Welcome to The Briefing
Every Monday during this season, The Athletic discusses three of the biggest questions to arise from the weekend’s football.
Arsenal stuttered, Manchester United staved off a crisis for another week, Sheffield United got their first win of the season, and Luis Diaz displayed astonishing levels of resolve to score Liverpool’s equaliser at Luton Town. Here we will consider Mikel Arteta and Arsenal’s response to Newcastle’s winner, just how big a deal it is that Emma Hayes is taking the USWNT job and why ‘Always the victim…’ is not harmless terrace banter.
What is the real embarrassment: the refereeing or Arsenal endorsing Arteta’s complaints?
Managers giving interviews straight after games can be a challenge. Frustration is high, emotions heightened, and the chance that they might say something unwise goes through the roof. From that perspective, and in isolation, there can be understanding of Mikel Arteta’s comments about the refereeing in Arsenal’s 1-0 defeat against Newcastle on Saturday. However, it might have been a mistake, and enough pundits and other neutrals seem to think the officials were correct to suggest it wasn’t a calamitous error.
However, Arsenal released an official statement on Sunday afternoon backing their manager’s views, which is extraordinary. A likely response is that they have backed their manager and reflected the feelings of many fans and taken the embarrassing route of publicly endorsing such behavior.
How big a deal is Hayes’s impending appointment as USWNT coach?
English football is going to feel pretty strange without Emma Hayes. Hayes has been influential in the rise in popularity and recognition for the women’s game in the UK. During her time at Chelsea, she has won numerous titles and influenced the wider public’s view of the game with her insightful punditry work. If, as is very much expected, Hayes is confirmed as the new head coach for the U.S. Women’s National Team, this would be a crucial time of rebuilding after the World Cup.
It’s not banter: why ‘Always the victim’ should never be sung at Liverpool fans
The rise of Luton from the non-League to the Premier League has been one of the more heartwarming tales of the past few years. However, Luton fans have shown some deeply unpleasant elements in their support. Some directed an abysmal misogynist chant towards Jarrod Bowen and another deeply objectionable example appeared in their 1-1 draw with Liverpool. In particular, the chant of ‘Always the victim, it’s never your fault’ was clear to hear from the home fans in the second half, followed by a different chant referencing English clubs’ suspension from European football in the 1980s, which is deeply objectionable and should never be sung.