The Armchair Gooner

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

Another Awful Arsenal Performance… UNLEASH THE SPACE CATS.

“Steve, give me the Uzi”

Morning, folks.

Hmmmmmm.

Just when I was certain a corner had been turned, we pull a startling handbrake turn and steer the good ship Arsenal back toward Sh*t Street. For 45 first half minutes I didn’t see an appalling performance that left me dumbstruck. No, I saw something I’ve seen far, far too often.

Meh….

I’ve no idea where to go with this entry. Obviously I’m considerably disheartened and upset to lose, and to lose at a place a feculent as the Britannia Stadium, but I’m also extremely tired of how familiar it’s all become.  When Arsenal lose, our fanbase turns nasty. And I mean NASTY. You need but glimpse across social media to see irrational folk firing obscenities, threats and peculiar exclamations simply becuase others might have the audacity to disagree. Even after the game it was rumoured that there was brawling between our own supporters – presumably those of the polar opposite persuasion.

I attended the United game with Daniel Cowan and we saw some of the vitriol ourselves – one man in particular was preening around outside the ground bellowing “Wenger out!” in the hope someone would pipe up to argue with him. Continue reading

Arsenal – Stoke City: Team News, Line Up And Thoughts

Stoke-On-Trent is picturesque this time of year.

Morning, folks.

As as blogger who doesn’t blog particularly often at present, I thought it was an opportune moment to correct that. Whilst December brings with it severe challenges and lengthy hours for those of us who earn a crust in the catering industry, it doesn’t make for a legitimate excuse. Truth is, I’ve just not felt like writing for a long time.

The reason? Hard to say – I feel it’s a combination of pure indolence and a feeling of bewilderment at how online activities have become a haven for self-promotion, bickering and the relentless spewing of dross. That’s not to say I see myself as some sort of saint amongst sinners – I’m certainly not – merely a case of becoming a little tired of it all.

But I do love this blog. I genuinely do. As I believe all writing should, it’s an extension of myself and combines faults and flaws alongside virtues in equal measure. It is me, and I’m going to extract my finger from my arse and start doing it again.

So, today we head off to the murky underworld of Stoke, a trip fraught with perils and enveloped in darkness and evil. There is no love lost between the two teams since one of their barely-literate cretins saw fit to blunder oafishly into a young man’s leg in the centre circle. Continue reading

And Sanogo Puts It Into Orbit…. Arsenal Fall To Poor Defeat.

“Yaya, what have I told you about leaning back before you strike the ball?!”

Afternoon folks.

Apologies for the lateness of post again today. You may lay the blame at the door of my future wife this time. Truthfully, I’m glad of the extra time to write today’s entry. There’s a bewildering ocean of opinion out there and without a little time to think for yourself it would be easy to sink to the bottom.

Losing at Stoke is bad enough. Accusations of “roughing us up” and howls of derision aimed toward the dubious penalty award might be justified in some respects, but the bottom line is Arsenal didn’t play well, didn’t create chances and, on the whole, looked lethargic and disinterested. As much as I can understand the need to find an explanation that enables the blame to be put elsewhere, it is absolutely wrong. We can hold responsible no one other than the players that took to the field.  Continue reading

Rosicky Stays, Jack, Mesut and the Moronic Minority of Stoke Fans.

Showing Stoke’s fans a simple math problem quickly rendered them completely baffled.

Morning, folks.

Ordinarily, Monday’s are a slow, slow news days. Today, there is quite a bit to talk about, so without any further ado I shall jump straight into it.

Tomas Rosicky, a player we’ve all come to love since his resurgence, is – or at least, should – be staying at Arsenal. Even though he’s 33-years-old and Arsene is known to be dubious about handing contracts to players of that age, but it would appear the manager is very keen to keep Tomas on at Arsenal. Arsene said: Continue reading

Stoke, Ramsey, Ozil, spanners and banners.

Arsenal 3-1 Stoke City: “Yippeee!”

Morning folks.

I can barely keep my eyes open writing this. In recent weeks, I’ve been attempting my hand – oddly succesfully – at DIY around the house in light of it going on the market, working my job, podcasting and trying to prevent Big Ted from stockpiling potentially lethal weapons. Bloody Big Ted…

As you might imagine, I’m currently extremely tired. However, I intend to persevere with today’s blog as I’ve had enough of my recent slackness regarding regular content.

To the match.

At the time of kick-off, and throughout the 90 minutes of play, I was working. I’ve since watched as much of the game as possible, but I missed its entirety. If you’re ever working, and the only avenue through which you can listen to the game involves Stan Collymore, don’t bother. The man is ludicrously bombastic and utterly moronic. I assume the radio station he represents is TalkSport, as only they would employ someone so f**king dreadful.

I gleaned from the footage I have seen that Arsenal didn’t put in a vintage performance of attacking football, and perhaps allowed Stoke to creep into the game when they should have put a firm foot down. Mere side-notes as far as I’m concerned. Football can often be analysed to the point of exhaustion, and the only statistics that truly matter were the goals scored. We scored more than they did.

Yes – we did look shaky in defence at certain points. Most teams suffer from similar conditions. Arsenal’s rear guard seem to be constantly under scrutiny, and it should be mentioned that our overall record in the recent year isn’t at all bad – very good, in fact. Don’t pay too much attention to what your hear. In these times, sensationalism sells quicker than being rational.

Of the players, Flamini put in a solid, workmanlike performance, and looked to have deserved the MOTM award he received. I do love The Flame. He adds a little bit of bite to the midfield, something for opponents to think twice about. He’s tough and he protects the back four with discipline. Arteta will probably slot back into the role once he regains full fitness, but I’ll de disappointed to see Mathieu loose his place.

With 3 magical assists, it was an impressive home debut from Mesut Ozil. Seeing him bound about the plush green turf of The Emirates is a joy to behold. Our cunning little German simply oozes class, and when you consider he’s already got himself 4 assists in his first 3 games, it does make you drool in anticipation for what’s to come when he’s settled in fully.  He plays the game with an enormous smile on his face. He said he needs to feel wanted to perform at his best, and that’s something I’m certain he is going to receive from the Arsenal faithful. I already love him to bits.

Of course, I have to mention Aaron Ramsey. Another great performance and another goal – a very satisfying one for all Gooners. With a bit of luck, that’s the whole Shawcross/leg break saga well and truly put to bed. Aaron continues to play well, and if there is a more in-form midfielder in Europe at present, I’m yet to see him play.

All in all, 3 welcome points, and we sit pretty at the top of the Premiership. Early days it may very well be, but it remains a nice perch for the time being.

Lastly today, the Gay Gooners. They had a banner up at the ground showing the support they have from the club. Some people have a problem with that. Why? It’s just a banner that states Arsenal have a gay fans and that they are supported. I see nothing in there that should offend anyone.

All the hullabaloo strikes me as silly. I don’t really care if certain members of our fans are gay or not. It’s none of my business and is, frankly, absolutely irrelevant. Perhaps I can understand why some feel a select group is getting the attention, but only to an extent. At the end of they day, when all is said and done; do any of you truly care remotely about another fans personal life?

I don’t at all. Why would I? I have no right to question others. Gooner is Gooner, as far as I’m concerned.

That’s all for today, flks. The comments below is the place to let loose the thoughts you have tumbling about your respective brains. Let’s be having a few.

As always; thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.

Feculent Orcs (h): Team news, thoughts and predicted starting XI

The years had not been kind to Ryan Shawcross

Morning folks.

Before I get into the nitty-gritty of previewing the Stoke game, there are a few  of things I’d like to make you aware of. Nothing important – more a case of me unabashedly promoting my efforts elsewhere. Efforts, that I should mention, come with a warning of substantial amounts of naughty language.

I’m referring to my recent dalliances with podcasting. I’ve completed another full show with the guys at A Bergkamp Wonderland, and brief preview of what’s to come with my good friends at the excellent Goonerspere. Add to that the recent 3BTA Vcast, and you can see I’ve been productive.

Listen here and leave a comment with your thoughts (STOKES!).

Right, onwards and upwards.

Today, we face Stoke City. Like many of you, I abhor Stoke City.  They’ve somehow managed to replace one incredibly negative manager with another so I imagine we’re not going to see them come out and play football.

I wonder what has become of Tony Pulis? He could be managing elsewhere for all I know . I don’t especially care. The Premiership is well rid of him as far as I am concerned. If life truly serves people what they deserve, he is currently in a seedy part of town attempting to clean a hideously pebble-dashed lavatory without protective garments whilst angry, drug-addled creatures of the night attempt to force their way into the cubicle to bugger him senseless.

It’s the least he deserves.

The team news has produced one little nugget of the good variety; Mikel Arteta should return to the squad. He’s highly unlikely to feature from the start, but a short cameo appearance might be possible. Other than that, I’d say we’re looking at the same team that beat Marseille taking to the field. No sign of the long-term absentees regaining fitness. Abou Diaby has imploded.

Versus Stoke City.

Anticipation will be at uncharted heights today for Mesut Ozil’s home debut. Even typing the letters of his name causes a wry grin to appear on my face. The guy is genuinely a world-class player, and I can’t wait to see him dancing around The Emirates’ turf, dispatching through balls effortlessly and diving into his bag of tricks.

We should win today. We should. I’m always slightly worried by those words. As an Arsenal fan, I know only too well what horrors can occur in games we ‘should’ win. Hopefully today won’t be one of those occasions, and we will be able to bask in the glory of comprehensive victory. Stoke are certain to do their best to ensure as little football as possible is played, but our ability should win the day. There’s that word again – ‘should’…

All eyes will be on Aaron Ramsey becuase of the cretin in the opposition. Aaron has been exceptional in recent weeks and rightly gained many words of praise. What better way to keep the momentum going than a thunderous shot into the top corner after nutmegging Shawcross.

Oh, how I’d love that to happen.

I’m going to predict a 3-1 win today. The comments await you below, and you can share some of your own ideas regarding the line-up, plus thoughts on the final outcome of the game.  Don’t be shy.

As always; thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.

Arsenal’s starting XI for the trip to Sunderland (match preview and team news)

Saturday 9th February: FA Premiership, Sunderland (a)

Welcome, delicious readers.

After a week of international football and gushy enthusing over the brilliance of our very own Jack Wilshere, today, the delights of football that actually matters – sorry, England – is back with us.

Most of the talk leading up to the game has surround our defensive, and the incredibly alarming prospect of Sebastien Squillaci being selected. Mercifully, that appears to not be the case, as most reputable outlets are reporting Laurent Koscielny will come trough a fitness test today to start alongside the BFG. Thomas Vermaelen definitely misses out with an ankle (I think…) injury.

With Wilshere and Walcott having played a large chunk of the England victory over Brazil, it is possible that both will be rested today. Gervinho is back from his brief excursion to Africa, but isn’t deemed fit enough or ready to take his place in the squad. Nacho Monreal will start the game at left-back.

My guess at how Arsene will send the team out is:

Sunderland away is one of those fixtures I don’t like. Martin O’Neil is one of those managers I don’t like. It may not hold the irritation factor (‘I-Factor’, as I like to call it) of a trip to Stoke, but Sunderland are sure to deploy neolithic tactics and approach the game in the most tedious and unimaginative fashion.

We have to credentials to win this one with ease. Our attacking prowess is far greater than that of our opponents. If we play to our abilities, and keep a focus and concentration at the back, the result shouldn’t be a doubt. We will, however, need nothing less than that. I want to win today to catch up with those above us vying for a Champions League spot, but most of all becuase the sight of O’Neil prancing about the touchline and leaping in the air makes me want to find a large bat and repeatedly introduce it to my face.

I have a beautiful face. Please don’t make me spoil it, Arsenal.

If you’re confident of the outcome, and would like to splurge some of your cash in a frivolous manner, take a gander at the deals available from Bet Victor. The prize for newly registered members putting down a £10 bet is Bet Victor will offer you back one to the value of £25. You can sign up here.

Sunderland vs Arsenal odds.

That’s yer lot today, you beautiful bastards. The comments below offer a handy section in which you can offer up your views, lambast me for mine, or pop down a few words of cheer and encouragement. It’s really up to you, and it’s always nice to hear from my readers.

I shall return tomorrow.