The Armchair Gooner

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

Arsenal “Very Active”, Strikers Wanted, Hooray For Deadline Day…

Poor old Yaya…

Morning, folks.

Not to put too fine a point on it; yesterday was a cack filled extravaganza. It was bloody awful. There is no point hiding from it or trying to brush it under the rug. On the day, Arsenal simply didn’t perform as well, or anywhere near, as good as we all know they are capable.

I watched the game in fits and burst thanks to the unpredictability of my BT connection but saw 80% of what occurred. Needless to say, the result was far from ideal. Leicester, for all the credit they deserve, are a team we should comfortably dispatch. If anything, we can consider ourselves very fortunate to have left with a point. The team again looked sluggish and lacking cohesion.

Most of the post-match chitter-chatter centred around Yaya Sanogo’s ineffectual performance in a team brimming with ineffectual performances. Continue reading

An “Awful, Shambolic, Woeful” Victory Is Still A Victory. Enjoy It, Folks.

1 more step to glory.

Morning, folks.

After such an enforced hiatus, it’s pleasing to return to your fair screens with something pleasant to discuss. Yesterday’s triumph certainly won’t go down in the annals of history as Arsenal’s crowning accomplishment, but given the manner in which things have fallen apart in recent weeks, I, quite frankly, couldn’t care less.

And I celebrated, too. Those that have you believe it was “only Wigan” seem to have forgotten that football is all about joy. If you can’t glean any joy from booking a place in a major cup final, then why bother at all? Yes – it might have been “only Wigan” but it certainly should be mentioned that “only Wigan” hadn’t lost in the FA Cup for two years, and they knocked out Manchester City on their own turf to get to play us.  A lot of teams underestimated “only Wigan” and look where that got them. They gave us a tough game and I personally think they deserve a great deal of credit and praise for their recent exploits. Continue reading

Ozil Out Of NLD, Arsenal Exit Champions League And The Players Rated.

The scene was set (Photo borrowed from @LittleDutchVA)

Morning, folks.

A brave defeat (over two legs). A triumphant exit. A magnificent failure. Those are some of the terms I’m sure people will use to describe Arsenal’s performance and, alas, departure from the Champions League. There can be absolutely no shame attached to falling out of the competition (again) at the knock-out stages against Europe’s elite, but I can’t help but ponder the “what ifs” in retrospect. What if Mesut had buried that penalty. What if we had 11 v 11 for the entirety of both games.

Truthfully, last night was nothing more than a formality. We gave it our best shot, but faced with unsurmountable odds we succumbed to the inevitable. Bayern controlled the game for long periods, as you would expect, but on occasion we ruffled a few feathers and, albeit very briefly, threw the odd cat amongst their pigeons.

Continue reading

Velociraptors and West Bromich Albion.

West Brom 1-1 Arsenal: Jenkinson’s positional discipline improved with every game.

Afternoon, you wonderful people.

I like Velociraptors. They’re an amusing bunch, strutting around in packs and eating people. When I sat through Jurassic Park for the first time at the cinema as a young man, I wasn’t terrified or moved to shield my eyes with my hands. Not at all. My reaction was one of, “Awww they’re f**king adorable”.

The reason Velociraptors have made it into an Arsenal blog is simply because Carl Jenkinson reminds me of one. Whilst I’m pretty sure Carl hasn’t got any inclination to leap from the trees and devour a passing family, his running style and body language strikes me as eerily similar. I can imagine him solving puzzles like the navigation of door handles and showing a greater intelligence that experts initially expected. Continue reading

Cup progression, and Bendtner: the rebirth of a fallen idol… kinda.

West Brom 1-1 Arsenal AET (Arsenal win 4-3 on pens): “Now I’m here, I’m not leaving”

Morning, folks.

Last night’s game, as far as spectacle and entertainment goes, was bloody awful. 90 minutes of tedium was bad enough, but when extra time loomed ominously on the horizon, I wasn’t particularly heartbroken when my stream for the game decided not to work.

I’m pretty sure I didn’t miss a great deal during the added 30 minutes. The penalty shoot out was enjoyed via the radio, and audio commentary alone seems to make the whole experience all the more nerve-wracking.

When writing match reports, I tend not to dissect each incident, or recount the events that happened. I’ve always found that to be a little pointless.  It’s safe to assume that most people have seen the game and know what happened, and if you are heading here as your first port of call to discover the outcome, I would suggest there are better avenues for you to explore. Continue reading

Arsenal 1-1 Man Unied; a draw will do, plus the prospect of a return of a former player? … Maybe…

How I miss the good ol’ days…

Morning folks.

A draw.  1-1. All things tied. Stalemate.

Whatever you might want to call it, it’ll have to do. It’s not perfect. It’s hardly the awe-inspiring demolition we’d all secretly hoped for – the one during which Robin van Persie is stretchered off having missed an open goal and collided testicles-first with the goal post. Yet, it’s hardly the biblical disaster some of the more grouchy and pessimistic Arsenal fans seem to prefer. You know the ones I mean; miserly souls whose only form of expression is moronic bleats of dissatisfaction.

Yes, Piers Morgan, I do mean you

What a c**k.

The game itself – for the first 45 minutes at least – saw Arsenal play arguably their best football of the season; passionate, controlled and with verve and swagger. The boys seemed spurred on from the indignity of United’s guard of honour, and set about bossing the champions, taking a deserved, albeit offside, lead after mere minutes.

From then, until Bacary Sagna’s awful challenge in first half stoppage time, the game could, and most probably should, have been put to bed. Alas, it wasn’t to be. United showed glimpses of growing into the game, and the inevitable eventually happened; the Dutch so-and-so buried a penalty as ruthlessly as only he can, and then proceeded to pour a little false humility on proceedings with a lack of celebration.

Meh.

The second half saw the occasional half chance spurned, and neither team could find the winning goal. At the end of the day, domination and possession counts for little when compared to goals scored, and few could truthfully dispute a draw was a fair result. We gave it our best shot, and whilst the outcome wasn’t what we’d hoped, the team deserve credit for the performance – especially Koscielny, Mertesacker and the ever-improving, Aaron Ramsey. Perhaps only Sagna’s display could have been better.

3 points could have really put some daylight between us and Spurs, but a solitary point gained means we’ve plenty more anxious moments to look forward to until there is a resolution. Saturday’s game with the now relegated QPR will be another must-win outing. I’m not expecting anything less than this all going down to the last game of the season, and then things are going to get really tense.

Elsewhere today, a particular news story regarding Cesc Fabregas caught my attention. Featured in the Daily Star….

Okay. Let me stop there a minute.

Ordinarily, any story that features the words ‘Daily’ and ‘Star’ above its content would have me clicking away from the page furiously. It’s hardly a secret that the sports stories in that rag are essentially the result of darts being throw at a board featuring random names and scenarios, and then passed off as real thanks to spurious “sources” and “insider information”.

I’m not discussing it for any alleged truth – let’s face it; we all know is pure, unadulterated bollocks. I’m mentioning it because I shan’t lie to you; I quite like the idea of Cesc coming back to Arsenal. Granted, there are those amongst us who feel his departure wasn’t the best, and those folks certainly have a point. However, purely on footballing reasons alone, I’d take him back in a heartbeat.

And, it doesn’t hurt that I still unabashedly carry a torch for the little fella. He may not have had the success to rightly have his name mentioned with the true greats of days gone by, but few could dispute the many, many wonderful moments he left us with. Add to that he’s unquestionably a midfielder of world-class ability, and you’ve got a struggle to come up with many reasons to be against it.

It’s on that note I’m going to leave you for the day, folks. The comments below are where I hope to hear a few of your thoughts – both on the 1-1 with United, and the dubious story of Cesc’s return to Arsenal. Do you think we’re still on for 3rd/4th? Would you take Fabregas back with open arms? Let me know.

As always, thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.

Theo, Sagna, Ramsey, Gervinho, January investment, and a woeful performance.

Southampton 1-1 Arsenal: Szczsney’s lunge proved futile. Thanks, defenders!

Afternoon folks.

Everything was plodding along nicely. Talk of ineptitude and crisis had taken a welcome hiatus, and 4 wins from 4 saw Arsenal rise up the table. The team had taken the shame of a loss to Bradford and used it to improve.

And then yesterday happens…

I’m not going to be super critical as we didn’t actually lose the game. The history books will recall an away draw, and away draws tend not to be catastrophic. However, given our recent burst of good form, I am hugely disappointed to see another performance so bereft of energy and ideas, especially given the regularity they have appeared this season. I had, perhaps rather foolishly, hoped all that was behind us.

The result itself isn’t the real problem. The manner in which we went about the game is. Southampton, for all their brave endeavour and enthusiasm, are a team we should beat.

Sagna looked weary and uninterested, Gervinho and Ramsey are hardly impact substitutes, and Theo was as bad as he was good against Newcastle. No one player can take the blame, however. Doing so is simply a cheap way of venting one’s fury. The collective attitude towards the game is the real issue, and that includes managerial staff. We simply weren’t good enough yesterday, and little can be said or done to disguise that fact. Arsene Wenger himself was less than pleased, and had these uncharacteristically harsh words to say in the press conference:

“It is two points lost if you look at the overall target we had for Christmas. It is frustrating and disappointing as we didn’t create a lot today.

“Our game lacked purpose, penetration and speed, all qualities we have usually but we didn’t see that tonight.

“Maybe we thought we scored seven against Newcastle, we thought we would score again today.

“I felt that we lacked purpose in our game and it was more mental than physical.

In the same interview, Arsene went on to rule out a Thierry Henry return, and express his desire to enter the transfer market.

Investment in the squad is needed. We have a strong first 11 that’s very good on paper. What is lacking is depth, and enough quality in reserve to be able to successfully rotate or replace. 2-3 players of experience and quality would be of a huge benefit to Arsenal.

Ruling out Thierry Henry is a good thing. Not because he isn’t up to the job, or because I want to disrespect a club legend. Because a 35-year-old ex-player who will leave in February isn’t the answer. There are far better permanent options to consider.

With Theo now looking likely to “Sign da Ting“, it would appear our interest in Zaha has fizzled away, which is a shame. Keeping Walcott on the other hand is a good thing and I hope it happens.  One option in the forward area looking quite possible is Atlectico Madrid’s Adrian Lopez, although, in typically parsimonious fashion, the Boss is baulking at the £14m releasue clause in his contract – a price that to me sounds very reasonable for a 24-year-old Spanish international.

Elsewhere it’s all just the customary collection of arbitrary names. Speculation is going to be rife in the coming weeks, and all us supporters can do is hope our manager remains true to his word. It appears we have both the desire and the finances to bring new faces into the sqaud, the only obstacle will be finding players suitably “exceptional” and a price that’s considered reasonable. That, dear reader, is where the problems may arise.

That’s all for today, folks. The comments await your views on the game, and your opinions on incoming players. How did you rate yesterday’s performance? Who would your ideal choice of transfer be? Let me know.

I shall return tomorrow. Thanks for reading.