The Armchair Gooner

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

Gervinho, Podolski, Sczcsney, Arsene, the ‘Arsenal-cokey’, and another terrible performance.

Arsenal 0-2 Swansea: Kieran Gibbs sums it up perfectly…

 Morning folks.

There’s been too much said that’s negative in recent weeks. As best I can, I try to look past the bad, and offer a little hope for some good. This morning, finding the optimistic side of my persona, and getting him to come to the forefront is practically impossible.

Losing is just a part of football. I can take defeat. I struggle when that defeat comes with a total lack of application from a team that can/should do better. Swansea didn’t sneak an undeserved flukey-goal-on-the-break-after-weathering-a-siege win. No, they comprehensively outplayed us on our own ground, and took the spoils deservedly. But for Szczsney, it could have been worse.

Whilst the game was live, I was in Bristol centre glued to a radio that wouldn’t work, and a Twitter feed than chose such an inopportune moment to freeze completely. Having now watched the entirety of the game, I can safely say that ‘abject’ and ‘woeful’ were the words that immediately sprung to mind.

Gervinho and Podolski looked utterly disinterested by the whole thing. Only Jack Wilshere showed the kind of hunger and fight you’d expect. I’ve had the misfortune to see some dire Arsenal performances in the past – most can be brushed off as freak occurrences or “one of those days”. There is a worrying trend with our team at the moment; the players look like they don’t fear losing, and those excuses don’t wash anymore.

Something is wrong at Arsenal.

Blame is easily handed out when frustration overwhelms. The board, the players, Arsene Wenger; they’ve all been singled out as reprehensible a million times over. I truly don’t care about who we can or cannot blame. I care about what happens from hereon-in.

Change must be implemented. I’m no expert, I don’t have ‘insiders’ at the club who can feed me juicy information; I’m just a blogger from Bristol. I can’t give answers, I can only hope that those capable of solutions get their collective heads together and work something out.

If that means a change of management, then so be it. If that means the morons that occupy our board and line their pockets at the expense of die-hard supporters all take a long walk off a treacherous hillside, then all the better. If solving our issues means splashing every bit of the alleged £70m we have in the bank, and quality players come in, then that wouldn’t go amiss, either.

But we can’t just do nothing a hope things will change. This season has followed the same alarming path as the last, but we’re minus a world-class centre forward to dig us out of trouble this time around. Stupidity can be defined as repeating the same mistake and expecting a different outcome. If we repeat anymore mistakes, I think we already all know where this is headed.

On a more jovial note, below is a song I created on Twitter, and I’m sharing it with you as a means of lightening the mood – and because I’d like to prove it was mine before someone rips it off. It’s called ‘The Arsenal-cokey’, and if you’re one of the many who ReTweeted  it, I thank you.

That’s all for today, folks. The comments are below. Vent, vent, vent…

I shall return tomorrow with more.

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Gervinho, Ramsey, Mertesacker, Cazorla, Szczsney, and a maddeningly unhelpful 0-0 draw.

Aston Villa 0-0 Arsenal: None of the players cared for Koscielny’s nonchalant attitude toward competitive matches.

Afternoon folks.

There are moments supporting Arsenal when all you can really do is omit a disgruntled sigh, and put terrible performances down to experience. Yesterday, whilst we may have not endured swallowing the bitter pill of defeat, we witnessed a thoroughly awful showing from our beloved Gooners, and it’s brought floods of the same interminable questions with it.

You know the kind of stuff I mean; queries such as, “Where has our Arsenal gone?” or “Is it time Wenger left?”. I’m not of the correct frame of mind to start answering any of them – no, sir – as I think it’s essentially a futile debate. The reasons why Arsenal performed so badly aren’t immediately obvious, and to accrue knowledge we’d all need sufficient exposure to the inner workings of the club, and behind the scenes on the training ground. The vast majority of us have none.

At the end of the day, we’ll just have to accept we were shit, and move on to the next game.

It’s hard to assign anyone the dubious honour of being considered less shit than the rest, but Per Mertesacker stood out for me with another good shift at the back. We may have rarely threatened Villa, but we did at least appear strong and secure in defence – wether or not that has anything to do with Vermaelen’s absence is open to debate. Szczsney’s return has helped matters, too – a special mention should go to the save he made to turn a shot on to the bar. Brilliant.

Aaron Ramsey had a steady, but hardly spectacular game, and it was good to see him avoid his usual dose of blame – according to some embittered, clueless souls, he’s responsible for pretty much everything bad; defeats, draws, poor performances, the Ebola virus, plagues, famine, the Kennedy assassination…

Elsewhere, praise isn’t so forthcoming. Gervinho was shocking – he put in one of those performances he’s more known for; scampering about like a stabbed rat, with the first touch of an inebriated cow. He was terrible, and whilst I do think he’s got he’s got his good points, performances like yesterday make me question his selection.

The boss’ choice to rotate was sensible (maybe Cazorla needed a rest, too). We have a squad, and a lot of games to play in a short period of time. We’d be foolish if we didn’t use it. Many felt the omission of Wilshere and Walcott made us toothless in attack, but the players selected had more than enough ability to dispatch Villa. They simply didn’t perform.

Where I think errors were made was the substitutions. At no point did Arsene take a chance, or introduce a positive change. Coquelin for Giroud was bafflingly unadventurous, and smacked of settling for what we had – something we absolutely shouldn’t be doing against a side languishing at the foot of the table.

I don’t much buy into certain fanatics and their over-the-top bleating about sackings and revolutions, but I challenge anyone to defend Arsene’s substitutions yesterday. The man is not beyond reproach, regardless of how much he has done for the club.

To summerise; I’m going to take yesterday as a momentary blemish. We’ve a big game on Wednesday at Goodison, and a win there can make Villa Park a distant memory. Arsenal need to show us better. Let’s hope they do.

Thanks for reading today, you beautiful bastards. The comments await your thoughts and cheery platitudes. Make use of them – they’re the life blood of any blog, and mine’s no different.

I shall return tomorrow.

Walcott, Giroud, M’Vila, England, Sweden and CRAZY bloomin’ transfer fluff.

Theo was delighted to sign another book deal...

Morning, folks.

I was very happy for Theo last night. I’ve said before he can be brilliant and shit-awful in equal measure. I’ve stated many times that I find him extraordinarily frustrating. But I do love him to bits. When things go his way, when his confidence is at a high, he can destroy teams. His pace is astounding, and when he’s got his tail up and using it to full effect, he’s a formidable threat to anyone.

He does have his detractors out there – folks who seem keener to bash players and moan aimlessly than they do offer support. ‘Mourners’, as I like to call them. I believe players are open to fair, and well-concieved criticism – they absolutely should be. Abuse and unwelcome tirades for the sake of attracting attention, or borne from stupidity, are not something I particularly like – that’s an understatement. I can’t abide the severity in which some try to make their ‘points’. It’s one thing to say, “Theo’s been under-performing lately”. It’s an entirely different kettle of fish when you read remarks that go like this;


That isn’t a direct quote – I made it up. I’m sure you get my point.

Because I’ve witnessed Theo – and other Arsenal players – receive such abuse, it made his contribution to England’s victory that little bit more satisfying. He came on, and he made an impact. His goal to equalise was one of those peculiar swerving shots that would have had pundits ejaculating across their studios had Christiano Ronaldo scored it. Whist you could argue that strike had a small element of fortune, his contribution to the winning goal was testament to what damage he can do – acceleration to beat his man, and an excellent cut-back to Welbeck.. Make no mistake; Theo Walcott was the difference between victory and defeat last night.

The performance on the whole by England wasn’t sensational, but it brought with it the same end product; 3 very valuable points. Yes, there are things that need to be addressed, and we all hope Shrek will contribute to making our attacking play more inventive and cutting. On the whole, I was just pleased with a win, and it was an exciting game, wasn’t it? I felt myself getting more an more involved as I went through the entire gamut of emotions.

In the other group game, France fairly easily brushed aside Ukraine, and we got to have a sneak peak at a coupe of those guys rumoured to be headed to Arsenal. Yann M’Vila looks imposing, and I thought Olivier Giroud had a decent burst of pace and touch for a tall fella. But hey, they both still remain speculation.

All the transfer guff doing the rounds does make me laugh at present. Out there in the blogging world, there seem to be a few sites hell-bent of attracting as many hits as they can. You know the ones I mean; those with headlines that yearn to be clicked on – headlines like “Is this the £30m player Arsenal might bid for?”.

I imagine people read that and think, “Crikey! I’d better click on this!” only to discover what lurks beneath the initial intrigue is a re-hased story or some sort of wild concoction with zero truth – mendacious balderdash! In light of such drivel, I’ve made a vow to only discuss rumour and ensure I make anyone reading my blog fully aware that I’m not ‘ITK’, I don’t have insider knowledge and I value the folks that read this site too much to invent something just to see my hit counter go up.

I’m a little sick of moderating nasty comments, anyway…

That’s all for today. Thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards. I hope you’ll take a moment to comment.

I shall return tomorrow.


Monday morning: Vertonghen’s 9 rivals, team of the year and “Kaka! Get a restart!!”

Having gained a much-coveted restart, Kaka was jubilent.

Monday snuggles and such to you, the fairest of reader.

With the business of obtaining 3 points put to bed in its comfiest pyjamas, football of any significance seems another eternity away. Sure, there are games this week, but there’s no Arsenal until the weekend.

As is customary, I’ve begun this morning by dipping my head into the swirling vortex of internet news outlets to discover any surreptitious treats there may be. There aren’t many, to be perfectly honest.

I did come across a story about Ajax’s Jan Vertonghen and the number of clubs pining for his signature – a list of 10, that includes The Arsenal. In an interview with Dutch newspaper Het Nieuwsblad, he said:

‘There are still ten clubs on my list. There are currently some contacts, but not so concrete that we are already negotiating.

‘I’m not waiting for a summer full of speculation. Around June I hope to have clarity.

Interesting, but he’s one of the players constantly mentioned I don’t think we’ll sign. Not because he isn’t good enough, I just can’t see Wenger entering the market for another player who’s predominately a centre-back. I’ve not seen him play enough to comment – I can’t lie about these things – but others say he’s got the ability to play across the entire back four, so he could be a useful addition in that respect. Given the successful Vermaelen/Koscielny partnership, and with Mertesacker to return from injury, it seems illogical to me.

Across Twitter yesterday there was a sudden influx of folks chirping up with there opinions on the team of the year. I’ve never been one to make compilations and play fantasy football, but it did bring up a few heated debates – most notably from Spurs fans, whose bias selections defy belief. Adebayor ahead of RvP? Please…

For the sake of debate. however, I’ll make an exception this one time and do one; so here’s my best 11 (it’s just an opinion, so try not to flame me with nasty comments…):

Vorm; Richards, Koscielny, Kompany, Baines; Hoilett, Silva, Tiote, Modric; Ba, van Persie

As far as the single award for player of the season, the feeling amongst users, and some current players, is that there is one choice, and that’s our captain. If anyone else gets it, it will rank as the single biggest travesty at an awards ceremony since Forrest Gump was handed ‘best picture’ ahead of The Shawshank Redemption and Pulp Fiction at the Oscars.

The comments are below if you’d like to give me your own team of the year selections. I’d certainly like to see a few and read what you so-and-sos think.

That’s me all finished for today, folks. Thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards and don’t forget to follow my Twitter account – @_ArmchairGooner

By now, you’re probably wondering “what the bloody hell was the title about?”. I’m a huge fan of The Tuesday Club, and its hosts Alan Davies, Tayo Popoola, Keith Dover and Ian Stone. Below is a video featuring the audio of a past podcast episode about Fat Sam Allardyce. It had me weakened at the bladder and giggling like a damn fool. Enjoy!