The Armchair Gooner

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

Arteta, The Ox and Arsene, Post-Liverpool Fury and Two Refuse Deals.

The players now feared half-time…

Morning, folks.

As you all probably know, much of the furious anger at Saturday’s defeat is yet to subside. It’s a minefield out there, folks. You need only once inadvertently say the wrong thing – usually positive – to have the combined wrath of Twitter fall upon you.

I wouldn’t really want to dispute with anyone about their right to be angry. God knows, I’m angry. We lost in the most pathetic way imaginable in a game that was of huge significance. Had we taken a moment to envisage the worst case scenario before kick-off, the thoughts and views conjured would probably bare striking resemblance to that which occurred.  It was an altogether sh*tty day – compounded for me by a startling shaving error that resulted in the need to remove the vast majority of my beard. Continue reading

Monreal, Ozil, The Flame and Arteta; Bitterness in the Face of a Crippling… Errr…. Draw.

Giroud celebrates with Cazorla. I have no idea what he’s trying to do…

Morning folks.

Before I get into my review of the game, I feel it’s best to start by complimenting our opponents. Arsenal were undeniably poor last night, but that shouldn’t be used as a way of describing the result when Southampton acquitted themselves admirably. From the kick-off, they hassled and pressured and imposed their own passing game on us once they gained possession.

In Adam Lallana and Luke Shaw they have 2 of the best prospects in the Premiership and they’ll do well to hold on to either. When the big boys come waving their cheque books, it’ll be a great shame to see such a good side dismantled, but such is the modern game. I genuinely believe Southampton could push for one or two honours if they can keep the nucleus of their squad intact.

In the first half, Arsenal were woefully abject. We’ve hardly fired on all cylinders at times this season, but have always shown enough in the important moments to rightfully get results. Yesterday evening we floundered and could quite easily have found ourselves trailing by a greater margin at the break were it not for fortune and some excellent defending from Koscielny. Continue reading

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

“BLOODY HELL!! LOOK! THEY’RE ALL STILL SAT ON THE BENCH!”

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

Arteta appeals, bigger tests to come and areas of mild concern.

“Out of order? This whole FA appeal hearing is out of order!”

Morning, delicious readers.

It’s a lovely Monday. Here is Bristol we’ve had storms and other such crazy weather conditions. As I type, it sounds as if two teenage tornados are having sex on my roof, and both are particularly enthusiastic participants. At any moment, I fully expect either a whole tree or the house across the street to come crashing through my window.

Yet, with all the madness outside, locked away in the cosy confines of home I still feel compelled to take these moments to peruse the various sources at my disposal. Perhaps I should be erecting some form of impenetrable fortress around my bed out of cereal boxes and cheese, but I’ve neither the time or the inclination. I shall have to hope Mother Nature and I are on good terms. Continue reading

Aston Villa (h): preview, news and predicted starting XI

Aaron Ramsey was sick of people yelling “freeze!!”.

Morning, folks.

Can you smell that? That’s the sweet smell of football returning. Take a moment to inhale and savour… It feels like an eternity since it was last here.

The summer may not have gone exactly as we’d hoped (understatement) and it’s a great pity I am unable to discuss the merits of a few new signings, and the impact they might have had on the team. We’ve got Yaya Sanogo, and through no fault of the young Frenchman’s, he already been very unfairly dismissed as “not enough” or “another injury-prine bargain buy”.

Today, it’s the time to put all that to one side – at least for 90 minutes. Some will feel the need to vent their frustrations at Arsene Wenger, and there has been the odd claim from fans that abusive songs will be directed towards the Boss. Personally, I can’t see how any of that is worth the effort. Yes – I agree with anyone who is disappointed and frustrated, but let’s support the team today. It’s the first day of the season, there’s a clean slate. Save the booing and discontent for later…

Injury wise, we have quite a few key figures on the sidelines. Mikel Arteta will miss 4-6 weeks having very recently sustained a thigh injury. Captain Vermaelen and Nacho Monreal both are unfit and Abou Diaby has defied the odds to make an incredible recovery from fitness to take his starting place in the treatment room.

Santi Cazorla returned from Ecuador on Thursday having played a significant chunk of Spain’s friendly, and it’s uncertain wether he will play from the start. At the back, the four players that served us so well and the end of last season will start, with Per Mertesacker taking the captaincy.

My predictions is:

It’s imperative we get off to a good start today. On paper, that’s a team that should comfortable dispatch Villa on our own turf. If we can retain the solid defensive performances of last season, and Ramsey can slot in to Arteta’s place with the same positional discipline, I see no reason why we won’t create chances and score goals today.

Giroud has had a good pre-season, and I’ll be looking for him to press on and have an excellent sophomore season. Our one new signing, Sanogo, will have a place on the bench today and could make his debut at some point. He might even come on to score a late double…. *ducks for cover*

That’s all for today, folks. Wherever you may be, enjoy the game, and embrace the return of football. Let’s be having a delicious 3 points today and a fine performance from the boys. We could use something positive to discuss. Leave me a comment below with your thoughts on the team for today, and what you think the final score will be.

As always; thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.

Arteta doubtful for Newcastle, more new kit pictures and thoughts ahead of the weekend.

Gervinho looked on in awe as Mikel managed to kick a ball towards that huge, scary rectangular thing with a net.

Morning Goonery boys ‘n’ girls.

Friday seems to consistently throw up bad news. Today is no different. Mikel Arteta’s solid and diligent performances in midfield are rightly credited as being the strength of our recent resolve. Like Gilberto Silva, he is often an unsung hero; his unflashy yet imperative work often goes unnoticed.

So it’s bloody bad news that our Spanish friend is highly unlikely to take part against Newcastle due to a particularly inconvenient calf problem. Currently he is being assessed by the club’s medical staff – who, I presume, can afford to take 5 minutes away from Abou Diaby – and we should know more about his chances at some point today.

If he does indeed miss out on the trip to St James’ Park, Arsene Wenger will have to decide wether it is worth risking Jack Wilshere from the start of the game. If he doesn’t, I can only assume Cazorla and Rosicky will play centrally with Ramsey doing the mopping-up behind. Giroud will be available having served his suspension, so Podolski will be able to drop back to the left of our attacking triumvirate.

That’s all speculative, however, and we will know a great deal more as the big fixture approaches. And that’s about the entirety of Arsenal stories. There are a few transfer rumours floating around, but nothing worth a mention. Most of what you see is the kind of guff that a certain site (Think; Emmanuel Adebayor is constantly…..) puts up with those irritating titles like,

“Hey!! Click Here! We want you to believe your favourite team are planning a mega, super, awesome, incredible, fantastic, daring, audacious, phenomenal double swoop for two Brazilian footballers that will cost a whopping £400m!! Please click on or site! Please!”

That same feculent rag attempted to take credit for this picture of a rather superb mock-up of what one of our kits might look like when Puma begins their sponsorship in 2014:

Puma and Arsenal: What it could be.

As it was pointed out yesterday on Le Grove, the person actually responsible, and the one that deserves the credit in full for a lovely bit of work is a very talented individual with the Twitter handle, @LAGVILAVA7. If you needed any more proof of the website I shan’t name’s utter abhorrence, then you have it.

And I think that’s were I shall leave it for today. With Sunday’s game approaching fast, I’m starting to feel the occasional burst of nerves, and my morning ablutions are less forgiving than usual. To say we have to win is something of an understaement. Failure to do so, to fall short and finish behind Spurs, to be dumped unceremoniously into the Europa League whilst that mob play with Europe’s elite, is unthinkable to me.

The very thought is about as appealing as attending a sex dungeon with John Terry as your date. In fact, I’m going to cease from mentioning it now, and punch myself repeatedly in the testicles until the resulting agony wipes my memory of this post.

All that is left if for me to point you toward the comments. Although – if you leave one I will have to come back to read it and be reminded of what I’ve said. And that means I’ll have no choice but to repeat the punching-testicles memory wipe. And that means I’ll come back should there be another comment…

This might go on forever. Don’t leave a comment.

As always, thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.

Cazorla diving, Arteta scoring, Wilshere bossing, and the welcome relief of three delicious points.

Arsenal 2-0 WBA: “Santi, you’re a very naughty boy.”

Morning folks.

Shall we get the controversy out of the way first?

Santi Cazorla dived. There’s no denying it, no trying to justify it, and no point attempting to label it as anything other than appalling becuase he’s an Arsenal player. There is especially no point is constructing spurious pictures like this one.

Had someone as thoroughly irksome as Gareth Bale done the same, we’d all be lambasting him for the egregious cheat that he is. I would like very much for a player as gifted as Cazorla to keep simulation out of his game. Santi, please don’t do it again. Please.

Regarding the incident, Arsene Wenger said:

“I am sorry if it was not a penalty, but I have spoken to Santi and he said he was touched, lost his balance. Has he made a bit more of it? I don’t know”.

“When he [a player] is touched, he goes down, the referee can give or not give the penalty. Of course I will speak to Santi if he has not been touched. I will look at it, don’t worry.”

I lose my balance quite regularly. I stumble, I need a handy table top to regain my poise. I can’t say I’ve ever writhed in apparent agony several times and screamed. I sincerely hope the Boss is true to his word and he offers Cazorla a few choice words, and a stern warning to cut it out in the future.

 On to the game itself.

I??m going for a decent, back-on-track performance and a 2-0 victory.

That’s what I posted yesterday. It’s rare that I’m accurate with my predictions, so I’ll enjoy being correct today. Arsenal’s victory certainly won’t be featuring on any highlights reel, or collection of astonishing matches. The 2-0 triumph courtesy of two Mikel Arteta penalties will be quickly forgotten.

It didn’t need to be breathtaking. It needed to just be a win. So much has been made in recent weeks of a crisis at Arsenal, that you could almost sense the media vultures circling the stadium in hope of another defeat. Problems and worries won’t be solved on the back of one result, and the important questions raised shouldn’t be forgotten. But, for the time being, it is good to have some positive notes to discuss.

The biggest highlight (other than Gervinho’s hilariously awful air-kick) was the imperious and driving performance of a Mr J Wilshere. At the heart of everything and bustling with ideas, Jack showed the kind of determination and ebullience we so often lack in the centre of the park.

It shouldn’t be underestimated how integral he will be to our season. Piling expectation and pressure on the shoulders of someone so young isn’t something I would ordinarily condone, but in this instance an exception will be made. Jack Wilshere is the real deal; a player as gifted and intelligent as you are likely to see. He can go on to be one of the greats of modern football, and I regularly thank the lord (Dennis Bergkamp) that he wears the red and white of Arsenal, and has a genuine affection for the Club.

Of course, as is customary with Arsenal players, such talents and abilities are sure to go hand in hand with an abundance of speculation. I’m already prepared. Over the coming close-seasons, there’s going to be plenty of alleged advances from the mega-rich. Call me a blind optimist, but I have this feeling that Jack is different to the others; he really does love Arsenal. For the sake of my sanity, I refuse to believe anything else.

And that’s all for today, folks. Sunday morning means yet another day working twelve hours because December is such a stupid time of the year for those of us who chose Chef as a profession. I’ve the tedium and frustration of that lurking on the horizon. At least I head toward such horrors with the warm, fuzzy feeling of victory in my belly.

The comments section is below. Your thoughts and opinions of the game and the diving incident are, as always, greatly appreciated.

Thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.