The Armchair Gooner

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

Thierry’s off, and not really much else.

Thierry Henry; perilously close to an untimely demise…

Evening folks!

Yes – I’m late with my post today. One of the things I’ll be doing in the new year is making a set-time for every post. Every day (hopefully) my blathering will appear at 9am (GMT). I’ll be competing with Arseblog and Le Grove at that time, but why not set my sights ridiculously high?

Elsewher in news there is, well… Not a great deal of anything. It seems the post-Christmas malaise has well and truly hit. Usually, such eerie silence is filled with the cacophonous howls of fabricated stories from spurious Twitter accounts and hit-hungry websites churning out dross with come-and-look titles like, “ARSENAL MUST SIGN THIS £30M STRIKER TO SAVE THEIR SEASON”.

Instead, we’re left with little or anything of note. Instead, you’re left with me trying to think how I’m going to fill up a post without resorting to talking complete nonsense.

Thierry Henry won’t be coming in January, and that’s been confirmed by some quotes attributed to Arsene Wenger. I think that’s a good thing. Thierry is a wonderful player still, and I love him to bits. But we need a striker, and a permanent signing makes more sense.

And that’s about it. I feel this post is like those moments after sex when you’re not quite sure what to say. All I want to do is fart, then go to sleep. But I don’t want you to feel like I don’t care – perhaps we can enjoy a quick cuddle? That wouldn’t hurt.

On that note, I shall leave you for today.

More tomorrow!

Sagna could leave, Henry might stay until May, and BOOOOOO!

Everyone’s got the right to protest.

Morning folks.

It’s 5am. Why I am awake at such a ghastly hour? Work primarily, but an acute inability to sleep has also contributed. As you all enjoy a rewarding slumber (UK residents, at the very least), I’m guzzling caffeine and sporting an odd look of bewilderment. This post may make little or no sense…


I thought I’d boo myself momentarily.

Booing is something of a bone of contention. In recent weeks, debates have raged between fans about the reasons why it’s done, and the reason’s why it should not be. This has lead to those that regularly attend matches branding those that don’t/can’t as “muppets”, and those branded as muppets to gloriously retaliate by changing their Twitter avatars to Kermit or Fozzy Bear. All a bit silly.

I stand somewhere between the two booing arguments. As someone unable to frequent the Emirates as much as I’d like, I feel it would be both arrogant and idiotic of me to tell those dedicated/fortunate fans that do how to behave. I have absolutely no right. If supporters shelling out obscene amounts of money on tickets feel the need to be heard, to articulate their inner feeling by using a peculiar, nasal sound, then that’s their right to do so. I certainly wouldn’t cast aspersions from here in drizzly Bristol.

But it does have an adverse effect, and is counterproductive. Tomas Rosicky agrees. He had this to say on the howls of derision around the ground:

“I can understand the frustrations, I am an Arsenal fan as well when I am not playing.

“It is understandable but we have some young guys and this is not helping. We have to all stick together, which is what we did last season when everyone was writing us off”

Booing might get a point across, and announce to the Club’s owners that there is displeasure in the air, but it is only going to effect the players, and the performance of the team. I agree with doing it, perhaps not during play, however.

Elsewhere in news, The Independent is reporting Thierry Henry has agreed to return to Arsenal next month, and this time his triumphant return could be until the end of the season.


I’m not booing Thierry, but the mendacious nature of that story. Poppycock, it is. I really cannot imagine the New York Red Bulls would be having any of that. Not one little bit. It’s alleged those that run the American team are already against their prize asset playing during the “soccer break”. Can you  imagine Arsenal proposing to rob them of Henry for a 3rd of the MLS season would be received with anything other than disdain? Me neither…

Lastly, Bacary Sagna. Our French full-back has declared his happiness at Arsenal, but those pesky rumours of his imminent departure persist. More rumours have spread about a less-than-generous contract offer from Arsenal. It all appears to be similar to the Walcott situation; there are so many stories printed about what could happen, that it is impossible to know what to believe. Just wait and see, that’s my advice.

That’s all for today. Tomorrow shall bring team news and a match preview (better than my last, quite frankly, shit attempt). Until that time, please leave me a comment with your thoughts, words of cheer, and general abuse. I welcome all three.

Thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.

Oh yeah, I nearly forgot; BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

January: Huntelaar to come in? No-go Thierry? Walcott to stay?

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar: Good striker, awful taste in knitwear.

Morning folks.

It seems Fridays are the days reserved for gossiping. Where once you might think such an activity was the reserve of plump, opinionated trollops in social circles blabbering on about this, that, and the other, these days speculative chitter chatter is associated with football journalists.

One of the rumours that appears to be gathering a formidable head of steam is Klaas-Jan Huntelaar moving to Arsenal in January. Like most transfer talk around about this time, it’s published in a great many places, but there isn’t a whole lot of substance – mostly dubious quotes and tenuous links.

I’m not sure we need him. Yes – he’s a bloody good striker, but his main attributes aren’t that dissimilar to Olivier Giroud’s. If we are to enter the market to recruit a new forward – and we should – I’d imagine we’ll be looking at someone a bit different to what we have. Only Theo really offers us lightning pace in the final third. I’d like us to go for someone with technical ability and speed – a different option wouldn’t hurt.

On the subject of Mr ‘Sign Da Ting’, it’s looking more and more likely that we won’t see a resolution to his contract anytime soon. It’s getting a bit silly, isn’t it? He wants to stay, we want him to stay – how difficult can it be? There are sure to be pesky agents trying to extort money from the club behind the scenes, and Theo’s media comments may not truly reflect his desires, but Jesus… can we not get a move on?

One player who may not, contrary to belief, be heading to Arsenal in January is the king of kings, Thierry Henry. Arsene has hardly ruled it out definitively, but it would appear his club, The New York Red Bulls (ridiculous name), are less-than enamoured by the idea, and would prefer their 35-year-old prize asset to get some rest during the American close season.

Truthfully, I’m not entirely sure it’s a good idea. It payed off last time, and provided us with some of the better moments of the season. However, even then it struck me as something of a stop-gap; a quick solution to a problem that required a permanent fix. I love Thierry, as I’m sure you all do, but maybe this year would be one step too many, and it would be better for all concerned if it was put to on side.

Olivier Giroud is starting to show his class, and Walcott and Podolski’s effectiveness from the wings should see both being favoured in those positions – even if Theo may not like it. Another option to be used in rotation with Giroud would keep things fresh, and give us a better strength in depth. I personally think that’s the better choice.

But, hey – that’s just me. What do you think? Would you welcome a permanent signing instead of a loan to cover those departing to the African Cup of Nations? Does the romantic in you wish to see Thierry back? Let me know in the comments.

That’s all for today. Tomorrow I’ll post a preview of the Villa game. Until then, thanks for reading you beautiful bastards.

Kieran, Thomas, Per, Alex, Laurent, Thierry, Robin, Bendtner’s ego and Sunderland.

Saturday morning greetings to you, dedicated and enlightened reader.

The fixtures are about to start coming thick and fast. January’s faltering and poor set of results showed that there are still glaring weaknesses in the squad that are easily exploited, but the resurgence of recent weeks has given me a renewed optimism. Arsene Wenger seems to think the next few weeks could define the progression of our season, and I’m inclined to agree with him. Le Boss said:

“Overall the situation looks a lot more positive in a period that will decide our season and therefore it is good to have the players back.

“It is that important because in one week we play three games in three different competitions.

“In every single competition we are, of course, in a position where we want to win our games.

“Sunderland are doing well, and we have rebuilt our confidence. It is important that we go in a positive mind there and that we come back with three points.”

Under Martin O’Neil, the Black Cats are vastly improved and possess some dangerous players in their ranks. The Stadium of Light is a vociferous and rowdy arena when at capacity, so under no circumstances should anyone be viewing this as a easy 3 points. They’ll be without their talismanic and inspirational forward, Nicklas Bendtner who is unable to play against his parent club and is busy demonstrating his egotism getting fitted for a monogrammed and numbered protective mask – the enormous tit that he is. They’ll be weakened in that respect, but they have excellent players in Sessegnon, Larsson and McClean.

Extra time during the week against Middlesborough may have tired them slightly, but anything other than a top-notch performance may see us dropping valuable points. However, I have my doubts regarding Wenger fielding his strongest available line-up. Quite a few folks seem to think Robin van Persie could be rested in lieu of Wednesday’s trip to Milan. Having been the subject of a monstrously hokey story in Spanish rag ‘Marca’, the thoroughly splendid Mr van Persie took to his Twitter account to release this strong denial. Just when you think you can’t have any higher an opinion of him…

Also, the inclusion of a fit-again Kieran Gibbs into the squad is an added bonus as the width provided by a natural left full-back is something we’ve missed in recent weeks. He is unlikely to start tomorrow, but when he does it poses an interesting dilemma; who is the ideal centre-back pairing? For me, it depends upon the opponent. For a footballing side, I’d opt for Vermaelen and Koscielny. When threatened by opposition that prefers to bombard our penalty area from set-pieces, the giant frame of Per Mertesacker becomes beneficial. If had to pick a pairing right now, though; Laurent and Thomas.

Chamakh returns to the squad (yippee!) and their aren’t any fresh injury troubles to concern us. Thierry Henry will take his place for the 2nd-to-last time and with Forehead still on national duty, I expect another start for the exceptional Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

My guess at the team would be:

Szczsney; Sagna, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Vermaelen; Song, Arteta, Rosicky; Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain; van Persie

Aaron Ramsey hasn’t been as good as he can be, so I think Tomas Rosicky’s show of decent form could see him keeping his place. His approach play may not bare as much fruit as I’d like, but he quickens our tempo when he’s on the field and I like his enthusiasm. If the van Persie talk proves to be true, then there’s an outside chance of Henry taking his place from kick-off.

If we put in a performance, I’m confident of 3 points. I’ll put my head on the proverbial chopping block and go for a (reasonably) comfortable 2-0 victory.

Thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards. Drop a comment in the area provided and keep up with my tweets on Twitter – @_ArmchairGooner

Frimpong, Rosicky, Park, Wenger, Bould and Henry. News, news and more news…

Good morning to you, my dearest faithful.

There has been quite the bonanza of news in the past 24 hours. Ordinarily, I’d find myself scouring the interweb in search of something vaguely interesting and pertinent to waffle about. Today the stories haven’t stopped coming.

The dreaded ‘Arsenal injury curse’ has managed to afflict one of our own whilst he’s not even at the club. Its power appears to be growing over time, and let us sincerely and collectively hope it doesn’t develop a taste for uber-prolific Dutchmen named Robin. Emmanuel Frimpong has confirmed his knee injury is serious and he’ll miss the remainder of the season – the early prognosis has him staring at a 6 month absence. It’s a terrible shame for such a talented and enthusiastic player to suffer such a setback. I was expecting big things from him next season after the experience of playing regularly at Wolves. As I’m sure you all do, I wish him a quick and thoroughly DENCH recovery.

That news saddened me, only for a couple of stories to perplex and baffle me slightly. Firstly, mystery-man and contender for the much coveted ‘most pointless signing of 2011′ award, Ju-Young Park, has allegedly set his agent about the task of finding him a new club in the summer. Secondly, Wenger appears to be a target to replace Laurent Blanc as manager of the French national team.

Park, well, aside from selling shirts in Korea, I can’t see anything worthwhile in him staying put. We loaned Thierry (who may yet stay at Arsenal a further 2 weeks) as cover, which pretty much showed the faith the boss has in his abilities. Move him on, and file his Arsenal career alongside Kaba Diawara and Alberto Mendez. The Wenger story, that I could see happening if the heat under his arse worsens come July. In news relating to Le Boss; with Pat Rice set to step down from his position as No2, the favourite for his successor appears to be Steve Bould as his work with the youth team has proved him a capable manager.

I’m going to finish today sharing a nice little piece about Tomas Rosicky I read from a relatively new blog called 1nildown2oneup. I’ve always been a fan of the little bastard. He’s such a busy and industrious player. Like many in the red and white, his time at the club has been remarkable for injuries rather than performances on the pitch. Thus far in the campaign, he’s begun to show his worth; he slots neatly into midfield and quickens our play when he’s there. His goals return may be on par with Fernando Torres, but if I fancy a bit of a flutter, he’s usually the first player I put my money on. His odds invariably offer an exceptional return, and with so many sites offering introductory free bets it’s certainly worth a shot. One day, ‘Little Mozart’ is surely going to repay my faith, isn’t he?

That’s yer lot today. Thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards. Leave me a comment below with your own thoughts and opinions, and take a moment to follow me on Twitter – @Puddleduck1978.

“It’s only Blackburn. They’re useless and had a man sent off. It doesn’t hide the issues”

Good morning to you, the deliriously joyous.

For quite a while now I’ve been a little morose and pessimistic about The Arsenal. Bad results, bad injuries and bad performances have steadily chipped away my ability to look at the future with hope. Like many of you, frustration and chagrin has crept to the surface and affected my perspective.

Then a tonic like yesterday comes along and suddenly the future is a little brighter on the horizon and there’s something to enthuse about. Many doom-mongers have already crawled out of their feculent bogs to offer exclamations like “It’s only Blackburn” or “One result doesn’t change the problems”. Tweets from folks at the game yesterday informed that quite a few went to the ground with binbags in the event of another debacle. Hopefully, such a performance might persuade these cretins to focus their efforts on supporting the team.

Make no mistake, and regardless of the quality of our opponents, yesterday was of vital importance. Anything less than a victory could have seen nasty repercussions and our rivals motoring further ahead. We can only beat what’s in front of us; we did so comprehensively and with no small measure of aplomb. Even Pederson’s superb free-kick didn’t matter long enough to set any alarm bells ringing. For a full and detailed report of the match, I’d happily recommend Tim Liew’s write-up from The Armchair Sports Fan as he does that kind of thing with greater depth and insight than I (plus, I don’t think he minds me using his stuff).

As is customary, the kudos in the main will head Robin van Persie’s way. Undoubtedly well-deserved as they are, I feel that a couple of players have earned themselves equal praise. Francis Coquelin and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were superb. The emergence of both and the form and endeavour they’ve shown is remarkable. Continuing this way, we have the potential for two wonderful players in the future. Of course, it was an excellent performance all round; Walcott had end product, Koscielny looked sharp, assured and worthy of his recent POTM award, and Mikel Arteta’s very impressive stats show just how important an influence he has on the midfield. Afterwards, and understandably restrained Arsene Wenger attempted to keep things in perspective;

I do not give much importance to the seven goals, it is just we won and played well,?

??I felt that recently we had quite good performances but did not get the results.

??Today we got the performance and the result, which is ideally what you want.?

??We remained serious and were guided by the way we want to play football and not by any extravagant individualism.

I concur with those words, but it was great to see the joy return to our play and the team beginning to carry some of that swagger the Arsenal of old used to exhibit so regularly. The slickness of passing was there, the occasional bout of showmanship or lightning fast counter. There are greater tests to come in the remaining months of the season, but any resurgence needs a starting point. Winning 7-1 and doing so with style and promise is an exceptional place to start. With replenished levels of confidence, let’s all hope we can continue onwards and upwards.

I’m not going to let myself get too carried away and explode gushy ebullience over everyone reading, but having hope renewed – even if it’s only temporarily – is a lovely feeling. Today really is a good day to be a Gooner. Long may in continue.

Thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards. Please leave a comment and follow my Twitter account – @Puddleduck1978.