Tag Archives: Swansea

Arsenal Out Of The Title Race; Cruel Misfortune Costs.

The Running Kim looked pretty useful.

Morning, folks.

When the match finished last night, I had a bath. Normally I’m strictly a shower kinda guy. That might sound like the most pointless and inane of admittance, but it is relevant in a way. Amongst other things, Arsenal can cause me to get wound up. When those other things combine with my beloved football team, they create a sort of uber-stress and the notion of soothing bath appealed to me. To cut a tedious story shot; I thoroughly enjoyed it – no candles – and, if you’re currently filled with Arsenal-induced tension, I can highly recommend one. I might even stretch as far as to buy myself a little rubber duckie.

So, onto the game…

For a minute I enjoyed it, the remaining 89 plus time allotted for stoppages was excruciatingly bloody awful. Nerves were apparent all through the team, which is to be expected, but the fear of failure amongst the players was palpable. The sense of Arsenal easing out games that once was a feature of our play has long deserted us. However, I can’t really offer that many excuses for what I saw. Any team with the aspirations we have should be dispatching Swansea with minimal fuss. We shipped and early goal and although we got ourselves into a winning position thanks to a quick double from Podolski and Giroud, the sense that we wouldn’t hold on was overwhelming.  Continue reading

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

Andre Mariner’s pre-game preparations became more thorough.

Morning, folks.

What a few days it’s been. Barring the obvious horrors of recent football, I’ve been working far, far too hard for my liking. As I type, my weary bones creak and ache and I’ve bags the size of lemons underneath my eyelids. I look like a distressed Panda.

Mercifully for you lovely people, I retained just enough energy to write this post last night before a well earned snooze. Yesterday I discussed Arsene Wenger and some of the reaction to the notion of him being elsewhere next season. Seems to me the camp is almost completely split down the middle on that one. I’m still unsure myself, often veering wildly from one extreme to the other.

However, there is a slight glimmer of good news today and that comes, according to 888sport in the form of no suspension being handed to either Kieran Gibbs or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlaim after the Andre Mariner fiasco of Saturday.

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That Aaron Ramsey, he is SOOOO hot right now…

Swansea 1-2 Arsenal: “Suck it, haters”

Morning folks.

There’s a lot to be said for a team mentality. In recent seasons, I’ve looked at my beloved Arsenal and seen an abundance of very talented individuals, but what’s usually been the missing ingredient is a collective desire to win. When I cast my eyes over the current squad, I see both those things. It genuinely fills me with hope and expectation for what this group of players can accomplish.

A trip to Swansea might sound to some as a relatively easy fixture, but it is anything but.  Michael Laudrup’s team play excellent football, have a nucleus of now-experienced Premiership players and will give anyone a game on their own turf. The fact that they recently won away from home comprehensively against  Valencia shows you how good they are.  Continue reading

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Arsenal can sign David Villa, transfer news, Swansea, and cheerio Chamakh!

First Andy Carroll, now Chamakh; West Ham fans were understandably delighted…

Evening folks. So much for 9am every day…(I have been unwell, so give me a break)

By now you’ll have all heard the news. Shisha enthusiast, hair-gel advocate, and much-maligned striker, Marouane Chamakh has joined West Ham on loan for the next six months. The transfer was a formality in the end, and betting on sportsbetting.ag showed this.

Devastation, woe, heartache; these are a but a few of the emotions that swept over me when the news was confirmed. For many years I’ve admired Chamakh, both as a footballer and a trailblazer of hairstyles. Many evenings I’ve spent trawling through his extensive highlights on YouTube, yelping in awe at his mercurial talents.

Now all that is gone. Another hero, another legend walks away from Arsenal, and we’re all a little sadder inside because of it. What are we  to do now?

Well, in all seriousness, we could replace him with a wounded donkey, but I’d like to think there are better options on the market. David Villa, for example. Even at 31-years-old, the Spanish international would be a brilliant signing. Not being one to put my faith in speculation and hearsay, I’m taking the reemergence of the rumours with an enormous pinch of salt – I’m practically throwing a bucket of the stuff at them.

However, those stories do persist, and the romantic in me hopes there is just a little shred of truth – especially now some state Arsenal have made a formal approach.

He’d be a brilliant signing, and if Arsenal can use the money owed them by Barcelona for the Fabregas and Song deals as a starting point for negotiations, then we might even have a foot in the door ahead of Villa’s other suitors. The romantic in me will continue to hope, but the realist still sees the whole saga as thoroughly mendacious, and likely to rumble on for weeks regardless.

With Arsene playing his cards characteristically close to his chest, and offering up his usual wildly contradictory statements to the press, calling any of his potential moves is an impossibility. He may not invest at all, or he may bring in 2-3 players. None of us – even those lovely ITK fellows – can truly know what lies ahead, we merely have hope and belief. Some distinctly more than others. I think we’ll bring some players in, and I think even the most embittered of souls is going to be pleasantly surprised.

In the meantime, we have a welcome distraction from league football on Sunday. I love the FA Cup. There is no better cup competition in domestic football across Europe. As a child, I remember fondly the romance and the passion associated with 3rd round day, and whilst that may have diminished over the years, it still remains.

Arsenal travel to Swansea hoping to avenge our recent humiliation. It’ll be a tough test against a good opponent. It also represents a chance for glory. There is no reason why we can’t go all the way to the final. On our day and playing well, we can beat anyone. Let’s start our journey on Sunday.

That’s all for today folks. Let me know your thoughts on the Villa transfer, on Chamakh’s departure, and on the other hot topics of the day – the hilarious bust-up at Man City between Mancini and Balotelli, for example.

I await your views in the comments. I shall return tomorrow.

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Gervinho, Podolski, Sczcsney, Arsene, the ‘Arsenal-cokey’, and another terrible performance.

Arsenal 0-2 Swansea: Kieran Gibbs sums it up perfectly…

 Morning folks.

There’s been too much said that’s negative in recent weeks. As best I can, I try to look past the bad, and offer a little hope for some good. This morning, finding the optimistic side of my persona, and getting him to come to the forefront is practically impossible.

Losing is just a part of football. I can take defeat. I struggle when that defeat comes with a total lack of application from a team that can/should do better. Swansea didn’t sneak an undeserved flukey-goal-on-the-break-after-weathering-a-siege win. No, they comprehensively outplayed us on our own ground, and took the spoils deservedly. But for Szczsney, it could have been worse.

Whilst the game was live, I was in Bristol centre glued to a radio that wouldn’t work, and a Twitter feed than chose such an inopportune moment to freeze completely. Having now watched the entirety of the game, I can safely say that ‘abject’ and ‘woeful’ were the words that immediately sprung to mind.

Gervinho and Podolski looked utterly disinterested by the whole thing. Only Jack Wilshere showed the kind of hunger and fight you’d expect. I’ve had the misfortune to see some dire Arsenal performances in the past – most can be brushed off as freak occurrences or “one of those days”. There is a worrying trend with our team at the moment; the players look like they don’t fear losing, and those excuses don’t wash anymore.

Something is wrong at Arsenal.

Blame is easily handed out when frustration overwhelms. The board, the players, Arsene Wenger; they’ve all been singled out as reprehensible a million times over. I truly don’t care about who we can or cannot blame. I care about what happens from hereon-in.

Change must be implemented. I’m no expert, I don’t have ‘insiders’ at the club who can feed me juicy information; I’m just a blogger from Bristol. I can’t give answers, I can only hope that those capable of solutions get their collective heads together and work something out.

If that means a change of management, then so be it. If that means the morons that occupy our board and line their pockets at the expense of die-hard supporters all take a long walk off a treacherous hillside, then all the better. If solving our issues means splashing every bit of the alleged £70m we have in the bank, and quality players come in, then that wouldn’t go amiss, either.

But we can’t just do nothing a hope things will change. This season has followed the same alarming path as the last, but we’re minus a world-class centre forward to dig us out of trouble this time around. Stupidity can be defined as repeating the same mistake and expecting a different outcome. If we repeat anymore mistakes, I think we already all know where this is headed.

On a more jovial note, below is a song I created on Twitter, and I’m sharing it with you as a means of lightening the mood – and because I’d like to prove it was mine before someone rips it off. It’s called ‘The Arsenal-cokey’, and if you’re one of the many who ReTweeted  it, I thank you.

That’s all for today, folks. The comments are below. Vent, vent, vent…

I shall return tomorrow with more.

If you are planning to bet on the next game, then do it over at www.betfair.com to get some great odds and enjoy some great casino games too. Have a go on Football Rules or Penalty Shootout to get you in the mood for the beautiful game.
 

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Arsenal’s starting XI for the game against Swansea (match preview).

FA Premiership: Saturday 1st December, Swansea (h)

Morning folks.

I remember the corresponding fixture against Swansea last season; we’d just come off the back of that dreadful thumping at Old Trafford, and doom and gloom had reached new highs. That day we managed to blunder to a 1-0 win thanks to an entirely fortuitous goal from Andrey Arshavin.

This season, things aren’t all that far removed. Mercifully, there hasn’t been any egregious defeats to pile on the misery, but things in the world of Arsenal are hardly peaches ‘n’ cream at present. A victory today is long overdue, and very much needed.

December provides us with a series of infinitely winnable fixtures. Arsenal are sure to make many mountains out of molehills on the way to earning points. If we can get a good points haul throughout the coming weeks, then we might just be sitting in a better position come the new year – or we might be at the point of storming the Emirates and ritually burning Sebastian Squillaci at the stake .

The team news today is good . Sagna, Podolski and Walcott have minor niggles, but all three should come through their respective late fitness tests with ease. Tomas Rosicky could return to the squad, but it’s unlikely he’ll be named amongst the substitutes. Koscielny joins Diaby on the treatment table.

My choice to start would be:

A lot has been made of Aaron Ramsey’s performances recently. I personally think he’s done okay, without ever being spectacular. The Boss may very well pick him again today, and play him on the right side of our attacking three – a position in which he slips back into midifeld. I think it’s a mistake to play him out of his preferred place on the pitch, and it contributes towards his displays; also giving ammunition to those who see fit to blame him for everything wrong that happens.

Aaron is a central midfielder. He’s better used there.

We should win today. However, if the recent home game against Fulham proved anything, it’s that we are capable of great unpredictability. Concentration and focus at the back coupled with attacking verve should see nothing but a delicious three points. If we go all ‘Arsenal’, then the scoreline could be anything. I’m going for a decent 3-0 win.

The comments are below. What are your views on the team and the match? Who would you pick to start? What are your predictions? Let me know.

Thanks for reading today, you beautiful bastards. I’ll be back tomorrow with a review, and hopefully some cheer and words of praise for the players.

Lastly, if you’d like to wager some cash on the outcome, or anything else, you can get a membership with Bet Victor, and find yourself with a free £25 bet. Click here to register.

Arsenal vs Swansea odds.

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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.

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**Insert a succession of profanity here**

Morning, happy campers…

Where to begin? Well, it’s fair to say the performance yesterday was nothing short of a shower of shit. Before I get into sharing the incandescent fury brewing within me, I’d like to offer a few words of praise for our conquerers Swansea; they performed magnificently and were worthy winners. They play the game in an admirable, technical manner and Brendan Rodgers has done a superb job getting them to where they are.

However, their excellence was perfectly offset by our floundering incompetence. I alluded to the fact whilst furiously tweeting that it’s not defeat that hurts, it’s the frequency and manner in which we lose. Yes, the penalty we conceded was an appalling decision, but it should have been an irrelevance. We have nobody to blame but ourselves, nothing to blame but our own short-comings. It’s easy to point fingers – as many have – at both individuals and the club collectively, but my assessment of our glaring deficiencies comes from a few places, but the single most contributing matter in my opinion is fear.

I don’t mean the players are afraid of putting in a performance, I believe there’s no repercussions for them to worry about if they don’t; there’s nobody in the vein of Tony Adams or Patrick Vieira screaming bloody murder at the youngsters if they’re ball-watching or wandering out of position. There wasn’t anyone on the pitch yesterday that could grab things by the scruff of the neck and shake the under-performers out of their current state of apathy. There was no fight, no desire to chase the ball down and lose blood before allowing a shot on goal. Swansea hassled and harried when they lost possession whilst we seemed happy to sit back and watch them have the ball. For years there’s been the same problem at Arsenal, for years it’s gone unsolved. The definition of stupidity is to make the same mistakes over and over and expect the outcome to be any different. Make no mistake, the club are making themselves look stupid.

Yes, we had a depleted side missing important players like Wilshere and Vermaelen, but football is a squad game and that can’t be an excuse. Who else in the Premiership capitulates under pressure with the regularity we do? Certainly none of the top sides. We have a nucleus of very talented footballers at the club, but we lack that one individual that’s prepared to die for the cause, the one player communicating and marshalling the troops when they’re under pressure. It’s no coincidence that our lack of silverware dried up since we last had such an individual.

The responsibility lies with Mr Wenger. Now, I’m no forlorn misery-guts who’s going to call for him to leave – those people and their knee-jerk reactions are foolish – but if ever there is a time for him to act, that time is now. The faults are there, they get exposed on a near-weekly basis. If we don’t take some time to seriously address our failings and act responsibly and accordingly, we run the risk of falling further behind in the league, losing out on the much-coveted 4th place and, worst of all, being unable to attract and keep world-class players.

These are most certainly troubling times. However bad that performance was yesterday, there was an immeasurably worse one from a few imbeciles claiming to be Gooners once the game was finished, Firstly, whoever shouted abuse at Thierry Henry (of all people) at the final whistle really needs an intervention from close friends and family. Secondly, and worst of all, was the utterly, utterly despicable vitriol aimed at Aaron Ramsey on Twitter. A few knuckle-headed morons made comments to him so disgusting I can’t bring myself to write them down. I’m sure the vast majority of Arsenal fans out there will be as quick to distance themselves from feculent scumbags like them as I am.

Thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards. The comments section is awaiting your thoughts. Please take a moment to follow me on Twitter – @Puddleduck1978

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Swansea preview, Arsenal miss out on Jadson and Twitter

Morning, lovelies.

Let’s begin with what’s important – Swansea away – before I digress into rambling and moaning. With Spurs dropping points at home to a resilient Wolves (kudos to Frimpong for blowing kisses to the Spuds’ braindead fanbase), tomorrow’s game gives a welcome opportunity to shorten the gap between us.

To many, Swansea would have been the first name picked had they been asked to name relegation certainties. If you’ve taken the time to watch them thus far, you’ll know they’re anything but. They pass the ball well, they’ve plenty of pace in attack and boast a mean defensive record in their own stadium – I think they’ve conceded as little as 4 goals own their own turf. They’re no mugs and they certainly deserve our respect.

The openness and intricate nature of their play should suit us. Where we struggle against the lumbering high-ball merchants, we thrive against those willing to try and out-pass us, so I expect a tough game tomorrow, but ultimately 3 points. My biggest fear lies in the back four. Mertesacker is still under the weather and a doubt, and we could be looking at Koscielny being partnered by football’s equivalent to the bubonic plague, Sebastien Squillaci.

I expect to see the Gunners start with Szczsney; Miquel, Djourou, Mertesacker, Koscielny; Song, Arteta, Ramsey; Walcott, Arshavin; van Persie.

I think Thierry will be used as an impact substitute for the last 20-30 minutes. His fitness remains a bit of a doubt, and his guile would be far better used sparingly or in the event if having to chase the game late on.

Moving on, I was disappointed to hear that Shaktar Donetsk’s Brazilian playmaker, Jadson, has been sold for the paltry sum of ?8m. He’s a player I’ve always thought looked like he’d fit into our system and I can’t help but think we’ve missed a trick there. For that price, he was looking like real bargain. Oh well, there’s always time for a signing in January…

That news broke on Twitter, and it’s with Twitter I shall finish my post. I’ve been spending quite a while attempting to drum up some trade for my account (@Puddleduck1978) and it’s not as easy as I thought. It’s competitive world out there in the Goonerverse with many bloggers all jostling for position. Whilst I love the banter and jovial nature of the majority of fans’ exchanges, you do see the ugly side of social networking on occasion. The vitriol and bile people are prepared to throw at one another from the safe confines of a mobile phone or PC terminal is unbelievable at times. Twitter is now an integral part of being a blogger, and a tool I’ll continue to use in order to further my little site, but I can see that someday it’s going to land someone in a whole host of trouble. Just look at what happened to that racist cow on the subway.

Tweet safely and responsibly, folks.

That’s me done for today, I’m off to enjoy my last day of freedom before work and urge the Gooners to get 3 points. Leave a comment, and thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.

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