The Armchair Gooner

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

Starting XI against QPR and team news. UEFA are morons.

Joey Barton demonstrates his famous 'tough guy' pose.

FA Premiership, March 31st: QPR Vs Arsenal

Saturday is here. Glorious football returns. Morning, folks!

Queens Park Rangers are one of those clubs I’ve built up a hatred for very quickly. My disdain doesn’t reach the unwavering levels I reserve for those grubby, inbred neighbours of ours, but any team that can claim to have been represented by Colin Wanker, Mark Hughes and Joey Barton in the same season deserves a morsel of abhorrence from even the most magnanimous of football fans.

Today, we don’t just need to score maximum points to sustain an excellent run of form, but also to strike a blow against the evil that does remain at Loftus Road. Our cause is aided by Djibril Cisse’s bizarre return to English football; he’ll miss a further four games having decided his tenure spent in the country will involve more ill-advised attempts at hacking opponents than it will goals.

The Arsenal team news is good. Laurent Koscielny has recovered from the tendonitis that kept him out of the Villa game, and should return to partner Thomas Vermaelen at the centre of defence. Abou Diaby’s season is showing promising signs of him making an appearance longer than the 40-or-so minutes he’s managed thus far, but it’s unlikely he’ll return to the squad. Jack Wilshere is still a couple of weeks away from full training. I don’t imagine we’ll see much in the way of change from our previous outing. My prediction for the starting 11 is:

Sczcsney; Sagna, Gibbs, Koscielny, Vermaelen; Song, Arteta, Rosicky, Gervinho, Walcott; van Persie

On paper, that’s a side that should comfortably dispatch QPR, and if we play well I’ve few doubts we’ll fail to do so. That said, caution is required. We need only look back to Liverpool’s recent capitulation there to realise nothing should be taken for granted. Wenger may opt to exclude Gervinho in favour of a player with better ball retention, or he may chose to offer up a starting place for Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Arsene Wenger has been in the news yesterday having received yet another touchline ban courtesy of the breathtakingly idiotic representatives at UEFA. It seems all our manager has to to these days to receive European bans is pass wind mildly out of tune. He remarks about the Ref during the Milan game were both true, and entirely justified. UEFA should take note of the behaviour of certain high-profile managers they allow to go unpunished – Mr Mourinho – before they starting throwing around bans like they’re fucking confetti.

In responce to the incident, Arsene Wenger said:

“If I am [suspended] then it is not justified and I will appeal straight away.

I believe that they have transformed UEFA competition referees to be untouchable icons, where you cannot even have a word.

The only thing they understand after the game is the report.

I believe that when you have 25 years consecutively in Europe you can still ask the referee that you can have some discussion with him. It is very difficult to understand”

I’d like to think that some element of common sense will prevail in the end, but given the organisation in question, I’d say he’s more likely to receive further punishment simply for speaking. I yearn for the days actual football people gain jobs at UEFA, and not corrupt, bloated morons with the intelligence and charisma of a puddle of cat urine.

I’ll finish up today with a mention for Villa’s captain, Stilyian Petrov. Yesterday, it was announced he has acute leukaemia. I’m sure you’ll all join me in wishing him the quickest and fullest of recoveries. Very sad news indeed.

That’s all for today, folks. Take a moment to comment and follow my Twitter account – @_ArmchairGooner

WE NEED A F@*%ING MIDFIELDER!

"Calm down. We don't need that kind of language"

Friday greetings, boys ‘n’ girls.

Quite some time ago, a work colleague of mine told me a story about themselves in which they woke up at 3am with an incredible craving for chocolate. For reasons beyond my comprehension, I found this unbelievably hilarious. What I’m certain was a fairly humdrum affair in reality, exists in head head as the following; I picture him – a middle-aged manager – waking up in a flash, bolt-upright and screaming “I NEED FUCKING CHOCOLATE!” and then proceeding to furiously rummage through his wife’s handbag for a Crunchie. If that failed, he’d dart downstairs in his Scrooge-like pyjamas and drive to the nearest petrol station at 100mph with his face pressed against the glass, breathing heavily and snarling.

The reason I bring this up, is that I imagine on the last night before the summer transfer window closed, Arsene Wenger did something similar. I’d wager he woke up in a frenzy, hit with the sudden realisation that the squad was in dire need of reinforcements. That final day in August, he was a blur or activity, screaming at Pat Rice, asking him why he hadn’t made him aware of the need to recruit sooner. “PAT! WE NEED A FUCKING MIDFIELDER! DON’T JUST SIT THERE!”

Of course, the main reason for me sharing such an idiotic notion is the paucity of Arsenal related news out there, and I’m merely trying to fill up this post. The only tidbit of news is PSG’s alleged desire to bid somewhere in the region of £5m for our stylist’s apprentice, Marouane Chamakh – a deal that we’d be mad not to rip their arms of should it be offered. When the Moroccan first came to the club, I was actually quite impressed with him, he looked a good bit of business on a free transfer. Once a decent few months passed, he descended into being, well, quite frankly, shit.

Unlike the summer of last year, I expect us to conduct our business quickly and efficiently his time around. It’s been stated before in seasons past that this opportunity to purchase will be the occasion “Wenger has a clear out” and nothing has materialised. Call me naive, if you will, but I am convinced this time will be different. I hope to be proved correct.

That’s all for today, folks. Tomorrow sees the return of Arsenal and a trip to QPR. I’ll be posting a preview of the game with my upcoming post on Saturday. Until then, enjoy your day and thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards. Take a moment to comment below, and you can follow me on Twitter – @_ArmchairGooner

Finally, you can read my latest column at Arsenal Vision here.

Denilson to stay in Brazil. Large summer clear-out ahead?

Bargains, bargains, bargains!

Morning, folks!

Thursday morning is here, and given that my current working life is a swirling mess of irritation and exceeds all usual levels of business, It’s nice to be doing somethng that I really enjoy; writing this drivel for your enjoyment.

I’ve done my customary reading on the early morning news, and what’s caught my eye today is a story about Denilson, who wishes to stay in Brazil and not return to the Emirates. I wouldn’t say I’m one of those folks who have unbelievable levels of disdain for the guy. I don’t think he’s an altogether hopeless player. I just don’t think he’s good enough to sustain a regular position in our first team, and with his comments about wanting to win trophies before he left, I lost a little of my respect for him.

We have better players in his position, and players that are capable of doing more than keeping possession with 5 yard passes in the wrong direction. Letting him leave – fee or no fee – is the correct thing to do.

It’s what we should do with most of the dead-wood at the club. If we have trouble selling the likes of Almunia and Squillaci, we should allow them to depart on free transfers. The money we’ll save on their ridiculous salaries could be put to much better use.

The player I really want to see the back of is Nicklas Bendtner. There was a time I tried to defend him and all his arrogance. Watching him chew gum and shamble around the pitch without a care in the world in a Sunderland shirt has opened my eyes a little. I find it easy to defend Arsenal players because I feel it’s an innante responsibility of mine, and I do so without thinking for the most part.

Now all I see when I look at him is an arrogant, mildly-talented buffoon with a propensity for missing easy chances who really ought be dispatched from the Arsenal roster in a one-man craft that’s set on a course to orbit his own ego. Whether he’s smashing up cars with Cattermole, wearing those stupid hats or putting the number 52 onto his face mask – the guy is world class tool without an ounce of the talent needed to allow those thing to be ignorable.

Clear him out. The sooner the better. If we can shift Bendtner, Almunia, Squillaci, Fabianski and a few others, take the money raised from their departures and put it to good use in the summer market, and providing we can secure new contracts for essential first-team players, next season I think we could have a good shot at being genuine challengers for the big domestic honours.

Thats all today. I’ve got to rush off and do another 12 hour shift at work. Why do couples feel the need to get married? It intrudes on my personal life. Some people are so selfish…

Thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards. Take a moment to comment below and follow me on Twitter @_ArmchairGooner. 

Song’s singing, Gotze’s not going and M’Vila news.

Gotze was furious with the amount of stray snails on the pitch.

Hello everyone!

Today, I’m probably a little behind due to most of the news stories having broken soon after yesterday’s post. I would have updated, but I had a hell-worthy day at work and I wasn’t afforded the luxury of time.

First up is Alex Song. He’s reportedly been offered a new contract by Arsenal – somewhere in the region of £75k-a-week. This season, I think he’s shown a vast improvement in his ability to contribute in the final third. This has lead to a slight neglect for his defensive responsibilities, but Mikel Arteta’s wise head and ability to cover his position have concealed the fact. He’s become an increasingly more important member of the team, and I think securing his future is a good thing.

One person who’s definitely signed a new deal, sadly, is Dortmund’s tricky playmaker, Mario Gotze. Having signed until 2016 with the German side, Gotze stated:

“Everyone knows how comfortable I feel in Dortmund. The club are far from finished with their recent resurgence. And I want to be part of this development.

With Eden Hazard showing all the class and restraint of a seasoned hooker addled with crystal meth, Gotze was chief amongst those singled out as a summer buy. It’s bad news, but far from catastrophic. There are many more options out there.

Finally, There’s Yaan M’Vila. He’s a player who’s got huge expectations on his shoulders, and will leave Rennes in the summer. The big guns around Europe could well start queuing up for him, but his destination is still rumoured to be Arsenal throughout the press. We’ve already bid once, and who’s to say there wasn’t an accord struck between the clubs during that period? One can only hope.

There isn’t much else to report. We’ve got to wait a couple of days until news of the game at QPR begins to surface. Until then, I’ll love you and leave you. Apologies is today’s entry seems brief – I’ve my column to do at Arsenal Vision, and I’m bloody tired.

Thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards. Take a moment to comment and follow my Twitter account – @_ArmchairGooner.

Arteta warns of complacency. Podolski imminent, or a million miles away.

"Theo, do my eyebrows look weird to you?"

Welcome to the deliciousness of Tuesday morning, folks.

A lot of folks out there have taken to mocking Spurs fans for there ill-advised “mind the gap” attempts at hilarity. Poking fun at their faltering of recent weeks is undoubtedly fun, but it’s also a very risky business. We might be in 3rd place, but we’ve not finished there yet. An awful lot can happen over the course of the remaining 8 matches.

Personally, I’m keeping my gloating until we’ve secured that posistion and the season’s come to a close. Then it’ll be an explosion of torment aimed towards some of those irksome little cretins I have to endure. Until then, I’m just going to wait and see how things pan out.

One person in agreement with me is our Spaniard with the unmovable, immaculate hair. Mikel Areta (birthday wishes for yesterday!) had this to say in a recent interview on the Arsenal Player:

‘If anyone thinks it’s all done now, then they are making a big mistake.

‘We can’t take our foot off the pedal now. We have won seven in a row now, which is very difficult in the Premier League nowadays, and we have done it well, playing some high-tempo football, but there are some tough, tough games coming up in our last eight matches.’

In other news, there has been the obligatory rumblings surrounding what is now becoming akin to watching the final Lord of the Rings movie; the epic and interminable Podolski saga.  Some will have you believe he’s completed a medical, bought a house, settled in London, had a child with a local girl and played 35 times for the reserves. Others are quick to point out that he could simply be postponing his decision until the season’s over – or incase Chelsea throw an obscene amount of cash at him.

It’s all getting a little boring now, isn’t it? Arsene Wenger is understandably coy when pressed for a response by howling journalists, and everything else that swirls around the internet comes from highly dubious ‘sources’. Is it just me, or does everyone seem to have a relative/friend that’s capable of getting all the inside information at a club?

For the record, my mother communicates telepathically with Theo Walcott’s underpants. They’ve informed her Podolski has completed a medical, and that Theo shows the same blasé approach to toilet hygiene as he does with crossing the ball properly when given the time to think.

On that slightly peculiar note, I shall leave you in peace for the day. Thanks for taking a moment to read, you beautiful bastards. The comments are below and don’t forget to follow all my splendid twittering on Twitter  @_ArmchairGooner

Monday morning: Vertonghen’s 9 rivals, team of the year and “Kaka! Get a restart!!”

Having gained a much-coveted restart, Kaka was jubilent.

Monday snuggles and such to you, the fairest of reader.

With the business of obtaining 3 points put to bed in its comfiest pyjamas, football of any significance seems another eternity away. Sure, there are games this week, but there’s no Arsenal until the weekend.

As is customary, I’ve begun this morning by dipping my head into the swirling vortex of internet news outlets to discover any surreptitious treats there may be. There aren’t many, to be perfectly honest.

I did come across a story about Ajax’s Jan Vertonghen and the number of clubs pining for his signature – a list of 10, that includes The Arsenal. In an interview with Dutch newspaper Het Nieuwsblad, he said:

‘There are still ten clubs on my list. There are currently some contacts, but not so concrete that we are already negotiating.

‘I’m not waiting for a summer full of speculation. Around June I hope to have clarity.

Interesting, but he’s one of the players constantly mentioned I don’t think we’ll sign. Not because he isn’t good enough, I just can’t see Wenger entering the market for another player who’s predominately a centre-back. I’ve not seen him play enough to comment – I can’t lie about these things – but others say he’s got the ability to play across the entire back four, so he could be a useful addition in that respect. Given the successful Vermaelen/Koscielny partnership, and with Mertesacker to return from injury, it seems illogical to me.

Across Twitter yesterday there was a sudden influx of folks chirping up with there opinions on the team of the year. I’ve never been one to make compilations and play fantasy football, but it did bring up a few heated debates – most notably from Spurs fans, whose bias selections defy belief. Adebayor ahead of RvP? Please…

For the sake of debate. however, I’ll make an exception this one time and do one; so here’s my best 11 (it’s just an opinion, so try not to flame me with nasty comments…):

Vorm; Richards, Koscielny, Kompany, Baines; Hoilett, Silva, Tiote, Modric; Ba, van Persie

As far as the single award for player of the season, the feeling amongst users, and some current players, is that there is one choice, and that’s our captain. If anyone else gets it, it will rank as the single biggest travesty at an awards ceremony since Forrest Gump was handed ‘best picture’ ahead of The Shawshank Redemption and Pulp Fiction at the Oscars.

The comments are below if you’d like to give me your own team of the year selections. I’d certainly like to see a few and read what you so-and-sos think.

That’s me all finished for today, folks. Thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards and don’t forget to follow my Twitter account – @_ArmchairGooner

By now, you’re probably wondering “what the bloody hell was the title about?”. I’m a huge fan of The Tuesday Club, and its hosts Alan Davies, Tayo Popoola, Keith Dover and Ian Stone. Below is a video featuring the audio of a past podcast episode about Fat Sam Allardyce. It had me weakened at the bladder and giggling like a damn fool. Enjoy!