The Armchair Gooner

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

Monday Night Football; Swansea, Team News and Starting 11.

Action from the 2-1 defeat in late 2014

Morning, folks.

I hate waiting. Whether it be in queues or traffic, I don’t have the patience. Ask my girlfriend, she’ll be only too happy to regale you all with tales of my verbal outbursts in the car and general inability to sit still for a period longer than 5 minutes. She does love a good old fashioned moan – invariably at my expense. She also has a great sense of humour and is laughing whilst I read this paragraph back to her – all while I sit patiently at her place awaiting a feast of roast chicken.

My lack of patience certainly applies to weekends without Arsenal games when we have to suffer what feels an interminable period of time until the glorious boys in red ‘n’ white make their way out onto the pitch.

Mercifully, 7:45 tonight sees the end of all that bloody waiting malarkey. Swansea City are in town and it’s a game in which victory will secure us one of the automatic Champions League qualification spots – I don’t much care whether we finish 2nd or 3rd as neither are 1st and that’s the one that really matters.

With the season winding down now that Chelsea are the title winners, it’s easy to take one eye off the remaining league fixtures and focus on the upcoming FA Cup final at the end of May. I find myself struggling to get really enthusiastic about tonight’s game and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one. 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

Leicester City: Team News, Predicted Starting XI And Thoughts.

Ulloa levels the game in the early fixture.

Afternoon, folks.

With tonight’s game being a late kick-off and mainly becuase I was too lazy to do it this morning, your delicious daily update is here a little later than usual. Apologies if you were waiting on tenterhooks at the usual time only to be bitterly disappointed. Both of you.

So, without further ado, let’s get into it.

A win is vital tonight. Wether it be accomplished through free-flowing attacking brilliance and lots of goals or a hideously inept display in which we are rescued by a fortuitous late goal matters not to me – we need the 3 points and I don’t especially care how we get them.

Granted, the former of those two choices is by far the more preferably, and a good display certainly breeds confidence. However, dropping points would be harming to our claim for 4th, so we need to get them above anything else.

I think we might see a little rotation today. Continue reading

North London Derby: Team News, Predicted Starting XI And Thoughts.

High fives all round again today, please.

Morning, folks.

Days like today fill me with nerves. As I type, there is an audible maelstrom within my midriff and it’s worsening as the minutes tick toward kick-off. My bladder feels like suffering a choke hold at the gigantic hands of a WWE superstar and I’m starting to consider taking up permanent residence on the toilet.

Losing the NLD doesn’t bare thinking about. Losing to that bunch of irksome second-stringers would be tantamount to waking up one morning to find my penis has been replaced with a empty tube of Smarties. In short, folks, I can only envisage an Arsenal victory today because the opposite takes me to a place of sorrow and darkness.

Form will count for little or nothing. Continue reading

Aston Villa: Team News, Predicted Starting XI And Various Other Bits.

A repeat on the win at Villa Park would be quite lovely.

Morning, folks.

I do love the smell of match day in the morning. Or is that napalm? Either way, it’s a wondrous, enveloping scent that fills me and my nostrils with a sense of glee. Robert Duvall is so cool…

Aston Villa are in town and on face value there shouldn’t be anything other than an Arsenal victory today as, to be quite frank, they’re utter sh*t at present. You need only look at their recent form; they’ve not won in the last 6 games and registered a paltry one goal in the process.

So on the face value I mentioned, we should win. Then you add Anthony Taylor into the equation and the potential for just about anything arises. In case you’re unfamiliar, Anthony Taylor is the official responsible for last season’s horror show against Villa at the Emirates in which his bizarre officiating resulted in a 3-1 defeat. I don’t often criticise referees because it smacks of excuse making. Continue reading

Newcastle United: Team news And Predicted Starting XI.

No Rambo today

Greetings, Earthlings.

If you were of the persuasion to locate sticks to beat Arsene with, today would be something of a golden opportunity. The paucity of defensive options within our squad has long been documented and as frequently lamented by those against the manager’s position at the Club. Today is the perfect opportunity to spout terms like “mismanagement” or “dereliction of duties”.

I’m not a anti-Arsene kinda guy by any stretch of the imagination. All the puerile bleating and demonstrative outbursts are something I avoid – both from those for and against. I find the whole sorry saga deflating and utterly pointless. However, looking at our squad today, it’s difficult not to agree that we lack cover in defence and there is only one man culpable.

Koscielny, Monreal and Chambers all miss out through a mixture of suspensions and niggles. Continue reading

Galatasaray Team News And Starting Line Up.

Relatively simple the first time around.

Morning, folks.

Today I’m off to the ‘Big Smoke’ with assorted friends from the Goonersphere Podcast to enjoy an event at the Grosvenor Casino in Piccadilly Circus – they’ve invited myself and other bloggers down to watch the game, enjoy free food and drink and added the opportunity to meet Nigel Winterburn.

Because of this delightful opportunity, I’m spending the vast majority of my day travelling from Gloucester to Paddington and back again – a hefty, arduous trek but always worth it to meet up with good people. Unfortunately – or fortunately, depending on your perspective – this entry will be cut criminally short.

Today is one of those matches that does have some significance regarding the eventual standings in our Champions League group, but nothing especially vital given we’re already guaranteed qualification for the final 16. Dortmund sit 2 points ahead of us before kick-off and, barring something spectacularly awful against Anderlecht, will finish as the group winners.

We have an outside chance of topping the final table, but most Arsenal odds pint to the likelihood we’ll be looking at yet another year where we dread the draw for the next round as 2nd place almost certainly means a face-off with one of Europe’s elite. With that in mind, Arsene is going to field a weakened side – the team sheet was bizarrely released yesterday and does include the huge bonus of the return of Mathieu Debuchy.

We’ll line-up like this (It’s a guess which full-back positions Debuchy and Bellerin will start in as I’m completely unsure):

To be perfectly honest, I can’t see us winning tonight. I’ve seen this match many times before; having already secured a place in the next round, Arsenal travel to a difficult away game with a weakened side, show odd glimpses of their good side but ultimately lose by 2 or 3.

Perhaps the likes of Podolski and Campbell will put on a show as they have a point to prove, but I’m entirely confident we’ll see nothing remotely memorable. It’ll be like watching S.W.A.T last night  – mildly distracting, but as sh*t as I thought it would be.

I’ll predict a tedious loss that we’ll all forget within a few days as it has no impact at all – unless Dortmund lose, then the knives will be out questioning why Arsene didn’t field the strongest side available. More rage, more anger, more petulence. Blah blah blah blah….Personally I agree with the rotation and, on paper at least, that’s a side that is capable of earning a victory. We’ve players in need of a break and now’s a good time to give them one.

Anyway, folks, I must dash as I have a train to catch, Whilst I’m gone, feel free to drop a comment – I’ll get around to moderating them when I can. It is proving tricky as the WordPress app for my phone is egregiously unpredictable and bloody irritating.

I’ll be back to report on the game when I can. Until then, and as always; thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.

I almost forgot!!

The FA Cup 3rd round draw was made yesterday – we’ve a rematch with Hull City at The Emirates to look forward to. Fix? Your guess is as good as mine…