Do fickle Arsenal fans only pick on certain players?

Stop The Favouritism by Dan Smith

There are a lot of theories of what is wrong with Arsenal at the moment, but one of our serious issues is our players are not as good as some make them out to be. It’s created a culture within our fan base where they are so desperate to see us succeed, they try to convince themselves a talent is better than in reality.

That’s why Gooners are comfortable to blame the same names, while others they won’t have a bad word said about.

For example, I wrote an article saying it was unfair to make Bellerin a scape goat for our loss in the NLD.

Call me old fashioned but you win as a team, you lose as a team? Bearing in mind we are 15th, that doesn’t happen based on only a couple of players being rubbish.

Out of the 76 comments to my piece, here’s how many of our squad got what you could call negative feedback….

Bellerin 8
Xhaka 4
Ozil 3
Mustafi 3
Holding 2
Willian 2
Kolasinac 2
Chambers 1
Saka 1
Sokratis 1
Auba 1

When you dissect who did what was wrong for Spurs’ 2nd goal, a player deciding he was just going to walk off the pitch during a counter attack didn’t help. Yet no one mentions that in the comments!

To clarify readers were harsher on 5 players who didn’t even play last Sunday compared to a player who left us a man light at the back.

As the week progressed, the following topics were submitted…….

Ian Wright not happy with our tactics of crossing the ball so much

Arteta would be sacked if he were English

Laca needs to offer more

Queries over our throwing coach

Should we just sell Willian in January?

I only found a couple of articles about Partey walking off, which for me was a crucial moment in the game. Both I read were more a criticism over our manager’s handling of the situation and a defence of the midfielder.

Of course everyone is entitled to their opinion and free to write whatever they want. Yet let’s be honest. If that was Xhaka or Mustafi doing what Partey did, would they have escaped any criticism?
At the very least would they have not been questioned why they didn’t lay on the pitch and give the official the option of stopping proceedings?

Only you know you moral compass, but I know the answer.

Partey is our 45-million-pound signing who we want to believe is world class.

So in other words we now have favourites? Which means we are not objective? How we judge what we see is based on who does it. That’s called an agenda.

I support the name on the front of the shirt, not on the back.

I call a spade a spade. Partey I hope will be a decent purchase, but he messed up last weekend. Can you imagine a Vieira doing that at the Lane?

Some have blamed everyone but the midfielder, saying it shows the lack of leadership because clearly no one had told him the significance of the fixture.

He’s 28 years old? He’s been coached by Simeone? Do you think he would get away with that in the Madrid Derby?

While we are on the subject of favouritism, can we stop saying how great Gabriel is and how he’s the signing of the season. Again, a classic sign of you wanting to believe that, so you run before you can walk.

He scored and kept a clean sheet at Fulham and straight away he was a great signing? Just wait and see, he could be great but when your 15th in the Prem no one has been great. Was he great when Villa were scoring 3 at the Emirates? Yet go back to that game and it was all Holding’s fault.

At Old Trafford wasn’t Holding just as good as Gabriel? Can you name me another great Gabriel performance? West Ham maybe? Liverpool in the League Cup? Certainly not enough to be immune from the flak his peers get.

The same happened with Sokratis.

He was Unai Emery’s buy and fans were slow to ever question him, because it was easier to pick on a Mustafi or Koscielny because they were from the Wenger regime.

Partey and Gabriel could become great players for Arsenal, but it is okay to point out if they too are not playing well. It doesn’t make you less of a fan.

In his last year Arsene Wenger claimed we were in danger of losing our values. We have fans with an agenda. One rule for some payers, different for others.

Is it me or did our fan base never used to be like this?

Dan Smith

Tags Bellerin tottenham Xhaka

55 Comments

  1. Darthballz says:

    Good article . I am also of the belief its a team game its not 1 its all .

    1. Armoury says:

      With Xhaka in the starting line-up, it’s like playing with 10 players. Xhaka will always pull opponents with their jerseys, back pass, and side pass. He’s the guy who make fouls at dangerous positions, and make lots of penalties. Arteta cannot pick that up. In conclusion, it makes Arteta a bad coach

  2. gotanidea says:

    Football are both a sport and an art

    As a sport, it’s dynamic. This means footballers can’t be like politicians who can always brag and rely on their previous achievements. If a footballer doesn’t put in extra effort in training and in the games, his age, his ego, his lifestyle and the younger athletes would most likely catch up with him

    As an art, it’s subjective. A washed-up popular footballer can still be worshipped by his avid fans, just because of his past glory. Humans’ biased judgement will affect our preferences and idolatry, depending on our cultures

    1. jon fox says:

      gotanidea, Congrats on your best ever personal post. I always relish and try to praise such sound and truthful sense.

      1. gotanidea says:

        Thanks jon

    2. Ahmad73 says:

      So your argument is based on a poorly disguised criticism of Ozil. What do you have to say about the poor weekly showing of Auba, Laca, and Willian among others? Lest you forget this is over 700K in weekly wages!

      1. gotanidea says:

        What Aubameyang, Lacazette and Willian have been showing in this season is unacceptable, but let’s not forget Aubameyang was the main factor of our FA Cup win last season and Willian just joined after his illustrious career with Chelsea. On the other hand, Ozil had several seasons to be the team carrier, but he failed to do so and he also wasn’t the main factor of our previous FA Cup win

        BTW, I didn’t mention Ozil in my first post. I just said sport is both dynamic and artistic, so an athlete should keep training and learning to keep up with the changes

        1. lcw says:

          “Aubameyang was the main factor of our FA Cup”

          That’s so wrong! He was one of 11 players who contributed to the win. Just because he scored doesn’t mean he gets all the credit.
          Aubameyang is one trick pony who becomes a liability when he does not score.
          Also the FA cup is not just about one or 2 games and any player who played in those games deserves credit. Even MA said that.

  3. Highbury Hero says:

    That is a wonderful piece Dan. I enjoyed reading it word by word from the first word to the last. What you have said is hard to disagree with except I beg to differ with one of your points. I believe our players are better than most are making them to be.

    The favouritism is there for all to see. If we were marked of hypocrisy on the forehead very few of us would have escaped the mark.

  4. BraG says:

    Bull’s eye Dan. You just forgot to mention Lacazette who almost always puts in a good shift but always gets a lot of flak and when he even scores not a lot plaundits come his way

  5. baresi says:

    I think the fans have changed, from my day anyway, we had bad times under all managers but fans still went to the game and sang, these days they seem to go there to moan, when i played if you played crap you got dropped no matter who you were, abbamaclanger needs to be dropped immediatelty, so does lacca, put the youngsters up front and lets see what they can do.

  6. Shakir says:

    I think our players are better than most of the other teams who are higher in the table than us and i dont know what the problem is anymore…..

    Even willian was good in putting superb crosses and thats what he did at chelsea aprt from his direct runs

    MA has potential and needs time but results need to improve soon.

    And Dans question is quite a hard one?Why are we 15th ?

  7. Sue says:

    I suspect they’ll all feel the wrath later if we fail to win!!

    1. Kstix says:

      Spot on Sue. Nothing truer

  8. Stuart Jarman says:

    Definitely spot on but has always been the same at Arsenal in the seventies and particularly in Liam Bradys last season he had some, awful games with hardly a murmur if David Price made one mistake fans, would be on his back Similarly because of who he was Charlie Nicholas got away with murder whilst less high profile players Ian Allison for one got booed So many Arsenal players over the years Merson,and Rix to name two have kept their places when they should have been dropped and the trend has continued in latter years Just because Aubameyang has had two good seasons does not mean he should play whe off form Let’s try Balogun and Nketiah as a pair with Aubameyang on the bench for a couple of games they can’t be any worse than what we’ve experienced of late

  9. Winston says:

    Most fans pick on certain players more than others, not just fickle fans. It’s always been like that, just more evident nowadays because people’s opinions are more visible than before.

    Can’t recall the last time I saw a truly objective opinion from a fan. Wouldn’t say they have an agenda in mind. It’s more a bias that gives rise to opinions and assumptions that are largely influenced by preconceived notions rather than the exact matter at hand.

    A careful evaluation of match ratings reveals that we hardly rate players solely based on their performances during a match. More often than not, a player’s rating is a mixture of his performance infused with the rater’s prior impression and bias. That’s just part and parcel of human behavior

    1. Onyango says:

      Spot on!

  10. Gee says:

    I think its about accumulation of performances where these oppinions form. The likes of xhaka, bellerin, mustafi, kolasinac, lacazette ect have accumlated a history of below par performances with us, where as Partey has only just signed, with a big reputation but at the same time a grace period is given. Unlike willian who we all knew quite well before he signed and he was in the prem already so gets less grace. Then you have aubameyang who has up until recently consistently done what we expected of him, he has a certain amount of credit in the bank. I guess in a way its like every player gets their own credit score and certain players are in negative credit. I mean if aubameyang didnt score from now to the end of the season he would end up in the negative bracket so i dont think individuals are being picked on just because they are not liked, their performamces over a period are mostly the deciding factor i would say

  11. Dickson Hagoi says:

    Arsenal fans are not just picking on a few players to blame but it is fair to say the players being picked for criticism are the players who let down the team most and it does not help by the manager picking the same players despite their obvious flaws.If a player always runs forward only to deliver poor and aimless crosses into the box and let us exposed at the back then the fans will be left frustrated .

  12. DiDi says:

    Favoritism is part of life, at work and at play. So personally, i think it is acceptable – only and only when people admit it and do not hypocritically claim that they are “objective”, “know-more” and doing so “for the big picture”.

    However, when hatred is added to the mix, it usually means the start of distorted character and things become unbearably unfair.

    At the end, the organisation suffers.

  13. Wyoming says:

    When the team is winning the fans laud the players when the team loses the fans pilary the players. Sports fans love getting adrenaline from the highs and wallow in the lows of the loses. They say it’s the hope that kills you death by a thousand cuts but for many fans without football there would be no life. Worshipping and criticizing super stars is as close as fans will get to their dream job. Passion admiration envy is a toxic brew but preferable to the mundane existence most fans endure. Besides the players live in luxury and don’t read the papers any way.

  14. Herbz says:

    Calling fans fickle again eh???

    But it’s the “fickle” fans that have always been right about the negative direction that club is taking with Arteta…. And now you’ve began seeing it all along.

    The Bible even says if your right eye causes you to sin pluck it out; it’s better to enter heaven with one eye than going to hell with two eyes…

    Anyways, there are players that just aren’t good enough, but also with a negative effect on the team!!! The mere appearance in our team, gives us a huge disadvantage….

    And I know everyone agrees to this.
    Take Xhaka as an example: even when he plays well, his niggling, unprofessional tackles and mistakes all the time, will come out in every game. Then Bellerin, his positioning as a defender and sloppiness in possession will always put you at risk of conceding a goal.

    No hating on anyone, it’s just a fact!!! Of course people don’t want facts.
    These are termed as “ACCIDENTS WAITING TO HAPPEN”

    1. Fuzzwah says:

      Really Herbz?
      Perhaps stick to reading the bible. I have seen Bellerin have more good games then bad, yet you name him as a liability. He creates a lot of scoring opportunities but we couldn’t hit the side of a barn. Honestly mate your hatred and ignorance is causing discombobulation in your logic and thought process. Your team needs support but all you offer is…nothing. I bet you wanted Wenger out as well…

    2. Dan Smith says:

      I wouldn’t say fans.are always right about our direction
      There were some who thought life would be better without Mr Wenger
      We gone backwards

      1. A J says:

        The manager does not dictate the direction of the club.

  15. Indeed says:

    There is a difference between an anomaly and a continuous persistent string of poor performances. Your so called fickle fans are able to identify an anomaly, for example, the error of Partey, and they know so well not to heap so much blame on him…. However, not with players that have put in strings upon strings of poor performances like the ones you know: Xhaka, Bellerin, Socratis, and the list goes on and on… So Dan, it’s not favouritism, its simply knowing when an error is no longer an anomaly and the need to apportion blame appropriately…

    1. Fuzzwah says:

      You are talking through your arsenal mate. I have seen Bellerin have some magic games for us but yet you are on his back because you only see the bad. Same with Xhaka. Get off their backs and start supporting your team , otherwise just grab another beer and continue to talk through your fat arse

      1. Indeed says:

        From the way you write, you seem already far gone with beer… Ride on poor brain!

        1. Fuzzwah says:

          Is that it ? How very mature and insightful you appear to be. We play Burnley in a bit so sharpen your wit and don’t hesitate to scrawl some more dross

          1. Indeed says:

            You speak about maturity and insightfulness… Great response! There is more to life than Arsenal vs Burnley, so keep waiting to scrawl some more dross..

          2. ken1945 says:

            Indeed, the problem is, that some fans hold grudges and do not judge players on a game by game basis do they?

            You mention three players, two of whom are in the first team squad – so there is your first biased opinion judged on last season… what is the point of mentioning Sokratis?

            On to Bellerin and his performances:
            This season, according to MA, he has done everything asked of him.
            Fans keep talking about his throw ins and yet MA has asked the PL to tell him what is wrong with them!!
            Again, fans forget the “support” Willian gave him against the spuds – absolutely nothing in my opinion.
            I wonder if fans deliberately forget games, such as the Chelsea one last season for example, just to prove their point?

            Finally, Xhaka.
            He was ready to leave and had said goodbye to his teammates, yet MA talked him out of going and places great faith in his abilities – unlike many fans on JA.

            The thread that runs through the three players, is their history (as perceived by you and others) of mistakes and bad games – what I don’t see from you though, is criticism of the other thread, namely Mikel Arteta, why is that?

            I should also add that I agree with Fuzzwah regarding getting behind the players and why, when the manager is questioned, out come the same old critics of the players, saying we should support him?
            Double standards or just, as Dan asks in his excellent article, biased fans?

          3. Indeed says:

            @Ken1945. There is something you always say about opinion in many of your posts, which I admire. I don’t think anyone should be insulting as seen in Fuzz’s response, which for something reason you decided to overlook and not critic. Instead you decided to support what he said that aligns with your thoughts. Now, Isn’t that bias? Opinions most times are ridden with bias, which I respect. If you feel Xhaka, Bellerin, Sokratis and many others shouldn’t be criticised after strings of poor performances, then I accept it as your opinion. But in the end, we cannot be criticising every player that performs poorly per game because it may simply be an anomaly, but as reasoning fans, we give them the benefit of the doubt and only react after so many chances. The same will apply to Arteta if he can’t provide results after so many chances.

          4. ken1945 says:

            Indeed, as you know, JA allows everyone’s views on this site, whatever they are.
            I don’t comment on anyone’s language, but rather their views – as you know, when at The Emirates, fans express themselves in different ways and I have been called an old f**t, water of a ducks back.
            I was only siding with the views, as you should have known.
            On to your reply and you assume I agree with all he says, so my opinion is biased.

            If you know the way I think and give my views on JA, I never criticise individual players, but rather defend them against crass remarks such as “dross” or “mentally weak” etc etc especially when the manager says they are doing exactly what he wants them to do and they are wearing the shirt.
            As we can see from tonight’s team, MA has again selected the two current players you mentioned…. so I ask again, do you support the manager and the players he has selected and is your previous criticism of the two players unfair, as MA says they are doing everything he wants and has shown that, by selecting them once again?

            Watching the film game, so will continue discussion later – let’s hope the players all perform to Arteta’s game plan!!!

          5. Indeed says:

            @Ken,thanks for your reply. Well, I can only wish Arteta the best with the players he has stuck with, because they will be his downfall, though sad to say. Opinions remain opinions. Half-time chat, it’s obvious these players are tensed and lacking confidence. Hope it gets better.

  16. Scott says:

    Why is Ronaldo or Messi not criticise when they miss a chance but sanogo get criticise for a every chance he missed? I think you should ask yourself why so.
    Xhaka is not good enough
    Bellerin is not a defender
    Mustafi is lazy
    Willian is not in form
    Auba is having a bad period
    Arteta is still an apprentice
    Guendouzi is our best midfielder with partey and ozil

  17. jon fox says:

    Dan what youarticle neglected to say is that the clear reason that fans turn against som eplayer more thanothrd is thre fact of how long they have been not good enough. Now I agree that ideally Partey would not have walked off at that dangerous moment and though he did get some criticismn, the reason he did not get the same amount as Bellerin and Xhaka regulary get is because he is new and is clearly a cut above most of our players in sheer ability. But MOSTLY, because he has not been here foryears,letting down the team regularly with poor performances, like so many others.
    That is not being unfair. that is simply being human and if that is inconsistency, then so be it. In case you have never noticed it DAN, which I refuse you believe you have not as an intelligent man, of course fans will have favourite players. Just ask yourself WHY!

    THE ANSWER IN MOST CASES, AT LEAST, IS PLAIN TO SEE. The favourites are those who contributeto the team much more than those who are criticised. If that surprises you Dan, then you are not as observant abut human nature as I thought you to be.

    1. guy says:

      Football for fans is a game of excitement, passion, and opinions. To expect individuals not to criticise players is unrealistic. To personally attack others who state their opinions – in particular those whose views differ to your own, is unfair. We do not yet live in a fascist state. Every single contributor here who tells others to leave players alone regularly critisises players or managers themselves. Please stop the hypocrisy. Critisism is not solely an occurrence at Arsenal and it is not a recent occurrence. 40 years ago fans critisised players after games at every club in Britain. But then it would solely happen in pubs and would not be in the public domain as it is now, which I suspect is the issue here. And incidentally, fans do also praise good performances.

  18. Reggie says:

    Yes,we all get together and come up with a player and hammer him because thats what we do, pick on someone for no good reason WHAT? No the reason these players get picked out the most is because they are not good enough. Its not a plan, it what people see. I dont get the article at all, does it not accept people’s opinions.

  19. Dan Smith says:

    Im not intelligent 😢
    I understand that some players have had longer than others.
    Yet that doesn’t mean I will lie in terms of what I see
    For example the NLD
    I can’t ignore Auba’s performance but pick on Bellerin just because the full back has been there longer

    1. Winston says:

      Frankly, I see no wrong in your overall message Dan. The message I got is that we ought to assess a player’s performance for a game purely base on how he performs for that game. Not to let our previous opinions of the player cloud our judgment.

      I see that as a call for fair and sound judgment. It’s an ideal that I respect and I believe we should strive towards. Unfortunately, the reality is that it’s human nature that most of us let the past affect our assessment of the present.

      The imperfections of being human is nothing to be ashamed of and so is the pursuit of ideals

  20. A J says:

    All I can say is there must be a lot of “fickle” managers in the league, as they target Bellerin every week !

    1. Kstix says:

      😂😂😂 I see what you did there AJ. Good one

  21. Declan says:

    Dan, the players who get “picked” on are the under performers, or lazy, or those that just don’t try.

  22. Pco says:

    Gee hit it on the head! There has been a history of bad performances.
    We have all wanted our players to do well! We’ve wanted to believe in, brag about to our mates that support other teams. The players that have won games for us, had big performances get a little leeway. But eventually fans will start questioning when they are not performing well consistently!
    I look at our team and at the moment we do not have some of the best wingers, midfield genius, midfield generals, strikers, defenders or keepers. How many Aston Villa players would you pick over our players? Watkins? Mings? Grealish? And so on look at some of the (lesser)? Teams Leeds, Leicester, wolves.
    Have a think

  23. Grandad says:

    An emotive article Dan but one which suggests you are at least concerned about the unjustifiable criticism of certain players .The fact that certain fans cannot distinguish the difference between perception and reality has always been with us and always will be.People have different opinions on a host of things in life, for example types of music etc but generally speaking it is not too difficult to be objective when discussing footballers who are judged on what they achieve on the park over 90 minutes.The problem you highlight is influenced by the success and failure of the team .If a team is doing well, fans are more inclined to skip over the fact that an individual is not pulling his weight.On the other side of the coin, when a team is struggling, very few players escape the wrath of fans who are a fickle bunch as you say.At the end of the day, however it does not take a rocket scientist to arrive at a conclusion as to the quality of footballers and the fact that fans have strong views on certain players is not a big deal.In fact in some cases, the comments of some fans has me scratching my head in wonder and amazement .Keep up the good work Dan.

  24. Bob says:

    I think you are glossing over the fact Bellerin has been playing badly all season, not just one match. That and he can’t throw-in and I would be embarrassed for a teenager at the local school that repeatedly did foul throws in matches.

    Xhaka has never been good enough. When he’s playing his version of well he’s still a liability half the time.

    I think they also get additional criticism because they are guaranteed starters for no apparent reason.

    I’m not going to get on Partey’s back when he’s been here a month and actually looks fine outside of walking off the pitch at the wrong time.

    1. Mark says:

      “Bellerin has been playing badly all season”

      this is not true

      1. jon fox says:

        “All season ” is indeed not true, at least not the full truth. The full truth is that this non defending “defender” so called has been playing badlyfor his whole Arsenal career.

        1. ken1945 says:

          Indeed, this is what I mean, Jon supports MA to the hilt and yet condemns the player for following his instructions.

          Jon, why has MA selected him, when the player he bought in is not even on the bench?

          1. jon fox says:

            WRONG Ken. I condemn that player for NOT following instructions and keeping in his position when danger is present. How many times over the many years have we all seen Bellerin sprinting in vain back into where he should be when miles upfield and our gooa in danger! Be honest now!
            SO TIRED OF YOUR CONSTANT MISREPRESENTATIONS OF MY VIEWS .
            Being a warmhearted man, I hesitate to say that is deliberate but when it happens so very often, what other conclusion is there?

  25. Fuzzwah says:

    To indeed and some others, full apology for my negative criticism of your opinions. I am an Arsenal supporter and disagree with singling one or two players each and every week. The whole team wins and loses together. Nobody performs, you and I inclusive, when everyone is waiting for you to make a mistake just so they can pounce. The club as a whole is a shambles. There is a reason why Wenger will not set foot at the Emirates. Would you, if you achieved what he achieved and then everyone turned on you ?
    I love Arsenal, the magnificent football and players we produced under his guidance and vision. Everyone who jumped on the Wenger Out campaign are now reaping the fruit of the toxic seeds they planted. Please don’t say that MA should take a leaf out of Lampard’s book because their owner loves his club and will back his manager by investing money on player rostering. Ours however, uses it make himself richer. Wenger should have been given Peter Hill Wood’s spot when vacated, simple as that, lack of class, loyalty, honour, and respect for the Arsenal DNA.
    Things have gone pear shaped because of the bigger picture not because of Bellerin etc.
    As a result we also turn on each other. We have one common thread however, we are all hurt by what is h5to OUR ARSENAL.
    This is just my opinion

    1. Indeed says:

      Apology accepted Fuzz… I really do wish for Arteta to succeed but at the moment, his players are letting him down and he has to take the blame for selecting them. If he is sacked, then I cannot complain. One Arsenal Bro!

      1. Fuzzwah says:

        Totally agree Indeed, here’s hoping for better days.
        Need the Harmony to achieve Victory.

  26. lcw says:

    No worry! There will be different players next week. It never fails.

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