Perhaps I was misinformed.

I always thought that a fact was a tangible thing that could be tested and shown to stand up to scrutiny.

That the sun rises each morning is a fact. That water is wet is a fact. That Arsenal would have won the league had they signed Cesc Fabregas? Not so much.

But that’s the assertion that Simon Rice has made in the Independent, a claim that was right there in the headline with a fullstop to give it emphasis.

His logic goes like this:

  • Fabregas has 16 assists.
  • That’s more than Arsenal players.
  • Therefore Fabregas would have won Arsenal the title.

There’s a little bit more to it than that as he churns out stat-upon-stat, showing how many points Fabregas has contributed to Chelsea’s title charge versus his Arsenal counterparts and the like.independent headline

Of course, Fabregas might well have won Arsenal the title, but even Fabregas’s assists wouldn’t have filled the massive hole left by half the squad being injured for half the season, something Rice doesn’t think needs mentioned in his world of imaginary futures.

But is this a fact? Even if Rice considered the impact of removing a player to accommodate Fabregas (he didn’t) or the differences in squads, fixture scheduling, management and the thousand other things that change when you move one player to another team, that doesn’t make it a fact.

Predicting alternate realities is not a fact.

It’s playing make believe.

He doesn’t even prove his ‘fact‘ that well either as after all his computations he comes to the conclusion that Chelsea would be 0.5 points behind Arsenal (we give out half points in this new world) but also still have a game in hand.

Perhaps this is just a sign that journalists are running out of transfer rumours to imagine, so they’ve turned their attentions to new realities instead.