Wednesday, 30 October 2013

On nuance or why you don't need a strong opinion on everything

Modern society seems to have mutated into some crazy arena where not only are we expected to have a view on everything, but that view needs to be exceptionally strong, usually based on limited evidence and strong rhetoric. Let me put my cards on the table and concede that I've certainly been guilty of this at times.

It leads to a society where rather than saying "the referee made a mistake, easily done at that speed" you start saying things like "it was an absolutely outrageous decision to make, completely despicable and it highlights a culture in which match-fixing is rife and bias among referees is common" and people don't even find this particularly outlandish. I digress.

Carl Jenkinson's form for Arsenal has not been brilliant of late. This is partly true but the negative view of it has been exacerbated by people taking an overly positive view of his performances last season, leaving him further to fall. He made plenty of mistakes last season - he had a habit of passing the ball inside and nearly giving the ball away - but as they did not lead to goals, nobody really noticed.

Do I believe a 21-year-old going through a shaky patch is a big deal? No. For one thing, he's played eight times this season and last night was - as far as I can remember - the first time he's made a mistake which led to a goal. But more importantly, it's normal for young players to be inconsistent. This is nothing new.

But what I'm really getting at is that after loads of people called Jenkinson shit on Twitter, you then get the inevitable backlash of people saying he must be brilliant because he was given a new contract and Wenger trusts him.

Like with most things, the truth is somewhere in the middle: he's not good enough for the Arsenal first team at the moment but there's no reason to believe he couldn't be in the future.

It's similar with Thomas Vermaelen: the way people talk about him you'd think he's one of the worst players EVAH EVAH EVAH. Whereas in reality, he's not as good as Koscielny or Mertesacker but not a bad player. It's interesting that although ostensibly Koscielny played Mertesacker's position last night, Vermaelen is blamed for any defensive instability. As a wise man once said, hmmmm.

The truth is that having incredibly strong opinions just to stand out is rather silly. Most players have negatives but also some positives. That's why after extensive scouting they were bought by Arsenal.

Keep the faith.

1 comment:

Adam said...
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