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The continuing plight of Arsenal

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The continuing plight of Arsenal

The first game of the 2021-22 Premier League season kicked off at newly-promoted-Brentford’s stadium, after a 74 year wait to return to the top flight of English football, against Arsenal. It was a real surprise, as Arsenal lost 2-0. It is often said that you don’t realise what you had until it’s gone. This could not be truer for Arsenal.

Arsene Wenger, who gave the club the greatest period in its long history was ousted by fan pressure. For 22 years, he was at the helm of Arsenal and in that period he won three Premier League titles, one of them being with ‘The Invincibles’ (a squad that did not lose a single game all season), a record breaking seven FA cups, seven Community shields and 17 years of no less than 4th position in the league. This was all achieved on a budget and Wenger clearly had an eye for talent and raising them to world class levels, such as with players Henry, Fabregas, Overmars, Bergkamp, to name just a few.

Yet, towards the end of his managerial career, however you wish to see it, it seemed everyone, and not just the fans, but the media and other clubs fans also, had enough of him and wanted him gone – #WengerOut 

After 22 years with one manager, Arsenal has changed managers three times. A club legend, Freddie Ljungberg, PSG manager Unai Emery, and now Mikel Arteta.

Wenger’s success came from 1998-2004, when they were considered a top European team. They even reached the Champions League final in 2006 only to lose to the little emerging talent back then known as Messi at Barcelona.

Blame money, blame managerial decision or player attitudes, but that pivotal moment of losing the Champions League final seemed to have dented something inside the club. Players were not being sold, but allowed to run out contracts instead. Replacements were not really good enough and the desire and hunger the team had of the years gone was dissipating at a rapid speed.

Fast forward to the 2021/22 season and it seems as if Arsenal are still stuck in the 2010 decade.

Arteta and the squad 

With the arrival of Mikel Arteta, assistant coach of Pep Guardiola from Manchester City, it seemed Arsenals woes might be banished as he managed to win the FA Cup and Community shield in his first few months in charge. Feelings and anticipation for what was to come was high for the club and fans, and even others.

But, once again, it seems that managerial decisions and lack of guidance and discipline for players got the better of the club.

Aubameyang who was prolific when Wenger signed him a few months before his departure, signed a new three-year contract at an eye-watering wage, but seemed to have lost his desire since then. From scoring 20+ goals two seasons in a row, since signing his new contract he has barely managed over 10 goals in the 20/21 season.

Özil, one of the best creative midfielders ever to grace football, was blocked out of playing while being the highest paid player in the squad and eventually saw out the last year of his contract and left on a sad note.

Consistent 8th placed finishes under Arteta are not of the standard expected form Arsenal. But then again, what is the standard for Arsenal?

The current Arsenal team, as individuals are very talented players. Arteta has a very good squad at his disposal but it seems now that those players must adjust to what Arteta wants them to do. And this is intrinsically the opposite of what Wenger expected from his players.

Arsenal must now play out from the back, without long balls and hold possession. It is Pep’s gameplay that Arteta wants to implement at Arsenal. Wenger was quoted however many times saying he would advise players of the game play and what he expects, but he would give them the ability to play freely how they want on the pitch as well, because as we know, football is a game that requires thinking on the spot. You cannot create play after play and pause the game at any given time like some sports across the pond in America.

And this new style of play of Arteta that is being forced upon the players just does not seem to be working, so how much longer can they try? The feeling is that Arteta’s time is becoming limited and the club cannot afford to allow another season of ‘testing and adjustment’.

Recruitment 

Alongside the style of play, recruitment is another massive issue. Players were bought, it seems, on a whim, with no real understanding of what the team requires. David Luiz and Willian to name but a few. Players highly decorated at other clubs who appear to have come to Arsenal to make a quick buck and see out a few more years of football.

On the other hand, other players that fans are calling out for are being ignored. Aouar was a huge target in 2020/21, but was valued too high. This year he has been offered for as little as £25m, but the club did not move for him.

Instead, Arsenal with a league topping expenditure, spent £129m on a centre-back, defensive midfielder, a left-back cover, a new goalkeeper (for more than what they sold Emi Martinez to Aston Villa, who was regarded as a steal by many). Perhaps the only silver lining for fans, was the bringing in of Odegaard permanently from Real Madrid. What they can now achieve is to be seen, but if the first game of the season is anything to go by, get ready Gooners, for more dismal football and broken hearts.

Arsenal are not the same as Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United. Arsenal do not have the pull-power and money of these clubs. And in today’s football, money talks. The history of a club alone is not enough to convince players to join.

Since his departure, we are seeing that the foundations Arsenal built under Wenger are starting to tumble, and unfortunately it doesn’t look like anyone will be able to stop this avalanche anytime soon. Arteta has had two years to bring some positive changes, and yet, all the fans get in return is dismal football, lack of desire, lack of style and brushed off responsibility by anyone senior in the squad or at the club.

People say things need to change quickly to stop the problems. I say that it is beyond stopping problems now. Its time to accept those problems, and with the way other teams are strengthening year on year, it doesn’t seem like Arsenal will be able to address those problems anytime soon. 

And as sad as it is, Arsenal must either bring the desire back to the team, or get used to a foreseeable future of a midtable Arsenal. And I am sure even other clubs fans do not want to see that. As much as Arsenal is the butt of most footballing jokes recently, their rise under Wenger has made sure that they are never forgotten for what they are capable of. It remains to be seen if that desire can be reignited.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

Daily Brief

More than 90 Women Sue the FBI for $1Billion For Mishandling the Nassar Case

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Raisman and Biles
  • More than 90 women and girls, including Olympic gymnast Simone Biles, who were sexually assaulted by the disgraced USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar plan to sue the FBI for $1 billion for mishandling the credible sexual assault complaints. 
  • The FBI agency’s own watchdog found that the FBI disregarded allegations about Nassar, and in a long-awaited report from the US Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General, it was stated that various missteps and cover-ups by FBI agents allowed Nassar’s abuse to continue for more than a year after the case was opened in 2015.
  • The FBI field office took very limited action against Nassar and did not document any investigation or alert other authorities. Also, just two weeks ago, the US Justice Department decided not to prosecute the two FBI agents accused of mishandling the Nassar case. 
  • The plaintiffs’ claim is being filed under the Federal Tort Claims Act, which allows people who have been harmed by negligent actions of the federal government to seek recompense for damages. The plaintiffs are all seeking different amounts for damages, but the total claims amount is expected to surpass $1billion. 

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Daily Brief

Liverpool Fans Tear Gassed by French Police Before Final Match: UK Calls for an Investigation

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  • French police are criticized for firing tear gas and pepper spray at Liverpool fans waiting to get into the stadium in Paris.
  • The French sports ministry has called a meeting with Uefa (the French Football Association), stadium officials, and police to “draw lessons” from the event.
  • French interior minister Gérald Darmanin appeared to blame British supporters, tweeting on Saturday that thousands were without valid tickets and had forced entry while also claiming that some fans had assaulted stewards.
  • However, Merseyside Police said its officers who were stationed in Paris and attended the match “reported the vast majority of fans behaved in an exemplary manner, arriving at turnstiles early and queuing as directed.”
  • Liverpool FC also called for an investigation into the event and said they would be asking fans to contact them directly with their experiences.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Sport

The untold stories of Qatar and the FIFA World Cup

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Qatar Airways Boeing 777

While many acknowledge deep problems within the host country, one expert says the overly negative attention on Qatar overshadows much of the positive change the games are creating. 

Sports often bring people together, but that doesn’t seem to be happening with FIFA this year.

“Having the world cup in Quatar (sic) just makes me sick and not interested,” said one Twitter user, decrying the alleged abuses against workers who built the stadiums for the World Cup. “Those guys could never afford a ticket to these games, even though they loved the game and worked hard.”

“Give me a free final ticket if Germany played in it, I still won‘t go there. Never,” said another.

Qatar is hosting the World Cup in November, the very first Middle Eastern country to do so. Since Qatar was awarded hosting rights for the sporting event, there have been controversies over the way the country was chosen (including allegations of bribing FIFA) as well as scrutiny of the country’s human rights record (over the country’s alleged treatment of migrant workers and LGBTQ+ rights). 

But while many acknowledge deep problems within the country, some say the overly negative attention on Qatar overshadows much of the positive change the games are creating. 

“There’s politics with FIFA and World Cup organizers of Qatar,” said Luv Randhawa, an international singer based in British Columbia, who still hopes to attend his first World Cup this year. “For us as fans, we want to see the best sport.” 

He has conflicting feelings about the “beautiful” stadiums built by migrant workers.

“I look at it in two aspects: I pledge the pride of the people of Qatar for what they’ve done, but I’m also somber about the people who have lost their lives and livelihood because of the building of these buildings that the world is coming to see.”

Umer Hussain, who has a PhD in sports marketing, says while the controversies around Qatar are concerning, they’ve detracted from the positive aspects of the first World Cup since the pandemic.

“One of the goals of FIFA was to grow its own fan base, so that’s why when the FIFA World Cup was awarded to Qatar, it made me very excited,” said the postdoctoral researcher at Texas A&M University. 

He noted this World Cup generated around five million jobs. Qatar also changed some of its laws to support the rights of migrant workers and to prevent wage theft. Muslim women are also being encouraged more to play sports as a result of the Cup, Hussain said.

But he added the media has only been focusing on the negative aspects of the host country. 

As far as allegations of corruption go, Hussain points to the Global Transparency Index, whose Corruption Perceptions Index in 2021 ranked Qatar as less corrupt than the three previous FIFA hostsRussia, Brazil and South Africa. (Russia also faced controversy over alleged bribery and human rights violations.)

Hussain says the negative portrayal of Qatar as a corrupt country reflects historical stereotyping of Arab countries as inhumane. 

“People think … Qatar wanted to take soft power in the Arab world, that’s why they’re holding this World Cup,” Hussain said, noting Qatar has however lost more than it’s gained from this Cup. 

“There has been a lot of damage already done.”

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Society

Double Olympic Champion: Losing to Trans Women is About Biology – ‘I Feel Let Down’ 

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Screenshot 2022 04 22 at 09.45.26
Nicola, Wikimedia Commons via Wikimedia Commons

Katie Archibald, the double Olympic champion has criticised the International Olympic Committee and other sports bodies for their transgender policies saying they have not only let down female cyclists by underplaying biology but also left trans women like Emily Bridges to face intense scrutiny. 

“It is my opinion that the international governing bodies of several sports have let down transgender athletes, in particular transgender women, with their inclusion policies,” Archibald said in a statement.

According to Archibald, it was wrong for governing bodies to ignore the science that shows trans women who have gone through male puberty have a retained advantage in strength, stamina and physique. She made it clear that she and other females were also being let down by the unwillingness of sports to accept the importance of biology. 

Sadly, this is just an extension of the policies we have chosen to enact in our society without any regard to their consequences. Following the law for some such as trans results in rights being taken from others such as female athletes in sports. 

“These policies have put the athletes, their involvement in sport, and their personal lives under intense scrutiny when all the athletes have done is follow the rules and enter a category they were encouraged to enter.”

“I feel let down by the International Olympic Committee who tell me there should be no assumed advantage for an athlete with a gender identity different to their sex,” she said.

“I read this and hear that my world titles, my Olympic medals, and the champions jerseys I have at home, were all won in a category of people who simply don’t try as hard as the men. That losing to male androgenisation is not about biology, but mindset. They are wrong.

It’s ironic that women had to live under the tyranny of men for so long but now in a so-called liberal society, we are allowing men to become women and oppress women as women. Katie has shown incredible courage to point out something so obvious that our society continues to ignore with no real questions or fair solutions on offer!

She continued: “The retained advantage of people who have gone through male puberty in strength, stamina, and physique, with or without testosterone suppression, has been well documented.

“Cycling’s global governing body, by its president’s own admission, knows this. But they chose to delay action until it became sadly personal for one rider. That wasn’t fair.”

She also expressed deep sympathy for Bridges, who broke the junior men’s 25-mile record before transitioning in 2020, saying she was only following the rules of cycling’s governing body, the UCI, before it decided to block her racing as a woman last month.

In her statement Archibald also called on governing bodies of sports such as cycling, triathlon and rowing to come together to develop policies based on science, while also making their sport more welcoming for trans athletes. “But I’d like us to do all this without sacrificing one of the foundational pillars of sport: fairness.”

This is a key point, but it is not just limited to sport, in all aspects of society fairness should be a key consideration before making policies that allow individuals to act in a way that is legal but harmful to other individuals. We choose to ignore this principle at our own peril and decisions made in the past are slowly starting to unravel before us. 

When little 8-year-old boys start to transition and when a male swimmer who ranked 554th in men’s competition, becomes one of the top ranked swimmers in women’s competition, it tells us that this question of fairness should have been asked a long time ago! Not just from IOC but from governments and societies at large!

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Sport

Utah Governor Vetoes Bill Targeting Transgender Athletes

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Utah governor vetoes bill that targets transgender athletes
Utah Reps, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

On Tuesday, a republican-backed bill was vetoed by the state governor of Utah that barred transgenders from competing with girls in sports in schools.

Gov. Spencer Cox said in a statement that while “politically, it would be much easier and better for me to simply sign the bill,” he chose to veto it because he “tried to do what I feel is the right thing regardless of the consequences.”

Mr Cox was the second governor in vetoing the bill as on Monday, Gov. Eric Holcomb of Indiana, a Republican, vetoed a similar bill, saying it would likely have been challenged in court and would not have solved any pressing issue.

The two governors’ actions of vetoing the bill are at odds with steps taken in a number of other Republican-led states where transgender rights have become an imminent issue in a broader U.S. culture war over sexuality and gender identity. Whereas governors in states including Texas, Alabama, Mississippi and Iowa have signed into law bills that ban trans girls from competing in girls’ sports.

In a series of tweets Cox made an emotional plea for compassion toward transgender youth Tuesday in explaining his decision to veto the bill. He said “No other state has done this, and we hoped that Utah could be the first. Unfortunately, that compromise fell apart in the 11th hour of the session.” Regarding transgenders he also tweeted “I am not an expert on transgenderism. I struggle to understand so much of it and the science is conflicting. When in doubt however, I always try to err on the side of kindness, mercy and compassion.”

Also in a letter to the state’s Senate president and House speaker, the governor said he was moved by the data that shows that among 75,000 kids playing high school sports in Utah, only four were transgender, with just one involved in girls sports.

“Four kids and only one of them playing girls sports. That’s what all of this is about. Four kids who aren’t dominating or winning trophies or taking scholarships. Four kids who are just trying to find some friends and feel like they are a part of something. Four kids trying to get through each day,” he wrote. “Rarely has so much fear and anger been directed at so few.”

However Republican legislators plan to override the veto on Friday, as State Senator J. Stuart Adams, a Republican, mentioned in a statement.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Russia-Ukraine

Sanctions Against Russia Leave Chelsea Football Club Up for Grabs

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  • Former Chelsea owner, Roman Abramovich, was pushed to sell the Club amidst the hard sanctions against Russia.
  • Turkish businessman, Muhsin Bayrak, is set to bid 1 billion pounds for the football club, half of the 2.2 billion pounds he intended to offer Abramovich.
  • The British government will issue a license for the sale, despite not being directly involved in the sale process should they agree with the conditions.

Former Chelsea owner, Roman Abramovich, was pushed to sell the Club amidst the hard sanctions against Russia. Leaving room for potential buyers to submit bids in hopes of taking the Club at a fraction of the cost now that it was transferred to the government. The British government has set Friday as the deadline for any bids.

Turkish businessman, Muhsin Bayrak, is set to bid 1 billion pounds for the football club, half of the 2.2 billion pounds he intended to offer Abramovich. Strict sanctions connected to Russia’s occupation in Ukraine have hit multiple Russian oligarchs. This has caused an opening in the world market where many top Russian business owners held assets. 

Bayrak also intended on offering Abramovich $400 million of his company’s cryptocurrency and the transfer of certain real estate projects to the Russian billionaire. The Turkish investor is set to meet with Abramovich later this week in Turkey to receive his blessing for any deal. The British government will issue a license for the sale, despite not being directly involved in the sale process should they agree with the conditions.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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