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.

Arsenal’s starting XI against Brighton (Match preview)

Saturday 26th January: FA Cup, Brighton (a)

Hello everyone!

You might – some of you – be wondering where the bloody hell I’ve been in recent weeks. Without resorting to diving into self-involved bleating, I’ll just say I’ve had a few problems, and I’ve not been very well. Such things have taken their toll on my blogging exploits.

But that’s enough of talking about me. Let’s talk Arsenal.

Since I last posted, Theo has ‘singed dat ting’ and Arsenal haven’t signed anyone – much to the chagrin of many Gooners out there. Me included. On Wednesday, spirits where lifted by a phenomenal performance against West Ham which saw us blow the Hammers away in the space of 10 second half minutes. That was awesome – a glimpse of the ‘real’ Arsenal so many of us have lamented the absence of.

Today gives us a good opportunity to further build on that performance, and, as the general consensus has it, progress in our best avenue for silverware left available.

The epic fail at Bradford proved that lower league opponents are underestimated at you peril. Lethargy and arrogance, as well as impressive play from our conquerers, was our downfall that evening. If we head into today’s game without focus and spirit, there is every possibility we’ll be writhing in embarrassment after another abject humiliation.

Vermaelen, Coquelin, Fabianksi, Arteta and Gervinho all mis out today, and given our grueling fixture list this month, Arsene may make a few changes here and there to offer some players a rest. Jack Wilshere is expected to wear the captain’s armband today.

My guess at the line-up is:

All things taken into consideration, I see no reason why we shouldn’t progress with minimal fuss. The lesson learnt at Valley Parade should be well imprinted into the players’ brains by the management, and lightning striking twice seems less likely to me.

However, this is Arsenal. Our only consistency is that with which we are unpredictable. Anything, within the contraints of reality, could happen today. I’ll be bold and opt for a delightfully comfortable 4-0 win, and hopefully a nice draw in the next round.

If you fancy a flutter, register as a new member with Bet Victor to recieve all kinds of wonderful deals. You can sign-up here.

Brighton vs Arsenal odds.

Thanks for reading today. I shall return with more tomorrow.