The Armchair Gooner

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

Unleash The Banter Defence, Champions League Draw And Stuff.

Beware the banter biscuits.

Morning, folks.

You know how irritating it is when you click onto an Arsenal blog hoping to read news and updates only to discover that the author is rattling on about extraneous elements of his personal life? I’m that guy.

Today I have to work a lengthy shift at work and I’m looking forward to it about as much as I would were I to be forced into cutting my penis off on live television. Christmas is a time for festivity and camaraderie, that I shall not deny. It is also a time for James to be f**king irritated and consider jacking in his gainful employment in favour of writing a blog all the time. It’s a beautifully idealistic notion, but, alas, largely unfeasible.

But, hey – you want Arsenal information so bad you can taste it, so rattling on shall be put to one side momentarily and I will endeavour to press on.

I really do f**king get wound up, though, You have no idea. Working in a kitchen with egomaniacs barking instructions is something I’ve learned to ignore- empty vessels make the most sound, and all that. It’s the lack of appreciation and jaw-dropping stupidity from the higher authorities that really grinds my gears….. Continue reading

Galatasaray, A Ramsey Thunderbolt And The Stalking Of Nigel Winterburn.

Nigel Winterburn in his playing days.

Evening, folks.

This is the first time I’ve been able to plonk myself in front of the computer for the best part of the previous 48 hours. Often the elements conspire in unpleasant, work-related ways to prevent digits connecting with keys. Thankfully, on this particular occasion, the reasons stand proudly the polar opposite.

On Tuesday evening, myself and a few friends from The Goonersphere Podcast were invited to a Grosvenor Casino in Piccadilly Circus to watch the final game of Arsenal’s Champions League group, gorge ourselves senseless on the array of complimentary treats offered and, best of all, engage in a chin-wag with bonafide Arsenal legend, Nigel Winterburn.

I can report that the event was overwhelmingly a success. The venue was extremely nice, and the atmosphere created was wonderful – no strictly adhered to itinerary, but a formal, friendly atmosphere in which we were able to ‘hang-out’ with a player many of us idolised throughout our formative years. Think – a trip down the pub with your friends, only this time the food and drink is free and an ex-player happens to be there. Continue reading

Galatasaray Team News And Starting Line Up.

Relatively simple the first time around.

Morning, folks.

Today I’m off to the ‘Big Smoke’ with assorted friends from the Goonersphere Podcast to enjoy an event at the Grosvenor Casino in Piccadilly Circus – they’ve invited myself and other bloggers down to watch the game, enjoy free food and drink and added the opportunity to meet Nigel Winterburn.

Because of this delightful opportunity, I’m spending the vast majority of my day travelling from Gloucester to Paddington and back again – a hefty, arduous trek but always worth it to meet up with good people. Unfortunately – or fortunately, depending on your perspective – this entry will be cut criminally short.

Today is one of those matches that does have some significance regarding the eventual standings in our Champions League group, but nothing especially vital given we’re already guaranteed qualification for the final 16. Dortmund sit 2 points ahead of us before kick-off and, barring something spectacularly awful against Anderlecht, will finish as the group winners.

We have an outside chance of topping the final table, but most Arsenal odds pint to the likelihood we’ll be looking at yet another year where we dread the draw for the next round as 2nd place almost certainly means a face-off with one of Europe’s elite. With that in mind, Arsene is going to field a weakened side – the team sheet was bizarrely released yesterday and does include the huge bonus of the return of Mathieu Debuchy.

We’ll line-up like this (It’s a guess which full-back positions Debuchy and Bellerin will start in as I’m completely unsure):

To be perfectly honest, I can’t see us winning tonight. I’ve seen this match many times before; having already secured a place in the next round, Arsenal travel to a difficult away game with a weakened side, show odd glimpses of their good side but ultimately lose by 2 or 3.

Perhaps the likes of Podolski and Campbell will put on a show as they have a point to prove, but I’m entirely confident we’ll see nothing remotely memorable. It’ll be like watching S.W.A.T last night  – mildly distracting, but as sh*t as I thought it would be.

I’ll predict a tedious loss that we’ll all forget within a few days as it has no impact at all – unless Dortmund lose, then the knives will be out questioning why Arsene didn’t field the strongest side available. More rage, more anger, more petulence. Blah blah blah blah….Personally I agree with the rotation and, on paper at least, that’s a side that is capable of earning a victory. We’ve players in need of a break and now’s a good time to give them one.

Anyway, folks, I must dash as I have a train to catch, Whilst I’m gone, feel free to drop a comment – I’ll get around to moderating them when I can. It is proving tricky as the WordPress app for my phone is egregiously unpredictable and bloody irritating.

I’ll be back to report on the game when I can. Until then, and as always; thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.

I almost forgot!!

The FA Cup 3rd round draw was made yesterday – we’ve a rematch with Hull City at The Emirates to look forward to. Fix? Your guess is as good as mine…

Goalkeeper Troubles, Podolski, Wilshere And Stuff.

Tottenham? Not a chance in hell.

Afternoon, folks.

” I just blew in from the windy city”

Currently there is a rampaging gale blowing. I exaggerate not a jot. Should a cat or small car float past, swirling towards the clouds, I wouldn’t pay it a second glance such is the ferocity of Mother Nature at present. It immediately put me in mind of the film, ‘Twister’ and I secretly yearn for Bill Paxton to burst through my door and exclaim, “Sh*t! Horizontal rain!” for no reason other than the fact I love Bill Paxton.

Today I jot for you good people because of a sense of obligation and without the handy bonus of interesting points of discussion. Recent months have seen me fall out of love with blogging, mainly due to the constraints of time and my personal grievances with the manner in which success in gleaned in this field – barring a few notable exceptions, most pursue to avenue of controversy and speculative dross in order to seduce a readership. I’m not of that persuasion, I’m just a big-haired dandy from Bristol sat in front on a PC blathering about Arsenal, and to see what little success I had obtained obliterated by opportunistic drivel disheartened me somewhat. Continue reading

Arsenal. Muck. Cack. Pants. Balderdash. Rubbish Performance.

Even Klopp was surprised at how pants Arsenal played…

Morning, folks.

It’s hard to know where to begin. I’ve had sufficient time to digest the horrors before my eyes last night, to make sense of the madness, yet I find myself coming back to the phrase that erupted from my lips when the final whistle blew:

F*ck off, Arsenal.

It was, in no uncertain terms, a woefully inept performance. I did consider singling out Mikel Arteta for some scathing criticism as I thought he was uncharted levels of sh*t-awful, but that wouldn’t be particularly fair as his was far from the only poor display. Collectively, we simply didn’t turn up and allowed a Dortmund side some distance from their strongest to waltz through our midfield and defence seemingly at their leisure.  Continue reading

Borussia Dortmund Predicted Starting XI, Thoughts and Stuff.

None of this nonsense tonight please.

Morning, folks.

I might be in the minority, but the Champions League has lost a little of it’s appeal in my eyes. As we head into what feels like an annual fixture with Borussia Dortmund, I’m not as excited as I feel I should be.

That’s mostly down to the fact the competition has long been set up to ensure the progress of all the big teams. Understandable, I guess, in terms of revenue, however, it removes that sense of romance and unpredictability.

Of course, my lack of enthusiasm is probably down to the manner in which Arsenal’s campaigns invariably pan out; start the group well, qualify, field weakened team in remaining group games, finish 2nd, play European giant in last 16, go out.

Tonight we travel to Germany with real defensive problems. Debuchy is out for somewhere in the region of 2 months (allegedly – no confirmation yet), Monreal hasn’t travelled due to a back issue and Chambers is doubtful with tonsillitis. 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