The Armchair Gooner

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

Staying Ahead Of The Closest Top 4 Race

The race for the top four is simmering nicely as we enter the final 10 games of the season. The target is simple but the mathematics don’t quite stack up – five teams are chasing two Champions League places – Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool, Spurs and Southampton are separated by just five points in what looks to be the closest top four race in over a decade.

Front runners

Third placed Arsenal are in pole position to qualify for the Champions League while Manchester United, who occupy fourth place on 53 points, are being stalked by one of the form teams in Europe – Liverpool.

The Anfield club have picked up 29 points from a possible 33 and beaten Spurs, Southampton and Manchester City in recent weeks to put themselves right in the hunt for a top four place. It’s an unthinkable position given the hole Rodgers’ men found themselves in after the 3-1 defeat at Palace that left them treading water in 12th place.

But can Liverpool qualify for the Champions League for the second consecutive year? Form lines suggest yes they can.

The red machine may have taken a while to shake off the rust but they are steamrollering teams left, right and centre. They are top of the 5, 10 and 15 game form tables and seem to be passing every test put before them in the league. And it’s not just the results that are impressive, the team are playing close to levels they reached last season when they missed out on the title by the slimmest of margins. Continue reading

Is David Ospina A Long-Term No.1 For Arsenal?

Your No1?

Afternoon, folks.

Here’s something about our goalkeeping situation written by ‘wonker’.

In the build-up to the derby defeat by Spurs, Arsene Wenger stated that Wojciech Szczesny is still our No.1 goalkeeper. Szczesny has made over 170 appearances for the club, so you can understand why Wenger is still pledging his support for the Pole.

Yet, at the same time, he has made over 170 appearances and has he convinced that he can be consistently relied upon to help us achieve long-term and sustained success?

He’s not started in the Premier League since the 2-0 defeat at Southampton on New Year’s Day. After that game, he was fined having been caught smoking. Continue reading

Leicester City: Team News, Predicted Starting XI And Thoughts.

Ulloa levels the game in the early fixture.

Afternoon, folks.

With tonight’s game being a late kick-off and mainly becuase I was too lazy to do it this morning, your delicious daily update is here a little later than usual. Apologies if you were waiting on tenterhooks at the usual time only to be bitterly disappointed. Both of you.

So, without further ado, let’s get into it.

A win is vital tonight. Wether it be accomplished through free-flowing attacking brilliance and lots of goals or a hideously inept display in which we are rescued by a fortuitous late goal matters not to me – we need the 3 points and I don’t especially care how we get them.

Granted, the former of those two choices is by far the more preferably, and a good display certainly breeds confidence. However, dropping points would be harming to our claim for 4th, so we need to get them above anything else.

I think we might see a little rotation today. Continue reading

Santi Cazorla or Mesut Ozil Centrally? Favourites For The FA Cup?

A trinket available in May.

Morning, folks.

I’m writing this post to you last night. I’ve just finished watching Gone Girl (which is darkly, unsettlingly brilliant) in enough time to see Philippe Coutinho curl a winner for Liverpool at Bolton in the final minutes of the game (which was darkly, unsettlingly brilliant). Brendan Rodgers is currently goose-stepping manically about his technical area in celebration as that horrendous beak on his face disrupts the Earth’s gravity. The massive c*nt.

The FA Cup, aye…

Few could dispute England’s most traditional competition represents our most likey avenue for success. With the shocks of the previous round reverberating throughout the land, Arsenal find themselves in a position where the competition now appears jarringly winnable.

However, this will be a sentiment shared by both Liverpool and Manchester United. Louis van Gaal may look like a poorly inflated corpse, but he is not known for his modesty – he rarely does anything other than bleat out of his asre about how oh-so bloody wonderful he is, so, doubtless to say, he fancies his side’s chances.  Continue reading

Chuba Akpom’s New Contract And Wrinkly-Faced Wheeler-Dealers.

Talented young player in arbitrary action picture.

Morning, folks.

Today as I gaze longingly into cyberspace I am greeted by a desolate wasteland of news. Without midweek football to provide nuggets of interest, news and intrigue is at a premium. This can cause troubles for the humble blogger…

In order to fill this post, I’m contemplating either discussing whether or not I should give my penis a nickname, or taking a moment to explain precisely why I feel slightly emasculated at recently having had a bubble bath with scented candles that I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of.

Perhaps neither is the correct choice.

(For the record: ‘Kenneth Dinkleton’ was the name I had in mind)

There is one story pertinent to Arsenal (thank f*ck). Our young striker, Chuba Akpom looks set to sign on the dotted line and commit his future to Arsenal – a deal for 4 years. Nothing, at the time of writing, has been confirmed by either Club or the player himself, but would appear to be very likely. Assuming you believe the plethora of reports, that is. Continue reading

Aston Villa: Team News, Predicted Starting XI And Various Other Bits.

A repeat on the win at Villa Park would be quite lovely.

Morning, folks.

I do love the smell of match day in the morning. Or is that napalm? Either way, it’s a wondrous, enveloping scent that fills me and my nostrils with a sense of glee. Robert Duvall is so cool…

Aston Villa are in town and on face value there shouldn’t be anything other than an Arsenal victory today as, to be quite frank, they’re utter sh*t at present. You need only look at their recent form; they’ve not won in the last 6 games and registered a paltry one goal in the process.

So on the face value I mentioned, we should win. Then you add Anthony Taylor into the equation and the potential for just about anything arises. In case you’re unfamiliar, Anthony Taylor is the official responsible for last season’s horror show against Villa at the Emirates in which his bizarre officiating resulted in a 3-1 defeat. I don’t often criticise referees because it smacks of excuse making. Continue reading

Newcastle United: Team news And Predicted Starting XI.

No Rambo today

Greetings, Earthlings.

If you were of the persuasion to locate sticks to beat Arsene with, today would be something of a golden opportunity. The paucity of defensive options within our squad has long been documented and as frequently lamented by those against the manager’s position at the Club. Today is the perfect opportunity to spout terms like “mismanagement” or “dereliction of duties”.

I’m not a anti-Arsene kinda guy by any stretch of the imagination. All the puerile bleating and demonstrative outbursts are something I avoid – both from those for and against. I find the whole sorry saga deflating and utterly pointless. However, looking at our squad today, it’s difficult not to agree that we lack cover in defence and there is only one man culpable.

Koscielny, Monreal and Chambers all miss out through a mixture of suspensions and niggles. Continue reading