The Armchair Gooner

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

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…

Arsenal – Stoke City: Team News, Line Up And Thoughts

Stoke-On-Trent is picturesque this time of year.

Morning, folks.

As as blogger who doesn’t blog particularly often at present, I thought it was an opportune moment to correct that. Whilst December brings with it severe challenges and lengthy hours for those of us who earn a crust in the catering industry, it doesn’t make for a legitimate excuse. Truth is, I’ve just not felt like writing for a long time.

The reason? Hard to say – I feel it’s a combination of pure indolence and a feeling of bewilderment at how online activities have become a haven for self-promotion, bickering and the relentless spewing of dross. That’s not to say I see myself as some sort of saint amongst sinners – I’m certainly not – merely a case of becoming a little tired of it all.

But I do love this blog. I genuinely do. As I believe all writing should, it’s an extension of myself and combines faults and flaws alongside virtues in equal measure. It is me, and I’m going to extract my finger from my arse and start doing it again.

So, today we head off to the murky underworld of Stoke, a trip fraught with perils and enveloped in darkness and evil. There is no love lost between the two teams since one of their barely-literate cretins saw fit to blunder oafishly into a young man’s leg in the centre circle. Continue reading

Hull City: Starting XI (Predicted), Team News And General Thoughts.

Gibbs hated losing the race to get home for X-Factor…

Morning, folks.

Match day is here. The international interferences are a blip in our rear view mirrors, a speck on the horizon as we speed towards the glory of Arsenal and the Premiership. Today we face Hull City at the Emirates, a team I have fond memories of facing.

I recall that day last May vividly; the heat of the bar in Bristol where I watched the game, the horrendous stag-do I was attending at the time and the ill-advised, stifling Cowboy attire I was wearing. Most of all I recall the wonderfully contrasting emotions experienced and the speed total disarray turned into hope and then unbridled elation. That FA Cup Final was a long time coming but it was worth the wait.

Some 5 months on from that day quite a bit has changed. A few heroes are currently injured and we have one or two news faces upon which we pin our hopes. One thing that’s been ever present over the past years is injuries and today is no different. Continue reading

Borussia Dortmund Predicted Starting XI, Thoughts and Stuff.

None of this nonsense tonight please.

Morning, folks.

I might be in the minority, but the Champions League has lost a little of it’s appeal in my eyes. As we head into what feels like an annual fixture with Borussia Dortmund, I’m not as excited as I feel I should be.

That’s mostly down to the fact the competition has long been set up to ensure the progress of all the big teams. Understandable, I guess, in terms of revenue, however, it removes that sense of romance and unpredictability.

Of course, my lack of enthusiasm is probably down to the manner in which Arsenal’s campaigns invariably pan out; start the group well, qualify, field weakened team in remaining group games, finish 2nd, play European giant in last 16, go out.

Tonight we travel to Germany with real defensive problems. Debuchy is out for somewhere in the region of 2 months (allegedly – no confirmation yet), Monreal hasn’t travelled due to a back issue and Chambers is doubtful with tonsillitis. Continue reading

Manchester City Starting XI (Predicted), Thoughts And News.

Things happen…

Morning, all

Last season’s performances have made me dread 12:45 kick-offs. For whatever reason, Arsenal played some enormous games occupying the top spot at that time and proceeded to fabulously capitulate. I shan’t go in any detail. Like me, I’m sure the horrors witnessed during those away trips is burnt into your mind for all of time.

For that reason, amongst others, I’m rather glad today’s match is at the Emirates. Not just because we’ll have our vociferous home support to act as the much-fabled ’12th man’, but because the levels of terror rumbling inside my midriff is considerably less than it would be had Arsenal been travelling.

Either way, though, today is a stern test of our credentials. On paper, I consider City to have the strongest squad in the league – you could argue that Chelsea aren’t a million miles behind, but I’d sooner wallow in my own sh*t for a fortnight than offer those dubious scumbags any form of credit.  Continue reading

Norwich (a): Team News, Predicted Starting XI And Thoughts.

“The end is near, let’s hold hands!”

Morning, lovelies.

The end is near. It’s been a funny ol’ season, hasn’t it? What initially promised so much, perhaps rather inevitably, fizzled out at the business end and left us all pondering the ‘what ifs’ and ‘if onlys’. Whilst important questions that probably should be addressed, to me they’re irrelevancies. Whatever could have happened, whatever might have been, didn’t and wasn’t. We are where we are.

Maybe it could have been a different story had we thrown a little cash around in January like football’s equivalent of Jordan Belfort, but, for reasons unknown, we did not. Arsenal have secured Champions League football and next weekend gives us a glorious opportunity to end the silverware drought that’s plagued us for the past 9 years. If you remove all the bitterness and self-important rage splattered across the majority of opinion found on the internet, it’s hardly a disastrous campaign.  Continue reading