The Amazon original series “All or Nothing: Arsenal” was released on the Prime streaming service on August 4, 2022.
The very first season of “All Or Nothing” in 2016 followed the Arizona Cardinals and provided groundbreaking insight into life behind the scenes of an elite sports team. Since then, Amazon Studios has taken this format and repeated it with elite rugby (the All Blacks), college football (Michigan Wolverines), ice hockey (Toronto Maple Leafs), soccer teams (Brazil , Juventus, Manchester City, Tottenham) and a handful of other NFL franchises. The latest episode of the series takes place behind the scenes at Arsenal Football Club and follows their progress throughout the 2021/22 season.
Since its debut in 2016, “All Or Nothing” has evolved very little in terms of format or formula, so if you’re looking for the thrill of watching a groundbreaking documentary film, you might be disappointed. What “All Or Nothing” does well is apply its proven formula in a variety of environments. If you liked the previous entries, you will definitely like this one.
As usual, the thrill comes from seeing the sporting icons we usually only glimpse up close in their heavily sanitized media appearances. We get to know the personalities of the players, coaching staff and a handful of other peripheral figures at the club.
Striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s falling out with Arteta and subsequent removal as captain is captured in depth, as is Granit Xhaka’s debacle. Seeing what happens behind the scenes of private issues like these is what makes ‘All or Nothing: Arsenal’ worth watching.
This season, the show delves into the story of a football club with a long history of success that has underperformed since bidding farewell to longtime visionary manager Arsene Wenger. Under the league’s youngest manager, Mikel Arteta, Arsenal are a work in progress. They are a team in transition with a core of hungry young players who need to be nurtured with the support of the coaching staff around them.
There’s the usual matchday imagery, and as a football fan, it’s always fascinating to see how top managers conduct their team talks. In one particularly memorable scene, Arteta brings in a match-day photographer and a life supporter to deliver a pre-match speech that underlines how much the club means to the fans. However, the most interesting to watch are the casual conversations between players. For example, few comments were made by newly recruited overseas gamers about their mothers’ obsession with Ikea. It’s these little moments of humanity that make usually distant millionaires feel closer.
If there’s one complaint to be made about ‘All Or Nothing: Arsenal’, it’s the usual complaint that can be made about any of the earlier ‘All Or Nothing’ series – it might be- just being a little too polite and a little too media-friendly. It feels like agreeing to take part comes with a lot of strings attached by the club – like showing enough of what happens behind the scenes to be interesting, but not too much to portray the club in a bad light. Then again, what else can you expect from such a huge output in the Premier League era?
If you are a sports fan, you will like “All Or Nothing: Arsenal”. If you’re a Premier League fan, you’ll love it. If you’re an Arsenal fan, this is must-watch TV.