The Armchair Gooner

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

Cup progression, and Bendtner: the rebirth of a fallen idol… kinda.

West Brom 1-1 Arsenal AET (Arsenal win 4-3 on pens): “Now I’m here, I’m not leaving”

Morning, folks.

Last night’s game, as far as spectacle and entertainment goes, was bloody awful. 90 minutes of tedium was bad enough, but when extra time loomed ominously on the horizon, I wasn’t particularly heartbroken when my stream for the game decided not to work.

I’m pretty sure I didn’t miss a great deal during the added 30 minutes. The penalty shoot out was enjoyed via the radio, and audio commentary alone seems to make the whole experience all the more nerve-wracking.

When writing match reports, I tend not to dissect each incident, or recount the events that happened. I’ve always found that to be a little pointless.  It’s safe to assume that most people have seen the game and know what happened, and if you are heading here as your first port of call to discover the outcome, I would suggest there are better avenues for you to explore. Continue reading

West Brom (a): Thoughts, team news and potential starting XI

“Yep – that’s my career disappearing over the horizon”

Morning, you rowdy lot.

To your average Arsenal fan, Nicklas Bendtner is an anathema. He certainly possess a degree of talent, that is hard to deny. When the mood takes him, the lumbering Dane can be a handful for even the more cultured and capable of defenders. However, these days it’s his antics and behaviour off the field of play that grab the attention.

Let’s not beat about the bush – he’s a tw*t. Anyone who requests his shirt number to be in line with the wages of his new deal – 52 – shouldn’t be described as anything else – even if he did deny it…

I never thought we’d see him an Arsenal shirt again. He most probably thought the same. But as the “interested parties” soon realised Nicklas couldn’t possibly drop a penny below his current wages to play regular football elsewhere, it soon became apparent we’d be stuck with him. Couple that with our inability to secure the services of a forward to lighten Giroud’s workload, and you have tonight’s scenario; Nicklas Bendter will put on an Arsenal shirt.

Or so it’s alleged across the media.

For the trip to the Hawthornes, we’ll see the usual farrago of selection for the Capital One Cup. I expect to see the odd sprinkling of first team regulars that could use some competitive football along with a few of our talented youngsters on the periphery of things.  And Bendtner. Bloody Bendtner.

Guessing what Arsene will do in these games is very tricky. Were we playing a Premiership game, predicting the starting 11 wouldn’t be too difficult – easy in fact given the current paucity of available players. That’s a list you can now add Theo Walcott to for the next few weeks.

So, here’s my very best guess at how we will line up:

Nicklas’ triumphant return?

As for the game itself, it’s certainly a potentially tricky one. I’d expectWest Brom to field a relatively strong team, but use it as an opportunity to give minutes to certain players in the same manner we will.  Given the lack of options, our bench could very well be stronger that recent weeks tonight, and contain the likes of Ramsey, Ozil and Giroud should we need to chase the game in the second half.

Of course, Arsene may even spring a surprise on us. For some time I’ve had a sneaky feeling he might start with Ozil today – if only to give our new German friend another opportunity to become familiar with the rigours of away games in the Premiership.  I’d also hoped he’d start with young Chuba Akpom up front, as he is immeasurably more deserving of the role than Bendtner, plus he appears to have a future at Arsenal.

All shall be revealed in due course.

I think we’ll win tonight, but I’m far from super-confident. The team has performed well recently and gathered some good momentum. The team that takes part tonight is likely to be a disjointed version, and it’s hard to say how they’ll perform. If they hit the ground running, I’ve no doubt of progression. But, it could be one of those nights. It certainly has the ingredients.

I shall predict a 1-2 win.

That’s all for today, folks. What do you think the team should be? There’s been a great deal of debate surrounding our selection, so don’t be shy – drop your thoughts in the comments.

I’ll be back tomorrow. For now, I’m off to have some breakfast, a mug of tea and plot further to take over the world….. MWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!


As always; thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.

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

FA Premiership; Saturday Dec 8th, WBA (h)

Afternoon folks.

There’s something wrong with today’s preview. With all the respect in the world to West Brom, who’ve been superb this season, I look at the current Premiership table and the recent results, and I can’t help thinking the respective fortunes of the two teams should be the other way around.

Arsenal currently languish in 10th after a succession of disappointing results, whilst our opponents have put in some excellent displays, beaten the big names, and rightfully flown up the table. I almost feel dirty to say Arsenal may not be the favourites today.

The are a few absentees due to injury; Walcott, Podolski, and Koscielny all join Diaby and Andre Santos on the sidelines. Bacary Sagna isn’t ruled out entirely, but is considered a major doubt. The players rested for Tuesday’s trip to Greece should all return.

My starting selection would be:

I think it’s fair to say the experiment of playing Gervinho as a striker hasn’t worked out. He scored a few goals early on, but on the whole he hasn’t looked anything other than a touch hapless. Giroud gives us real presence up front. Aaron Ramsey may get the nod to start in one of the wide positions, as Arsene Wenger tends to favour him over others.

It’s hard to predict how the game will go. Arsenal playing to their capabilities should have more than enough firepower to dispatch West Brom. Of course, recent matches have taught us that version of our beloved Gooners appears infrequently. West Brom play the game well, and have enough pace and guile in the forward positions to exploit any defensive blunders. The back four and keeper will needs their wits about them.

I’m going for a decent, back-on-track performance and a 2-0 victory.

That’s all for today folks. Please use the comments below to put forward your selections and preferences. Who would you pick? Who would you leave out?

Lastly, if you’re looking for a good place to put a few bets on the game, then look no further than Bet Victor. You’ll even get a free £25 bet if you sign up as a new member. You can register here.

Arsenal vs West Brom odds.

Starting XI against West Brom and team news.

Theo and Robin celebrate beating West Brom in November.

FA Premiership, May 13th: West Brom Vs Arsenal.

Sunday morning greetings to you, possessor of the jangling nerves.

The big day is upon us. A season of ups and downs, high and lows, boils down to 90 minutes of football. 37 Premiership outings that featured before today serve only as an irrelevance. Wining will secure the prize we covet, regardless of the efforts of others.

I’m sure that the nerves are truly begining to kick in for you, aren’t they? This morning, I’m a cacophony of gaseous exhaust and I havent sat still for a period of longer than 5 minutes – it’s taken several attempts to complete this post. On the face of things, I’d expect this Arsenal team to dispatch a West Brom side missing it’s top scorer and other key individuals with minimal fuss. However, we all know of our team’s desire to make things as excruciating as possible.

It’s well documented that it’s Hodgson’s last match in charge of the Baggies. Taking that into account, the ground is certain to be loud and intimidating, and the supporters will want to see things signed off in style. West Brom have nothing to lose or gain. Hopefully, they’ll come out and play openly with a view to attacking. That should enable our attackers more space to exploit, and more chances created for Robin. I expect us to score. My main worry is how we defend.

If the cavalier positioning of the back four is there, we’ll concede. We need a tight unit in defence, and we need the midfield to support and cover. If Vermaelen is bounding through the midfield to aid an attack, someone has to fill in. If West Brom try to attack our full-backs, they’ll need help from the players out wide in front of them.  If we get a lead, let’s ensure we remain tight at the back, and don’t repeat the same errors made last week.

With Sagna, Arteta, Wilshire, Diaby and Mertesacker all definately out, and with Szczsney’s shoulder injury non-restrictive and Theo only expected to make the bench; my guess at the starting XI would be:

Szczsney; Coquelin, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Gibbs; Song, Ramsey, Rosicky, Benayoun, Gervinho; van Persie

We have the pace of Theo and Chamberlain from the bench, and Chamakh caused Norwich a few problems last week, and he could be useful in the air if we get desperate in the final 10 minutes. I hope we will win, every part of my anatomy I’m able to cross will be crossed for the remainder of the minutes leading up to kick-off.

I’ll guess and 2-1 to Arsenal, but it won’t be comfortable viewing for the fans.

Thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards. Take a moment to comment with your ideal starting XI and don’t forget to follow my Twitter account @_ArmchairGooner 

Arsene speaks, Laurent baffles, Wojciech’s bad shoulder, Theo returns?, M’Vila fluff and bits.

Lukas was unsure how to deal with the mysterious sphere headed his way.

Morning, folks.

“Where was yesterday’s post?” I hear you sneer. Well, I was a busy fellow at work; feverishly scurrying about the premises preparing an array of treats for those inconsiderate enough to require feeding. It happens occasionally; my time set aside for blogging is limited at best.

But I’m back today. I’d like to believe my return is greeted by relived exhalation and dancing.

Onto to Arsenal matters, and I’ll start with a worrying rumour floating around. Szczsney is alleged to be on the verge of missing Sunday’s game with a shoulder injury – presumably sustained in training. Whilst he hasn’t been at his imperious best in recent weeks, the sense of dread that overwhelms me when he’s not there doesn’t go un-noticed. The thought of Fabianski or Almunia, flailing limbs and terrified glares, prancing from their area to intercept balls is not a sight I wish to see with so much at stake on Sunday. Wojciech will be having a late fitness test nearer to kick off. I hope he comes through. The good news on the injury front regards Theo, and the slight possibility of him being fit enough for a place on the bench.

As that fixture grows ever closer, a few of the players have been speaking their pearls of wisdom to those paid handsomely to listen – and then distort, rehash and edit how they see fit. Laurent Koscielny has spoken a little about poor starts, untiy and, in typically gaelic fashion..err… sand:

“We were whopped at Old Trafford. Everybody thought we were dead and buried.

“But you don’t lose your football like that, like snapping your fingers.

“It can happen that a grain of sand falls in the machine, and the machine stalls; then you start to have doubts about your qualities, your club, your coach, everything.

“We had to put the house back in order and everyone did their bit. The squad wasn’t giving enough for the club, and was aware of it. We got back to work, we told each other the things that needed to be told; after which, one win, two wins, confidence comes back, and things follow from then on. The new players gelled in the squad, and here we are.”

Wise words indeed. I often wonder where we might be now, were it not for the appalling start to the season. We lost ground early on, and it took a while for the team to fully recover. Add to that a few poor results and performances at the beginning of the year, and we were out of the Premiership reckoning ridiculously early. Thankfully, it appears those crucial blunders don’t look to be repeating themselves. Anything we do in preparation for next season should be done in plenty of time.

Of course, some of which depends on the outcome at West Brom. I don’t think it’s essentially to our recruitment plans to secure third, but I do think it’s important. Some quotes have served to cool all the talk about Yann M’Vila, some even say the deal is off. I personally think more information will surface once the league finishes. The team has it’s destiny in it’s own hands, they’ve already seen fortune smile on them. This represents their last chance to secure a decent finish. Arsene Wenger appears to have noticed the key area:

“We were focused and switched on in the last couple of weeks. At Stoke we had a good game and offensively against Norwich we had a good game. Defensively, though, we had not the expected level.

“Maybe we were focused too much on winning the game and forgot that to win the game you need to defend as well.”

I expect us to score at The Hawthornes. My worry is at the other end. As that day approaches, I become that little bit more nervous with each passing hour. Not long now.

Thanks for reading today, you beautiful bastards. The comments quietly wait below for you to take full advantage of them, and there’s always my Twitter account for the followers amongst you: @_ArmchairGooner