The Armchair Gooner

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

Manchester City (h): Thoughts, Team News And Predicted Starting XI

“Really, Olivier? Another one?”

Morning, folks.

If you’re wondering where my usual posts have been the last couple of days, I can explain… At present, my life is a marathon run of epic proportion in which I must navigate many stress hurdles. The perils of moving home and selling a house currently is paramount amongst those. In place of my customary tripe you’ve had a few guest posts – I’m using those to fill a little space and, hopefully, give you a little enjoyment – yesterday’s post with a quiz on Arsenal’s history is worth a look.

With a bit of luck, the mayhem will relent soon and I’ll be able to get back to writing everyday properly. As things stand, Daniel and I will be taking a break from the Goonersphere Podcast for a few weeks as he’s as busy as I am with the birth of his first child.

I’m sure you’ll all understand.

Right, onto more pressing concerns and today’s fixture; the visit of free-scoring Manchester City. Continue reading

Arsenal Have Won Absolutely NOTHING Yet….

Relax. Have a yoghurt.

Morning. folks.

Sounds like a morose title. It isn’t. Think of it more as me adopting an air of caution to what I write. It is excellent that Wigan defied expectation to knock Man City out of the FA Cup and, undoubtedly, the competition is a genuinely fantastic opportunity to bag some silverware. However, that great chance at glory is going to bring with it tremendous pressure.

We all know how much the media love to build up the chances of an underdog. Coupled with how much they appear to revel in Arsenal’s failure, we can expect tension and such to be ramped up several notches in the weeks leading up to the game – think; dials being turned to ’11′. Continue reading

€8m striker on the way, Captain’s future and a big weekend of football.

David couldn’t choose what to watch from the endless stream of football.

Morning, you splendid little badgers.

You’ll be pleased to know my stomach has settled down and reached some semblance of normality today. No longer am I enduring any discomfort. Not today. In the interest of  keeping up my reputation as a f**king idiot, I shall use this reprieve to consume even further. It would be an opportunity wasted if I didn’t, wouldn’t it?

*goes downstairs to make coffee and pancakes*

Yummy.

Right, news time – time to trawl through all those sites out there and see what’s happening in the wonderful world of Arsenal. There’s a busy Premiership fixture list today. Manchester City will in all likelihood take our top spot away as they’ve a home fixture with lowly Crystal Palace. Short of something truly miraculous happening – Chamakh hat-trick anyone? – I can only see a home win, and an extremely comfortable one at that.  Having beaten Liverpool on Boxing Day, our Sky Blue rivals are building up a head of steam. Most people’s clear favourites for the title are thunderously acquiring results over Christmas. Continue reading

Man City 6-3 Arsenal: Ermmm….. Okay then. Bad day at the office.

Aaron chose an odd moment to express his feeling through the majesty of dance.

Afternoon/evening, folks.

Hmmmm.

Not entirely sure where to start today. I’m disappointed. Doubtless to say, I’m far from the only Arsenal fan feeling that way at present. Yesterday did not go as planned. Before matches, I’ve a habit of playing out scenarios in my head, kind of like a pre-match pre-visualisation. When picturing the way events would unfold, images of a hard fought and close contest were conjured in my brainbox. I did not expect 9 goals.

In the face of defeat, it’s very easy to look for a scapegoat. God only knows why, but some people feel they can ease their misery by piling as much blame onto the shoulders of one of the players.  Aaron Ramsey knows better than most how fickle fans can be when you’re going through a bad time. Olivier Giroud seems to be the latest target. Continue reading

5 reasons Arsenal can beat Man City and predicted staring XI

There was always a mad dash to the warm showers at full time.

Morning, folks.

You could argue today’s fixture is our toughest and most challenging of the season thus far. You’d certainly have a very good case, cast iron even. Man City’s home form has been nothing short of awesome so far. They’ve ripped supposedly good teams to shreds on their own turf, banging in goals for fun in the process.

To say I’m a little daunted would be an understatement. As poor as the team’s showing in Italy on Wednesday was, I don’t see it having any baring on how events unfold. The only contributing factor could be fatigue. The defeat itself shouldn’t sit heavy on the minds of the players, especially given we qualified for the next stages of the Champions League. Continue reading

Arsenal’s starting XI for the game against Manchester City (team news and preview).

Sunday Jan 13th; FA Premiership, Man City (h)

Afternoon folks.

There’s something about these ‘big’ fixtures that instills more belief in me for my team. Had we been lining up today against lower league minnows, or one of the Premiership’s so-called “lesser” teams, I’d be nervous and expecting something silly to happen. With the current title holders coming to town, my belief stems from the fact our players have a challenge to rise to, and our home support will be vociferous and constant.

The news on the playing front is very good. Only Lukas Fabianski remains on the sidelines, with Diaby and Santos both thought to have regained enough fitness in training to warrant a selection today. Only Olivier Giroud is doubtful, and he faces a late fitness test on a nasty gash suffered in last week’s FA Cup tie with Swansea.

Our team selection has been fairly consistent in recent weeks, and I expect Arsene to change little – perhaps again opting for the Vermaelen-Koscielny combination he deployed in the reverse fixture in Manchester.

We could/should/will line-up as follows:

UPDATE: Arteta ruled out with injury – Coquelin expected to start in his place.

City have a few notable absentees. The Toure brothers are away with the Ivory Coast for the AFCON, Sergio Aguero is injured, and Samir Nasri’s recent dismissal means he has to sit this one out – given his recent hollow words of debt towards Arsene Wenger it’s probably best for the irksome little mercenary.

With 2 games in hand over Spurs, a win today will do wonders for our chances of making the Champions League spots. Victory will require a focused team performance with attacking verve and enthusiasm. We are more than capable of beating Manchester City if we collectively turn up todasy. However, as is customary with this Arsenal team, a poor performance like so many we have witnessed will almost certainly end with defeat.

I’m confident today, and I think Podolski will bag the winner in a 1-0 triumph.

If you fancy putting some money down on the result, head over to Bet Victor. £25 worth of free bets awaits those of you that sign up a new members. You can register here.

Arsenal vs Man City odds.

That’s all for today folks. The comments await your thoughts on the team; what way would you line up? Would you start with a fit Giroud instead of Walcott? Let me know.

I shall return tomorrow with a review of the game. Thanks for reading today.

Mertesacker, Jenkinson, Koscielny, Cazorla, Ramsey, Diaby and a very respectable point.

Manchester City 1-1 Arsenal: Pile on!

Morning, folks.

I’m writing this just after the game has finished, and scheduling it for today. I’m fairly certain I suffered several heart attacks during the final 10 minutes of that game; one notably brought about by elated yelps, and one through the horror of nearly conceding to a Kompany bicycle kick.

If you’d asked me yesterday if I would have been satisfied with a point, I would have swiftly replied with a resounding, “yes!”. Now the match has finished I’m very pleased with coming away from the home of the champions with a point, but slightly disappointed, too; with a little bit of composure and a bit of luck, three points where there for the taking.

In the first half we were much the better team; our cohesion was good and we looked to have a fluidity and shape about us. The defending for the goal might have been a momentary lapse into the Arsenal of old, but on the whole I thought we looked very good. Cazorla played with his usual brand of zippy imagination, Ramsey looked hard-working and confident. Arteta was as solid as always. Perhaps Diaby wasn’t as good as he has been in recent weeks – once or twice he was caught asleep on the ball.

The second half saw us drop off a little, but the most pleasing thing for me was Arsenal looked like a team. The players worked hard for one another with industry and commitment, and the reward we deserved came when Koscielny rocketed the ball home from a corner. When that went in, you could see the unity in the players from the celebrations – just take a look at the footage, or the picture I used underneath the title of this post.

The only downsides were the concession of a soft goal – aside from that blemish, the back four were excellent – and Gervinho’s frustrating side rearing its ugly head once again. He’ll be lambasted in many circles for his performance yesterday, but not by me. Sure, he is incredibility frustrating and unpredictable, but his head never drops and he’s always trying to make things happen. I like him, and I think he’ll contribute far more good than anything else this season.

My MOTM award would go to Per Mertesacker, who showed that a footballing brain and intelligence is important in a defender above all else. He read the game brilliantly and along with Koscielny and Vermaelen, we are looking to have some excellent options at the back – special mention should also go to Carl Jenkinson who put in another solid turn.

Things are looking good, and with Wilshere, Rosicky and Sagna to come back, our depth looks increasingly positive. It’s certainly early days yet, but yesterday showed we can mix it up with the favourites, and if we keep this form going, we’re going to be a threat to anyone.

That’s all for today. Did you enjoy the game? Do you think we could have taken all 3 points? Did Gervinho make you want to bang your head repeatedly against a wall? The comments are below, let me know your thoughts.

Thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.