The Armchair Gooner

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

£25m bid for Griezmann and Jack misses 6 weeks.

“6 WEEKS?!”

Afternoon, folks.

There’s some extra bits of news today I thought, seeing as I have a little burst of free time, I’d share with you, if you’ve not already read of the events (you most probably have).

Firstly, the injury curse that has struck Arsenal with such maddening regularity has once again reared its hideous face and removed Jack Wilshere from the team. Whilst on utterly pointless international duty with England, Jack sustained a hairline fracture to the navicular bone in his left foot and is expected to miss the next 6 weeks of football, a spell that sees us face several very important fixtures. Continue reading

5 Things I Learned From Last Night’s Internationals

The England game quickly took its toll on the viewer

Morning, folks.

Last night saw international friendlies. Not just your bog-standard friendly match, no, utterly pointless ones 3 days before we play an FA Cup quarter-final with Everton. The Football Association in England certainly seem to take great pride in choosing the most inconvenient and moronic time for schedule a fixture.

I didn’t watch any of the events last night as they unfolded, I invariably don’t take much interest in the fortunes of my national team. Aside from the World Cup, which occasionally whets my footballing whistle, watching nations face-off against each other in the beautiful game bores me senseless.  Of paramount concern in the eyes of yours truly is that no Arsenal player returns from duty with an injury and it looks at this stage to be the case.

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

Giroud and Wilshere; Gone in Sixty Seconds.

‘A’ is for, “A bloody painful last fifteen minutes”

Morning all.

Those nerves I mentioned yesterday, they came back. With a vengeance. During the last 15 minutes when we inexplicably allowed the worst Villa team I’ve seen in years back into the game, my poor innards were treated to a maelstrom of curious sounds and pained exhausts. Before the game I’d actually settled down and was prepared to enjoy a pleasant evening’s viewing. After that glorious 59 second period in which Giroud and Wilshere netted superb goals, any remnants of terror washed away absolutely. Or so I thought.

Oh, Arsenal, how you love to torment me.

When reviewing Arsenal, it’s often easy to point our certain areas where you believed improved could be made and end up sounding churlish. We came through an away fixture with three points and that’s all that matters. 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

New Puma kit, naughty, naughty Wilshere and other such things.

The British media anticipated Wilshere’s next tweet.

Hello everyone.

I’ve been away, but like a triumphant Phoenix rising majestically from the ashes of solitude I greet you again, one and all, delicious readers of this ‘ere blog of mine. I really ought pull my finger out, but with my new found enthusiasm for podcasting, those valuable moments of spare time are at a premium.

The Goonersphere Podcast means I’m never too far away from those of you that genuinely miss me – all 2 of you – and I’ll always be back here to enlighten, brighten and errr… something that rhymes with that.

Onto the news. In the past few days my beady little eyes have scoured the pages of the internet as usual, furiously scanning the varied news outlets in the hope of finding some nuggets of information that isn’t either entirely fabricated or speculative nonsense. I hate international football. It truly bores me to the point of becoming maddened and mentally unstable. Give me an Arsenal game over my national team any day of the week. Continue reading

Velociraptors and West Bromich Albion.

West Brom 1-1 Arsenal: Jenkinson’s positional discipline improved with every game.

Afternoon, you wonderful people.

I like Velociraptors. They’re an amusing bunch, strutting around in packs and eating people. When I sat through Jurassic Park for the first time at the cinema as a young man, I wasn’t terrified or moved to shield my eyes with my hands. Not at all. My reaction was one of, “Awww they’re f**king adorable”.

The reason Velociraptors have made it into an Arsenal blog is simply because Carl Jenkinson reminds me of one. Whilst I’m pretty sure Carl hasn’t got any inclination to leap from the trees and devour a passing family, his running style and body language strikes me as eerily similar. I can imagine him solving puzzles like the navigation of door handles and showing a greater intelligence that experts initially expected. Continue reading

Smokin’ Jack Wilshere, injury setBacs, and fluff, guff and stuff.

Ronaldinho was quick to jump on the bandwagon.

Afternoon/Evening, or to quote Sheldon Cooper, “Prevening”

Today is one of those days where I urged to write my the nagging sensation in my head saying to me, “James, you’re neglecting your readers”.

Perhaps I am doing just that. Goodness knows, I’ve been far removed from my usual punctilious self. With all the podcasting going on, and events in my personal life ensuring even the smallest detail is being uprooted and thrown into chaos, the remaining time is for sleeping and moments of cogitation. I am just one person without a network of associates. Because of this, I am sure to flounder.  Continue reading

Cazorla, Giroud, Monreal, Walcott, Diaby, Arsene and welcome calm waters after a maelstrom of sh*t.

Arsenal 2-1 Aston Villa: Proof that Jack Wilshere is an ethereal being. (Image courtesy of @murtz_abidi)

Morning, folks.

Ahhhhhhh, and relax.

There’s nothing quite like Arsenal’s ability to turn the relatively simplistic into an afternoon of fingernail-gnawing terror. Villa, to their credit, did come and at least attempt to make a game of it, but a narrow 2-1 victory should really have been achieved with little or no fuss.

When Santi Cazorla popped in our opener on 6 minutes, I foolishly thought we’d be in for one of those games where we pulverise our opponents and register a large goals tally. Unlike those of you fortunate to have jobs that don’t require working ridiculous hours, I was paying no attention to my work in the kitchen, and instead permanently attached to my phone keeping up with the game.

Through the various mediums utilised, I thought things appeared to be comfortable for the Arsenal. Having watched the game back in the wee hours of Sunday morning – when I’m writing this – I realise we made fairly hard work of a team we should really be giving a good hiding.

Of course, that matters not a jot. When all the statistics and reports are long forgotten, the history books will simply inform that Arsenal won by 2 goals to Aston Villa’s 1. After a week as soul destroying as that which has haunted us, the victory was all important, and the manner it was accomplished  merely a secondary point.

In patches I thought we played well, and Nacho Monreal especially caught my eye. The Spaniard has only 3 Premiership games under his belt in an unfamiliar team, yet he looks assured and rapidly growing into his role. I like him – he’s effective both defensively and offensively, and he’s only going to get better once fully adjusted to the rigours of English football.

There were downsides. Abou Diaby managed to last only 60 minutes before substituted with yet another injury. You have to feel for the guy. There’s little doubting his talent, but I fear there may come a point when the club just can’t afford to put any more faith in him. Underneath all the aches and pains lurks a truly excellent footballer. However, time is no longer on Diaby’s side, and the summer could very well see the club say, “Abou, thanks for kicking John Terry in the face, but we have to let you go”.

Elsewhere. players I expect more from had a bit of an off day. Big Olivier Giroud showed occasional glimpses of the profligacy that plagued the start of his Arsenal career, and once again Theo Walcott was a special kind of fucking useless. Don’t get me wrong here, folks; I’m not one of these naysayers that enjoys trashing Walcott because it’s sometimes the popular thing to do. Given his wages, and his contract saga, I think we are entitled to expect better from him, and that’s something we’ve only seen briefly since he did put pen to paper.

The hero of the day, and the match winner was, as I’m sure you’d all agree, Santi Cazorla. Many people criticise Arsene’s transfers, but the brilliance of our diminutive Spanish trickster shows that when he gets it right, he’s capable of some truly magical deals. At £12m, someone as packed with talent as Cazorla is fantastic business any way you look at it. We are certainly very luck to have him, and one of the undoubted highs of the seaon is watching him and Wilshere combine in midfield.

All in all, we go into next weeks enormous game at Tottenham’s dungeon with a win and something to aim for. Victory in that game will really put us in a good position for obtaining 4th. Let’s hope we can build on our good points, and learn from the bad.

Thanks for reading today, you beautiful bastards. The comments await. Use them, or forever regret missing out on your opportunity to be heard. I always enjoy reading them.

Daunting Bayern, Wenger, Wilshere, transfers, troubles, arguments and abuse.

“Jesus… The Germans are coming”.

Greetings, Earthlings.

Yesterday was all about anger and despair. Today is all about, well… anger and despair. These are not the best of times to be a Gooner. Our season lays in tatters – ripped to shreds by a combination of predictable blunders and achingly shit results. Whilst scribing this, I’ve got BBC’s 606 phone-in from Saturday playing in the background. The ‘Wenger out’ stance that once seemed an opinion held by the few, is quickly turning into the opinion of choice amongst Arsenal fans.

I’m getting there myself. It’s a difficult thought to have, because I’m nothing but an unabashed fan of Arsene. No Arsenal supporter could debate the power of good he’s done for our club, the sustained success at the beginning of his tenure. However, those that revere him for the initial half of his time at Arsenal, need to take a unbiased look at the latter half. Perhaps Arsene is unfairly judged on the back of the wonders he accomplished, but those days seem further and further away. Especially after such limp and heartless performances as the one we saw at the weekend.

Is it time for a change? The romantic in me still believes Arsene can turn things around, the realist thinks a fresh face and a new direction is long overdue. But that’s just my opinion. There is too much abuse around the Arsenal community at present. Bickering and name calling with opponents is one things, when it’s within our own group, it’s painful to see. It has to stop. A united front is needed, especially with such an enormous game on Tuesday.

Bayern come to the Emirates, and it’s a daunting fixture. The German league leaders are one of the genuine super powers in European football. I don’t hold many delusions of winning the Champions League, but I do want us to go at it with all guns blazing. Oddly enough, such a prestigious fixture doesn’t worry me like the ones against so-called ‘lesser’ opposition. There won’t be a flat atmosphere like Saturday, the Emirates will be jumping. Nights like that can bring the best out of the players, and we certainly need a performance.

Jack Wilshere has spoken ahead of the game:

“Chelsea are an inspiration for everyone. They weren’t having a good season and, okay, they got a bit lucky in some games,”

“But they showed great character and we need to do that. We need to come together as a team.

“We have good leaders here, a good team atmosphere. That will help us.

“We have a good bunch of lads in the dressing room. They’re winners as well, the likes of Lukas Podolski and Mikel Arteta.They want to win.

“We know what Bayern are capable of. They have a great team. We need everyone behind us and we go again.

“We have beaten big European teams here before so now we need to do it again.”

He’s right – Arsenal need to come together as a team. That’s as important as anything. I, perhaps foolishly, hold hope for us against Bayern. On the back of such a debacle, I can see the players coming out with something to prove, to get the supporters back on side. There may be much to malign at present, but for 90 minutes tomorrow night, that should all be put aside. No boos, no banners. Just get behind the team. There are better times to vent frustrations.

The last thing I noticed on my browsing of news was the hilarious re-emergence of stupendous transfer rumours. They’re everywhere at the moment. After defeat, it’s amazing to see just how quickly inside sources at the club are declaring an enormous budget and several impressive names being linked to moves here. Ignore them, folks, they are designed to lure you in with false hope and get hits for websites built to do nothing else.

That’s all for today. Thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards. The comments are gagging to be used by you, so let’s be having a few – how do you see the Bayern game going, do you think it’s time for Arsene to leave? Let me know.

I shall return with a preview of the big one tomorrow.