The Armchair Gooner

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

Mega Contracts Ahoy; Ramsey, Cazorla, Zelalem and Maybe Koscielny.

Great, but what about Sagna?

Morning, folks.

Yesterday, like a bolt from the blue, there was joyous news. Not entirely unexpected enough to warrant my use of the phrase “bolt from the blue” but a pleasant surprise nonetheless. It was confirmed by Arsenal that both Aaron Ramsey and Santi Cazolra have signed extensions to their current deals and youngster Gedion Zelalem has signed his first professional contract with Arsenal.

Great news. Superb. Wonderful. Awesome and a whole plethora of superlatives I’m, quite frankly, not inclined to list any further.

It get even better when you consider that there is a lot of talk flying around about Laurent Koscielny also eager to put pen to paper on a improved contract. Continue reading

Arsenal Lose Battle to Sign Magnificent Startlet as Cat Explodes and Weather Worsens.

“I’m sorry, come again…”

Afternoon folks.

Apologies for the lateness of today’s entry. Many things have conspired together to prevent my usually punctual posts. To list the many reasons would be pointless. I could, but I’m not going to. Suffice to say I have my reasons, none of which are especially valid.

News today is a baffling bunch of balderdash and delight. Most of what you read is utter tripe. It’s the silly headlines that are designed to lure you in that get me. We all know what’s on the other side of that link is likely to be complete lies, yet we still click away regardless. I’m as guilty as anyone of this, only to find the link takes me to Caught Offside, meaning I have to very sharply exit that site and then head to the shower to wash away any particles of tripe I may have been infected with.

I purposely used one of those headlines for my title today, albeit an incredibly stupid variety of that which I lament. Why? Continue reading

van Persie returns, Mourinho’s Snide Blathering and Early Liverpool Bits.

News explosion!

Morning, folks.

Yesterday there was an eruption. It was an explosion of news and most of it was of the silly variety. There were no fabulous moments of blinding clarity or life-affirming statements from ethereal creatures ordained by god to share their message of enlightenment. This is the world of Arsenal on the internet; it was mostly balderdash and stuff that irritates.

We’ll deal with the balderdash first.

You know those folks who claim to have insider knowledge and say things like:

“I’ve got huge news about Arsenal. Will tell you all in 3 days. It’s a mega exclusive.”

They get right up my arse. They really do. I know, I know – allowing anything that’s said online to wind you up is essentially an act of monumental futility. Where possible I try to just ignore it, but sometimes I can’t. 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

Cazorla, Ozil and Giroud; Onwards Arsenal March.

It was clear everyone wanted to be like Tomas Rosicky.

Morning, folks.

This isn’t going to be a particularly easy review for me to write. Ordinarily, I like to immerse myself in every aspect of the game – often watching again after the first live viewing. Today that’s going to be a little tricky. Having spent the vast majority of yesterday slaving over a hot stove, little or no time has been afforded to watch the 2-0 win over Fulham.

Since arriving home last night at 11.30pm, brief highlights scattered around the internet are the most I’ve been able to get my grubby paws on. From what I can muster, the performance was some distance from vintage, but the result was exactly what we wanted. Santi Cazorla appears to have rediscovered his shooting boots with a fine brace, and other than that there isn’t a whole lot to rave about. Continue reading

Super Tomas Rosicky, Gnabry, Cazorla, Smug Theo and 2-0 to the Arsenal.

Just in case The Spurs fans were unsure of the scoreline, Theo kindly helped remind them.

Morning folks.

Before I begin, let’s all collectively take a moment to bask in glory.

*inhales deeply*

Ahhh, the sweet smell of victory in the North London derby. Feels f**king great, doesn’t it. I have to admit that I was quite nervous during the hours that lead up to the game. Usually a sturdy and reliable organ, my bladder suffered from temporary weakness and most of my innards followed suit.  Before kick-off, my humble abode was a cacophony of curious gurgles of the stomach, feet thundering towards the lavatory and explosive flatulence.

However, as soon as that whistle blew and the game began, the tension disappeared. Spurs created very little. Aside from a reasonable chance for Eriksen and a prime example of Adebayor’s propensity for a bandy-legged lack of grace in the penalty area, our scummy visitors offered no threat. Continue reading

More Giroud fury, Theo’s nugget, Santi’s magic and an excellent Boxing Day comeback.

Theo finally refused to be used as a puppet by opposing defenders.

Morning greetings, you luminous and cromulent perusers.

I think my stomach in annoyed with me. Were I to liken it to a fictional character right now, I’d say it’s similar to the unhinged unpredictability of Gary Oldman’s villain in Leon: The Professional – I especially imagine shouts of “EVERYONE!!” when I’m being offered biscuits. Currently, there are lots of peculiar gurgles and pangs of discomfort to contend with. Overconsumption is a b*tch.

Mercifully, I’m not writing of a poor result today. To West Ham’s credit, yesterday there was a period of around 20 minutes at the start of the second half when I was sure that’s what I’d be doing. Having weathered something of a storm in the first half, the Hammers came out brightly in the second period, nabbed a fortuitous opening goal and went on to put us under a little pressure. But for profligacy and a touch of fortune, we could very easily have found ourselves 2-0 down.  Continue reading

Flirting by Draxler and the smiling face of Santi Cazorla.

Real men don’t flirt with transfers.

Morning, you lot.

There’s much going on today, and I have precious little time. This post will not contain all that much of my now-customary blathery beginnings, but like a sexual encounter mere moments before I’m due to leave for work, I’ll get to the important stuff as quickly as possible.

First of all, I suggest you all have a look-see at this rather wonderful interview with Santi Cazorla from The Guardian (Not that bloody awful Kevin Costner film, but the newspaper). Our Spanish friend talks about everything from the signing of Mesut Ozil to the Club’s chances of winning the league. My favourite part was this quote regarding the recent defeat at Old Trafford: Continue reading

Arsenal’s new ideal starting XI.

“4-4-2 or 4-2-3-1? What do you think, Jim?”

Morning, folks.

Did you watch the England game last night? I didn’t. I was tempted to sit through it purely to watch Jack Wilshere like a hawk and wince every time a psychotic , bulky Ukrainian went within close proximity of him. I chose against doing such a thing and instead watched Iron Man 3.

With glorious, delicious, beautiful football of note returning at the weekend, and Gooners drooling uncontrollably over Mesut Ozil, I thought I’d share with you all what I consider our strongest 11 should everyone be fit.


I’ve hardly seen Emiliano Viviano play, but Italian keepers come with some pedigree – Massimo Taibi aside. Given his recent excellent performances, Szczsney would be the No.1 at Arsenal for me, although I hope our Italian friend breathes down his neck for the position as much as possible. I’ll try to ignore the fact he looks terrifyingly like Manuel Almunia.  Fabianksi can be placed into a glass box that reads, “open only in the event of absolute necessity”


Thomas Vermaelen is back in training, and within a few weeks should be match fit and available. The question is; would you break up the Mertesacker-Koscielny partnership to accommodate our Club captain? As far as I’m concerned, no. Since Thomas was injured, our back 4 has looked solid, and ‘Merterscielny’ are a duo that compliment each other perfectly. One has speed and tenacity, the other has a calmness and intelligence. They work too well to separate, and I’ve long stated I don’t think Vermaelen and Koscielny is a pairing that works.

Sagna is the obvious choice at right full-back. Gibbs and Monreal are fairly evenly matched, and I’m not at all concerned which of them starts as they are both very good players.  On current form, Gibbs would get the nod.


Here’s where the selection headaches present themselves. Assuming everyone’s fit, and Jesus has miraculously replaced Abou Diaby’s glass skeleton with one that actually heals from time to time, we have plenty of options to fill the 3 central positions.

We all know Mesut Ozil will occupy the main attacking role supporting our offensive 3. The real debate comes in regarding which players will operate directly behind him. This is where I think we need Matheiu Flamini. He gives us something that’s long been missing in our midfield; aggresion. He may not be the giant marauding DM we all cried out for, but he is not to be f**ked with. Remember the fixture at The Emirates against Fenerbahce when their players decided to kick Jack across the pitch for the last 30 minutes? Imagine that situation with Flamini in the side. Would they have gotten away with it? I doubt it. Someone would be hospitalised and missing a leg.

Add to that the positional discipline and maturity he’s picked up from his time at Milan, and he’s a starter for me. Alongside him is a tough choice. Jack hasn’t been at his best, but perhaps he’d be a little more free to express himself with Flamini alongside him taking care of the dirty work. Aaron Ramsey has shown some exceptional form thus far, and I can’t really come up with a case for dropping him. Both players would shine if you took the bulk of the defensive responsibility from their shoulders. For reasons I can’t really explain, I think I’d go with Jack. Arteta, Rosicky, Ramsey and Diaby would make for very good options from reserve.


Giroud as the main focal point is a no-brainer. In fact, it’s really the only choice. Yaya Sanogo is going to need a bit of time to adapt, and I’d sooner we dug up Hitler and placed his corpse in the opponents penalty box than see Bendtner lolloping around up front.

Either side of big Olivier I’d go for Theo and Santi. Some think Santi will lose the ability to create if placed on the left, but I disagree. I think the potential for him and Ozil to interchange will cause all kinds of problems for teams trying to mark them. Theo’s pace and finishing from the right should see a few more goals for him with the service he’ll be getting. Again, The Ox and Podolski make for excellent options when it’s time to rotate.

So, I’d go with this line-uop:

Arsenal’s best starting XI?

That’s just my preferences, folks. Who would you select given a full squad from which to choose? The comments are below, and they are eagerly awaiting your thoughts and line-ups. Let me know a few.

I shall return tomorrow with more. As always; thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.

Santi’s bright future, Usmanov and Arsene want Rooney and tumbleweeds.

No one could agree wether signing Rooney was a good idea.

Morning folks.

First of all, I’d like to point you in the direction of my account, which is a very handy application I discovered for answering your questions. Feel free to drop me a line should you wish to inquire of anything. It’s fun replying to my followers.

Onto Arsenal stuff.

We all love Santi Cazorla, don’t we. What’s not to love? The diminutive Spanish magician has given us an excellent season, winning many POTY awards in the process, and he’s accomplished all that playing the game with an infectious smile on his face.

Santi also seems to think the future is a shining beacon of hope for Arsenal, and he sees things improving for all concerned when the new season starts:

“When the team does not win and we do not get the results we want, the collective confidence does drop a little and that is natural.

“Now we have put in a spectacular run-in and you can see the difference in mentality.

“We have great players. I am sure we will be a better team and improve.

“This season we hope we can be even better and win trophies and the supporters can enjoy it. That is what Arsenal really wants.”

I couldn’t agree any more; that is exactly what Arsenal wants. With all talk surrounding our beloved club being mainly insipid transfer dross and re-hashes of familiar tales, it’s nice for a player to come out with some positive words. Cazorla’s first season in an Arsenal shirt was truly wonderful in patches. I begin drooling uncontrollably at the thought of what he might achieve with a campaign in English football under his belt.

Alas, folks – there is some transfer news I feel I ought address. Alisher Usmanov, the shady-looking billionaire some see as they answer to all our perceived troubles has spoken of his admiration for Wayne Rooney and other news outlets have started reporting that Arsene now wants both Higuain and Rooney to form a deadly strike partnership.


Now I know the possibility of signing both players is about the same as me scoring a candle-lit fish supper with Scarlet Johansson, but I can’t help but allow myself ponder that thought for a moment…

I wouldn’t be a half bad partnership, and I’ve gone on record as saying I don’t even rate Rooney that much.  They’d certainly be a pair to strike fear into the rest of Europe. Goals wouldn’t be in short supply either…

*slaps self in face violently*

Come on, James – you know it’s a load of nonsense. Don’t get sucked in by it. The story is reported in The Daily Mail, of all places. At this point, I’d be very happy with one so-called “big name” signing. Higuain certainly looks the most likely to actually happen, and with a bit of luck we might get Fellaini, too. Can I realistically see our board throwing the kind of money at Rooney it would take to get him to pen a contract at Arsenal? No, I cannot, and I seriously doubt he’ll be leaving United at all. The whole saga still strikes me as him having a sulk as Robin van Whateverhisnameis takes centre stage at Old Trafford these days.

And that’s today in a nutshell. I think I’ll stop here and admire the tumbleweeds as they roll by. There isn’t a whole lot happening, and I don’t imagine anything concrete is going to surface for quite a while yet. All that remains is for me to point you toward the comments and await your views.

As always; thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.