The Armchair Gooner

An Arsenal blog bringing you news, opinion and humour on a daily basis. Well, I'll try at the very least…

A MUST for ARSENAL Fans: James’ Overwhelmingly Magnificent Review Of The Season With RANDOM Capitals.

How the season began.

Greetings, intrepid readers. Glads to have you all on board.

Apologies for the hideously bombastic title. Sometime I feel it’s quite amusing to utilise utterly ridiculous headlines purely because it appears the norm and there are folks who write them seriously. I’m also fully aware that this post is about as vital to your daily routine as a punch directly into the penis/vagina.

Nevertheless, I shall proceed. What follows will not be a traditional review or list of all the homogenous good/bad things that occurred throughout the season. It’s a selection of those moments and others experienced from my perspective. The categories will be similar with the occasional curve ball thrown in for good measure. I hope you enjoy.

Player of the season.

I’m going to select two, each for a half of the season. Up until January, the stand-out contributor is undoubtedly Alexis Sanchez. Our Chilean friend settled into the throes of English football with consummate ease, scoring freely, exciting the crowd and generally daring us to believe. At the time, his price tag from Barcelona looked extremely reasonable. Now it appears an absolute steal. Best thing is – with acclimatisation, he’s only going to get better. He knows his teammates fully and appears over any barriers regarding communication and adaptation.  Continue reading

Sanchez, Ozil, Walcott, Ramsey And The Unshakable Feeling Of Delicious Glory.

Theo justifies his start.

Howdy, folks.

There are moments as a Football supporter in which you can truly question the reasons behind devoting so much time and effort into following a team. In moments of the past, I’ve found myself pondering that very question, scratching my temple and proclaiming aloud, “Why the fu*ck do I subject myself to such torment?!”.

The game we all love is known to frequently show herself as a cruel and unforgiving mistress. However, as is always the case, there is a flip-side to that coin – a flip-side that is beautiful, wonderful, heartwarming and comprehensively answers the question above.

Yesterday’s performance and victory perfectly encapsulated that joy, that wonderment, that glorious euphoria and warmth you get from being a part of something experienced by others on a global scale.

Podcast cohort and good friend of mine, @TheDanielCowan triumphantly neglected a wedding to drive over to my place in Gloucester and we watched the game, along with my girlfriend who is proving herself a spectacularly good omen, accompanied by the heavenly taste of a Pieminister pie. It was the perfect set-up to what turned into the perfect performance.

From the moment the game kicked off, to the last remaining exchanges up until the final whistle, Arsenal dominated Aston Villa. Even typing the word “dominated” feels inadequate, as if there should a new word invented just to accurately describe how comfortable the day was – let’s say ‘Ultradominatronic’… Continue reading

The FA Cup final 2015: Arsenal’s Prospects And Starting XI

The big day has arrived.

Morning, folks.

Nerves getting to you yet? Mine are… Sweet Lord have mercy, my innards are currently doing a fandango of terror and each waking moments sees me certain I’ll have to dash to the closest lavatory like an Olympic sprinter.

There’s something glorious about the unknown on Cup Final Day. Aston Villa, on paper at the very least, are a team that wouldn’t cause any of us to fear were today a regular Premiership fixture. However, when facing the unpredictability of Cup football, when facing the situation in which anyone can emerge a hero; I look upon the potential team sheet of our opponents with nothing but dread.

“Cleverley could have a good day. Benteke is dangerous if he is in the mood. We’ll need to make sure our midfield looks after Delph. Grealish might look like he was dropped from the cast of Bugsy Malone, but he has a certain magic in his toes”

Those are sentiments sure to not cross my mind in a league fixture. In said circumstances I’d be calm and fully expecting a comfortable victory. Today is anything but.  Continue reading

A Season With Genuine Signs Of Progression and Next Season’s New Kit.

 

A generous round of applause

 
Greetings, folks.

This season feels like it’s flown by. Rummaging around upstairs in my brain I can’t think of another example from the past in which the period from August to May has elapsed so quickly. 

A great deal has happened in that period. When I get around to writing the obligatory season review in greater depth I’ll discuss the significant points and the not-so pertinent. In the meantime I thought I’d share with you my thoughts on the progression the team has made. 

Some will disagree we’ve made any progression at all. They’ll disagree vehemently and with no small measure of vitriol and spewy dross. Such is the nature of the online community we frequent. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. The beauty of writing about sport is the plethora of varied thoughts and perceptions. I respect anyone’s right to say whatever the fu*k they feel is truthful. I simply disagree with the manner in which some go about it. 

Personally I prefer to glean the positives and cast the rest aside. Doubtless to say; things aren’t perfect and there is room for improvement. However, finishing 3rd is a step up from last year and if we manage to retain the FA Cup the season can be looked upon as a success. 

There’s many positives to take. We’ve taken great strides toward ending our much-fabled ‘top 4 hoodoo’ with victories at both Manchester clubs and a comprehensive demolition of Liverpool I was fortunate enough to witness live with @JokmanAFC. 

Francis Coquelin has triumphantly emerged from the doldrums to seemingly end our troubles in defensive midfield. Since his return in January, The Coq has excelled and we look a much stronger unit with him patrolling centrally. Unlike some previous incumbents of the position, he successfully couples natural enthusiasm with the ability to tackle. We’ve needed someone to do that for quite a while.  

We have a very strong first team squad with all options available. Granted, that is something that will probably not last a great deal of time, but the strength in depth is certainly there. When coupled with a new medical regime under Shad Forsythe and we can go into the coming campaign with hope for better luck when it comes to crunch time. 

Being something of a big Twitter user myself, I was intrigued when I was sent some information about the 2014/2015 season by some acquaintances of mine along with some other excellent deals

Below is a graphic showing which players were most tweeted about over the course of the season. 

 

who did we tweet about?

It’s as you’d expect. Arsenal are represented by Ozil and Sanchez with the latter attracting lots of praise and the former having to endure monumental amounts of abuse for no particular reason. Such is the nature of folk on Twitter…

Think I’ll just finish it up here and let you all digest the above how you see fit. It may now be a touch late, but here’s a picture of next season’s new home shirt

  
I like it. Maybe not too keen on the button collar, but on the whole I reckon it’s a winner. Right… Time to finish up. Hit me up in the comments. 

I’ll be back in the morning. Until then, and as always; thanks for reading you beautiful bastards. 

Raheem Sterling? No Thanks…

The scene of the crime

Morning, folks. 

I had a peculiar dream last night involving the most significant landmark in my native Bristol: Clifton Suspension Bridge. I say “dream”, but that may be doing it something of a disservice. It was a night terror – the type that leaves you bewildered a good 30-40 seconds after waking up. 

In the usually tranquil setting of my unconscious mind I had parked across the centre of the road causing traffic to come to a standstill whilst horrified members of the public watched as I threw Hull City’s entire first team squad off in alphabetical order (Huddlestone was a struggle).

Quite why I dreamt this is beyond me. I have no ill-feeling toward Hull and nothing but ambivalence towards their players. Perhaps there’s some profound meaning to be extracted by a trained mental professional… Alas, I’m utterly at a loss to explain where it came from and thought it warranted sharing. 

So… 

Today I thought I’d talk about the hullabaloo and rapture surrounding Raheem Sterling. 

The situation reminds me of Nicolas Anelka’s acrimonious departure to Real Madrid: talented, petulant young player with greedy advisors. I don’t pretend to know the ins and outs of the situation anywhere near as much as a dedicated Liverpool fan might. But from the outside looking in, it certainly appears that way. 

Arsene Wenger is known to be an admirer of Sterling. Taken purely on footballing ability, the kid certainly has talent in abundance. However, troubles begin to appear when you look at his attitude. To be quite frank, if I was a Liverpool fan I’d be happily rid of him. 

A 20-year-old with little or no accomplishments within the game has no right to critique the manner in which his Club is being run. Then you look at the alleged comments made by his agent, Aidy Ward, to the London Evening Standard;

“I don’t care about the PR of the club and the club situation,
“I don’t care. He is definitely not signing. He’s not signing for £700,000, £800,000, £900,000 a week,
“He is not signing. My job is to make sure I do the best with them (my clients). If people say I am bad at my job, or they are badly advised it does not matter.”

Those remarks have since been denied.  However, I feel there’s a huge proportion of truth to them.  Aidy Ward’s job is to secure the highest amount of commission for himself in a move for his client, and those comments only make it appears a move is being forced. 

Most importantly of all, I wouldn’t want to see Sterling at Arsenal because I don’t think he would be anything other than an unnecessary purchase. We have players who operate in his position that are of an extremely high standard and those still to show their full potential – Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gnabry – are players I’d sooner see given a chance to do so. 

Other areas of the team are more important. 

Our business over the coming months is sure to be interesting. I don’t believe we will see another marquee addition to rival Ozil and Sanchez. The nucleus of our squad is very strong. If Arsene Wenger opts to spend a significant amount I believe it wil be to improve either our goalkeepers or central midfield. There could very well be a surprise, but, all things considered, I can’t see us wrestling with Liverpool to sign a player for what would be a hugely inflated fee and for a player we don’t need. 

That’s all for today, folks. The comments are below – do you think we need Sterling? Let me know. I’ll be back soon. Until then, and as always; thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards. 

£25m Vidal, £50m Ramsey, Rosicky Stays And Beware The Fluff Serpent.

 

Grinning idiots…

Afternoon, folks.

This is the first post I’ve scribed from an iPad. Check me out; all fu*king fancy-pants product dropping like a unknown blogging version of Michael Bay. You’ll also have to excuse the indulgent picture of my girlfriend and me above. It’s the only one currently stored within my memory and I’m unsure how to import something a touch more pertinent. Truthfully, I’ve no inclination to try and it’s a decent picture of me. Aren’t I beautiful? Don’t answer that…

You can tell the summer is very much upon us. How? Simple; what was once an online community obssesed with picking apart performances and player ability has suddenly transformed. From the darkness obscured by competitive football has emerged the dreaded ITK, a hideous two-headed serpent whose central preoccupation is to fill the minds of the unsuspecting with giddying rumour.

Between now and the close of the transfer window in August, you can expect an onslaught of mendacious dross. It’ll be unrelenting, aching, hideous poppycock and I’m ashamed to admit there is a little part of me that enjoys it. I like to dream, I enjoy the odd fantasy away from the chores of daily life. When it comes to my beloved Arsenal, my face beams when I slip into my own world to begin picturing a player strutting his proverbial on the Emirates turf. Continue reading

1-1 Does The Job, But A Poor 1st Half Makes The Internet Explode.

Theo was delighted to hear Michael Bay won’t be directing another Transformers movie.

Morning, all.

Posts have been conspicuous by their absence the past couple of days mainly becuase I’ve not had the time and been putting my efforts into, shall we say, more enjoyable things and some distinctly less – work, for example. That’s not to say you delicious individuals aren’t of paramount importance to me. You are. It’s simply a case of other things will take precedence because they have to.

Plus, there hasn’t been much in the way of Arsenal news. No hot topics, no scandals, no huge transfer revelations. Just fluff. Thankfully, now that we’ve had some competitive football to sink our teeth into there are pertinent things to blather about. And that I shall do.

Before kick off – major cliché alert – I would have gladly taken a 1-1 draw away at Old Trafford. Anything other than a defeat practically assures us an automatic qualification place into the Champions League – barring a catastrophic meltdown in the remaining two games.  Continue reading