The Armchair Gooner

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

Manchester City (h): Thoughts, Team News And Predicted Starting XI

“Really, Olivier? Another one?”

Morning, folks.

If you’re wondering where my usual posts have been the last couple of days, I can explain… At present, my life is a marathon run of epic proportion in which I must navigate many stress hurdles. The perils of moving home and selling a house currently is paramount amongst those. In place of my customary tripe you’ve had a few guest posts – I’m using those to fill a little space and, hopefully, give you a little enjoyment – yesterday’s post with a quiz on Arsenal’s history is worth a look.

With a bit of luck, the mayhem will relent soon and I’ll be able to get back to writing everyday properly. As things stand, Daniel and I will be taking a break from the Goonersphere Podcast for a few weeks as he’s as busy as I am with the birth of his first child.

I’m sure you’ll all understand.

Right, onto more pressing concerns and today’s fixture; the visit of free-scoring Manchester City. Continue reading

Swansea (h): Team News, Thoughts And Predicted Starting XI

Andre Mariner’s pre-game preparations became more thorough.

Morning, folks.

What a few days it’s been. Barring the obvious horrors of recent football, I’ve been working far, far too hard for my liking. As I type, my weary bones creak and ache and I’ve bags the size of lemons underneath my eyelids. I look like a distressed Panda.

Mercifully for you lovely people, I retained just enough energy to write this post last night before a well earned snooze. Yesterday I discussed Arsene Wenger and some of the reaction to the notion of him being elsewhere next season. Seems to me the camp is almost completely split down the middle on that one. I’m still unsure myself, often veering wildly from one extreme to the other.

However, there is a slight glimmer of good news today and that comes, according to 888sport in the form of no suspension being handed to either Kieran Gibbs or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlaim after the Andre Mariner fiasco of Saturday.

Continue reading

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

Who is that mystical figure to the left?

Morning, folks.

With all the focus on Arsene’s 1000th game, it is quite easy to forget that it happens to be one of Arsenal’s most important games of the season today. Fate has, in no small measure, served up a meeting with Jose Mourinho on a day our manger celebrates a milestone.

Say what you wish about the Portuguese – I’m certainly no fan – but he knows how to win and he’ll use all the unscrupulous methods at his disposal. A trip to Stamford Bridge to play Chelsea is a formidable task indeed. A victory would be sweetest way imaginable to put the “specialist in failure” remarks firmly back from where they came and blow the title race wide open.

The team news has thrown up a few concerns. Continue reading

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

The Kallstrom Ultimatum

Morning, boys ‘n’ girls.

I hope today finds you nourished, chipper and prepared for the stomach-churning wait until we kick of against that rowdy bunch calling themselves our rivals. Days like today are bloody murder if, like me, you possess an innate ability to fret before games. Some folks I know appear the picture of serenity before proceedings. I’m a nightmare; I pace, fidget and generally irritate anyone around me.

When we travel to White Hart Lane, it’s worsened. We all know Spurs are sh*t, of that there is no debate. However, when pride and rivalry comes into play, the form book is swiftly dispatched through the nearest window leaving the potential for anything to happen. Today could easily be 5-5. If I was looking to place a bet on I wouldn’t have the first idea where to start with a prediction.

The team news is slightly worrying. Continue reading

Bayern Munich: Champions League – Thoughts And Predicted Starting XI

More of this, please!

Morning, folks.

Right, you’re in for the a horrendously short preview today as I’m currently suffering with an upset stomach – nothing to do with nerves – and I have little or no inclination to write, other than for the sake of you wonderful people who read everyday, of course.

It’s a big ask tonight. Trailing 2-0 down and headed to the home of, arguably, the finest Club side strutting their stuff in Europe at present.  We have little or nothing to lose. Trawling through the majority of the best sports betting sites, it’s very clear that the opinion amongst media and fans alike is that Arsenal stand little or no chance of progression.

The team news is mixed. Continue reading

FA Cup: Everton (h) – Team News, Thoughts And Predicted Starting XI

Jack’s grace and curious facial expression will be sorely missed.

Morning, folks.

Picture the scene; a tall, gangly Bristoilan barely able to keep his eyes open is writing this post at 3am. Having spent the night playing poker and occasionally bursting into glorious dance to records by Ke$ha - that happened, deal with it – I’m absolutely shattered, but instead of heading to a deserved slumber, I’m jotting this preview for you.

Dedicated, aren’t I? Well.. truth be told, folks; I can’t face having to get up to write this in time for the game today, so I’m boldly pushing through the exhaustion and the urge to dance again to do it whilst I have the will.

The game today is massive to such an extent I daren’t allow myself to ponder the ramifications should the result not be favourable. Arsenal are in 3 competitions and, realistically, two of them are beyond us – the league not so much, but the Champions League will need divine intervention to enable progression. Continue reading

Stoke City (a): Thoughts, Team News and Predicted Starting XI

Few can shackle a leaping Per.

Morning, folks.

For a couple of games a season, I don’t like my last name. ‘Stokes’ is just too damn close to ‘Stoke’ for my liking, and although myself and the football team share little or no similarities, the ring of my surname irritates slightly. I guess it all goes back to that fateful day of Aaron Ramsey’s leg-break. Before that incident, no animosity appeared between the two Clubs. Now, it’s everywhere.

I don’t actually hate Stoke City or the vast majority of their fans. I loathe the select few who have taken to booing a player who had his leg snapped in two on their pitch and I don’t much care for the lumbering idiot responsible. Those that bay and taunt Ramsey for doing absolutely nothing at all wrong are moronic. All clubs have fans that take things a little too far – Arsenal being no exception – and with all the tension in the air it is good to remember that. Continue reading

Sunderland (h): Team News, Thoughts and Predicted Starting XI

“Give us a hug, Mesut – I know exactly how you feel”

Morning folks.

After a week that has seen a glorious triumph over Liverpool, a disappointing defeat in the Champions League and enough incandescent rage at a missed penalty to re-ignite a dying sun, it’s good to have some football to sink my teeth into. That doesn’t really make sense as an expression – I’m not chomping on the keyboard, trying to write with drool. I’m typing, my teeth are some distance from the keys. I’m now rambling. I should stop. I will.

Moving on to the game; Sunderland might fancy their chances today. Arsenal have to navigate quite a few distractions. Some have been unwelcome;  an alleged bust up between Wilshere and The Flame, an allegation quickly, and hilariously, dispelled by Jack on his Twitter account. Continue reading

Champions League: Bayern Munich (h) Team News and Predicted Starting XI

One of Jack Wilshere’s less-than-fortunate facial expressions…

Morning, folks.

They don’t come much bigger than this. When we played our German friends last year, I didn’t expect anything other than a swift exit. Our form at the time was pretty abysmal and we ended up getting a bit of a trouncing on our own turf. This year there’s that relentless spark of hope and expectation brewing inside me. Arsenal are a better team this time around and a more cohesive one.

I believe we can get a result.

It certainly isn’t an easy proposition. We face daunting opponents filled to capacity with pace, guile and strength. The diminutive Barcelona side we faced in previous competitions always looked susceptible to an intense pressuring game, Bayern do not.  Their midfield is brutally effective. Looking across their potential line-up, even with its notable absentees, finding a weakness or point of attack isn’t particularly easy. Continue reading

FA Cup: Liverpool (h) – Thoughts, Team News and Predicted Starting XI.

Bad, bad, bad day at the office.

Morning, folks.

As I might have mentioned a few times in the past, my gainful employment puts me in close proximity to 3 fevered Liverpool fans. The previous week hasn’t exactly been a barrel of laughs. Far from it, in fact; the taunts are interminable and predictably insipid. They’ve been relentless, and maddeningly so.

Arsenal should be out for revenge today; to put right one of the worst performances in recent history; to progress forward in a cup competition we stand a very good chance of winning and to make my working life immeasurably more bearable – being able to return some of the “bantz” would be extremely enjoyable at this point.

Shortness of time and the desire to have some breakfast before heading out means I intend to make this little preview relatively short. I touched on some of the team news yesterday, and not much has changed since then. Continue reading