Is it time for Andy Townsend to step down from his ITV post?

Andy Townsend

Last night was a disappointing night for Arsenal as German giants Bayern Munich overpowered them at the Emirates in a night many Arsenal fans will want to forget quickly. Down 2-0 after twenty minutes, it was clear to see for most that the game was effectively over.

Luckily for Wenger this may have actually proven a stroke of luck as attention was diverted elsewhere for large portions of the game, most noticeably in the direction of ITV's commentator Andy Townsend. For a long time the former Irish and Aston Villa midfielder has been widely criticised across social media platforms but never so much as last night.

Within the first five minutes of the game Townsend dropped his first commentary clanger as he announced that Kroos would feel under pressure to perform in such a big game having never bossed a game previously. This despite the German international having performed at Champions League level for the last three years, with a handful of powerful and impressive performances. The comments beggared belief further when taken into consideration that Townsend commentated on last years Champions League final, a game in which Kroos was arguably one of the best players on the pitch.

As Kroos tucked the ball away for the opening goal, little emphasis was placed on the superb technique applied, instead criticising the initial ball from Muller and the fortune involved. This was the first of a series of partisan, biased commentary towards the Gunners, perhaps welcome to fans of Wenger's side, but deeply frustrating and irritating to neutrals.

Soon after Podolski had pulled a goal back to make the score 2-1, Wilshere looked to be in a goal scoring position. Instead of staying quiet and letting lead commentator Clive Tyldesley take the mic, Townsend was audibly heard in the background exclaiming 'Come on', encouraging Wilshere to equalise. For a man in his position the episode displayed a complete lack of professionalism.

As the final whistle went the extent of Townsend's poor performance was made clear as Twitter and Facebook exploded with criticism. Some claimed that his approach was too simple whilst others berated his qualities in comparison to the likes of Gary Neville and Martin Tyler.

He's not the first ITV football pundit to have received public criticism with Adrian Chiles a regular butt of jokes, whilst there are times when David Pleat can barely string a word together let alone Adel Taarabt's name. It is now becoming a perception amongst many that ITV simply can't present football to the standard expected of a media giant. Where a commentator should demonstrate knowledge and research, Townsend displays none, and it's a shame that talented commentators are having to sit in the wings and listen to such dismal nonsense.

Only Arsenal fans could be remotely happy with Townsend's performance last night. As for Wenger he'll be delighted that his side has been marginally shielded from a complete media hammering. For all the pressure on Arsene, more needs to be placed on pre-historic Townsend's position.

Here are just a selection of Tweets on Townsend:

Stephen Walker @spursmentor: Andy Townsend is so biased in his assessment of Jack Wilshere.

Ben Dirs @bendirs1: 'That was a great header' says Andy Townsend. He was wide open and he missed the target. Or do I not understand?'

Lee Carroll @Lee_Carroll84: I could listen to Andy Townsend all day long, said no one ever.

Heidi Turner @Heidi_wba: Ah who lets Andy Townsend commentate? And more to the point why do they let this happen?'

Ben McAleer @BenMcAleer1: It's proving increasingly difficult to determine who Andy Townsend is supporting tonight.

What do you think? Is it time for a change at ITV?

image: © mollyig

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