The Armchair Gooner

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

Arsenal: Sack The Medical Team Immediately!

Arsenal’s medical team didn’t take kindly to interruptions when experimenting on Diaby

Morning, folks.

Writing a daily blog can be a pursuit of the tricky variety. Some mornings I wake up with hundreds of ideas floating around my head and the time it takes me to put words onto the screen is very short. Other days, I sit behind the screen of my iMac with a vacant look on my face hoping inspiration will strike. Needless to say, today is deep-seated in the latter category.

What has popped into my head is all the talk regarding injuries to vital members of the team. You’d be forgiven for the thinking the injury Gods regularly meet and devise ways they can remove our players from the pitch such is the frequency of the occurrence. However, given that it’s something that happens with painful inevitability, perhaps it’s more pertinent to question some of the methods deployed by Arsene on the training pitch and the competence of our medical staff. Continue reading

Crystal Palace (h): Team News, Thoughts, Injuries and Predicted Starting XI.

Destiny holds 29.

Morning, folks.

Matters that are related to on-field antics make a very welcome return. Temporarily, the hideous exchange of insults and opinion can be put to one side and we can all gloriously unite as one to support the team. Perhaps. Well.. probably not. In truth, it’ll only get worse. Jesus…

I’m all about the joy folks. If you can’t enjoy football, why the hell bother? Vows are often made and broken when faced with circumstance that displeases. When I state I shall look only for the joy and humour, I mean it. The moaning and squabbles I’ll leave to those more inclined to do so.

So, let’s talk some delicious team news, shall we? Let’s. Continue reading

Abou Diaby: the less-than-indestrucible man and Guess the Stadium!

A sight we may never see again.

Morning, folks.

Through absolutely no fault of his own, Abou Diaby hasn’t featured for Arsenal this season. I  know some like to brand him a “sponger”, or use him as an example of how cash could be better assigned. Me, I just feel sorry for the guy. He has all the talent you could wish for; tall, athletic, two-footed, technically sound, vision and speed. Often I ponder how good he could have been had he not encountered this cretin on that fateful day in Sunderland.

Yet, things have gone from bad to worse for him with injuries. Since that day, the ailments have mounted up and he’s never been able to sustain fitness for long enough to cement a place in the starting line-up. The reason I bring this topic up is due to a wealth of rumours on Twitter yesterday stating Abou is set to be ruled out for the rest of this season. Continue reading

Vermaelen, Koscielny, Zaha, Big Ted, news, rumours, and other bits.

A fully grown man who still has his teddy bear? Yes – I am peculiar.

Morning folks.

A while ago i considering having a mascot for this blog – the bear I’ve had since birth, Big Ted. Having initially decided against that idea, I’ve now changed my mind. The Armchair Gooner has a mascot – he’s a dapper gentleman bear with a deep-seeded love for Arsenal, and an unrivalled hatred for Piers Morgan . You can follow him on Twitter. Make him feel welcome…

Onto Arsenal matters.

It was confirmed today that Laurent Koscielny’s groin strain will keep him out of the first team for a period of 3 weeks – a time frame I ignore completely as, in Arsenal terms, it could mean anything from 20 minutes to eternity. It’s a shame for Koscielny, as he’s just started to show signs of his best form, and he doesn’t seem as blunder-prone as Sagna and Vermaelen do at the moment.

Most of today’s news isn’t much of anything. There’s a few brief quotes from our capatain about how the team need to improve, and the odd transfer rumour that I refuse to believe – getting my hopes up about a possible bid for Fellaini will only lead to disappointment.

With a great deal of chatter mounting up regarding Arsenal proposed bid for Palace’s Wilfried Zaha, Ian Holloway has had a bit of a pop at Wenger, who may, or may not, have mentioned his admiration for the young forward:

Holloway said to The Sun(rag):

“Why is he talking about my players? It’s not the game,”

“I will be picking up the phone to talk to him as I don’t think it is right and proper with the greatest respect. That is totally bad etiquette.

“Wilf is a big part of our season and we have such a strong contract others can go and whistle.

“He won’t be available, no matter what the price is in January.”

Poor old Ian must be suffering from a stressy-pants moment. Arsene has hardly gone the full Barcelona route and made remarks about hostages and DNA. He’s mentioned his admiration for a player – a player who I doubt Palace will keep if big money is thrown at them. Seems to me Holloway might already know this.

And that’s about it out there in Arsenal news.

It’s a brief post today. Tomorrow’s will cover the Swansea game in detail. I’ll leave you with a bit of pleasent reading – Daniel Cowan produced this splendid article on North London Is Red, and I strongly recommend you give it a read – especially if you’re one of those who likes to blame things on Aaron Ramsey.

Thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.

Arsenal’s starting XI for the game against Aston Villa.

FA Premiership; Saturday Nov 24th, Aston Villa (a)

Morning folks.

I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for Villa Park. I’ve seen the Arsenal live on a fair few occasions. Arsenal fans regularly enjoy discussions about their favourite goal, and the moment that always stands out for me when quizzed is having witnessed Robert Pires score this goal live. I won’t lie to you; I was near orgasm when that hit the back of the net – my brother would gladly describe to you the look on my face, and the elated noise I omitted.

These days Villa are, well… pretty bloody useless. Currently languishing in the bottom three, they’ve reached nothing but mediocrity this season, and that’s been on one of their good days. This worries me no end. Arsenal always seem to raise their game and perform – Old Trafford aside – when the chips are stacked against us, and we’re expected to lose. In games like today, I fear the emergence of the dreaded complacency monkey.

The team news is essentially the same as it was on Wednesday. Walcott, Diaby and Rosicky all remain sidelined, and Gervinho and Gibbs are back in contention. I get the feeling Arsene might be tempted to rest Cazorla or Giroud for this one, but given his recent words about his side “finding their rhythm early” against Villa, I’m going to predict a team very similar to the one that faced Montpellier – I think he’ll use this game to bring Gibbs back in to the side.

We could start like this:

I’m expecting us to beat Villa. They’ve a few potentially dangerous forwards, but if we play like a unit, defend well, and attack them from the off, we’ll beat them. Anything less than three points today would be disappointing.

That’s all from me today, folks. What are your views on the team? Would you opt to rest some of our more fatigued players, or is building on our recent wins more important? Let me know in the comments section.

Thanks for reading today, you beautiful bastards. I shall return tomorrow with a review of the game.

If you fancy a bet on the game, you can head on over to Bet Victor who have all the latest match day odds and deals for new members. You can register here.

Aston Villa vs Arsenal odds.


Arsenal’s starting XI for the game against Schalke.

UEFA Champions League: Tuesday Nov 6th, Schalke (a)

Afternoon folks.

I chose not to post yesterday becuase I figured a days rest from all the hullabaloo and outrage would do me good. It’s kind of worked…

I’m still unhappy with the team’s performance on Saturday. However I may feel towards the ongoing shenanigans at the club, and the various speculatory tales of unrest and discontent; I’ve come to the conclusion that it all amounts to nothing on match day – supporting our team, regardless of how irked we may be, is of paramount importance.

With that in mind, I’ll focus on the game tonight, and it’s a big one.

Schalke proved at the Emirates that they are a class team. They’ve a solid, organised base sprinkled with talented folks like Huntelaar, Affelay and Holtby. On their own patch, roared on by their rather splendid fans, they are a match for anyone. Only our very best can be on display tonight if we hope to leave with any sort of result.

The teams news isn’t promising. Theo Walcott has been struck by a mystery ailment and is rated as highly unlikely to play, as is Aaron Ramsey. Chamberlian is expected to be ready for selection, and there are a few rumours that state Szczsney could be back too. The other notable absentees – Diaby, Rosicky, Gibbs, Gervinho – are no further to a return.

Then there’s Calamity Santos. Wether you’re a fan or not, it’s impossible to dispute his form – defensively – has been woeful, and I’m of the opinion he shouldn’t play tonight. Partly for his own sake, partly for the sake of the team, but mostly for my sanity. Vermaelen can play left-back, as can Sagna. Slotting either Koscielny or Jenkinson into their vacant positions seems a far better idea than subjecting our chubby Brazilian to any more torment.

It’s difficult to predict a team tonight, because I wouldn’t be surprised to see Arsene throw in a wild-card, or something to shake things up a bit. Wilshere could be rested after his exploits at the weekend, but I would guess at that not being the case, given the game’s magnitude. My best prediction would be:

I know many of you disagree regarding Santos, and your opinions are always respected by me. However, I can’t see how putting him in tonight benefits anyone – allowing himself to play back into form is one thing, it’s a huge risk in an important game.

We face a tough task tonight, and I hope to see a bit of the fight and determination that’s been sadly lacking in our league form. We need a performance tonight, we’re due a performance. Let’s hope the players show us what they can really do and we get one.

I’ll go for the extraordinarily bold prediction of 2-0 to the Arsenal.

Thanks for reading today, you beautiful bastards. Allow yourself a moment to indulge in the wonderful comments section below. What are your thoughts on Santos and the team? Let me know.

If you fancy throwing caution to the wind and putting some of your hard earned cash on a prediction, you can head over to Bet Victor, who have a plethora of delicious betting options for your perusal.

Arsene speaks, Laurent baffles, Wojciech’s bad shoulder, Theo returns?, M’Vila fluff and bits.

Lukas was unsure how to deal with the mysterious sphere headed his way.

Morning, folks.

“Where was yesterday’s post?” I hear you sneer. Well, I was a busy fellow at work; feverishly scurrying about the premises preparing an array of treats for those inconsiderate enough to require feeding. It happens occasionally; my time set aside for blogging is limited at best.

But I’m back today. I’d like to believe my return is greeted by relived exhalation and dancing.

Onto to Arsenal matters, and I’ll start with a worrying rumour floating around. Szczsney is alleged to be on the verge of missing Sunday’s game with a shoulder injury – presumably sustained in training. Whilst he hasn’t been at his imperious best in recent weeks, the sense of dread that overwhelms me when he’s not there doesn’t go un-noticed. The thought of Fabianski or Almunia, flailing limbs and terrified glares, prancing from their area to intercept balls is not a sight I wish to see with so much at stake on Sunday. Wojciech will be having a late fitness test nearer to kick off. I hope he comes through. The good news on the injury front regards Theo, and the slight possibility of him being fit enough for a place on the bench.

As that fixture grows ever closer, a few of the players have been speaking their pearls of wisdom to those paid handsomely to listen – and then distort, rehash and edit how they see fit. Laurent Koscielny has spoken a little about poor starts, untiy and, in typically gaelic fashion..err… sand:

“We were whopped at Old Trafford. Everybody thought we were dead and buried.

“But you don’t lose your football like that, like snapping your fingers.

“It can happen that a grain of sand falls in the machine, and the machine stalls; then you start to have doubts about your qualities, your club, your coach, everything.

“We had to put the house back in order and everyone did their bit. The squad wasn’t giving enough for the club, and was aware of it. We got back to work, we told each other the things that needed to be told; after which, one win, two wins, confidence comes back, and things follow from then on. The new players gelled in the squad, and here we are.”

Wise words indeed. I often wonder where we might be now, were it not for the appalling start to the season. We lost ground early on, and it took a while for the team to fully recover. Add to that a few poor results and performances at the beginning of the year, and we were out of the Premiership reckoning ridiculously early. Thankfully, it appears those crucial blunders don’t look to be repeating themselves. Anything we do in preparation for next season should be done in plenty of time.

Of course, some of which depends on the outcome at West Brom. I don’t think it’s essentially to our recruitment plans to secure third, but I do think it’s important. Some quotes have served to cool all the talk about Yann M’Vila, some even say the deal is off. I personally think more information will surface once the league finishes. The team has it’s destiny in it’s own hands, they’ve already seen fortune smile on them. This represents their last chance to secure a decent finish. Arsene Wenger appears to have noticed the key area:

“We were focused and switched on in the last couple of weeks. At Stoke we had a good game and offensively against Norwich we had a good game. Defensively, though, we had not the expected level.

“Maybe we were focused too much on winning the game and forgot that to win the game you need to defend as well.”

I expect us to score at The Hawthornes. My worry is at the other end. As that day approaches, I become that little bit more nervous with each passing hour. Not long now.

Thanks for reading today, you beautiful bastards. The comments quietly wait below for you to take full advantage of them, and there’s always my Twitter account for the followers amongst you: @_ArmchairGooner