The Armchair Gooner

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

“We’re all going on a summer holiday…” Well, late-summer-ish.

A welcome break.

As of today, I’m on holiday in Malta. 2 weeks of sun, sand and a whole load of other things beginning with ‘s’ – you may speculate amongst yourselves as to what those things might be.

During this time, I may be a little unable to post – this depends mainly on how good my hotel’s wifi is, and how much time I have away from enjoying myself.

If I don’t manage to write a few things, I apologise in advance, but assure all you lovely people that read my site that I will return, and I will return with a renewed vigour and dedication to my blogs. In the meantime, I’d like to thank each and every person that’s helped to make my blog a relative success, and thank all of you that come here to have a read.

I’ll see you all soon.

Starting XI against Pulis and his cretinous bunch.

Stoke-on-Trent: tranquil, beautiful, inspiring…

Morning, folks.

Today, I consider it to be a real test of our mettle. We all know there’s little or no love lost between our boys are the followers of Pulis’ hackers. Ever since they took such offence at one of our players daring to have his leg broken on their turf, relations between the two clubs haven’t been exactly all happiness and charity.

Away at Stoke is usually one of those fixtures I look forward to about as much as I would being brutally entered by a barbaric brute of a man who’s just come off a 23 hour stint of being annoyed by Jim Davidson. In short; it’s the kind of thing I approach with dread. This is mainly because I expect Arsenal to overcome Stoke’s basic means of playing the game with a swift tempo and technique. Instead, we invariably get humiliated by long throws and have lumps kicked out of our players.

Add to that the despicable manner in which their fans treat Aaron Ramsey, and you have the makings of a thoroughly loathsome day. As I usually find myself saying around about this time; I have faith this time won’t be a repeat; this time we’re going to emerge the victors – a victory for football over, well, rugby.

On the team front, Koscielny is set to miss out again, but we give a warm welcome back to Oxlade-Chamberlian, and a fairly lukewarm one to Fabianski. I expect The Ox to feature, and I can imagine we’ll send out a side looking like this – with Giroud starting as the frontman to give our attack a bit of strength:

EDIT: Sagna is out, Jenkinson will start – my mistake!

 That’s how I think we’ll line-up.

If we can take the game to Stoke, keep possesion and not allow ourselves to be daunted  by the bombardment from the air our penalty area is going to get, then I think we can take 3 points. God knows, accomplishing such a thing would certainly be a good step toward restoring a little faith.

The comments are below, what do you think the team should be? Predictions? Let’s be having them. thanks for reading, you beautiful bastard.

I shall be back tomorrow with a game review.

Andre Santos, Eduardo, Sahin signs and various materials…

Official Police footage of Santos on his way to training.

Morning, fellow creatures.

Andre Santos is fast becoming one of my favourite Arsenal players. He never fails to put a smile on my face. Yesterday, I read a report of the Police clocking him at 130mph on the motorway as he was late for training. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t pass something like that off as comedy, and I’m no advocate of driving like a twat. However, because it’s our portly Brazilian full-back, it’s quite funny.

The story was reported by The Sun so, unsurprisingly, his crimes are being hyped up as worse than Hitler’s, and they’re trying to have us believe Andre is looking at doing some serious time. That’s just hogwash. It just goes to show how certain players can brush off and survive stories like this because they’re likeable. Had that been Nicklas Bendtner, I doubt I’d have been so amused – most probably becuase Andre Santos isn’t an irksome egomaniac.

Another Arsenal affiliate getting away with something is Eduardo. He’s had this to say about the club selling a previously worshipped Dutch prat I refuse to name, and Alex Song:

“It is a big mistake to sell them, they were the most important players last season, but they have other quality players to stay as a big club at the top.

“Van Persie and Song were the key players last season – they held the team. When you lose two players like that, your chance of finishing in the top four is less. But Arsenal still have a good team and I’m confident they will do well. Last year when they lost Nasri and Fabregas, everyone thought they would not finish in the top four but they did.

“When the season finishes, we’ll see if it was a mistake or not. It’s very sad to lose two big players like that but we must respect the new players and believe they can keep Arsenal at the top.”

He has a point, doesn’t he? Let’s be honest, if those words had come out of the feculent, ill-mannered gob of Samir Nasri, there would be some considerable uproar, and no small measure of name calling. Eduardo won’t receive such treatment because of the professional manner in which he left the club, and the considerable reverence the fans – me included – have for him.

In other news, the oh-so reliable internet leads its humble reader to believe that the loan signing of Nuri Sahin is done… almost, well it should be done today… tomorrow….next tuesday. He has to pass a medical/agree wages/complete a thorough survey. What you read online, from the many hilariously false ‘ITK’ accounts on Twitter does tend to detract from the few folks who genuinely have inside knowledge. In a network where bullshit is of far greater prominence than truth, it’s near impossible to believe anything – lets not forget the ‘reputable’ folks who told us the Yann M’Vila deal was 99% done some months ago.

Signs point to it being true, and the official stance from Mourinho and the player himself is that both favour a loan deal, and Arsenal is the favoured place for Sahin. The alleged complications come from the option to buy once the period of loan is over. That is also alleged to have been agreed now, with Arsenal able to purchase for a sum of £14m – not a bad price at all, when you consider what Jordan Henderson joined Liverpool for.

Time will tell, folks. I have a good feeling he’ll be coming in, and I hope so, too; he’s an excellent player and would ensure we have a very competitive and talented midfield. There may even be another signing before the end of August, if the Mexes/Bendnter swap is to be believed, but we seem to be linked to Mexes every summer…

That’s all for today, folks. Leave a few comments below with your views.

Cazorla, Sahin, Giroud, Podolski and that feeling of depleted optimism.

Even Bruce Wayne was sick of looking at his Twitter feed…

Afternoon, angels.

Since I lasted posted I’ve had to look at a picture of Robin van Persie’s treacherous mug sat beside Alex Ferguson gurning with delight. I use the word ‘had’ as I’ve hardly had a choice, such has the image been emblazoned practically everywhere even the slightest bit sports related. Given the choice, I’d have sooner watched my penis burn than cast my eyes on such a horrific and depressing photo.

But such is life.

Initially, Robin’s move really knocked the wind out of me. It’s one thing knowing deep down your star player will leave, the fruition of that notion is another matter entirely. Seeing him prancing about in a United shirt, and listening to his mindless garble and faux-elation about securing his move has filled me with unspeakable rage – the kind of anger that makes you want to punch a kitten in the face.

But he isn’t an Arsenal player anymore. He’s just another churlish ingrate whose declarations of love and fan-ship will forever be lost in the smog of his own greed. His 8 years at the club won’t be recalled fondly once the shock of his departure is gone. Heroes come and go. Legends are remembered with fondness throughout the generations. Robin van Persie may finish his career with a couple of trophies, but he’ll not be either of those things.

And on that note, I cast his memory aside.

At the weekend, some viewed our 0-0 draw with Sunderland – bafflingly – as the end of the known universe – as if mankind’s prosperity hung on Arsenal getting three points, and now all hope is lost. The same folks have also lambasted Giroud for 20 minutes of football. Even someone I respect and enjoy as much as Alan Davies spent the majority of his podcast sounding like a bitter, cantankerous grandfather.

I don’t consider myself as overly positive. I’m not going to try to convince any of you we can win the league, as such a thing is highly unlikely. What I will do is say that all this despair and misery is pointless. Yes, we’ve sold our best player to one of our fiercest rivals, and that’s entirely shit. But, come on people; it’s done and moping and sulking doesn’t help anyone.

There are positives. For starters; Santi Cazorla looks like an excellent little player – a real cunning bastard. I still think we have a strong team. If Diaby can reach his potential, if Wilshere gets back and playing, if we bring in Sahin and maybe one other; we’ll be looking very competitive in the centre of the park. Podolski is proven class upfront, and I for one think Giroud will score goals. He’s big and strong, and he wants to get into the right positions.

We’ve a big test on Sunday up at Stoke. A test that will certainly give a little insight into where this team can go. Until there is real reason to moan, or to critique the players, we should get behind them as best we possibly can. They need us. They don’t need to be written off the nano-second they miss a chance.

That’s all for today, folks. Thanks for reading. The comments await your views on how the team is shaping up. Are you furious and dejected? Do you believe we can have a good season? Let me know.

PS: I haven’t mentioned Alex Song’s move to Barcelona because, quite frankly, I couldn’t care less that he’s gone. Some of you are undoubtedly big fans of his. I am not. If his attitude is true to the reports, then I’ll be glad to watch him sat on Barcelona’s bench collecting his pay for very little time on the pitch instead of neglecting his duties and trying to be Rivaldo in Arsenal’s colours.

Legend? Judas? Injury-prone lummox with a grossly inflated price? Robin van Persie; here’s what i think.

The folks behind Robin in this photo may not be as accommodating the next time they see him…

Afternoon, lovelies.

Well, it’s happened. I’m not going to try and make out I’m the least bit surprised.

It’s kinda difficult for me to sum up how I feel. Of course, there is an element of disappointment at losing a player of undoubted class and ability. But I always favour shipping players out the moment they shows signs of dissent or a desire to ply their trade elsewhere.

As far as I’m concerned, Robin van Persie will be remembered in the same way as either Nasri or Adebayor; a player that gave us one good season and buggered off. He’ll never be spoken of with the reverence we have for Thierry, or Tony Adams. He’ll never be considered in the same league as Dennis Bergkamp – a player truly fitting of the status ‘legend’.

When the dust settles, and rationality reclaims it’s place from the delirious bitterness overwhelming the thought processes of many; Robin van Persie could have been a legend at Arsenal. He will forever be anything but. He’ll be a figure of disdain, a poster-child for all that is flawed and egregious with the modern footballer. He won’t be a hero to many, but a merchant of opportunism and greed whose declarations and love for any team will be met with justifiable derision.

As undoubtedly gifted and prolific as he is, part of me won’t miss him. Of course, his goals secured us 3rd place almost single-handedly. There is little point in attempting to state we won’t miss his contributions in that respect. But nothing lasts forever, and history doesn’t smile upon his chances of repeating such a brilliant season. Manchester United are paying ridiculously over the odds for his services. If the £24m is – as it should be – reinvested in strengthening the team, they my optimism for our chances of a successful season won’t wane.

My only worry is that we’ll allow ourselves to languish further when we require action to be taken. A clear message of our intent needs to be sent to our rivals, our players and the fans. We cannot afford to continually lose our best players every summer if we crave success and wish to be considered as one of Europe’s elite. At present, and as much as it pains me to say, we’re flirting dangerously with becoming an easy target and a fully fledged feeder club.

That has to change, or it will simply continue to repeat itself.

Those are my thoughts on the subject, and as of now; I intend to forget Robin van Persie. No abuse directed towards him, no crying over split milk or wild accusations and howls of fury. No, sir. It’s done, it’s over and he should be forgotten. Move on, folks. They’re are players here that need our support.

The comments are below. What are your feelings on the developments? Let me know below.

Thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.

 

Song, Song, blue (and purple), Sahin, RvP, and a few new season thoughts.

“What? What do you mean this haircut is fucking ridiculous?”

Well hello beautifuls….

As the days pass, Alex Song’s rumoured departure has gone from a few unsustained bouts of idle chitter-chatter, to what seems to be crushing inevitability. Foolishly, I had thought we might go through a summer without our players being so egregiously coveted by Barcelona and their wretched minions. I should really have known better.

That said, and unlike last summer’s epically dull Fabregas fiasco; I’m not sure I’d miss Song all that much. I know some of you will point to his assists, but I struggle to see past the many occasions our defensive/holding midfielder has been caught sauntering around the left-wing position, and the fuck load of goals we managed to concede last season. Of course, he isn’t responsible for all of those, but do you think we’d have let in as many had Gilberto been playing instead of him?

If indeed, as is suggested by some more ‘ITK’ than I, we already have eyes elsewhere, and Song is to leave, then I hope we opt for someone who’ll play his role with a degree of thought about where he’s supposed to be on the pitch, and someone who doesn’t think he’s a combination of Rivaldo and Christ.

Rumour would have us believe Arsenal are very close to securing a loan deal for Madrid’s Nuri Sahin – quality, quality player – but that move is alleged to be precautionary incase Jack’s return is delayed further. Song’s departure would leave Coquelin as the remaining holder in midfield, and I don’t think it would be wise to head into the new campaign with our only option a relatively untested player – I do rate him highly, however.

We’ll certainly know more in the next few days.

In that time, and for the sake of my sanity, I hope we find ourselves at the point of resolution with Robin van Persie. By now, I’m sick of typing his stupid name with it’s bloody irritating lower-case word in the middle. He may very likely go to Man United, and if that occurs, he’ll be about as revered as a nasty stain on a street urchin’s underpants. He’ll be right up there with Samir Nasri.

Whether or not I’d forgive him if he made a u-turn is fairly irrelevant at this point. Truth be told; I don’t think he’s going to, and if a deal can be reached, he’ll be off playing for Sir Alex. If he’s playing in an Arsenal shirt this year, it won’t be because he wants to be, and players like that are ones I believe we can do without – regardless of how good they might be.

The new season is now mere days away. It’s seems like only yesterday we were all moaning about the lack of ‘proper’ football and trying to watch the Olympic team to secure our fix – I liken that to a heroin addict trying to get high from a tube of Smarties.

I’m hopeful about our chances, I really am. The players we have bought are all looking to be excellent additions, and there appears to be plenty more movement on the horizon. Below are the comments, in those you can tell me who you’d like to see come in if Song leaves, and you can put forward a case for keeping him at all costs. Do you disagree with what I said? Let me know. I look forward to reading some.

Thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards. I shall return.

UPDATE:

No sooner than I had finished writing this post, Nuri Sahin  secured a loan deal…. with Liverpool. Funny old world we live in, isn’t it?

 

Cazorla, van Persie, friendlies, hope springs eternal and news.

With considerable ease, Mikel won the competition for the most jarringly put-on smile for a photo.

Hello darlings,

Long time no speak. I’d offer up some excuses and reasons for my recent blogging hiatus, but they’d seem slightly churlish, and quite frankly, reasonably irrelevant. This is a blog intended to offer up insight into the world of Arsenal, after all – not the world of James ‘Raul’ Stokes…

When I last posted, I spoke of the diabolical saga rumbling on regarding our once-esteemed captain. Since that post, bugger all has developed with the whole sorry situation. Whilst some secretly hold hope for a dramatic -u-turn and instantaneous forgiveness for the Dutch prat, I’m still firmly of the opinion we’d be better off if he packed his bags and went somewhere else. Ideally, that destination wouldn’t be a club on English soil, but I’ve a horrible feeling it could very well be the red half of Manchester. That’ll certainly destroy whatever goodwill remains for him amongst the Arsenal faithful.

But that’s the morbid stuff. In my absence, there has been much that is uplifting and much that has buoyed optimism and hope. Santi Cazorla, for example, is a cracking signing – a cracking this-guys-a-fucking-diminutive-genius-bastard kind of signing. With a fully fit squad, and based on today’s comprehensive thumping of FC Koln in Germany used as my basis; I’m starting to really believe that’ll we’ll be okay for the new season. Dare I even say we could snaffle up some of that much-coveted silverware if the fortunes smile upon us? I do dare indeed.

One of the perks about a break from something as rabid as the Goonersphere (I mean ‘rabid’ in as complimentary a way as possible) is the revived sense of perspective it allows. I belive the Arsenal squad now looks as strong as it has for quite sometime, and if the new guys hit the ground running, and those we expected a bit more from produce (Gervinho) I see no reason why we can’t succeed – with or without Robin van Persie.

We are a mere week away from the good stuff returning. In the best Bane impression I can muster, and I’ve been doing them for weeks and weeks: “Let the games begin!”.

Thanks for reading today, you delicious rascals. I shall return tomorrow and continue to return as frequently as I can. To those of you that missed me; I apologise and it’s nice to know some of you did.