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 £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

New Beginnings And The Unlikely Manoeuvres Of Petr Cech

Praying for a summer exit

Howdy, folks.

Those of you that remember the days gone by in which I posted regularly might recall that what I wrote came with a certain format; a way of writing that was, quite frankly, set to inform first and foremost. Therein lies the reason for such a prolonged absence from blogging  – something that I’ve always held dear to my heart.

You see, folks – I became lost in my attempts to deliver a structured, informative blog. The truth is it quickly bored me. I believe my strength in writing lies in it being an extension of myself – warts, blunders and all. What I enjoy most is posting articles about Arsenal, first and foremost, but scattershot pieces that encapsulate myself. Blogging, to me, is something I wish to be my own.

So, I’ve decided to do this the way I want as opposed to that which I believe is the acceptable. In short, I’m going to write this site in exactly the way I want to and that means certain elements are going to be cast aside.  Continue reading

The Ideal Replacement For Arsene Wenger Is Closer Than You Think.

Howdy, folks.

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Well… usually I pour out a few words at this juncture to explain why I’ve not written for such an elongated period of time. I could, but I’m not going to. Words of excuse seem trite at this stage and a little pointless.

Maybe you haven’t missed me at all…

Anyways. What have I been up to recently? Well, I’ve been trying my hand at football management. Granted, I’m talking the simulated variety here and not the pursuit that sees me caterwauling at youngsters whilst patrolling a touchline with ideas far above my station. In the past few weeks I’ve been lucky enough to receive a complimentary copy of Football Manager 2015 from the good folks at Cash Generator – they also deal in Nintendo DS.

Before I get into my exploits at the helm of Arsenal, I figured a few words about the game itself wouldn’t go amiss. Growing up I was very easily addicted to what was then called Championship Manager. Although many of my friends referred to it as simply, “a bunch of numbers on the screen”, I was hooked and could easily fret away the hours choosing tactics and trying to nurture the unknown Bolivian wonderchild I’d paid mere pennies to recruit.

It was a totally immersive experience. The modern variety, however, makes those memories pale by comparison. In what I call “death by statistics” everything you could possibly imagine is here; whether that be the ability to hold lengthy, often arduous, meetings with the board to the updated realism of ‘player power’ – it’s all meticulously recreated for you to explore. The most notable change from those games of yesteryear is the addition of a 3D match engine that allows you to watch your players as they scamper about under your direction.  Continue reading

Staying Ahead Of The Closest Top 4 Race

The race for the top four is simmering nicely as we enter the final 10 games of the season. The target is simple but the mathematics don’t quite stack up – five teams are chasing two Champions League places – Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool, Spurs and Southampton are separated by just five points in what looks to be the closest top four race in over a decade.

Front runners

Third placed Arsenal are in pole position to qualify for the Champions League while Manchester United, who occupy fourth place on 53 points, are being stalked by one of the form teams in Europe – Liverpool.

The Anfield club have picked up 29 points from a possible 33 and beaten Spurs, Southampton and Manchester City in recent weeks to put themselves right in the hunt for a top four place. It’s an unthinkable position given the hole Rodgers’ men found themselves in after the 3-1 defeat at Palace that left them treading water in 12th place.

But can Liverpool qualify for the Champions League for the second consecutive year? Form lines suggest yes they can.

The red machine may have taken a while to shake off the rust but they are steamrollering teams left, right and centre. They are top of the 5, 10 and 15 game form tables and seem to be passing every test put before them in the league. And it’s not just the results that are impressive, the team are playing close to levels they reached last season when they missed out on the title by the slimmest of margins. Continue reading

Per Mertesacker; Colossus or Hapless Giraffe Skating On Ice.

We love some BFG

Morning, folks.

I’ve decided that I’m going to blog here and there, every now and then. Keeping things going on a daily basis when it’s just you is pretty tricky and I’ve a personal life as well as a hectic work schedule to contend with.

Excuses, excuses…

Truth is, I can be pretty fu*king bone-idle at times. Often the allure of shooting strangers in the face with a bazooka on GTA5 is too much to ignore and precious time allotted for blogging is quickly eaten into. Other times I simply can’t muster the inclination to waltz my digits across the keyboard.

Today I thought I’d discuss Per Mertesacker.

As an Arsenal player, it’s very easy to go from hero to zero with one poor performance. Olivier Giroud especially seem to spend most of his time veering wildly from one extreme to the other in the eyes of our supporters. One moment, a genuinely world-class striker, the next a meandering carthorse capable of offering nothing more than frustration. Continue reading