The Armchair Gooner

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

Raheem Sterling? No Thanks…

The scene of the crime

Morning, folks. 

I had a peculiar dream last night involving the most significant landmark in my native Bristol: Clifton Suspension Bridge. I say “dream”, but that may be doing it something of a disservice. It was a night terror – the type that leaves you bewildered a good 30-40 seconds after waking up. 

In the usually tranquil setting of my unconscious mind I had parked across the centre of the road causing traffic to come to a standstill whilst horrified members of the public watched as I threw Hull City’s entire first team squad off in alphabetical order (Huddlestone was a struggle).

Quite why I dreamt this is beyond me. I have no ill-feeling toward Hull and nothing but ambivalence towards their players. Perhaps there’s some profound meaning to be extracted by a trained mental professional… Alas, I’m utterly at a loss to explain where it came from and thought it warranted sharing. 

So… 

Today I thought I’d talk about the hullabaloo and rapture surrounding Raheem Sterling. 

The situation reminds me of Nicolas Anelka’s acrimonious departure to Real Madrid: talented, petulant young player with greedy advisors. I don’t pretend to know the ins and outs of the situation anywhere near as much as a dedicated Liverpool fan might. But from the outside looking in, it certainly appears that way. 

Arsene Wenger is known to be an admirer of Sterling. Taken purely on footballing ability, the kid certainly has talent in abundance. However, troubles begin to appear when you look at his attitude. To be quite frank, if I was a Liverpool fan I’d be happily rid of him. 

A 20-year-old with little or no accomplishments within the game has no right to critique the manner in which his Club is being run. Then you look at the alleged comments made by his agent, Aidy Ward, to the London Evening Standard;

“I don’t care about the PR of the club and the club situation,
“I don’t care. He is definitely not signing. He’s not signing for £700,000, £800,000, £900,000 a week,
“He is not signing. My job is to make sure I do the best with them (my clients). If people say I am bad at my job, or they are badly advised it does not matter.”

Those remarks have since been denied.  However, I feel there’s a huge proportion of truth to them.  Aidy Ward’s job is to secure the highest amount of commission for himself in a move for his client, and those comments only make it appears a move is being forced. 

Most importantly of all, I wouldn’t want to see Sterling at Arsenal because I don’t think he would be anything other than an unnecessary purchase. We have players who operate in his position that are of an extremely high standard and those still to show their full potential – Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gnabry – are players I’d sooner see given a chance to do so. 

Other areas of the team are more important. 

Our business over the coming months is sure to be interesting. I don’t believe we will see another marquee addition to rival Ozil and Sanchez. The nucleus of our squad is very strong. If Arsene Wenger opts to spend a significant amount I believe it wil be to improve either our goalkeepers or central midfield. There could very well be a surprise, but, all things considered, I can’t see us wrestling with Liverpool to sign a player for what would be a hugely inflated fee and for a player we don’t need. 

That’s all for today, folks. The comments are below – do you think we need Sterling? Let me know. I’ll be back soon. Until then, and as always; thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards. 

Not Scoring, Not Scoring Arsenal; Defeat… Is it Fair To Blame Ospina?

“Hooorayyyy, I’ve let a bit of a soft goal in…”

Morning, folks.

That was bloody awful, wasn’t it…

From the moment the game kicked off it had the unmistakable stink of one of those frustratingly complacent and lacklustre Arsenal performances we’ve not seen in a while. I said yesterday I felt a degree of ambivalence, as the fixture carried with it no real significance. With a top 4 finish guaranteed, my attentions have started to slip from what is directly in front to the FA Cup final once the season is over.

It looked like the players adopted the same mentality. The first half was thoroughly abject and we seemed happy to saunter around with little or no urgency. The distribution from the back and onwards was lethargic and Swansea found it very easy to get players behind the ball and stifle our build up.

It almost had the feel of a pre-season game at the Emirates Cup to such an extent I half expected to see a Mexican wave unfold across the stadium as everyone’s interests dwindled. It truly was terrible and arguably the worst half of football the team have displayed this far – maybe not quite as bad as the 2nd half against Anderlecht.  Continue reading

Monday Night Football; Swansea, Team News and Starting 11.

Action from the 2-1 defeat in late 2014

Morning, folks.

I hate waiting. Whether it be in queues or traffic, I don’t have the patience. Ask my girlfriend, she’ll be only too happy to regale you all with tales of my verbal outbursts in the car and general inability to sit still for a period longer than 5 minutes. She does love a good old fashioned moan – invariably at my expense. She also has a great sense of humour and is laughing whilst I read this paragraph back to her – all while I sit patiently at her place awaiting a feast of roast chicken.

My lack of patience certainly applies to weekends without Arsenal games when we have to suffer what feels an interminable period of time until the glorious boys in red ‘n’ white make their way out onto the pitch.

Mercifully, 7:45 tonight sees the end of all that bloody waiting malarkey. Swansea City are in town and it’s a game in which victory will secure us one of the automatic Champions League qualification spots – I don’t much care whether we finish 2nd or 3rd as neither are 1st and that’s the one that really matters.

With the season winding down now that Chelsea are the title winners, it’s easy to take one eye off the remaining league fixtures and focus on the upcoming FA Cup final at the end of May. I find myself struggling to get really enthusiastic about tonight’s game and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one. Continue reading

The £50m MEGA STRIKER And A Talking Coq.

Francis is all smiles and happiness.

Morning, folks.

Disappointment is a huge part of life. Following a Football team certainly brings with it its fair share. Often the euphoric moments become lost in a haze of glee and whimsy whereas those crushing moments I can recall with crystal clarity. In short, disappointment resonates.

The reason I’m starting this entry on such a sombre note is because I suffered a large disappointment last night. It has little or nothing to do with football, but seeing as I report only to myself regarding this blog, and can write about pretty much whatever the fu*k I please, I shall proceed regardless (I am going to discuss pressing Arsenal matters in a moment, so feel free to skip this if you’re not particularly interested in me blathering and moaning).

The crushing letdown to which I refer was Only God Forgives – a movie starring Ryan Gosling and directed by Nicolas Winding-Refn (the two behind Drive; a cinematic delight I absolutely adore).

What appears a brooding and intriguing revenge tale from the trailer is actually 90 minutes of Gosling wandering about in near-silence, stopping only to make prostitutes do weird things and have the absolute sh*t beaten out of him. I thoroughly enjoy any film that embraces life’s idiosyncracies, but this seemed to just want to be creepily bizarre and make as little sense as possible.

It was unbridled cack from start to finish and given the previous brilliance of the two collaborators, a huge and unexpected disappointment.

Moving on…

In the title I mentioned a £50m MEGA STRIKER  – I put that in all capitals because that appears the done thing these days if you want to hammer a point home. Continue reading

Szczesny, Ospina Or A New Keeper And No-Go Theo Walcott.

OSSSSSSPIIIINNNNAAA good keeper so far.

Morning, folks.

I’ve the briefest of periods before I’m due to make the arduous trek toward my gainful employment, so my fingers will type with the kind of ferocity you’d associate with an Apache gunship dispatching a rebel machine gun nest – think those Warner Bros cartoons of yesteryear in which the central character had to do something with haste.

Actually, I might take my time with the writing part and instead opt to drive at breakneck speeds down the M5 with a squad of angry police in chase. You’ll see me on the morning news as the story develops and the news outlets start to send helicopters and cameras after me.

Imagine the Sky News headlines…

MAN LATE FOR WORK BECAUSE OF WRITING BLOG NOW IN HIGH-SPEED PURSUIT WITH POLICE. MR STOKES IS SAID TO BE UNSTABLE AND A TEDDY BEAR APPEARS TO BE DOING THE DRIVING.

Alternatively to all the above, I could get straight to my point. All the fluffy nonsense, as much fun as it is, serves only to lengthen the time I’m sat at the keyboard.

Remember that bit in Monty Python’s The Holy Grail where they all shout “GET ON WITH IT!”?

Moving on…

One of the debates I’ve missed contributing to since putting blogging on hold is that of our goalkeeping position. Since Szczesny blundered and smoked his way into the doghouse against Southampton, David Ospina has taken over the No1 role and thus far looked very assured there.  Continue reading

United Depay The Price And Summer Exits At Arsenal.

Cheerio in the summer?

Morning, folks.

My bowels are remarkably consistent. 30 minutes upon waking up is the time I head to the lavatory for my morning ablutions and it’s often an enjoyable, detoxing experience. This particular morning has been harrowing. Whether the core reason lies with something I ate last night is debatable – I have a cast iron stomach.

Whatever the reason, I sit down to write to you feeling slightly distressed and ill at ease. There’s something to be said for the calming influence of a textbook poo; it sets you up to face the trials and tribulations the day has to offer with a confidence in your step. What happened today was not that. It was unsettling. Without going into abhorrent detail, the best way I can muster to describe the incident is to recall any submarine film you’ve seen in which there is a sequence of a bay door opening under water and a torpedo being fired aggressively at an enemy vessel.

Now that little slice of irrelevance is out of the way, it’s time to head into the wonderful world of news and other stuff. Yesterday wasn’t much of a news day. Having spent the vast majority of the morning plotting the 50th episode of the Goonersphere Podcast with Daniel Cowan, I got around to looking over the goings on just about the time Memphis Depay announced he’d signed for Manchester United. Continue reading

New Beginnings And The Unlikely Manoeuvres Of Petr Cech

Praying for a summer exit

Howdy, folks.

Those of you that remember the days gone by in which I posted regularly might recall that what I wrote came with a certain format; a way of writing that was, quite frankly, set to inform first and foremost. Therein lies the reason for such a prolonged absence from blogging  – something that I’ve always held dear to my heart.

You see, folks – I became lost in my attempts to deliver a structured, informative blog. The truth is it quickly bored me. I believe my strength in writing lies in it being an extension of myself – warts, blunders and all. What I enjoy most is posting articles about Arsenal, first and foremost, but scattershot pieces that encapsulate myself. Blogging, to me, is something I wish to be my own.

So, I’ve decided to do this the way I want as opposed to that which I believe is the acceptable. In short, I’m going to write this site in exactly the way I want to and that means certain elements are going to be cast aside.  Continue reading