The Armchair Gooner

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

Griezmann bid made, Podolksi crucial and other bits of stuff.

“Just be patient. The proper football isn’t far away now”

Morning, folks. I’m flabbergastingly tired today. I spend the wee hours of Friday night in the company of a delightful and enchanting female, and followed that with a day of editorial tinkering and writing on Saturday. This morning I am up early to write before I head off to the tedium of my gainful employment.

Before I get down to the nitty-gritty of dissecting today’s news, I thought now would be the opportune moment for further shameless whoring of The Goonersphere Podcast. Filled to capacity with prurient remarks and profane outbursts, this week’s show can also boast a fully-blown rap battle between Daniel and I. For that reason alone, I suggest you have a listen.

Click here to hear the Goonersphere Podcast.

So…News.

With so much clamouring for a new signing, reports suggest that Arsenal have made an attempt to sign one. Continue reading

Replacements for Theo and adding insult to injury.

From afar, people gathered to watch the Internet explode.

Morning, all.

Remember what I was saying yesterday about an unexpected and huge news story appearing out of the blue to give us something to talk about until Monday’s game at Villa? It happened. I wish I hadn’t said anything.

By now, all of you will be fully aware that we’ve lost Theo Walcott for 6 months through a large piece of misfortune. At times like these, there are many choices of word or phrases that are apt. For example, a Gooner reading the news for the first time might exclaim, “dash unfortunate all this business” or perhaps, “Shame, poor Theo“. After a few moments careful consideration, I came to the conclusion that only two very simple words serve to perfectly summarise the collective feeling amongst supporters of Arsenal:

“F**king hell….”

Bloody typical, isn’t it. Continue reading

Arsenal sent to Coventry, not Kalou again and Return of The Ox

Sky Sports News regularly raised a few eyebrows.

Morning, Earthlings.

It’s a full week until we have the joys of meaningful football again. Between now and next Monday’s fixture at Villa Park, it’s safe to say the news will be in short supply. Unless  of course, something unplanned and jaw-dropping occurs. For all we know, Arsene could announce in his next press conference his intentions to elope with Gervinho and become a fabulous Vegas dance act. Unlikely? Yes, very. I’m just being idiotic.

The news circling around my head and the Internet today isn’t wonderfully enlightening or particularly intriguing. Yesterday, we received the FA Cup 4th Round Draw, and fortune has smiled upon us. I was expecting something tricky like an away trip to Chelsea or Manchester City. Continue reading

Super Tomas Rosicky, Gnabry, Cazorla, Smug Theo and 2-0 to the Arsenal.

Just in case The Spurs fans were unsure of the scoreline, Theo kindly helped remind them.

Morning folks.

Before I begin, let’s all collectively take a moment to bask in glory.

*inhales deeply*

Ahhh, the sweet smell of victory in the North London derby. Feels f**king great, doesn’t it. I have to admit that I was quite nervous during the hours that lead up to the game. Usually a sturdy and reliable organ, my bladder suffered from temporary weakness and most of my innards followed suit.  Before kick-off, my humble abode was a cacophony of curious gurgles of the stomach, feet thundering towards the lavatory and explosive flatulence.

However, as soon as that whistle blew and the game began, the tension disappeared. Spurs created very little. Aside from a reasonable chance for Eriksen and a prime example of Adebayor’s propensity for a bandy-legged lack of grace in the penalty area, our scummy visitors offered no threat. Continue reading

Bendnter’s heroics, Jack’s performance and getting yourself out of (and into) a sticky situation.

“I’ll just kick back and enjoy all the hero worship”

Morning, folks.

Some victories are obtained through dazzling approach play, synergy and breathtaking efficiency. Others, not so much. Yesterday’s very welcome triumph fell firmly into the latter of those categories. Arsenal dominated the game in every respect, yet couldn’t find a way through. It certainly looked like one of those days were nothing was going to happen.

Starting Podolski up front is something many have clamoured for. I consider the affable German to be the best finisher at the club –  he has a left foot like a traction engine. However, all the times I’ve seen him start centrally he hasn’t looked anywhere near as much of a threat as he does when cutting in from the left. Giroud’s absence was notable yesterday, as was his ability to hold up the ball and bring others into attacks.

Thank god for Nicklas Bendtner. Continue reading

More Giroud fury, Theo’s nugget, Santi’s magic and an excellent Boxing Day comeback.

Theo finally refused to be used as a puppet by opposing defenders.

Morning greetings, you luminous and cromulent perusers.

I think my stomach in annoyed with me. Were I to liken it to a fictional character right now, I’d say it’s similar to the unhinged unpredictability of Gary Oldman’s villain in Leon: The Professional – I especially imagine shouts of “EVERYONE!!” when I’m being offered biscuits. Currently, there are lots of peculiar gurgles and pangs of discomfort to contend with. Overconsumption is a b*tch.

Mercifully, I’m not writing of a poor result today. To West Ham’s credit, yesterday there was a period of around 20 minutes at the start of the second half when I was sure that’s what I’d be doing. Having weathered something of a storm in the first half, the Hammers came out brightly in the second period, nabbed a fortuitous opening goal and went on to put us under a little pressure. But for profligacy and a touch of fortune, we could very easily have found ourselves 2-0 down.  Continue reading

Arsenal’s new ideal starting XI.

“4-4-2 or 4-2-3-1? What do you think, Jim?”

Morning, folks.

Did you watch the England game last night? I didn’t. I was tempted to sit through it purely to watch Jack Wilshere like a hawk and wince every time a psychotic , bulky Ukrainian went within close proximity of him. I chose against doing such a thing and instead watched Iron Man 3.

With glorious, delicious, beautiful football of note returning at the weekend, and Gooners drooling uncontrollably over Mesut Ozil, I thought I’d share with you all what I consider our strongest 11 should everyone be fit.

Keeper:

I’ve hardly seen Emiliano Viviano play, but Italian keepers come with some pedigree – Massimo Taibi aside. Given his recent excellent performances, Szczsney would be the No.1 at Arsenal for me, although I hope our Italian friend breathes down his neck for the position as much as possible. I’ll try to ignore the fact he looks terrifyingly like Manuel Almunia.  Fabianksi can be placed into a glass box that reads, “open only in the event of absolute necessity”

Defence:

Thomas Vermaelen is back in training, and within a few weeks should be match fit and available. The question is; would you break up the Mertesacker-Koscielny partnership to accommodate our Club captain? As far as I’m concerned, no. Since Thomas was injured, our back 4 has looked solid, and ‘Merterscielny’ are a duo that compliment each other perfectly. One has speed and tenacity, the other has a calmness and intelligence. They work too well to separate, and I’ve long stated I don’t think Vermaelen and Koscielny is a pairing that works.

Sagna is the obvious choice at right full-back. Gibbs and Monreal are fairly evenly matched, and I’m not at all concerned which of them starts as they are both very good players.  On current form, Gibbs would get the nod.

Midfield:

Here’s where the selection headaches present themselves. Assuming everyone’s fit, and Jesus has miraculously replaced Abou Diaby’s glass skeleton with one that actually heals from time to time, we have plenty of options to fill the 3 central positions.

We all know Mesut Ozil will occupy the main attacking role supporting our offensive 3. The real debate comes in regarding which players will operate directly behind him. This is where I think we need Matheiu Flamini. He gives us something that’s long been missing in our midfield; aggresion. He may not be the giant marauding DM we all cried out for, but he is not to be f**ked with. Remember the fixture at The Emirates against Fenerbahce when their players decided to kick Jack across the pitch for the last 30 minutes? Imagine that situation with Flamini in the side. Would they have gotten away with it? I doubt it. Someone would be hospitalised and missing a leg.

Add to that the positional discipline and maturity he’s picked up from his time at Milan, and he’s a starter for me. Alongside him is a tough choice. Jack hasn’t been at his best, but perhaps he’d be a little more free to express himself with Flamini alongside him taking care of the dirty work. Aaron Ramsey has shown some exceptional form thus far, and I can’t really come up with a case for dropping him. Both players would shine if you took the bulk of the defensive responsibility from their shoulders. For reasons I can’t really explain, I think I’d go with Jack. Arteta, Rosicky, Ramsey and Diaby would make for very good options from reserve.

Forwards: 

Giroud as the main focal point is a no-brainer. In fact, it’s really the only choice. Yaya Sanogo is going to need a bit of time to adapt, and I’d sooner we dug up Hitler and placed his corpse in the opponents penalty box than see Bendtner lolloping around up front.

Either side of big Olivier I’d go for Theo and Santi. Some think Santi will lose the ability to create if placed on the left, but I disagree. I think the potential for him and Ozil to interchange will cause all kinds of problems for teams trying to mark them. Theo’s pace and finishing from the right should see a few more goals for him with the service he’ll be getting. Again, The Ox and Podolski make for excellent options when it’s time to rotate.

So, I’d go with this line-uop:

Arsenal’s best starting XI?

That’s just my preferences, folks. Who would you select given a full squad from which to choose? The comments are below, and they are eagerly awaiting your thoughts and line-ups. Let me know a few.

I shall return tomorrow with more. As always; thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.