The Armchair Gooner

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

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

Ray Parlour Brightens A Miserable Day For Arsenal.

It’s Only Ray Parlour

Howdy, folks.

A wiser man than I once said, “Don’t ever meet your heroes, you’ll only be disappointed” – a phrase I’ve taken as gospel since the fateful moment I first heard it uttered. Since that day, meeting current and former Arsenal players hasn’t been something of particular interest – I’m not sure I could take meeting Patrick Vieira and discovering he wouldn’t be willing to frolic through a plush meadow hand-in-hand. In slow-motion. As birds sing to us.

However, thanks to the delightful folks at Europcar Sport, yesterday myself and some of my friends from The Goonersphere Podcast where invited down to The Emirates to take part in a live Tweeting event during the Swansea Vs Arsenal game (I’ll get to that in a moment). The cherry on the cake here was being able to meet and interview bonafide Arsenal great, Ray Parlour. When the chance to briefly converse arose, Ray was a genuinely humorous and amiable fellow, apparently more than happy to answer questions and put pen to merchandise – the current away shirt I have adorned with his signature shall be framed and take pride of place on my wall at home.

Ray regaled us with stories from yesteryear and offered his personal views on the current Arsenal team Continue reading

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

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.

Continue reading

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

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.

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.