The Armchair Gooner

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

The Ideal Replacement For Arsene Wenger Is Closer Than You Think.

Howdy, folks.

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Well… usually I pour out a few words at this juncture to explain why I’ve not written for such an elongated period of time. I could, but I’m not going to. Words of excuse seem trite at this stage and a little pointless.

Maybe you haven’t missed me at all…

Anyways. What have I been up to recently? Well, I’ve been trying my hand at football management. Granted, I’m talking the simulated variety here and not the pursuit that sees me caterwauling at youngsters whilst patrolling a touchline with ideas far above my station. In the past few weeks I’ve been lucky enough to receive a complimentary copy of Football Manager 2015 from the good folks at Cash Generator – they also deal in Nintendo DS.

Before I get into my exploits at the helm of Arsenal, I figured a few words about the game itself wouldn’t go amiss. Growing up I was very easily addicted to what was then called Championship Manager. Although many of my friends referred to it as simply, “a bunch of numbers on the screen”, I was hooked and could easily fret away the hours choosing tactics and trying to nurture the unknown Bolivian wonderchild I’d paid mere pennies to recruit.

It was a totally immersive experience. The modern variety, however, makes those memories pale by comparison. In what I call “death by statistics” everything you could possibly imagine is here; whether that be the ability to hold lengthy, often arduous, meetings with the board to the updated realism of ‘player power’ – it’s all meticulously recreated for you to explore. The most notable change from those games of yesteryear is the addition of a 3D match engine that allows you to watch your players as they scamper about under your direction.  Continue reading

Staying Ahead Of The Closest Top 4 Race

The race for the top four is simmering nicely as we enter the final 10 games of the season. The target is simple but the mathematics don’t quite stack up – five teams are chasing two Champions League places – Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool, Spurs and Southampton are separated by just five points in what looks to be the closest top four race in over a decade.

Front runners

Third placed Arsenal are in pole position to qualify for the Champions League while Manchester United, who occupy fourth place on 53 points, are being stalked by one of the form teams in Europe – Liverpool.

The Anfield club have picked up 29 points from a possible 33 and beaten Spurs, Southampton and Manchester City in recent weeks to put themselves right in the hunt for a top four place. It’s an unthinkable position given the hole Rodgers’ men found themselves in after the 3-1 defeat at Palace that left them treading water in 12th place.

But can Liverpool qualify for the Champions League for the second consecutive year? Form lines suggest yes they can.

The red machine may have taken a while to shake off the rust but they are steamrollering teams left, right and centre. They are top of the 5, 10 and 15 game form tables and seem to be passing every test put before them in the league. And it’s not just the results that are impressive, the team are playing close to levels they reached last season when they missed out on the title by the slimmest of margins. Continue reading

Per Mertesacker; Colossus or Hapless Giraffe Skating On Ice.

We love some BFG

Morning, folks.

I’ve decided that I’m going to blog here and there, every now and then. Keeping things going on a daily basis when it’s just you is pretty tricky and I’ve a personal life as well as a hectic work schedule to contend with.

Excuses, excuses…

Truth is, I can be pretty fu*king bone-idle at times. Often the allure of shooting strangers in the face with a bazooka on GTA5 is too much to ignore and precious time allotted for blogging is quickly eaten into. Other times I simply can’t muster the inclination to waltz my digits across the keyboard.

Today I thought I’d discuss Per Mertesacker.

As an Arsenal player, it’s very easy to go from hero to zero with one poor performance. Olivier Giroud especially seem to spend most of his time veering wildly from one extreme to the other in the eyes of our supporters. One moment, a genuinely world-class striker, the next a meandering carthorse capable of offering nothing more than frustration. Continue reading

The Supremacy Of Nacho Monreal

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Monreal is better than all you cunts.

Nacho Monreal. A slightly weird name for a player with a slightly weird face slightly covered by a slightly weird haircut that always seems to tease between fringe and quiff. At this moment in time, that man happens to be the most in form defender we have. Some will say that Nacho has had a dramatic turn around over the last few games after being poor previously. Those people are liars and sex pests. Monreal has consistently been our best defender all season, to the despair of some of our fanbase who regarded him as less popular than Al Qaeda at the start of the season. Continue reading

Ozil, Giroud, Cazorla, Gabriel, Akpom And Comfortable Progression.

Giroud’s classy finish

Morning, folks.

Sometimes, I don’t get the chance to watch games in their entirety. The perils and unsociable nature of my gainful employment are such that I’m at my busiest when Arsenal kick-off. Yesterday was an extremely good example of this; I missed the majority of the first have and caught fleeting glimpses of the second.

Writing a match review under such circumstances can be troublesome, so I find myself lurking around the internet hoping to find lengthy highlights. Then I’ve got to find the time to watch them, then get the time to write…

I’m rambling.

Point is, I even though it’s a chore, I make the effort.

*Cue rapturous applause, ticker-tape descending from the skies, shrieks of female adulation and appreciative nods from my peers at the unfathomable, glorious sacrifice I make to bring this drivel to you every day*

So….. The Arsenal. Continue reading

Middlesborough: Team News, Predicted Starting XI And Thoughts.

Hopefully, high-fives all round at the final whistle.

Morning, folks.

The FA Cup. Perhaps the most likely avenue in which to get our grubby paws all over some delicious silverware. All that stands between us and progression to the quarter finals is Middlesborough; riding high in the Championship and a team to be taken seriously. After all, they did defeat Manchester City in the previous round and did so with a very good display.

I love this competition. Unabashedly so. Primarily for the shocks. Whilst it is undeniably gratingly bloody awful when Arsenal succumb to lower league opponents, it’s equally as hilarious when others fall at that particular hurdle. Anything can happen in the one-off nature of a cup tie and we need only look at Chelsea’s howlingly funny defeat to Bradford to see just how unpredictable the FA Cup can be. Anyone can slip up, and it’s usually the ones who don’t think it can happen to them.

Today we go into the game as favourites with fans and pundits alike. Even the most ardent of Middlesborough fan assume a heavy defeat is in order, and most of them see their season’s priority a return to the Premiership. So, I say it again; we are huge favourites today.  Continue reading

Top 4 The Priority And Relentless Transfer Gossip.

“Yay…4th…”

Morning, folks.

Yesterday I failed to produce a blog post as promised. You might think there was a good reason for this; a family emergency or perhaps a complete meltdown of Internet capabilities. You’d be mistaken. The single biggest contributing factor was a bout of indolence on my part, coupled with the desire to play GTA5 – I get addicted very easily when it comes to shooting/blowing up other members of the online community.

So, I guess apologies are in order. There wasn’t exactly a plethora of interesting stories to write about, but, hey – I intend to jot daily and didn’t do so. I throw myself at your collective mercy (both of you).

Today is mostly scattered news without anything significant or immediately jarring – no story has leapt from the screen causing my fingers to flutter across the keyboard. Instead, we’ve the emergence of what I like to refer to as “customary dross”.  Continue reading