallas’ own written word.
This time there is extra spice, perhaps turning up the heat will make Cesc feel unloved and hasten his departure; this would give them the story that they want, one of their own creation. Except it won’t. All that has happened is the attitudes towards life in general become exposed, The Daily Heil believe that anything in Britain that does not conform to their stereotype is ‘snarling’; Cesc was described as the same yesterday.
With Fabregas though it is nothing more than frustration boiling over. He is a winner, something that has been called for in all of the squad, he is frustrated when things do not go to plan. More importantly, he recognises that the squad has got itself into the position where silverware can be delivered.
Second in the League, finalists in the Carling Cup, FA Cup 5th round and in the knockout phase of the Champions League. In themselves, I suspect that the squad will be disappointed if they do not deliver two trophies this season.
The Premier League is the main priority according to their manager. Several players have spoken in recent weeks about how the club is ready to challenge. Laurent Koscielny went further yesterday, claiming that Arsenal are the ‘main contender’.
At the moment that is true. Others it seems are intent on proving nothing more than deserving a top four place. Chelsea’s win at Sunderland does not make them any more of a title challenger than they were before but it has stopped them falling away. City’s draw has not ended their challenge but made it substantially harder, especially having played a game more than those around them.
United have a tricky run of fixtures, the outcome of the away games at Anfield and Stamford Bridge with the home derby will tell us more about their form. Nine out of nine and it is going to be hard to catch them, even at this stage of the season. That takes us to the international break in March; not many games left after that to retrieve deficits.
Robin van Persie is correct in suspecting United will drop points between now and May. Arsenal will also, it is up to them to make sure that this is fewer in total. A siege mentality is helpful, the media storm surrounding the captain fuelling a sense of injustice, unnecessary bile aimed at the squad from without. The determination might just have become stronger to win everything. That probably won’t happen but a trinket or two would go along way to proving their detractors wrong.