The Armchair Gooner

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

Podolski agrees to join Arsenal and international nightmares.

Morning, and hi-de-ho, campers. Before we begin, I’d like to wish you all a happy leap year. Go out, have fun and make the most of an extra day.

So, onwards toward the unbridled delirium of today’s delicious post. Are you all sitting comfortably? Yes? Splendid, then I shall begin:

I have quite a few ‘worst’ nightmare scenarios. These range from getting stuck in a crowded elevator to waking up one morning and finding my penis has been replaced by a talking head… you know, like the bit in Total Recall with the little guy growing out of the other guy’s stomach. Makes me shudder to think about it. I hate confined spaces and I certainly don’t want my new genitals to hold the secret to an infinite supply of oxygen on Mars, nor do I wish to have to worry about Michael Ironside trying to shoot them.

But as far as football nightmares go, there’s a very specific one that plagues me. Picture the scene; it’s an utterly pointless fixture between Eng-er-land and The Netherlands, Robin van Persie collects the ball in midfield, far from the penalty area, and is cut in two by a talentless hacker in the James Milner/Joleon Lescott mould. Bang. Stretchered off, season over. All we’re left with is the obligatory tales of how those responsible ‘aren’t that type of player’ and a gaping hole in attack where the Premiership’s best player used to be. And for what? A farcical, meaningless friendly that’s a waste of everybody’s time and effort. I hate international football.

Tonight, I’ll be offering my prayers to the gods of football that Robin – as well as any Arsenal player involved in a similar match – comes throw unscathed and fighting fit. I won’t watch the England game because it will be duller than a Paris Hilton sex-tape and it sickens me to hear pundits talk of Redknapp as a saviour. His record over thirty years reads as a trail of destruction and complicity with one meagre cup to show for his efforts. Jesus, the man has the penmanship of a 5-year-old blind girl, and his dog looks after his accounts. He’s the top managerial candidate for England? Please…

With an important game this Saturday at Klanfield, the timing couldn’t really be any worse, so the smoother the evening passes, the better. Keep those body parts crossed, people.

So, you fancy some transfer news? Okay, here you go… You guys are insatiable…

According to a few reports, Lukas Podolski has agreed to move to Arsenal in the summer. With a deal between us and Koln unable to be agreed in January – we allegedly tried – the deal has been set for the re-opening of the transfer window, and presumably, before the start of Euro 2012. Here’s a few quotes I found;

Goal.com; Arsene Wenger is a long-term admirer of the German international and the Gunners reportedly had two bids for the 26-year-old rejected last summer. But with his contract set to expire in just over a year, Koln will have little choice other than to sell their prized asset should he decline a contract extension.

However, German publication Express claim that Podolski has yet to put pen to paper, but that an agreement is only a matter of time and that the Gunners are aiming to tie up the deal as quickly as possible in order to avoid competition for his signature.

Yahoo Sports: Experienced German striker Lukas Podolski is close to joining English Premier League side Arsenal from Cologne, German daily Bild claimed on its website on Tuesday.

The 26-year-old – capped 95 times and a veteran of two World Cups and Euro 2008 – has apparently already agreed personal terms with Arsenal, though, the two clubs have yet to agree a fee.

Granted, neither site is a glowing beacon of truth and reputable information, but there’s no smoke with out fire, as the saying goes. Some sites go further into the depths of hokey balderdash by ‘confirming’ the fee will be £15m + players – they fail to state whose these players may be. If it’s Squllaci and Almunia, then we should perhaps throw in a extra £5m as means of an apology.

I hope this one is a rarity; a pebble of truth playfully skimming across a sea of interminable mendacity. Stories with truth are few and far between across the interweb.

Lukas Podolski is an excellent player, a natural finisher and of vast experience. I think he’d do well in our system and style of play, and his ability to play the flanks or up top as a striker means we’d have an avenue to take some of the pressure off Robin. Assuming, that is, the German isn’t being signed as a replacement.

Interesting stuff.

That’s about all yer getting, folks. All that’s left is for me to sign off in my own tiresome fashion – thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards – and to point you in the direction of my Twitter account – @_ArmchairGooner – which is criminally bereft of followers considering the vast array of entertainment and information that’s on offer.

Okay, so the last part might not be true…

Wojciech, Robin, Mikel, Tomas, Andrey and Arsenal make big profit.

Greetings, salutations and awkward just-where-do-I-put-my-hands? hugs to each one of you.

Today is a news bonanza, and it’s been a pleasure to read through uplifting and happy stories instead of the interminable anti-Arsenal dross the papers serve up with such jolly disregard when things go awry – although, some have tried focusing more on the defensive frailties. I guess they’re just as bitter as the Spurs fans that we steamrollered the media darlings and their cockney messiah.

I’ll begin with some of the players. Having recently, and surprisingly, buggered off for the comfort of his home land, Andrey Arshavin has explained his reasoning behind the departure. I can understand, what I have trouble grasping is the decision to move him on in February. However, with Tomas Rosicky newly-found bounding ebullience, I’m not so sure the little Russian will be missed all that much.

With the epic saga of Robin’s contract set to rumble on through the entire summer, Mikel Arteta and Wojciech Szczsney have dropped a few hints about the likelihood of our mercurial Dutchman signing on the dotted line – reported to be a signature that could pocket him a whopping £150,000 per week, an offer that’ll comfortably see Robin never going without a Pot Noodle for the rest of his life. Perhaps thumping those grubby reprobates on Sunday has instilled a blind optimism in me, but I’m swaying gently towards him staying.

Arsenal certainly have the funds to increase his pay by that amount. In a story on Sky Sports News:

The sale of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri has helped Arsenal to post a sizeable pre-tax profit for the six months through to the end of November 2011.

The club announced that they made £49.5m during this period, which was a huge improvement on the £6.1m loss they suffered over the same six months in 2010.

In the same piece, chairman Peter Hill-Wood and chief executive Ivan Gazidas went on to say:

“We are proud of Arsenal’s record and consistency over many seasons.
“We have the foundations in place, at every level of the club, to ensure we remain a force in the seasons ahead.

“We have a healthy cash balance of £115m for the half year.
“But it’s important to understand that not all that money is available to invest in transfers.

“We have running costs of the club, player salaries and so on, so that amount goes down during the year.
“We also have to keep something in reserve in case things don’t go our way.

“There is money available, we don’t talk about an exact figure – and there’s a very good reason why we don’t put an exact figure on that – because it would impact on our negotiating position.”

The last part is especially interesting. Given the variety of figures brandished about that claim to be the amount in Arsene’s ‘war-chest’, keeping that figure away from the limelight does make sense, but only to an extent. Surely announcing a massive profit is going have a similar impact? Clubs we intend to do business with may not know the full means of our wealth, but they will be fully aware that we have some. Regardless, it does offer hope for reinforcements, and if we play as well for the rest of the season as we did on Sunday, there could very well be a sizeable lump of Champions League money to add to the pot.

That’s yer lot folks. Knowing myself, tomorrow’s post will contain a lengthy moan about international football and how pointless the friendlies are. Thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards. Take a moment to comment below and follow my Twitter account – @_ArmchairGooner.

I thought I’d leave you today with this link to my favourite tweet from a Spurs fan. Can’t see the wood for the trees, can they…

Big Ted’s player of the month: February

20120220-034426 PM.jpg

I’ve noticed that I’m the only Arsenal blog to have a mascot. As there’s quite obviously something wrong with me upstairs, Big Ted – the aforementioned mascot – will be awarding The Armchair Gooner’s player of the month.

For February, it’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. His goals, assists and general ascent into the hearts of Gooners the world over made him the best choice in a relatively poor month for the Arsenal. After his improvement and performance against Spurs, Tomas Rosicky was considered, but two fabulous performances against United and Blackburn tipped the scales in The Ox’s favour.

If you disagree with Big Ted, then be sure to take it up with me on my Twitter account – @_ArmchairGooner

Passion, drive, finesse, commitment; Now that’s what I call an Arsenal performance!

20120227-072248 AM.jpg
FA Premiership 26th February
Arsenal 5 – 2 Tottenham

Morning salutations, you glorious, joy-filled individuals.

There was a point yesterday – around the 35 minute mark – where I was a dejected, forlorn figure contemplating having to write another blog post dripping with misery and disappointment. Spurs had managed to acquire themselves a 2 goal lead through fortune and egregious gamesmanship from their simian Welsh winger. As Adebayor – the cunt – tucked away the penalty-that-never-was, my head fell into my hands and I settled down for another miserable afternoon.

Then something quite beautiful happened; Arsenal turned up; passionate, skilful and determined not to lose. We didn’t just beat Spurs yesterday, we wiped the floor with them. There was no dispute, no fortuitous decisions, no lucky breaks or goals against the run of play; we thoroughly outplayed them, and blew them off the Emirates turf with 5 goals over a delicious 28 minute period.

The absent passion of recent weeks was there in abundance, murmurings of discontent in the crowd where replaced by vociferous roars of encouragement. Everyone was together, everyone was magnificent. After Sagna’s determined header set the tone for the day and van Persie’s sublime thunderbolt in the final first half minutes showed why he’s comfortably the best in the league, the result was never in doubt. Arsenal were superior in every department.

Theo Walcott deserves a mention today. Plenty of Gooners – me included – clamoured for the inclusion of The Ox at Theo’s expense. In recent months, Walcott has caused endless frustration. His pace is capable of destroying teams, but when that opportunity isn’t there, he struggles and the fans – again, me included – get on his back. Howls of derision met his first half performance, but he got his head down in the second period and proved a lot of people wrong with their assessments. I wanted him to go off at the break, but he was a changed man and took the final 2 goals quite brilliantly. On that evidence, he wouldn’t make a bad striker. If he can keep doing it on a regular basis and cut out the bad moments, then maybe he’ll justify the large pay increase he wants. If he continuously turns out performances with product and goals, he’ll be worth it.

The two players that most impressed me have had their doubters, too. Benayoun and Rosicky were excellent; busy, industrious and hard-working. The choice to include both in the starting line-up did surprise me, but the performances of both justified it entirely. A very good move from Wenger. Rosicky, a player I’ve long admired, was at the hub of everything good we did. Tomas orchestrated things and hustled in a way we’ve seen too infrequently in an Arsenal shirt. He was fantastic.

Understandably jubilant, after the game Le Boss gushed:

“It had team spirit, technique, resilience. It was an exciting game, we had a difficult start but kept going and showed great character again.

“When you’re 2-0 down against a team in front of you with the quality they have, you need something exceptional.

“We refused to lose today, we kept going and in the end I think we had too much quality and drive.”

All in all, yesterday was outstanding. We needed a win, we gave our greatest enemy a royal thumping. We needed a performance, we got the best of the season so far. Most of all, seeing the smug comments from a plethora of Spurs fans rammed from whence they came left me with a glowing warmth and satisfaction that only football and The Arsenal can give you.

What. A. Day. We now have the most glorious of victories to push onwards from. Things look a lot brighter, and if the boys keep performing like that, we’ll get fourth place.

Thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards. Leave a comment below and follow me on my Twitter account – @_ArmchairGooner.

Preview: Arsenal Vs a bunch of irksome shite-bags with a twitchy, tax-evading manager whose name I don’t care to mention.

Good morning, folks. The big day is here. Are you feeling a little nervous? Whilst not overcome with terror, Butterflies are hovering about my insides and there is the occasional frenzy of gaseous activity in my underpants.

I really, really want us to beat Spurs. Whilst in London last week, I was passed in Waterloo by a vertically challenged, saggy-faced cretin wearing a ‘Mind the gap’ t-shirt. I yearn for an Arsenal victory, not only for the glory, not for just the invaluable 3 points, but because I know it’ll upset that dismal excuse for a human being.

Discussing form and progression in the league is irrelevant, as neither count for much in a North London derby. Those things get hastily tossed out of the proverbial window, and I think we’ll see an open game with a few goals. Spurs aren’t known to approach away games with a ‘park the bus’ mentality and it’s that element I feel we should exploit. Redknapp will send his underlings out to have a go at us, and that should free up some space down the flanks for Theo/The Ox and Gervinho.

The wide players will be crucial in both an attacking and defending sense; a fine balance between the the two will need to be found. The team more or less picks itself, but one dilemma could be choosing between Walcott and Oxlade-Chamerblain for a starting birth. Given Theo’s tendency to disappear during important games, and the impact his pace can have from the bench if the game is open late-on, I would start with The Ox. He’s more inclined to help out Sagna.

In the centre, we’re looking at a triumvirate of Song, Arteta and Rosicky; Ramsey is definitely out with an ankle problem . The main injury worries come at the back with both Gibbs and Koscielny scheduled for late fitness tests today – both are expected to pass. I think the 11 trotting out onto the pitch for kick-off will be;

Szczsney; Sanga, Gibbs, Koscielny, Vermaelen; Song, Arteta, Rosicky, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gervinho; van Persie

Spurs are undoubtedly a good side and posses a lot of threat. Gareth Bale may look like a cross between Ben Stiller’s ‘Simple Jack’ character in Tropic Thunder and a homosexual priest, but he’ll be a major problem down the left side if not correctly policed. They’ll be a perpetually offside, egomaniacal pantomime villain up front we’ll need to keep an eye on, too – I can’t think of anything worse than allowing him to score.

I’m going to predict we’ll win by the odd goal in 5. Anything less than a good performance will see us lose, so I hope the tales of fresh vigour and determination amongst the players leaking from inside the camp are true. We’ve had our fair share of downs in recent weeks, I think we’re due an up, don’t you?

Let’s keeps as many crossable body parts crossed as is humanly possible.

Thanks for taking a moment to read, you beautiful bastards. I’ll be tweeting throughout the game – @_ArmchairGooner – if you’re unable to keep up with events. Enjoy the game and get right behind the team!

Andrey, Aaron, Laurent, Arsene, Freddie and early Spurs team news.

Good morning, you little delights.

Every time the weekend comes, I think of the Happy Days theme tune. Ironically, the title of that programme isn’t exactly an apt description of current life as a Gooner. If only The Fonz could fix our problems the same way he fixes jukeboxes.

“AYYEEE!”

Tomorrow, it’s the big one. Tomorrow, form and the aforementioned troubles count for diddley squat. Oddly enough, I’ve a strange feeling of calm about the game. Tomorrow’s post will cover the pre-game thoughts I have in greater depth, but the news relating to Arsenal and our players has started to pick up.

One individual who won’t be there is Andrey Arshavin, who casually and succinctly announced his departure from the club with a mere 2 words. His recent form hasn’t been great, I’m certain he wouldn’t have remained at the club for long had he stayed, but allowing him to move mid-February is baffling. Perhaps, there is much behind the scenes information you or I know nothing of. Regardless, I’ve always had a soft spot for him, and I wish him all the best. It may only be a loan to Zenit St Petersburg, but I’d wager this week’s run-out with the reserves will be his last action in an Arsenal shirt.

Earlier yesterday morning, Le Boss had some wise words to say to the media:

“I do not need to respond to every single opinion. Everyone has the right to have an opinion, it does not mean they are right.

“No matter what we say at the moment it will be printed in a negative way. It is up to us to transform that into a positive way.

“You can’t complain. We are in a fantastic job and we have a big game in front of us – to feel sorry for ourselves would be criminal. We have a good opportunity to show we have character. Let’s go for it.”

Good to hear, and I concur 100%. For all the team’s faltering, for all their recent blunders, victory over Spurs would be the ideal tonic of forgiveness. In a week where they’ve been maligned by many, an opportunity is upcoming to give the fans something to cheer about. Hopefully, they’ve prepared for some sleeves to be rolled up and there will be a proper Arsenal display on show.

Early team news has Koscielny and Gibbs fit to return to the squad – albeit after late tests on Sunday they’re expected to pass, but Aaron Ramsey is out with an ankle injury. I expect his place to go to Rosicky.

And that’s yer lot, folks. Thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards. Take a moment to comment, and follow my Twitter account @_ArmchairGooner.

As a special treat, I thought I’d leave you with this video of Freddie Ljungberg’s views on the North London derby. Don’t you just love how he still refers to Arsenal as ‘we’ and ‘us’?

Arshavin; bye bye in February?

Hello, folks.

News is currently spewing out in every direction regarding the imminent departure of our diminutive Russian trickster, Andrey Arshavin.

Even though it’s the middle of February, there’s a fairly important game coming up on Sunday and we are notoriously prone to suffering injuries, a deal appears to have been struck with his former club, Zenit St Petersburg, that would see him return on loan until the summer. No official confirmation from either club, or Arshavin himself, has yet been released. The deadline for completion is 9pm GMT this evening, but as things stand, it looks certain to go ahead.

Whilst none of us can know the details that stay behind closed doors at Arsenal, allowing him to leave now does appear foolish. Yes, his form of late is nothing short of woeful, but, as the victory at Sunderland proved, he has the capability to provide a moment of inspiration from nowhere.

I’ve always liked the little guy. I think it’s a shame it’s come to this position when he initially showed the kind of form that had me thinking he’d be a club legend. Perhaps playing for the reserves during the week was the final ignominy, maybe he’s homesick and just wants to go home. Whatever the reasoning, losing a player – one of the few with a genuine talent for the unexpected – in the middle of February smacks more of a financial decision than a football one.

Thanks for reading you beautiful bastards. What’s been your favourite Arshavin moment? Let me know in the comments and keep up with the latest on my Twitter account – @_ArmchairGooner.