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Dear New York Times: Stay Away From Arsenal Reporting

Obviously a crisis setting, right? RIGHT?
Obviously a crisis setting, right? RIGHT?

If you don't already know, Wednesday's New York Times featured an article about Arsenal on the first page of the sports section. Setting the tone for the article was a picture of the Old Trafford scoreboard after that game. Quite frankly, I found this article to be the complete difference to their moniker, "all the news that's fit to print". This article wasn't fit to print, for the reasons below.  

LONDON - Fewer than two dozen Arsenal supporters gathered at the Herbert Chapman pub near Emirates Stadium, hoping to raise a glass in triumph but resigned to lower expectations.

Ahem, typo. It's not "pub near Emirates Stadium". You're missing a definitive article, NYT. Unless you want to be awkward sounding. Also, it sounds like these fans are at a funeral. Is it Herbert Chapman's funeral? If it isn't, the comparison used is kind of awful. 

"We're getting less and less people here as Arsenal get worse and worse," Emily Burr, 19, the bartender, said of the thin crowd before Tuesday's Champions League match from Germany began on the pub's big-screen television.

Why are you complaining about not having glory-seeking bastards? Oh, right. Bad for business. Well, blame Chapman then. If he doesn't die, then Wenger doesn't manage now, and we're not in this situation. Manage through pneumonia, asshole! He set a bad precedent for excuses, the softy. 

"The next day at work, there was no banter, only pity and understanding," said Albert Davies, 50, a government employee. "That's even more of an insult."

You obviously live in a work area where noone has the brains to make a crappy "I'd 8-2 be an Arsenal fan right now" pun. It sounds really really dull. Oh, that's right. You're a civil servant. I forgot. You're whole life is meant to be dull, with only sophisticated jokes there because you're all from Oxbridge (on a tangent, Yes Minister is brilliant. Really, really brilliant.). 

He sat in the Chapman pub, named after a former Arsenal manager and decorated in the team’s red and white colors, awaiting the start of Tuesday’s match against Borussia Dortmund, the defending Bundesliga champion. In 2006, Arsenal reached the Champions League final, but those days seem distant, perhaps irretrievable. These days, Arsenal fans are confronted with the notion that one of England’s most successful teams is on the decline.

Saying the days of 2006 are irretrievable is over-exaggeration. Obviously, a team that's consistently in the Champions League and top 4 or 5 of the Premier League will never ever get to the Champions League final (note--not even winning it. Just getting to the final). Also, I wouldn't say Arsenal are on the decline. A short term loss of form compared with previous successful years? Yes. But these sort of things happen. Look at Liverpool. Actually, that's a bad example. They're actually a team on the decline, what with the whole not winning the league since some whinging Scot called Dalglish was the manager and another whinging Scot was in defence (yet the media never mention that. Hmmm). Arsenal aren't at their level; for one thing, we still have Champions League football, and are closer to winning the league than they are (not that it makes us title contenders--we're not, unless we go on a great run of form that includes beating Chelsea and City). 

The vision and speed of midfielder Jack Wilshere, 19, will be unavailable for perhaps three months because of an ankle injury. The other day, Wilshere unveiled a tattoo of a woman in prayer, perhaps hinting that his - and Arsenal's season - will need divine intervention.

Two things: One. Wilshere? Speed? Really? Out of all of the things you could've talked about with regards to Jack, even the boring clichéd bs about leadership and tenacity, and you chose speed? Have you ever even watched Arsenal before, or are you winging it? It's gotta be the latter, given what you wrote later in that paragraph. I mean, trying to get a biblical reference out of a picture on Twitter isn't exactly in depth journalism, is it? Pulitzer, please!

It is widely believed that one month into a Premier League season that will stretch into spring, the Gunners are already playing for third place at best, maybe fourth, the lowest spot that would gain qualification again in 2012-13 for the Champions League, the world's top club tournament.

Why is that exactly a bad thing? I mean, the Champions League is pretty good, and important. And, for the record, some traditional "big clubs" that missed out on the Champions League this year: Liverpool, Juventus, Rangers, Celtic, Feyenoord, AS Roma, Atletico Madrid, and Paris St Germain. That seems like a list of some pretty damn good Champions League/European Cup/Cup Winners Cup teams over the years. Too bad they have the Europa League, at best.

Arsenal's only Premier League victory came last weekend on a 1-0 gift from Swansea City - a ball rolled from a goalkeeper into the heel of a defender, then a pouncing response from Andrey Arshavin, who stuck out his tongue impishly upon scoring, acknowledging luck over design.

Because actually reporting that Arsenal dominated the game and could've won 2 or 3 nil with a bit more luck and better finishing from Ramsey takes too much effort. Still, no matter. It's not like it's the truth or anything, right, or your actual job. Also, that's how Arshavin always, always celebrates. Again, have you ever watched Arsenal?

But, in his 16th season, fans and reporters have grown fidgety.


Is Wenger's approach outdated? Did he wait too long to make roster moves when it seemed inevitable that Fàbregas and Nasri would leave as this season began? Did his late signings of Mikel Arteta, 29, and Yossi Benayoun, 31, in midfield represent a practical departure from his usual methods or full-on panic?

Yeah, that stupid Wenger, not signing replacements for players who didn't leave until the last two weeks of the window, screwing over plans to buy players like Mario Götze and Eden Hazard, whose clubs didn't want to sell that close to the beginning of the season. Yeah, you heard me, Wenger. It's all your fault Barcelona didn't have enough money for the paper to print Fabregas' contract on (seriously), let alone pay his market price. TRAID WENGER!!!!

"We’re in a mess," said Nick Spicer, 49, a building projects manager. "We’ve become a feeder club, developing players for everybody else."

Hi, Nick. Manchester City and Barcelona send their regards for Emmanuel Adebayor and Alex Hleb. They're really glad that Arsenal developed those two players before getting £38m for them, after which they did the grand sum of sod all for their new clubs. Wenger really missed a trick there. Sack him!

Yes, we may have lost Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy. But, we wanted to lose Clichy, and Fabregas is a special case. I wouldn't argue that we're becoming a feeder club; feeder clubs usually sell players who turn out to be really good. Most of the players who have left recently haven't. 

Arsenal's supporters long to ask Kroenke familiar questions asked when someone else's money is on the line: Does Wenger have a sufficient budget to spend on players or is he hesitant to spend it? What are Kroenke's intentions? Does he want Arsenal to be a champion or a cash machine? Both?

Hey, a good point! Too bad that it's 800 words in. By now, I've ditched this article to go Twitter to look for any evidence of Jack Wilshere looking for divine intervention this season. Hey, if it works for the Times, it's gotta be good, investigative, mind-blowing journalism!

This is, actually, the key question surrounding Arsenal right now. The track record with Americans who own NFL teams along with soccer teams isn't great (The Glazers, Hicks and Lerner. He's on the list for hiring McLeish.). Kroenke hasn't really shown us, the fans, the ones who keep this club running, what his plan is. We're in the dark. It really requires more coverage than the Times' two paragraphs give it. 

"No one can blow a lead like Arsenal," said Matt McQueen, 25, a season-ticket holder and kitchen designer.

I'm starting to see a trend here... So far, every Arsenal fan quoted has had not a single thing to say that was positive in any way. It's almost like Jere Longman has an agenda, and is avoiding unbiased reporting. But surely the Times wouldn't do something like that!

Two minutes from the end of the game, an unstoppable diving shot by Borussia Dortmund tied the score at 1-1.

What's an unstoppable diving shot? Also, "by Borussia Dortmund"? Seriously? You can look up Jack Wilshere's Tweets from a week ago but not the name of the Dortmund goalscorer? That's just lazy journalism. 

"But as far as having faith, that’s something completely different."

Definitely an agenda. Dear New York Times: Stop reporting on Arsenal. Inaccurate, biased, and poorly written. It's one of the worst articles I've read about Arsenal, and that includes Paul Hayward junk.

Is not challenging for the league title somewhat disappointing? Yes, it is. But let's face it, changing managers at this stage isn't going to make us better; we just don't have the squad, nor do we have the financial clout to compete for top players like David Silva, Sergio Aguero, etc. Are we far away from winning the title? I don't think so; If we could get a player like Mario Götze or Eden Hazard, I think we'd get back that excellent technical quality that we're missing at the moment, and would also have (whisper it) squad depth. But we can't go out and buy 4 players of £20m value, unlike City and Chelsea, that's just the reality of the situation. It doesn't mean we're on a track to obscurity; just by maintaining our Champions League spot, we can attract top players and could challenge for the league title this season, though it'd require a lot of luck on our part. 

But the fact that Jere Longman didn't interview any Arsenal fans who weren't negative is really disappointing. If a person who doesn't know a lot about Arsenal reads this article, they're going to get the idea that the majority of the Arsenal support are resigned to this team not being able to get out of "crisis", which, in reality, isn't true. Certainly there are fans who are worried, but it's a constant stream of negativity in the article, which ends with that last quote. If it's easier to have that negative agenda, then you shouldn't be writing the piece, because it'll just lead to an inaccurate article, which shouldn't be acceptable in a publication like the New York Times, even if it is their Sports section. Also, the point that should be developed here, about Kroenke, isn't. It's just left in two or three paragraphs, and then the article moves on about Wenger in despair. If there's anything a lot of Arsenal fans are worried about, it's the ownership of Stan Kroenke. We don't want a Hicks, we don't want a Glazer. Right now, we don't know if Kroenke will be like those two or not. Again, the fact that the Times didn't explore this point is disappointing to me, given their reputation.