The Armchair Gooner

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

The Preening Self-Importance of Cristiano Ronaldo.

“God damn you, Gareth… Put the bloody thing in the net!”

Morning, folks.

There is little or no Arsenal news. Bugger all, as a matter of fact.

Thankfully, for the sake of me having something to write about, there is the small matter of a Champions League semi-final. Having witnessed Barcelona’s inevitable progression at Bayern Munich on Tuesday in batches – I was doing around 4 other things whilst the game was on – I decided I’d actually sit down and give Real Madrid against Juventus my full attention.

I lasted around 10 minutes before that attention started to drift. If Arsenal aren’t playing I find it very difficult to stay with a game in it’s entirety as I prefer to have it on the background and watch when a raised commentator’s voice piques my interest.

I’m writing this entry whilst the game plays in the background and Juventus have just spurned a guilt-edged chance to go 2-1 up on the night and put things to bed with a second away goal. As it stands the game has just entered the final 10 minutes and the cameramen seem more inclined to focus on Ronaldo every time Gareth Bale cocks something up in the hope of seeing our Portuguese friend throw one of his notorious hissy fits.  Continue reading

I Don’t Care If We Finish 2nd Or 3rd As Long As It’s Not 4th.

The race for those CL spots heats up…

Morning, folks.

The challenge for any blogger who aims to write every day is to find something to talk about when there isn’t much of anything to talk about. There’s often an uneasy state of purgatory between games where all the media attention is elsewhere and news surrounding your club is at a premium.

Not one for spewing out spurious guff or utilising bombastic titles in a serious manner  – I do frequently write stupid ones – I’ve decided to just let things flow from the top of my head without actually taking a moment to think about what I’m going to say.

I’m stumped.

I could discuss many things with you – topics ranging from the spectacular king prawn paella I made at work last night to my current feelings for all things Nando’s, which I, quite frankly, fu*king loathe.

However, all of that is extraneous poppycock.  Continue reading

Not Scoring, Not Scoring Arsenal; Defeat… Is it Fair To Blame Ospina?

“Hooorayyyy, I’ve let a bit of a soft goal in…”

Morning, folks.

That was bloody awful, wasn’t it…

From the moment the game kicked off it had the unmistakable stink of one of those frustratingly complacent and lacklustre Arsenal performances we’ve not seen in a while. I said yesterday I felt a degree of ambivalence, as the fixture carried with it no real significance. With a top 4 finish guaranteed, my attentions have started to slip from what is directly in front to the FA Cup final once the season is over.

It looked like the players adopted the same mentality. The first half was thoroughly abject and we seemed happy to saunter around with little or no urgency. The distribution from the back and onwards was lethargic and Swansea found it very easy to get players behind the ball and stifle our build up.

It almost had the feel of a pre-season game at the Emirates Cup to such an extent I half expected to see a Mexican wave unfold across the stadium as everyone’s interests dwindled. It truly was terrible and arguably the worst half of football the team have displayed this far – maybe not quite as bad as the 2nd half against Anderlecht.  Continue reading

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

The £50m MEGA STRIKER And A Talking Coq.

Francis is all smiles and happiness.

Morning, folks.

Disappointment is a huge part of life. Following a Football team certainly brings with it its fair share. Often the euphoric moments become lost in a haze of glee and whimsy whereas those crushing moments I can recall with crystal clarity. In short, disappointment resonates.

The reason I’m starting this entry on such a sombre note is because I suffered a large disappointment last night. It has little or nothing to do with football, but seeing as I report only to myself regarding this blog, and can write about pretty much whatever the fu*k I please, I shall proceed regardless (I am going to discuss pressing Arsenal matters in a moment, so feel free to skip this if you’re not particularly interested in me blathering and moaning).

The crushing letdown to which I refer was Only God Forgives – a movie starring Ryan Gosling and directed by Nicolas Winding-Refn (the two behind Drive; a cinematic delight I absolutely adore).

What appears a brooding and intriguing revenge tale from the trailer is actually 90 minutes of Gosling wandering about in near-silence, stopping only to make prostitutes do weird things and have the absolute sh*t beaten out of him. I thoroughly enjoy any film that embraces life’s idiosyncracies, but this seemed to just want to be creepily bizarre and make as little sense as possible.

It was unbridled cack from start to finish and given the previous brilliance of the two collaborators, a huge and unexpected disappointment.

Moving on…

In the title I mentioned a £50m MEGA STRIKER  – I put that in all capitals because that appears the done thing these days if you want to hammer a point home. Continue reading

Szczesny, Ospina Or A New Keeper And No-Go Theo Walcott.

OSSSSSSPIIIINNNNAAA good keeper so far.

Morning, folks.

I’ve the briefest of periods before I’m due to make the arduous trek toward my gainful employment, so my fingers will type with the kind of ferocity you’d associate with an Apache gunship dispatching a rebel machine gun nest – think those Warner Bros cartoons of yesteryear in which the central character had to do something with haste.

Actually, I might take my time with the writing part and instead opt to drive at breakneck speeds down the M5 with a squad of angry police in chase. You’ll see me on the morning news as the story develops and the news outlets start to send helicopters and cameras after me.

Imagine the Sky News headlines…

MAN LATE FOR WORK BECAUSE OF WRITING BLOG NOW IN HIGH-SPEED PURSUIT WITH POLICE. MR STOKES IS SAID TO BE UNSTABLE AND A TEDDY BEAR APPEARS TO BE DOING THE DRIVING.

Alternatively to all the above, I could get straight to my point. All the fluffy nonsense, as much fun as it is, serves only to lengthen the time I’m sat at the keyboard.

Remember that bit in Monty Python’s The Holy Grail where they all shout “GET ON WITH IT!”?

Moving on…

One of the debates I’ve missed contributing to since putting blogging on hold is that of our goalkeeping position. Since Szczesny blundered and smoked his way into the doghouse against Southampton, David Ospina has taken over the No1 role and thus far looked very assured there.  Continue reading

United Depay The Price And Summer Exits At Arsenal.

Cheerio in the summer?

Morning, folks.

My bowels are remarkably consistent. 30 minutes upon waking up is the time I head to the lavatory for my morning ablutions and it’s often an enjoyable, detoxing experience. This particular morning has been harrowing. Whether the core reason lies with something I ate last night is debatable – I have a cast iron stomach.

Whatever the reason, I sit down to write to you feeling slightly distressed and ill at ease. There’s something to be said for the calming influence of a textbook poo; it sets you up to face the trials and tribulations the day has to offer with a confidence in your step. What happened today was not that. It was unsettling. Without going into abhorrent detail, the best way I can muster to describe the incident is to recall any submarine film you’ve seen in which there is a sequence of a bay door opening under water and a torpedo being fired aggressively at an enemy vessel.

Now that little slice of irrelevance is out of the way, it’s time to head into the wonderful world of news and other stuff. Yesterday wasn’t much of a news day. Having spent the vast majority of the morning plotting the 50th episode of the Goonersphere Podcast with Daniel Cowan, I got around to looking over the goings on just about the time Memphis Depay announced he’d signed for Manchester United. Continue reading