Done deal: West Ham confirm signing of former Arsenal ace
Transfer balls: It’s been a busy few days for Arsenal’s Theo Walcott. In today’s Daily Mirror, readers are told, “Theo’s not Gunner go”. News is that Walcott will be told he is not for sale. “Arsene Wenger will make it clear he is not for sale.” This will disappoint Manchester City and Southampton, we’re told.
But the Metro told us Arsenal will “listen to offers” for their striker.
The Star said he wants to stay: “EXCLUSIVE: Theo Walcott desperate to stay at Arsenal this summer despite West Ham interest.”
The Sun says it’s a done deal: “Theo Walcott to quit Arsenal and is on verge of agreeing deal to sign for West Ham – EXCLUSIVE England star ready to snub Chelsea in favour of joining Hammers”
The Mirror says he is desperate to leave.
Words from Walcott: nil.
Such are the facts.
Transfer balls: a look at desperate reporting. And it’s not just in print and on websites the newspapers can spin clicks from utter balls. On Twitter, the Sun has news of an “Arsenal ace” on his way to West Ham United.
Done deal: West Ham confirm signing of former Arsenal ace
Who is it? Go on, Arsenal and West Ham fans, who is the ace in the photo above? We clicked the link and found this at the Sun:
Havard Nordtveit to join West Ham after Hammers announce free transfer for Norway star- Nordtveit, 25, to join from Borussia Monchengladbach on a free transfer
But what of his ace-tastic Arsenal career?
The Norway international, who joins on July 1, returns to London six years after leaving Arsenal – although he failed to make a first-team appearance in three years with the Gunners.
Or as the Metro puts it: “West Ham complete transfer of former Arsenal ace Havard Nordtveit.”
And in the Times: “Arsenal reject Nordtveit joins West Ham on free transfer.”
One paper’s “reject” is another ‘ace”.
Transfer balls: The Daily Express has news for Arsenal fans: “Mesut Ozil Bombshell: Star blasts lack of teamwork, contract talks put on hold.”
Bombshell! Blasts! Is Ozil shooting down the Gunners? Is it war? This is what Ozil said:
“We dropped a lot of points that we should not have dropped against the ‘smaller teams’ and that was the point in the season where we did not work as a team. Especially after the Barcelona game we were just not good enough to take a point… I have two years left on my contract and will be in talks with the club. Now I’m concentrating on the Euros in France.”
Ozil talks with Arsenal. Boom!
Moe Transfer Balls in the newspapers every day.
What need of facts, Alan Shearer? No much. Alan writes of Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere in the Sun:
“The debate might well be whether Marcus Rashford can force his way into the final 23 and go with England to Euro 2016. For me, the bigger argument is what Jack Wilshere is doing in the squad in the first place. Nobody seems to be questioning whether he will now go if he remains fit through these last three friendlies ahead of the finals.
“Have we not learnt any lessons from the past when it comes to the issue of racing players back? It was David Beckham back in 2002 when he suffered a metatarsal injury towards the end of the season and still went to the World Cup.”
What we learn, Alan, is that Wilshere is fit. He’s not been rushed back to the Arsenal side. He’s fully fit and playing in the first XI. We also learn that Beckham’s injury went like this:
20 April 2002: 51 days before the World Cup, Beckham is injured by Pedro Duscher in Manchester United’s Champions League quarter final clash with Deportivo La Coruna. His second metatarsal bone is broken. Beckham makes a hard bid to get fit.
9 May 2002: two days before the World Cup, Beckham declares himself fit for the Sweden game. He says: “I’ve had a lot of treatment over the past two months and a lot of people from Sven-Goran Eriksson to the Queen have wished me good luck. The way I felt when I led training is the highest I have felt in weeks.”
2 June 2002: England v Sweden. Beckham plays 63 minutes of the game before being substituted. It is his first competitive action since the injury.
7 June 2002: England v Argentina. Beckham’s 45th minute penalty gives England victory. He lasts the full 90 minutes. In the quarter-finals, Beckham plays as England lose to Brazil.
And how did the Sun talk of Beckham’s injury way back then? Were they circumspect?
A HUGE team of Sun readers today prayed for the hand of God to revive England’s World Cup hopes by mending David Beckham’s broken foot.
We urged our army of 10 million readers to boost David’s fitness fight at the stroke of midday by placing their hands on our picture of David’s left peg and praying for a speedy recovery.
And so many of you did.
Even bishops joined in. One said: Were rooting for him.
And Canon David Meara, the vicar of St Bride’s in London’s Fleet Street, even came into the Sun’s Wapping HQ to say a special “get well” prayer as the entire office touched David’s foot on the dot of noon.
The 54-year-old Spurs fan said: There is no doubt that prayer can assist in the healing process.
Wilshere is no Beckham – he’s fitter.
A few days before Newcastle United fans hymned their team to a 5-1 thrashing of fancied Spurs, former Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp told his Evening Standard readers:
Angry Newcastle fans can help Tottenham finish above Arsenal
He went on:
Newcastle’s relegation should ensure a hostile atmosphere which Tottenham can take advantage of to secure second place in the Premier League…
Spurs…are still a top side and you would fancy them to win at St James’ Park against a team with nothing to play for under a manager who is probably going to leave… The fans up there will be angry at how things have panned out after Sunderland beat Everton and the Newcastle players will just want the season over with.
Here’s what George Caulkin had to say about the match in the Times:
This was a peculiar day at St James’ Park, where a relegated side played with the zeal of champions and their supporters sang merrily in the sunshine and when Spurs, for so long an embodiment of promise and quality, simply imploded. Old, tired, perennial failures Arsenal — or so the narrative goes — hopped above them and a campaign that has featured upset at its core ended in a suitably perplexing manner.
More expert inside knowledge from Harry Redknapp all over the media every week.
At what point do Spurs fans give up? Going for the Premier League title just a few weeks ago, Spurs managed to implode at Chelsea and then play so lethargically and poorly in subsequent games they were overtaken by Arsenal, who claim the runners-up spot.
Arsenal have finished above Tottenham for the 21st season in a row.
Losing 5-1 to an already relegated Newcastle United, as Spurs did today – a Newcastle down to 10 men after 67 minutes – when you need only a point to finish second in the table and, crucially, above your local rivals for the first time in a generation is utterly awful. Arsenal fans expected it was coming, of course. After all it’s #StTotteringhamsDay.
Arsene Wenger. Well, he always knows, doesn’t he?
Well, no, not really. As Arsenal fans celebrate the club’s highest league finish since they rocked into the Emirates, they should recalls that Spurs’ title challenge outlasted Wenger’s marvels. Weak in the Champions’ League and league also-rans since February, Arsenal ended the season 10 points short of Premier League winners Leicester. Last season the Gunners fell 12 points short of Premier League winners Chelsea.
Not exactly the catharsis, is it? Spurs are on the up. Arsenal are becalmed under Wenger. But does the Frenchman know it?
As the Premier League season ends big media turns to transfer rumours. One issue is deciding how much each club has to spend on new players. With every club in line for a £99m bonus next season, you’d suppose every PL club can spend large on recruitment.
Sunderland: “Sam Allardyce will demand a summer war chest of up to £50million” – Sun
Spurs: “Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino to be handed £60m war chest to strengthen squad” – Mail
Arsenal: Arsene Wenger £75m transfer fund this summer to bolster fragile defence and midfield” – Daily Telegraph
Everton: “£100m war chest to fund spending bonanza” – Daily Mirror
Liverpool: “Liverpool boss handed £100m summer transfer warchest… and targets have been identified” – Daily Star
Chelsea: “Chelsea to use chunk of £130m warchest to beat Arsenal to Alexis Sanchez replacement”
Manchester City: “Manchester City to hand Pep Guardiola a huge transfer chest for the summer” – Manchester Evening News
Manchester United: “Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal to get £150m war chest even without top-four spot” – Daily Express
Manchester United: “United Uncovered: Jose Mourinho’s £300m warchest” – Daily Express
Such are the facts…
Transfer balls: a look a dire reporting on football rumours. Today the Indy reports on Arsenal:
Arsenal have made an official £33.8m offer for Borussia Dortmund midfielder Granit Xhaka after moving ahead with their first transfer of the summer, with the German club resigned to losing the Swiss international in the coming weeks.
Granit Xhaka plays for Borussia Mönchengladbach. Should Dortmund take the cash and keep quiet?
Arsenal and West Ham United draw 3-3 and the Sun says it;s more evidence that Arsene Wenger is crap:
“Isn’t it funny the Wenger empire was built on a defence he inherited from George Graham – and they have not won the League in 12 years since the likes of Lee Dixon, Tony Adams, Martin Keown, Steve Bould and Nigel Winterburn left?”
You could argue that money played a factor, what with Arsenal unable to match their rivals’ spending. Or you could just find it funny how the Sun’s man in the know knows nothing.
When Arsenal last won the Premier League title in 2003/04, their defenders were:
Jens Lehmann: league matches started – 38
Ashley Cole: 32
Martin Keown: 3
Pascal Cygan: 10
Gaël Clichy: 7
Sol Campbell: 35
Kolo Touré: 36
Who knew going the entire season undefeated was all down to Martin Keown? He really was that good…
Arsenal fans, listen up. If you are going to pick a fight with any of the West Ham mascots, we’d not go for the massive teddy called Bubbles the Bear. Football is now a family game, and attacking a teddy can upset the kids, or at least the older fans who think children don’t like seeing rough stuff outside the kindergarten. If you must got for a West Ham mascot, aim at Hammerhead. He looks like he can take it. And if your thumbs drop off, that’s your look out.
Anyhow, here is Arsenal fan Ty punctuating Arsenal’s thrilling 3-3 draw with West Ham at the Boleyn Ground by picking on the Hammers’ mascot – a former X Factor contestant (most likely) inside a giant teddy bear costume.
Ty saw Bubbles waving at the Arsenal fans, dashed to the front and asked Big Ted: “Why don’t you do that when you play Millwall?” Big Ted then bent forward in an act of simulation known as ‘holding onto your sides’, lest he laugh so hard his stuffing fall out.
— akanni (@_BigTimerT) April 9, 2016
Transfer Balls: The Metro reads all sorts of things into a smile, telling its reader bots:
Arsene Wenger smile hints Granit Xhaka to Arsenal transfer could be done
“At the moment, no. We are starting to look at people who can strengthen our squad, but we are not on any particular case in a concrete way”
But who needs words when you can have a smile?
As for the player, well, earlier this month he told Express:
“I’ve seen the rumours. All I can say is it’s nonsense. There have been no negotiations with Arsene Wenger.”
But, of course, the deal has already been done. We read about it in the… Metro:
Martin Samuel is writing about Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere in the Daily Mail:
“Ghouls filming private moments on their mobile phones are a modern curse. So Jack Wilshere merits some sympathy, being a young man unable to go anywhere without a predatory stranger wishing to make his life their property.”:
Predatory strangers armed with cameras who create stories like:
ECLUSIVE: Ariel Winter reveals new inking in a high cut swimsuit as she frolics in the Bahamas surf… after getting THREE tattoos just weeks after 18th birthday
Catching some Lana Del RAYs? Bikini-clad singer tops up her tan in a nautical two-piece during relaxing Malibu beach day
You can read those predatory paparazzi-scoops and many more like them in the, er, Daily Mail.
News is that Arsenal will flog Theo Walcott. The Bleacher Report says Arsenal will sell the player if he fails to make England’s Euro 2016 squad. The whole story can be surmised thus:
Dean Jones reveals that Walcott could leave the Emirates if he doesn’t get a Euro 2016
Can you reveal an ‘if’?
The Metro has firm facts: “Arsenal transfer news: Theo Walcott ready to seal move away this summer.” Does he want out? Would Arsenal miss him? The Star chips in:
Theo Walcott set to rock Arsenal with stunning transfer decision
If the Bleacher Report is right and Arsenal want shot of Walcott, his stunning decision would be to stay, right? The Star then cites its source:
According to Bleacher Report, the 27-year-old attacker will look for a move away from the Emirates if he’s left out of Roy Hodgson’s Euro 2016 squad. And Arsenal are apparently willing to listen to any offers that come in for the speed-merchant who’s played for the Gunners since 2006.
To put the tin lid on the ‘ifs’ and could’, we turn to another organ for more. We’re told Walcott’s pace is no longer what it was (so much for “speed merchant”) and he’s “fighting for his future” at Arsenal. You can read that in, er, The Bleacher Report.
The Daily Mail’s lead sports story on the backpage declares: “Jack in the Dock.”
He’s been arrested? No. The Arsenal midfielder has been “caught in a brawl”. Police are “investigating scenes of disorder” outside London’s sticky West End club Cafe de Paris at 2:15am. On page 84, Sami Mokbel says Wilshere was annoyed with a “fellow reveller who was attempting to film on his phone”. Film what? Wilshere, says Mokbel, was at a bureau de change on a night out, having been given permission by his club to “let his hair down”.
Daily Mirror (front page): “EXCLUSIVE: England’s Wilshere in 2am bust-up”
It’s not an exclusive. But the Mirror does have more news. It says Wilshere was “quizzed” by police in an alleyway after “allegedly being kicked out of a club”. He’s “accused of hitting another reveller, which he denies.” There were no arrests.
And so it is that footballer not arrested is the Mirror’s lead news story.
On pages 4 and 5, the Mirror puns: “Jack’s Bin Trouble.” But he isn’t in trouble as he stands by some bins in a “rubbish-strewn walkway”. He wasn’t arrested. And is it his fault the streets of London are grotty? Should he have picked a cleaner bit of pavement / walkway / alleyway? The story goes that Wilshere was then put in a taxi.
On Page 5, David Kidd says “our hearts sink at the sight of Jack Wilshere cowering behind a bin after being thrown out of a nightclub”. What happened to his being “allegedly” bounced? And do our hearts sink? Surely, at the Mirror they skip a beat at a footballer-at-large story.
The Sun (front page): “WILSHERE COP QUIZ OVER 3AM BRAWL”
3am. 2am. What matter the facts when a footballer is in the crosshairs? The Sun zooms in on the “crocked England footie star”. Only, he isn’t crocked. He was. But now he’s back in full training. The Sun says a man was punched. It says Jack and his mates were “asked to leave” the club.
The Sun then seems to accuse Wilshere of taking his rehabilitation from a broken leg lightly, declaring, “Ace parties..as he bids for Euro fitness.” This will make England fans “angry“. But Wilshere broke no club rules.
We’re left wondering what it is that Wilshere did wrong? As off-field misbehaviour goes, Wilshere’s antics were harmless. Are Arsenal fans who cheered on hard-drinking Tony Adam angry that Wilshere went out? Are England’s famously prudish and restrained fans angered by Wilshere apparently having a beer and a shout? The tabloids expect Wilshere to be role model, to behave in ways unlike most 24-year-olds – and not only those with oodles of cash in their pocket from an honest day’s work. Do we expect purity from everyone in the public eye, such as, say, newspaper editors, a chaste group of moralists who never put a foot wrong as they report the facts and only the facts?
Arsenal are at “war”, says the Sun. The back page tells of team manager Arsene Wenger’s “fury with Ozil”. Can it be that the club’s best player and the vintage coach are rowing? The Sun’s headline certainly implies so. What did Ozil says to spark “fury”? This:
“Looking at our season so far, we have to be honest and admit that we screwed up ourselves. We did not play to our potential in the games against the so-called smaller teams. You immediately get punished for that in the Premier League. But we still have a chance of winning the title. We have to hope Leicester and Tottenham slip up and then make the most of it. I would be delighted for Wenger if we win the title. He played a major role in my decision to join Arsenal. He was desperate to sign me.
“Everybody knows he is an extraordinary manager. He is always hungry for success, has a lot of experience and always takes his time for the players. He helps players develop.”
To the Sun this makes Ozil “the defeatist German” who has “chucked in the towel”… (over a summer sun-bed?). And Wenger has this to say:
“I have nothing against the players being honest, but we have to look forward — and this group deserves to be rewarded for all the effort, hard work and dedication they have put in. There is still an opportunity for us and we have to grab it because it’s now or never.”
Transfer Balls: The Express says, “Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil will both sign new contracts at Arsenal in the summer.” Fact!
Ozil will get £180,000-a-week. Sanchez will get a raise on his current £130,000-a-week.
Big news in the Express, which recently told readers:
Mesut Ozil wants to quit Arsenal and return to Spain… he has grown tired of a lack of silverware and would like to move back to Real Madrid.
Such are the facts in the Express.
The Daily Mirror says Arsenal will not be waving adieu to their manager:
Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger plans to buy and buy not say ‘Bye-bye!’ this summer
Out got: Tomas Rosicky, Kieran Gibbs, Mathieu Debuchy, Mikel Arteta, Mathieu Flamini, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Per Mertesacker.
In come: John Stones, Victor Wanyama, Toni Kroos, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
As Arsenal fans fall about laughing, they might also wonder why the Gunners would invest so heavily when the manager will be leaving at the end of next season?
The Daily Telegraph has been talking up its new content management system. It’s now quicker than ever for the once mighty paper to trot out balls. The headline seduces Arsenal fans:
Arda Turan absolutely buries Arsenal with this Barcelona comparison.
Buries! What he said was:
“I was feeling that I would sign for Barca. Sincerely I thought: ‘If I play very well I will end up signing for Barca. If I play well I will end up at Arsenal.”
The Telegraph mused:
“It’s not clear whether the denigration was inadvertent or intended, but if the latter then perhaps Gunners fans can see the swipe as something of a back-handed compliment.”
Stick it though the new CMS bot and your get talk of Arsenal being buried.
It represents a coup for the Arsenal academy who have traditionally not competed with the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City for the top teenage talent in Europe and beyond.
The Mail says that the deal has not yet been done:
Arsenal to complete signing of Chelsea starlet Domingos Quina in next 48 hours
The Indy then takes the Telegraph’s fact that isn’t and slips inverted commas around it:
Domingos Quina to Arsenal: ‘Gunners win race’ for teenager after he quits Chelsea
Just three days ago, the Metro told its readers:
Manchester United are clear to sign Chelsea wonderkid Domingos Quina
Two days ago the Sun said:
“Chelsea starlet Domingos Quina quits club and plans to join Premier League rival – Ace walks out on Blues with Man Utd, Spurs and Liverpool closing in”
Not deal is done until it’s done.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger must spend loadsa money “or else”, warns the Sun.
Arsene Wenger is told to launch his biggest ever Arsenal spending spree – or miss out on new Arsenal contract. Gunners’ chiefs want big names like Toni Kroos, Gonzalo Higuain, Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and John Stones
A new contract? Wenger’s existing contract expires in summer 2017. The Mirror told us he would then leave the club.
Now we’re told that Arenal are getting tough with Wenger by, er, demanding he spends a fortune on some great players. Well, so says the Sun, which is hot on Arsenal transfer news, first to report that Arsenal wanted Fabregas (they didn’t) and had bought Higuain (they didn’t):
Says the Sun for a second time:
Arsenal will not consider giving him a new deal until he starts competing in the transfer market. Gunners chiefs want him to splash out on names like Toni Kroos, Gonzalo Higuain, Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and John Stones this summer.
Wonder what Arsenal will buy Higuain for this time? And do Manchester Untied want to sell Kroos (he never did join the Red Devils)?
Such are the facts.
On March 13, the BBC told us: “Zlatan Ibrahimovic: Paris St-Germain forward says he is likely to leave.”
What he said was: “For the moment, I will not be at PSG next season. I still have a month and a half left here. If they replace the Eiffel Tower with a statue of me, then I will stay.”
Thierry Henry, the Arsenal youth coach and Sky TV pundit then went on Sky TV to tell everyone: “”Who can we sign? Who’s available? I hear that Zlatan Ibrahimovic wants to come. It’s a Ibrahimovic problem of who’s going to want to come. Are we going to make the Champions League?”
Who Henry heard that from he doesn’t say. The big Swede is looking for his next deal – in case Paris fails to rework the Eiffel Tower in time for the start of next season – and Henry has a TV contract that demands he say things that start a conversation.
On March 17, the Mirror said: “Arsenal eye Zlatan Ibrahimovic transfer after being offered PSG’s superstar free-agent-to-be.”
The Express added: “Ibrahimovic wants Arsenal move but may end up with Rodgers and Xavi in Middle East.”
On March 18, the BBC hears from Arsenal’s manager: “Zlatan Ibrahimovic: Arsene Wenger ‘surprised’ to be linked with striker”
A journalist chucks the Swede’s name at Wenger, who replies: “We are not on Zlatan’s case… I’m just surprised by the name you’ve thrown at me.”
The Mirror hears that and manages to conjure: “Arsenal not thinking about signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic “at the moment”, insists Arsene Wenger”
No, not at the moment. But when Arsenal sign a 34-year-old on £250,000-a-week we’ll let you know.
“Arsenal are soft and weak.” Not our thoughts, rather those of the Daily Mirror, although it attributes the words to Barcelona’s cocksure defender Dani Alves. But is that what he said ahead of Barcelona’s home match with Arsenal? What he said was:
“When the draw was made, we knew it could have been tougher for us. That is no reflection on the quality of Arsenal. The quality of the way they play the game and the quality of some of their players is there for all to see.
“It is a reflection on their experience, character, and mental strengths. There are teams in Europe that don’t have the quality that Arsenal have, but you would rather avoid them and play Arsenal – because you know that those teams have experience and character.”
Did he calls Arsenal soft and weak? No. Did he say, as the Mirror says he did, “Arsenal lack character and mental strength”? No. He did not.
Alves merely pointed out that drawing a side who had lost at home to Olympiakos failed to fill the holders with dread.
The Mirror also fails to note what else Alves said:
Arsenal do have quality, and when they are at their best they can achieve special things, so from us there will be no complacency.
Oh, and he also said this as he held court in Spain:
“…when I said the press was ‘rubbish’, for example, I did so because they’re damaging football … And I then came out and explained it [better], because I know there are good people in the profession and it’s not fair to generalise.”
Indeed, over the course of Mokbel’s story there is not a shred of evidence to argue the case for ‘yes’.
…the club are developing a succession plan for when he does call time on his distinguished Gunners career. That is a clear indication they believe their manager’s time at the club is drawing to a close and they are considering potential replacements. Pep Guardiola was viewed as the ideal man, but the Spaniard has committed himself to Manchester City.
Offers made by Arenal to Pep: nil.
And as for that talk of succession, well, the Daily Star told us in January:
Deal close: Arsene Wenger ready to sign new two-year Arsenal contract
And right at the end of Mokbel’s balls, readers are told:
…Wenger is planning for a future at Arsenal beyond next season. The manager has played a key role in improvements at the club’s London Colney and Hale End training bases, as well as the restructuring of the scouting system.
Such are the facts?
It’s all enjoyable hyperbolic stuff from John Cross, who seems to forget that when papers scream about the magic of the FA Cup, they don’t mean the supernatural wonder of the biggest teams winning it every year. Arsenal lost to fellow Premier League club Watford thanks to a “wonder goal” and their athletic, spirited performance – the Gunners were unlucky, missing a host of chances to score, including an open goal – and the world is at an end.
These are a few highlights from Mr Cross’s story – and is he a product of nominative determinism?
“Wenger’s men were booed off after Watford ended the Gunners’ hopes of winning the Cup for a third year running”
Not winning the FA Cup every year is a travesty. There were some boos, but not many.
“The season is effectively over for Arsenal. And you wonder whether it is also the end of the road for Wenger.”
So says Cross, who told us exactly when Wenger will reach the end of the road, providing us with a date:
“…Wenger stormed out of a radio interview when asked if the holders’ cup exit puts his future under threat”
In the Times he “walked out”.
“The most worrying aspect for the Gunners is they look dead on their feet”
That’s the same Gunners who hit the post in stoppage time and then missed an open goal. Had it gone in – and it seemed simpler to score – what price headlines praising Arenal’s never-say-die attitude?
Indeed, deep into his story, Cross says the Watford defence made a “series of heroic blocks, interception and headers”. At the end it was”like The Alamo”.
In The Alamo, the victorious Mexicans kill all of the Texan defenders. But, as we said, it’s wonderfully hyperbolic stuff from the Mirror’s man in the know.
When Arsenal defeated Hull in the FA Cup last Tuesday night, the Press focused on the Gunners players forced off early. The headlines talked of disaster:
“Arsenal run into new injury crisis after win over Hull” – The Week
“Arsenal defender Gabriel ruled out for three weeks with hamstring injury” – Independent
The Indy zoomed in, telling readers on March 6: “Gabriel: Arsenal defender ruled out for three weeks with hamstring injury.”
The Metro thundered: “The Gunners lost Per Mertesacker and Gabriel to injury during their FA Cup clash with Hull on Tuesday night, leaving them with no fit centre-backs given that Laurent Koscielny was already out.”
Four days on and the BBC reports:
Arsenal pair Per Mertesacker and Gabriel are fit despite being injured during Tuesday’s FA Cup replay at Hull… Laurent Koscielny [who is back training] remains a doubt with a calf injury.
Arsenal also have young English centre back called Calum Chambers.
but who needs facts when you can make it up as you go along to fit an agenda…