In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a whole industry dedicated to exploiting, manipulating, and—above all—cashing in on fans’ fears. Our latest installment in How To Pretend To Be A Real News Source comes courtesy of the usual suspects such as The Mirror, The Daily Mail, The Sun, The Metro, and the countless fly-by-night websites that spread like the Cordyceps that spreads across the screen in the pre-credits to The Last of Us. Yes, Saliba is injured. No, he’s not on his deathbed. Relax.
Sadly, like the Cordyceps fungus, these clickbait articles infect too many minds in the same way, turning readers into brainless beasts whose only purpose is to help the original fungus infect even more brains. The original half-baked “article”—which this post, at about 100 words—already exceeds, relies on heavily distorted headlines with lurid, ALL-CAPS WORDS, and peppers those 100 words with a similar number of pop-up ads, interstitials, autoplay embedded videos, invitations to subscribe and receive notifications…and gets thousands upon thousands of pageviews. But I digress.
Ever since news of Saliba’s back injury emerged about two weeks ago, the speculation has been running with all the reckless abandon of a herd of wildebeests that snorted a dozen lines of crack. They have large noses, after all, so they could snort a lot in a short time. The resulting breathless (on account of all the running) reportage has painted a dark portrait of a squad shattering into a million pieces and a club folding in on itself like Sauron after he’s been stabbed by Éowyn except for the part where Sauron is evil because he represents the Arsenal in this particular scenario.
Where was I? Ah, yes—Saliba’s injury. To be clear, injuries are never good, and we’re well-versed with poorly timed injuries that derail campaigns. This is not one of those. Arteta is famously secretive, guarded, and cautious when it comes to player-injuries (something he probably learned during his time as a player here). I’m not saying he’ll surprise Leeds by naming Saliba to the starting XI. I doubt he’ll even make the bench. We’ll probably get a guarded, non-committal answer from Arteta during his prematch presser on Friday.
Until then, it’s probably best to trust Paul Anka on this.
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