Arsenal’s ‘self-obsessed, overpaid’ stars stitched up over mascot-gate by their own Twitter admin

Ian Watson
Arsenal players Martin Odegaard, Kieran Tierney and Bukayo Saka in conversation during the draw at West Ham.

Not only are Arsenal’s players bottle-job frauds, they are also ignorant, child-hating monsters.

There’s little truth in one part of that statement, and none – probably – in the other. But Arsenal themselves fed the second narrative in a clumsy quest for #numbers.

Before the team surrendered a two-goal lead and missed a penalty in a potentially decisive draw with West Ham, the Gunners social media gurus recorded the players arriving at the London Stadium, where they encountered their mascot for the day, a young girl obviously in awe of her heroes. Then, for reasons yet to be fathomed, they decided to publish it across their social channels.

If you haven’t yet seen the video and aren’t best placed to view it for the first time, don’t worry about the audio – there is none. Aside from the shuffling of feet, some tentative warm wishes from someone we presume to be the girl’s father and the intermittent sounds of the dressing-room DJ as the door opened and closed.

The players, aside from three words from Bukayo Saka, are mute. It’s not a good look. Actually, it’s p*ss-poor. As the many replies and quote tweets point out, how hard would it be for the Arsenal players to give their in-thrall-fan a little more than an illegible squiggle on some £70 polyester?

Perhaps they did. Maybe the players and staff all made a huge fuss of the wee girl when she led them through the bubbles and out on to the pitch. Maybe she went back to school on Monday morning with tales and memories that will last her a lifetime. We have no idea. All Arsenal gave us was 109 seconds of awkwardness and a caption fit for any Facebook Karen.

Maybe that coupled with the time, when teams are being confirmed and announced, suggests a rush to publish. The only excuse they have for thinking it was a wholesome clip is that they did not actually pay attention to the clip.

Regardless, Arsenal shot themselves in one foot before the players blew the other clean off on the pitch.

Bukayo Saka of Arsenal

We can all understand why Mikel Arteta and his players weren’t feeling particularly chatty an hour before kick-off. Many of them probably aren’t social animals anyway – players generally aren’t bred that way these days – but we can forgive them for feeling tense and preoccupied at that particular moment, even if it’s harder to excuse the abject lack of interaction.

What is far less easy to comprehend is why the video was ever published. The aim, presumably, was to paint a wholesome picture but all the social team achieved was to open the football team up to criticism from people who won’t understand the pressure and tension the Arsenal players are currently dealing with. Not very well, as it turns out.

It’s bad enough that Manchester City are breathing down their necks; the last thing the Arsenal lads need right now is Nick Knowles on their case. And when Piers Morgan is critiquing your social skills, you know someone has f***ed up.

Read more: RANKED: The ten biggest Premier League bottle jobs of all time, as Arsenal cling on for dear life