Vacillating opinions prevalent in football

Vacillating opinions prevalent in football

All it took was a fortnight for the narratives to radically change. Manchester United, earlier in the season being touted as a well-orchestrated red army capable of winning the title, or at the very least competing with noisy neighbors, Manchester City for the coveted league trophy. Now Manchester City, a devastatingly effective side that has been disposing opponents almost at will, are bang on favorites to win the league. And their latest 3-0 victory over Burnley was testament to the ruthlessness with which they overcome opponents.

Meanwhile, the English champions, Chelsea, having suffered a loss on the first day of the season – incidentally to Burnley – were portrayed as a team thin on squad numbers and flirting with spiraling down the league table. Not even their return of 13 points out of a possible 15 could canvas the façade created, especially after their back-to-back losses against Manchester City and Crystal Palace. Suddenly, they were faced with a barrage of criticism – from questioning the wisdom of letting go of midfield lynchpin, Nemanja Matic to an English Premier League rival to quizzing whether summer signing, Alvaro Morata, would settle quick enough into his new environment and come up with the goals. If anything, it was the London club’s 4-2 comeback against Watford that purposed a spin in post-match commentaries.

As for the likes of Liverpool and Arsenal, both of which rest outside the top four in the early doors of the season, theirs is a changing tale with extremities of title-ending defeats to that of outside hopefuls for the coveted trophy (at least early on). Every 90 minutes adds a new portico to their tales, as facts are rehashed to suit preferred opinions and influence the masses. Heck, even Crystal Palace, a side that failed to register a point in the first seven games of the season before upsetting the champions, carried on their shoulders the cross of being relegation favorites. But a 2-1 win against Chelsea was enough to ignite chatter on a reinvigorated side whose fortunes many be on the turn. They weren’t; they succumbed to a 1-0 loss away to Newcastle.

How fickle then is football commentary? While there is no doubt that every result in the league, beyond that of team of interest, adds to the context of the well-formulated op-eds, the degree of variation in opinions is significant. An impeccable performance can lead to football pundits hailing and talking up the qualities of any side in equal measure to a poor performance eliciting the wrath of analysts. And it is not new to football, for the sport has adopted this façade for years now.

Perhaps the demand for football content and the need to engineer sales and monopolize on the football audiences among a plethora of other possible reasons have forced reputable outlets to adopt this strategy. For the consumer, while it makes for engaging reading, it must also be noted that a football season rests on more than just weekly reports. It is an accumulation 38 league games, coupled with the luck of having results favor one side, for a club to succeed. Thus, take the weekly narratives with a pinch of salt, knowing all it takes is a result or two for the pundits to take on a different tone to a club.

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