The Armchair Gooner

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

Javi Martinez To Arsenal And A Paucity Of News.

Shock! Horror!

Morning, folks.

You know those classic moments in Western movies where there’s deafening silence before two gunslingers fight it out? That’s today – minus the gunfire and inevitable death, that is. Things have taken a turn for the quiet and news regarding our beloved Arsenal is very much at a premium.

Such things make writing a daily post immeasurably tricky. Where do you begin? Do I ramble on about nothing in particular as much as I possibly can purely to add a few extra words to the post? Well.. If you’re a regular here you’ll know it’s certainly not beneath me to do so. However, I can imagine that gets pretty tiresome to those of you that actually read this stuff (That’s a silly thing to say given the fact I’ve already started to rattle aimlessly whilst making the point that it is possibly annoying as p*ss when I do so. Perhaps I should stop. Seriously, James… Give it a fu*king rest)

Instead, I’ll keep things brief and delve head first into a little bit of transfer rumour. Spain and Bayern’s Javi Martinez is exactly the type of player we need to strengthen the defensive side of our midfield. 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

Bayern Munich: Champions League – Thoughts And Predicted Starting XI

More of this, please!

Morning, folks.

Right, you’re in for the a horrendously short preview today as I’m currently suffering with an upset stomach – nothing to do with nerves – and I have little or no inclination to write, other than for the sake of you wonderful people who read everyday, of course.

It’s a big ask tonight. Trailing 2-0 down and headed to the home of, arguably, the finest Club side strutting their stuff in Europe at present.  We have little or nothing to lose. Trawling through the majority of the best sports betting sites, it’s very clear that the opinion amongst media and fans alike is that Arsenal stand little or no chance of progression.

The team news is mixed. Continue reading

Sagna out, Wenger in, Vermaelen gushy and the importance of bouncing back.

“What? I haven’t left anything on the carpet. Or in your shoes”

Evening folks.

I’d like my current relationship with Arsenal to the one I share with my cat. I love that silly cat. She’s adorable. Then she shits on the carpet and I want to bloody throttle her. Against Bayern and Blackburn, Arsenal well and truly shit on the carpet, and there’s going to be a great deal of purring and cuteness required in the coming weeks for the nagging desire to strangle that overwhelms me at present to subside.

With such focus on the manager, eyes have wandered slightly from the importance of our up coming fixtures. Before we make the frightening trip to Germany in search of an act of God, we face Villa, Everton and a trip to White Hart lane. Expecting anything from Bayern would be like me waiting patiently by my front door for Penelope Cruz to show up naked, but the league fixtures are as important as they come. 9 points from those 3 game won’t just put us back on track, it’ll make the shining trophy that comes with 4th place a distinct possibility.

I’ll be previewing the Villa game tomorrow.

Elsewhere in news, a few stories has caught my beady little eye. Firstly, captain not-quite-so-fantastic, Thomas Vermalen has predictably lent his support to Arsene in these trying times. With the guns from fans blazing, our manager – rightly or wrongly – has made it abundantly clear he won’t be stepping down from his position.

Arsene said, when asked if he had considered quitting:

“No. Not for one second.

“Of course we had no euphoria because we have gone through a disappointment on Tuesday night but apart from that we are responsible people who know what it is to fight.

“We live in a world of emotion, of excess, and it is down to people who have responsibilities to put that into perspective and keep solid and keep guiding the club in the right way.”

You can almost hear the plethora of keyboard warriors temporarily suspending excess masturbation for the day to flock to message boards with harsh words to say. I admire his stubbornness, his refusal to quit when the chips are down. But there is a part of me that thinks, for his own sake as much as anything, that the time to do exactly that may not be too far away. Nothing lasts forever, and even the greatest of things has to be replaced.

Lastly, Bacary Sagna has been warned that Arsenal will only sell him if they want to - he has no say so in the matter with a contract until 2014. Perhaps that’s stance we could have considered last summer when Manchester United came calling. I’ve long been a fan of Sagan, but in recent months his form has dropped drastically. Once you could rely on him to give you a consistently good performance, these days he’s huffing, puffing, and look utterly disinterested with it all. I personally wouldn’t have a problem moving him on in the summer, and he’s not quite the huge name departure the media are sure to make him out to be.

And that’s yer lot for today, you beautiful bastards. Thanks for reading, and, as always, head over to the comments and pour your little hearts out. I always like to hear from you.

I shall return tomorrow.

Over in 21 minutes, down and out in February.

Rough translation; Bayern are great, Arsenal are shit.

Evening folks.

The main memory I’ll take from last night’s game is how much it reminded me of the Champions League semi-final we played against United. For the opening few minutes of play, and for the minutes leading up to kick-off, The Emirates was a sight to behold – loud, passionate and awesome. Then we conceded early, and it was all over.

Unlike the FA Cup on Saturday debacle when we whimpered out against inferior opponents, last night we we’re comprehensively outplayed by a far better team. There can be no qualms or debates about the result. Even with the greater share of possession, our players couldn’t match the quality and control facing them. The defeat wasn’t unexpected, and it’s difficult to be too annoyed by it.

However, it does serve as an indication of just how far Arsenal have fallen. As my memory serves me, I don’t recall a European side coming to our home ground and looking so vastly superior. This season, it’s happened twice – last night, and when Schalke visited. And such things will invariably come back to our manager.

To an extent, Arsene is to blame; his selection, his team, his responsibility. Yet, there are some players who we are entitled to expect more from. £100k-per-week Theo Walcott was nothing short of woeful in the strikers position last night, Bacary Sagna looked hapless and disinterested, and, other than Wilshere and Ramsey, no one especially looked as if they gave a shit.

Perhaps it’s a motivational issue. Perhaps the players are happy to take home their huge salaries and to hell with the consequences of their faltering performances. Some of them simply don’t look like they care. Can we blame Arsene for that? Yes and no. Ultimately, he is responsible, but he can’t be held accountable for the actions of his players once they take to the field. There has to be a point  where they take some of that off his back and stand up and be counted.

All in all, we are in Febryary, and left with nothing more than the imaginary trophy that comes with 4th place to play for. These are trying times to be an Arsenal fan, and we’ve a few vital fixtures coming up between now and the return leg in Germany.

I’d like to think some of our squad will look at Arsene in the firing line and do something proactive. Jack Wilshere cares, he plays his heart out and is rarely found wanting. It’s high time one or two members of the squad did them same. We can attach as much blame to our manager as we see fit, but it would be wrong to pay no attention to those continuously letting down a man who has shown great faith in them.

That’s all for today, folks. It’s a quick post today as I’ve had a busy day at work and I’ve things to do. I hope you’ll use the comment section below to share some of your thoughts.

I shall return tomorrow at some point. Thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.

Gervinho, Chamberlain, Szczsney, Blackburn, Bayern, Wenger and the worst day of the season by a mile.

Arsenal 0-1 Blackburn: Unbelievably shit-awful

Morning, smiley happy people…

Before I began writing this post, I sat down and tried to make myself think of something positive to say. I struggled for 2-3 minutes to come up with anything even remotely full of cheer to serve up to you today before I exclaimed to myself, “Oh, balls to this” and decided to get on with writing about how I actually feel.

Losing to Bradford and plummeting out of a cup competition we had a genuine chance of winning was humiliating enough. For that to be repeated in alarmingly similar fashion yesterday in nothing short of outrageous.

For all the talk of Wenger’s selction policy for that match, I actually agreed with him leading up to the game. It made sense to keep certain players fresh for Tuesday’s fixture with Bayern Munich, and those sent onto to the field should have had more than enough quality to overturn a Championship side.

To place blame on that, and that alone, is naive. The troubles within our club go far deeper. Countless occasions this season have seen our players take to the field with an unmotivated attitude and lethargy. Fans have every right to expect more, and every right to vent their apoplexy when mistakes and poor performances appear with such regularity.

And in these moments of despair, we look for someone to blame. The board, the manager, the players; it’s difficult to pinpoint the main contributing factor to the malaise at Arsenal, and the only sensible conclusion I can muster is a combination of all of the above. Arsenal has become a business focused on profit and sustainability, not a football team with aspirations of glory. That’s not something I’ve ever cared to believe, but it’s something I believe to be true.

Our manager, an undeniably great man, is a shadow of the man he once was; challenged, focused and with a desire to win. 8 years ago he had assembled one of the greatest teams in English football. Times change, however, and football is a different beast these days. The great change with the times, you need only look at the continued success of Alex Ferguson to see a man who adapts to that which changes around him. Wenger’s legacy and past glories will forever be the greatest period of success for Arsenal, but his inability to change, his insistence on vanity projects are seriously tarnishing that legacy.

I’m no Wenger apologist, nor am I the type to blindly back someone against such compelling evidence. However, to single him out for blame is as pointless as it is to do so for any of the other factors. Arsene’s responsibility lies with the team and the results they obtain, for that he takes the credit and the current cacophony of derision. The ambition, the desire to compete with others is something he cannot do without the backing of the board.

That’s where the real trouble lies for me – the club as a whole. Arsenal would happily obtain 4th every year and nothing else as it brings in the revenue and ends the season with a profit. If we can sell on a few star players, and bring in cheaper alternatives during the summer, our board will jump at the chance. Each summer that passes sees our squad weakened, and the danger of losing touch with others increases until one day it will eventually disappear altogether. That day may be a lot closer than we care to think.

In the wake of such an appalling defeat, it’s natural to focus on the negative. Some of you may even dismiss this post as doing exactly that – that I’m just a bitter soul ranting becuase I’m pissed off. I assure you that is not the case. I write today genuinely concerned and because I care.

We are Arsenal. We have a bulging bank balance, a world class arena, state of the art training facilities and a large and diverse fanbase. We are one of the richest clubs in football. We should be competing with the best, not making do with average players and low expectations.

Whatever your allegiance, we all want the same thing. I’m almost afraid to say it, “We want our Arsenal back”.

Thanks for reading today, you beautiful bastards. Let me know your thoughts in the comments. Don’t hold back – say what’s truly on your mind.

Champions League: Arsenal v Bayern Munich – The Best Football Event in World

As it has already been said many times before, football is world’s most famous sport and it has been played everyday in some part of world or other. It is rightly called as king of sports in many countries. In Europe and Latin America, football is the most famous sport and is being played with such a vigor and spirit which is not found in any other game. European clubs are always on their heels to draw in some great players.

The match between Bayern Munich and Arsenal will surely be regarded as one of the best matches of 2013 These two teams have already locked horns four times and Bayern has won two times, Arsenal has won just once and another match has ended in a draw. Usually football matches ending in draw will be considered as tame and drab ones, but if there is a match between Bayern Munich and Arsenal, it will always be a clash of titans and even if it ends in a draw, it will surely be one of the best matches ever played in football.

In 2004-05 version of champion’s league, these two teams met for the last time. In that encounter, Bayern won by 3-2. It was a match of last 16th stage. But In recent years, Arsenal has won seven of their last six matches. So it is very difficult to say which side is better among these two. One team may seem a little bit better once but on some other occasion, the other team may emerge as even more stronger. In their last 17 games in knockout stage, Arsenal has won 15 times, losing only two games. This once again confirms greatness of Arsenal team.

At the same time, Bayern Munich is not in good position currently. They have been defeated in their recent four matches in England champion’s league. On English, they won a match for the last time 12 years ago, i.e. in 2001. That match was played in Old Trafford. It was the quarterfinal match of champion’s league.

Tickets for the Champion’s league are already being sold out like hot cakes. If a football match takes place in any part of the world, it is sure to attract a large number of spectators from all corners of country. This is especially true in case of European Champion’s league. When there is a clash between two great teams like Arsenal as well as Bayern Munich, there will surely be huge expectations among spectators. Hence they will surely go mad for purchasing tickets.

In this season, even though they are having a very average record so far, they have scored at least one goal in their last 12 matches. It was more than a year ago when they failed to score a goal in a game. But at the same time, Arsenal has secured very less number of shots among all those teams which have qualified for the last 16th stage. So tickets for the Champion’s league are sold out rapidly even before the last 16 stage starts up.