Fans of North London’s Arsenal may wince at the thought of reliving last season through Amazon’s annual All or Nothing documentary series. As with fierce rivals Tottenham last year, the cameras came at a time of tremendous turmoil that includes a historically bad start to the season, and a protracted saga involving club captain Pierre Emerick Aubameyang (now plying his trade in Barcelona).
As with past series, there’s a mixture of genuine emotion and staged drama. Players have prompted conversations between themselves, while manager Mikael Arteta draws diagrams and talks about “protection and education” of his young squad. While the scenes are edited for maximum narrative, the stars at least seem sincere. Most of the players seem shy, while there’s more than a hint of Ted Lasso about Josh Kroenke, the executive in charge of the club’s American owners. Youngster Bakayo Saka is unguarded and charming in front of the camera, remarkably level given the attacks he received after playing in England’s loss in Euro 2021.
Indeed, if there’s anything this series shows about the modern game, it’s the changing role of the fans. Social media has emboldened more vocal elements to film rants outside of the stadium, sent hateful posts, and even rebuke the players in person. While the majority of the fanbase are loyal through thick and thin, it’s interesting to see mental health become as important to a team as practice drills.
All Or Nothing: Arsenal is a mixture of polished corporate messaging and moments of genuine emotion (goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale parents being overjoyed to see their boy on the cover of the programme). Moments throughout the season are likely to be clipped and shared for toxic “banter”, but the anthology series continues to show how much is involved at the top of The Beautiful Game.
All or Nothing: Arsenal is on Amazon Prime Video now.