The Armchair Gooner

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

Walcott, Giroud, Brighton, and the horrors of an Andre Santos defensive performance.

Brighton 2-3 Arsenal: “Err Boss – can someone get this bloody idiot off my back?”

Afternoon, FA Cup glory hunters.

As the cliché goes, “a win is a win”. There are those that enjoy wallowing in the many defensive blunders on show – it certainly appears even the most innocuous of crosses can cause total panic in our penalty area – and the other reasons for concern. Not me. I shan’t dispute their existence as they tend to be as apparent as daybreak, but given that the eventual result saw us progress, I’ll focus on the good – until I get to Andre Santos.

Olivier Giroud has had plenty of detractors. Replacing someone as skilled and admired as the Dutchman whose name I won’t mention, he was always facing an uphill struggle to endear himself to the Gooner masses. Some still – oddly – view him as a flop, but his first season statistics are impressive (14 goals and numerous assists).

At Brighton he scored two goals even the most ardent of his critics couldn’t fail to be impressed by. As his confidence builds and his familiarity with those around him grows, Grioud is steadily becoming a very good player for Arsenal. He’s big, strong, determined and plays with passion. Best of all; there is more to come from him.

The game itself was a good old fashioned cup tie. Esteem and league placing went out of the window, and Brighton offered up a stern test and played some excellent football. Our winner was a tad fortuitous, and, although I’m certainly glad we avoided one, I wouldn’t have begrudged our opponents earning themselves a replay.

So, onto to Andre Santos,

I often feel it’s pointless to show players – especially our own – angry displeasure. Booing them, or writing pieces that trash them back to the stone-age only truly serves the egos of apoplectic fans and those sharing their opinions whilst hiding in darkened rooms. There is little or no point in lambasting a player for a bad performance. Highlighting mistakes and constructively criticising is one thing, but the abuse – that’s stupid.

Would I say I thought Andre Santos was poor yesterday? Absolutely. He was poor with out question, and I’d go as far as saying I think we need a better option to cover Gibbs. Would I start ranting and frothing at the mouth, claiming him to be the worst footballer since the dawn of time, and call him a useless fat c**t? No. Because that’s pointless.

In short; we won yesterday, and we’re in the draw for the next round. I’ll glean the positives, and take note of the negatives. Arsenal weren’t perfect, but the result matters above everything else. Hopefully we can keep our winning form going and take a result from the upcoming match against Liverpool. Who knows – perhaps we’ll even invest in the transfer matket in the next week. After all, all our problems will magically disappear when there’s a shiny new player to admire…

Thanks for reading today, folks. The comments below await your thoughts on the game. Let me know who stood out for you, and who you’d like to play in the next round.

Santos, Vermaelen, Ramsey, van Persie, Wilshere, Cazorla, and real reason for concern.

Man United 2-1 Arsenal; “Yeah, you’re right guys. I’m a bit of a sh*t”

Morning folks.

Not the best of moods around the Arsenal community, is there? Understandably so.

Defeat is something I find easier to take if I know Arsenal have given everything. It still hurts, it still upsets me, but there isn’t any shame in losing to a better team on the day if you’ve given your all.

Yesterday we didn’t do that. The 11 players on the pitch faced one of our oldest rivals with our ex-capatin – who we knew would bloody score – in their ranks. The ingredients for motivation and desire couldn’t be any more apparent. Yet those 11 players didn’t perform, and they showed little or no sign of urgency or the will to take control.

That worries me no end. There is a malaise at Arsenal for all the world to see – something is fundamentally wrong at the club, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to dismiss that as momentary blip. Our last 3 league games have been woeful and our cup victory, for all it’s remarkable comebacks, still involved a defence reasonably high in the pecking order shipping 5 goals at Reading.

There are a lot of folks out there who continue to back our manager without fail, and refuse to put anything but positivity in their remarks. I admire those people, I really do – I admire their unwavering allegiance to the club and manager. However, I feel they are absolutely wrong.

Something has to change at Arsenal. For every brief period of hope we are given, there is an inevitable slide back to the reality of our team simply being not good enough to compete. Yesterday, we gave United little to worry about. I can’t recall the last time we played them and gave them a proper game.

Is Arsene Wenger to blame for selling our best players every summer? Perhaps. Is he to blame for the manner of the teams performances? Unquestionably. Can you blame him for a terrible selction yesterday? Yes, he is absolutely accountable.

Why was Andre Santos in the team? It was excruciatingly evident that he was a weak link and would be targeted, and United did that at every opportunity. He may be a character, he may make us smile, but so was Eboue, and I’ve had enough of players like that in the team. How can he swap shirts with van Persie at half-time? I don’t care how chummy they might have been, for those 90 minutes, Robin was an enemy to every Arsenal player out there, and should have been treated that way.

Only Cazorla and Wilshere looked remotely like they wanted to get a result, the rest appeared to tread on eggshells and adopt the mentality of, “let’s not let in 8 this time”. Vermaelen, as brilliant as he is, has looked a shadow of his former self in recent weeks, and he was all over the place when he should be the one balling instructions and setting an example.

In attack we looked weak, toothless and bereft of any ideas. Podolski and Giroud barely featured at all, and when the game was crying out for an injection of pace, Wenger decided he would play Aaron Ramsey on the right of the attacking three – a selection that baffles me. I don’t like to get on Ramsey’s back. He regularly and unfairly is singled out by a lot of fans. He gets moronic abuse for little or no reason and his confidence is low. Why play him there when Theo is a much greater threat? It’s not Aaron’s position, and it’s unfair to expect him to offer what that area of the field requires.

To summersie; I’m angry. I can take United were the better team, and they deserved to win by a greater margin. What I cannot accept is the lack of fight. It took until injury-time to register a shot on goal.  At one point, Arsenal’s fantastic away support gave a 15-minute-long rendition of, “We love you Arsenal, we do”. Even over the commentary on 5Live, and during a busy kitchen service, hearing that made my hair stand on end. It inspired me. How can that not effect the players?

I look at the club I love at present, and I despair. The same tiresome problems are there. I don’t pretend to know what needs to be done, but I do know this; without significant change, without action, there will be no relenting of those problems.

That’s all for today. The comments eagerly await your views and thoughts. Let’s be having a few of them. Thanks for reading today, you beautiful people. I shall return tomorrow.

Gervinho, Santos, Gnabry, Arshavin, Wenger, and another cauldron of sh*t.

UEFA Champions League; Arsenal 0-2 Schalke

*Hmmphh*

I ordinarily would great you with a chipper, “morning folks”. Not today.

I hated the piece I wrote on Sunday after the Norwich defeat. Not because of how it was written, but due to what it contained; anger and pessimism. I like to think I’m a fairly positive soul; I try to look at the good things before I deconstruct and evaluate the bad. I wrote that piece just after the game – as I am this one – and left it unchanged because I believe blogging should be an honest pursuit; one that shows your emotional side, and isn’t compromised by sitting on the fence.

Point being, and this is certainly open to answer; how am I supposed to be positive, when the team I love are showing me only things that arouse my negative side?

I was prepared to put Saturday’s performance down to ‘one of those days’ – the kind where all that can go wrong does, and things just don’t click. Then I sat through that unrelenting shower of shit last night, and it was far worse. Not worse because we lost, but it exceed the direness of the weekend purely because of the fact we knew a reaction was needed, and it didn’t come. There was no urgency, cohesion, enthusiasm or guile. We had to wait until the 93rd minute when we were 2-0 and the game was over to record a shot on target.

Gervinho and Andre Santos were woeful. Playing the Ivorian as a striker has to stop. His all-round contribution wasn’t close to being half-decent, and he topped off his fiasco with an abomination of a dive.  We had more than enough theatrics when Eboue was here, thank you very much.

Andre Santos appears to have taken a crash course at the Gael Clichy school for playing people onside, and generally falling over when faced with an opponent. I like the Brazilian as an attacking option, but defensively, he simply isn’t good enough. He’s had the odd good game here and there, but nothing to convince me otherwise. If I was the boss, I’d be seriously looking at playing Koscielny and Mertesacker in the centre, and Vermaelen at left back. Schalke knew he was a weak point, and went after him. Podolski, usually an able runner, didn’t offer him enough help, either.

Of course, I’m not blaming the defeat on those two players. Arsenal were collectively bad, with perhaps only Mertesacker having a reasonable game. Errors came from all angles. For example, why wait until 82 minutes to introduce Ganbry and Arshavin when it was only too apparent some players needed to be replaced? What can we possibly expect them to do in 8 minutes? – ironically, Gnabry did more of note in his first 20 seconds on the field than Gervinho managed in 75 minutes.

For the first time, I’m starting to feel genuinely concerned about our prospects. At the start of our campaign, things looked rife with potential. Those thoughts are rapidly giving way to doom and gloom. There has to be something done. Arses have to be kicked, and those not pulling their weight and continuously under performing have to be told. Arsene can’t allow a quiet period of cogitation in which the players can think about their short comings. He needs to hit them with some home truths.

I hope that’s what he will do. I hope it will be done sooner rather than later. I shouldn’t be worrying about a home game against QPR on Saturday. Because of last night, I am.

That’s all for today folks. What did you think? Are you alarmed by how utterly shit-awful Arsenal were? Do you have a positive view on the game? Are you angry at just how familiar and predictable all this is? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading, my fellow miserable so-and-sos…

Santos, Wenger, Wilshere, Sagna, Frimpong, and Twitter turns incandescent at the drop of a hat…

“Wenger out, Wenger out!!”

Hello delicious readers.

Twitter is a funny old place. If ever you want to witness human beings and their propensity for being drawn into the mob mentality, it’s a excellent place to start. People get so angry on there. It’s one thing to feel frustrated and aggrieved when Arsenal put in a woeful performance – that’s part and parcel of being a fan. It is another thing entirely to start ploughing through the obscenities and make statements as thoroughly idiotic as “Wenger has to go” or  ”We should get Moyes or Owen Coyle as they wouldn’t put up with that kind of defeat” – I shan’t name names, but I witnessed several tweets saying exactly those things.

He has to go? The same Arsene Wenger you were praising a week ago for snapping up Cazorla? I mean, Jesus Christ… It defies belief sometimes. I’m certainly not placing myself in any ‘AKB’ camp, nor am I denying our boss isn’t capable of mistakes. But if you’re going to complain, at least listen to yourself first. As for the Owen Coyle remark, I’m not even going to attempt to discuss something that breathtakingly stupid.

Worst of all, is the re-emeregence of vitriol directed toward Aaron Ramsey. It baffles me. What exactly has he done to incur the wrath of so many? Sure, his form can be patchy, but you don’t see anything like the hatred he gets directed towards others. It really pisses me off, to be honest. When you consider what he’s been through, when you take into account he always tries and he never hides; surely he should be given a break. He’s only 21, he has bags of potential and he’ll be a great player for Arsenal. He certainly doesn’t deserve to be made a scapegoat by angry idiots desperate for someone to blame.

If it wasn’t for the many great people I talk with on Twitter, the frequency with which I witness keyboard warriors exploding with rage at the most inane of things might just cause me to quit.

But that’s hardly important. Let’s talk Arse.

More good news yesterday for Jack Wilshere, Bacary Sagna and Emmanuel Frimpong; they all completed a full 90 minutes for the reserves – a game that will certainly mean none of them feature against Schalke. It’ll be superb to have those three fellows back in contention, although Jack must be given time – we can’t expect him to stroll onto a pitch and pick up where he left off. 14 months is a long time to be sidelined.

Andre Santos has spoken out to the press regarding the growing number of rumours linking him with a return to Turkey. It’s no surprise that these rumours emerged when he was out of the team, and have been quashed now he’s back in it. Lazy journalism, I think.

The most intriguing story came in the form of an admission from our boss. He’s “worried” by the seemingly unreachable 10-point lead Chelsea have on us:

“The gap is very unpleasant.

“We had an opportunity that Tottenham could win and we could win, and we both lost. That of course makes the gap a lot bigger.

“You cannot say you do not worry about that, but what is more disappointing is that we could not score.

“After we went 1-0 down we had the ball for 70 minutes and could not score a goal”

I can’t say I disagree with any of that. What was one of the worst performances by an Arsenal team I’ve seen in a while cannot be repeated, and it’s good to hear our boss stray away from cheap excuses of fatigue. We should have had more than enough in the locker to dispatch Norwich, and to look so toothless and weak is unacceptable. I’m sure the players themselves won’t be pleased, and I’m hoping for a pumped up and reactive display tomorrow night.

And that’s about it for today. Tomorrow I’ll be back with team news and a preview of the Schalke game. Until then, thanks for reading, you wonderful lifeforms. In the meantime, use the comments below; what are your thoughts? Do you use Twitter and encounter rage like I have?

Let me know a few of your thoughts and opinions.

I almost forgot: I’ve written a piece on unsung heroes for Andy Stern’s blog, “Les Artilleurs” – you can have a read of it here.

10 suitable ways to punish John Terry the FA should consider.

Red card? For kneeing an opponent in the back like a coward? Me? Why Ref?

Hello again all.

I’ve a bit of spare time, so you’re getting a special bonus post today. We all hate John Terry, don’t we? He’s a loathsome human being to the core. He sums up exactly all that is wrong with the modern footballer; he’s an arrogant, cheating, self-obssesed racist. When the FA handed him a mere 4-match ban for using the phrase “you f**king black c**t”, I though that was totally insufficient when you consider the man they are banning. So I devised a few exampled of what I consider to be a fitting punishment.

Here they are:

  1. Death by helicopter blades. Think of the villain’s demise in The Last Boy Scout. Terry could parachute into Wembley stadium thinking he’s part of a grand ceremony, only for a crack pilot to swoop underneath him at the opportune moment. Fans cheer as pulped racist is splattered across the hallowed turf.
  2. Japanese video torture. Similar to water torture, but different in method. Terry would be locked away in a hellish dungeon and forced to watch a looped film of himself falling on his arse, and being kicked in the face by Abou Diaby. He would stay in there until his brain exploded with shame.
  3. Death by Tim Stillman. If you’ve read any of Tim’s stuff, you’ll know his disdain for Chelsea’s captain is equal to mine, if not greater. How many of you wouldn’t pay good money to attend a concert in which Tim fulfils his dream of “dancing on Terry’s face in Cuban heels”? I know I’d personally shell out a fair amount to witness that, and gladly dance the night away to a rhumba beat.
  4. Battle Royale. Chelsea’s entire first team and reserves squad are sent to a remote Island and forced to battle to the death. The victor choses between a contract with Spurs, or public suicide. The latter being the more popular, I’d imagine.
  5. Banned from football for life. Terry is forced to give up the fortune he’s accrued being a world-class c**t, and work in a menial job. He can never again return to the game he has spent a career tarnishing. Given his limited social skills, and self-absorbed nature, his most likely path is as an employee for JJB Sports.
  6. Golden ticket paintball. 10 lucky football fans are selected at random and allowed to spend a morning hunting Terry down with trained military personnel. Shots to the eyes and scrotum are permitted, just this once.
  7. Death by Twilight. Terry is forced into a Twilight convention wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the phrase “I screwed Edward Cullen’s wife too!”. The footage of him being torn limb from limb by irritate 12-year-old girls is made available on YouTube.
  8. Death by Andre Santos. Terry is strapped into a car remotely controlled by our Brazilian full back, who is given a free-pass to flaunt as many traffic laws as he sees fit. The roads of London will be cleared of innocent civilians and replaced with angry velocirapotors – should he escape – and hefty items of machinery.
  9. Sepp Blatter sex tape. Having been administered ketemine, Terry is released into a porn dungeon occupied by an increasingly randy Blatter. Scented oils and flavoured lubricants will be available – as will a selection of bondage apparatus. The footage will be released to the Daily Star.
  10. Realisation of self. Terry is presented with unrelenting and convincing information that shows without doubt he is an utterly repellent c**t. Upon realising that no human being should have to endure such horror, he chooses to be shot to death by Ashley Cole’s air-rifle.

The comments are below, if you’ve a better suggestion, please feel free to say.

Thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.

Andre Santos, Eduardo, Sahin signs and various materials…

Official Police footage of Santos on his way to training.

Morning, fellow creatures.

Andre Santos is fast becoming one of my favourite Arsenal players. He never fails to put a smile on my face. Yesterday, I read a report of the Police clocking him at 130mph on the motorway as he was late for training. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t pass something like that off as comedy, and I’m no advocate of driving like a twat. However, because it’s our portly Brazilian full-back, it’s quite funny.

The story was reported by The Sun so, unsurprisingly, his crimes are being hyped up as worse than Hitler’s, and they’re trying to have us believe Andre is looking at doing some serious time. That’s just hogwash. It just goes to show how certain players can brush off and survive stories like this because they’re likeable. Had that been Nicklas Bendtner, I doubt I’d have been so amused – most probably becuase Andre Santos isn’t an irksome egomaniac.

Another Arsenal affiliate getting away with something is Eduardo. He’s had this to say about the club selling a previously worshipped Dutch prat I refuse to name, and Alex Song:

“It is a big mistake to sell them, they were the most important players last season, but they have other quality players to stay as a big club at the top.

“Van Persie and Song were the key players last season – they held the team. When you lose two players like that, your chance of finishing in the top four is less. But Arsenal still have a good team and I’m confident they will do well. Last year when they lost Nasri and Fabregas, everyone thought they would not finish in the top four but they did.

“When the season finishes, we’ll see if it was a mistake or not. It’s very sad to lose two big players like that but we must respect the new players and believe they can keep Arsenal at the top.”

He has a point, doesn’t he? Let’s be honest, if those words had come out of the feculent, ill-mannered gob of Samir Nasri, there would be some considerable uproar, and no small measure of name calling. Eduardo won’t receive such treatment because of the professional manner in which he left the club, and the considerable reverence the fans – me included – have for him.

In other news, the oh-so reliable internet leads its humble reader to believe that the loan signing of Nuri Sahin is done… almost, well it should be done today… tomorrow….next tuesday. He has to pass a medical/agree wages/complete a thorough survey. What you read online, from the many hilariously false ‘ITK’ accounts on Twitter does tend to detract from the few folks who genuinely have inside knowledge. In a network where bullshit is of far greater prominence than truth, it’s near impossible to believe anything – lets not forget the ‘reputable’ folks who told us the Yann M’Vila deal was 99% done some months ago.

Signs point to it being true, and the official stance from Mourinho and the player himself is that both favour a loan deal, and Arsenal is the favoured place for Sahin. The alleged complications come from the option to buy once the period of loan is over. That is also alleged to have been agreed now, with Arsenal able to purchase for a sum of £14m – not a bad price at all, when you consider what Jordan Henderson joined Liverpool for.

Time will tell, folks. I have a good feeling he’ll be coming in, and I hope so, too; he’s an excellent player and would ensure we have a very competitive and talented midfield. There may even be another signing before the end of August, if the Mexes/Bendnter swap is to be believed, but we seem to be linked to Mexes every summer…

That’s all for today, folks. Leave a few comments below with your views.