The Armchair Gooner

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

Ozil, Giroud, Szczesny, Angry Fans, Boos and a Boring Draw.

Having played Streetfighter 2, Olivier shared his love for M.Bison…

Morning, folks.

Geeezzz. That wasn’t the tonic I’d hoped for.

Moving forward, drawing against Manchester United isn’t catastrophic; the world won’t implode and the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse aren’t waiting atop a hill to charge at the unsuspecting. Things will move one from here. However, I can’t help but think it was all a touch anticlimactic.

With a resounding defeat haunting us, we went into the game with an air of nerves and unrest hanging over the team and the fans. It showed in the performance. I struggle to recall another game between the two teams where neither looked eager to press forward for the win.  United came with a parked bus and the hope to sneak it on the counter. Arsenal looked more concerned with not making mistakes than taking a risk going forward. Continue reading

Giroud hatred, Striker in January, Vermealen, Ozil and a snore of a no-score draw.


Morning, delicious creatures.

Yesterday was a frustrating day. I don’t know what the weather severity was like in your corner of the globe (that doesn’t make sense) , but here in glorious Bristol it was awful. Most of my day was taken up with Christmas shopping in a perpetually sodden state and sitting at home in the warm certain the noise outside my house was a f**king 747 flying 20 feet above the roof.

I had hoped for The Arsenal to provide some salvation and boost my spirits heading into the period of forced festivity and faux jocundity. Alas, they did not. Much like the rest of the day, it was frustrating. Having spent a few hours or so having a think about the game, I’m still left with an overwhelming sense of disappointment. Continue reading

Arsenal 0-0 Everton; a place in the drawer marked ‘deplore’ for a no score bore draw…

Arsene Wenger summed up the Arsenal faithful’s reaction to 2 dropped points.

Morning folks.

Before we begin, I felt it only fair to give you all a moment to offer me rapturous applause for the quite magnificent rhyme I dropped into today’s title.

Go ahead…

*Waits patiently*

What? No thunderous clapping and squeals of unbridled appreciation and admiration? What do you mean you’re not in the least bit impressed? Seriously? That’s lyrical genius the likes of which few are capable.

Okay, forget it then…

*Sulks and mumbles with displeasure*

Get on with it, James…

Last night will go down as a missed opportunity. The chances were there – as they were for Everton, too – but we simply couldn’t turn those chances into an end product that mattered. Olivier Giroud had one of his profligate evenings in front of goal, and will no doubt look back at the game wishing he’d done things a little differently.

We could put a little of the blame onto his hunky French shoulders. We could make a case against the referee and his howlingly terrible inconsistencies – it regularly appeared he was officating the game from a crazed rule book of his own creation. The truth is, however, on the night a draw was a fair result, and the performance lacked that little bit extra needed to see off Everton. If you think back to the same fixture last season, the game that day was settled by a piece of sublime skill from a former player with a predilection for the feelings of young boys inside him.

What we had that day to win us the game simply wasn’t there last night, and it showed.

But that’s about as pessimistic as I am prepared to get. As much as the result isn’t what we’d all hoped, it’s certainly worth remembering that Everton are far from a poor side, and not one of the so-called top teams have had any easy ride against them. It could have been a lot worse had they stuck in one of their chances – Pienaar’s opportunity was arguably the best of the game – and a clean sheet is always a pleasant thing for our defence to obtain.

On the playing front, I thought Aaron Ramsey continued to show improved form, and his constant desire and work rate shouldn’t go unmentioned. Other players – Walcott and Wilshere especially – didn’t play to their potential. The team on a whole were not appalling or as inept as the keyboard warriors and gloom mongers would have you believe, but they didn’t get into the higher performance gears, either.

What is important now is to accept the point, accept we’ve made life a little trickier for ourselves and focus on what is ahead of us. Saturday brings a trip to Fulham, and that’s one of those fixtures I look at and think, “Ohhh, that could go either way – we’ll either thump them of flounder embarrassingly”.

There are 5 games remaining. 5 vitally important games, and a total of 15 points on offer. Chelsea and Spurs can both now make up the ground on us, and it’s conceivable the battle for Champions League spots could go down to the last day. I think it will. It’s not going to be comfortable, enjoyable or good for those of us prone to nerves and stress.

Can Arsenal secure Champions League football? Absolutely. Such a goal is far from out of our reach. Will they? Well, who knows such things? It’s impossible to look at any of the remaining games with any certainty as pressure tends to throw that out of the window. All we can do is have faith. I have faith it can be done. We can beat all 5 upcoming opponents. Even that may not be enough. All that’s left for us supporters is to hope things turn out in our favour.

That’s all for today, folks. I await a few of your opinions in the comments section. Do you think we’ll get into the Champions League? Do you fear for our chances after dropping points? Let me know.

As always; thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards. I shall return with more tomorrow.

Gervinho, Ramsey, Mertesacker, Cazorla, Szczsney, and a maddeningly unhelpful 0-0 draw.

Aston Villa 0-0 Arsenal: None of the players cared for Koscielny’s nonchalant attitude toward competitive matches.

Afternoon folks.

There are moments supporting Arsenal when all you can really do is omit a disgruntled sigh, and put terrible performances down to experience. Yesterday, whilst we may have not endured swallowing the bitter pill of defeat, we witnessed a thoroughly awful showing from our beloved Gooners, and it’s brought floods of the same interminable questions with it.

You know the kind of stuff I mean; queries such as, “Where has our Arsenal gone?” or “Is it time Wenger left?”. I’m not of the correct frame of mind to start answering any of them – no, sir – as I think it’s essentially a futile debate. The reasons why Arsenal performed so badly aren’t immediately obvious, and to accrue knowledge we’d all need sufficient exposure to the inner workings of the club, and behind the scenes on the training ground. The vast majority of us have none.

At the end of the day, we’ll just have to accept we were shit, and move on to the next game.

It’s hard to assign anyone the dubious honour of being considered less shit than the rest, but Per Mertesacker stood out for me with another good shift at the back. We may have rarely threatened Villa, but we did at least appear strong and secure in defence – wether or not that has anything to do with Vermaelen’s absence is open to debate. Szczsney’s return has helped matters, too – a special mention should go to the save he made to turn a shot on to the bar. Brilliant.

Aaron Ramsey had a steady, but hardly spectacular game, and it was good to see him avoid his usual dose of blame – according to some embittered, clueless souls, he’s responsible for pretty much everything bad; defeats, draws, poor performances, the Ebola virus, plagues, famine, the Kennedy assassination…

Elsewhere, praise isn’t so forthcoming. Gervinho was shocking – he put in one of those performances he’s more known for; scampering about like a stabbed rat, with the first touch of an inebriated cow. He was terrible, and whilst I do think he’s got he’s got his good points, performances like yesterday make me question his selection.

The boss’ choice to rotate was sensible (maybe Cazorla needed a rest, too). We have a squad, and a lot of games to play in a short period of time. We’d be foolish if we didn’t use it. Many felt the omission of Wilshere and Walcott made us toothless in attack, but the players selected had more than enough ability to dispatch Villa. They simply didn’t perform.

Where I think errors were made was the substitutions. At no point did Arsene take a chance, or introduce a positive change. Coquelin for Giroud was bafflingly unadventurous, and smacked of settling for what we had – something we absolutely shouldn’t be doing against a side languishing at the foot of the table.

I don’t much buy into certain fanatics and their over-the-top bleating about sackings and revolutions, but I challenge anyone to defend Arsene’s substitutions yesterday. The man is not beyond reproach, regardless of how much he has done for the club.

To summerise; I’m going to take yesterday as a momentary blemish. We’ve a big game on Wednesday at Goodison, and a win there can make Villa Park a distant memory. Arsenal need to show us better. Let’s hope they do.

Thanks for reading today, you beautiful bastards. The comments await your thoughts and cheery platitudes. Make use of them – they’re the life blood of any blog, and mine’s no different.

I shall return tomorrow.

A point isn’t bad, Theo’s out for the season and other news.

The Chelsea defence couldn't contend with Thomas and Robin's newly acquired talent for levitation.

FA Premiership, April 21st: Arsenal 0-0 Chelsea

Sunday morning, day-of-rest greetings to you, splendid perusers.

Although we didn’t play at our highest level, and Chelsea showed all the willingness to make a game of it as I’d have expected from League One opposition, a draw isn’t catostrophic.

The game itself was oddly subdued. The reverse fixture at Stamford Bridge was one of the finest advertisements for the excitement and drama that makes our league the best in Europe. At The Emirates, you’d have been forgiven for assuming it was a mid-table, end-of-the-season clash with nothing of any importance riding on it. Arsenal controlled matters for the vast majority of the game, but lacked any sort of incisive edge or spark in the final third. Chelsea barely registered an attack of any note, leaving Szczseny to spectate. With their minds quite obviously on the mammoth task that awaits them in Barcelona, Di Matteo made several changes from midweek, and they looked happy to park the bus.

Arsenal came closest to shattering the tedium through van Persie and the exceptional, Laurent Koscielny – both striking the woodwork with Cech beaten. However, the three point we needed didn’t come in the end, and whilst it’s a long way from being disastrous, it does allow Newcastle the opportunity to come level on points with us, should the win their game in hand. The major plus-point in the race for Champions League spots was Spurs continuing their hilarious capitulation at QPR with another defeat. In all likelihood, the race to finish 3rd is between us and The Toon.

I am disappointed the boys couldn’t get into that final gear that would of seen three points instead of one; Chelsea were there for the taking if we had really, really wanted it. However, as long as we head into the final three games with matters still entirely in our own hands, the only important results are the ones to come.

There was bad news on the injury front. Theo was replaced by Gervinho on the hour mark yesterday, and he’s picked up a hamstring injury that will see him join Arteta, Wilshere and Mertesacker on the sidelines for the rest of the season. His absence won’t be as noticeable as Arteta’s, but with our attacking options already at the bare minimum, it’s not come at a good time. It should almost certainly mean a few more starts for Oxlade-Chamberlain to impress us.

When quizzed about the injury, Wenger said:

“It looks like a serious hamstring,” said Wenger.

“First we assessed the hamstring, he wanted to go on and stay on the pitch, and I think he should have gone off straight away because the second time it was a real hamstring [injury].

“I think now for him it will be tough to come back before the end of the season. It is usually 21 days [minimum].”

“He should be OK to play for England, but I don’t think he will be ready to play for us.”

It was good to see Diaby back yesterday. He looked good when he came on. I’ve always been a fan of the leggy, looks-kinda-like-Patrick Frenchman. At his very best, he can be an exceptional cog in our midfield. But -and his career is littered with ‘buts’ – it all depends on the plethora of injuries he’s sustained, and wether or not he’s actually made a full recovery. I hope so. I hope for a similar resolution to what’s happened with Robin. Abou Diaby fit for an entire season would only be a great benefit to us.

That’s all for today folks.

Thanks for reading, you beatutiful bastards. What did you think of the game? The comments are below, and they are eargerly awaiting your thoughts.

Don’t for get to follow me on Twitter @_ArmchairGooner