Arsenal: Swans Smash and Grab to Dent Arsenal’s Hopes of 2nd Place


Swansea City was welcomed to the Emirates on Monday as Arsenal continued their run at 2nd place while the Welsh side might have been hoping for an outside chance at the Europa league.  Our ‘normal’ league side was sent out on the pitch once again today and here is an interesting fact about that:  This was the first time in Arsene Wengers reign at Arsenal that he has started the same league side five matches in a row, maybe he’s on to something.

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Swansea manager, Gary Monk may have learned something from our misfortunes at the Liberty Stadium earlier this season as he set up his side to frustrate.  They were perfectly fine with us having nearly all of the ball as long as they did not get caught with too many men in front of the ball (like we did in Wales).  Seriously, no problem not having possession.  We had 86% well into the first half and finished with around 70%

This strategy seemed to be working though.  We had one chance early in the 4th minute.  Aaron Ramsey was played in on the right flank of the Swansea area where he then put in a brilliant cross to find the head of Olivier Giroud.  Giroud couldn’t quite see the goal as he made the run but somehow managed to almost score with the ball just soaring over the top of the net.

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For all the possession that Arsenal enjoyed over the first 45 they did not have another chance until the 42nd.  Giroud found himself with the ball just outside of the penalty box and tried to bend one in the upper corner.  Unfortunately for Arsenal, his second effort was just over the top of the goal like the first.

With Arsenal being somewhat pedestrian at times and Swansea content to let them play as such the first half concluded with the scoreline a dull 0-0.

For the first 15 minutes of the 2nd half it looked as though Arsenal might just walk to a draw and be done with it, but around the 60th things started to heat up.

Aaron Ramsey got things started in the 62nd with the first real chance of the 2nd half.  The Welshman did his best to get one past the Polish keeper but the attempt was just not good enough and went wide.

Only 2 minutes later Santi Cazorla let fly from what could only have been about 12 yards out and Lukasz Fabianski was able to make a fine save, but one which fell to the feet of Alexis Sanchez.  Sadly, Alexis too could only shoot at the chest of Fabianski, but this time the Pole was able to hold on to the ball.

Between the 65th-70th was something that all Arsenal fans really should have enjoyed.  Both Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott were brought onto the pitch within minutes of one another.  For all the flack that the duo has caught over time we would do well to remember that they are both still yet to reach their ‘golden age’ (sorry Arsene) and have battled with injuries.  Take a moment to appreciate the fact that this is quality coming off of our bench as well.

“When you don’t execute, you get punished…That was a good reminder how important it is to score, how important it is to get the opener when you have the opportunities. When you don’t do that in the Premier League, you are battling for fourth place, not second.”-Per Mertesacker

After the subs were made, Arsenal continued to be energetic and had their best chance of the game in the 78th when somehow both Theo and Alexis managed to miss from close range.  A nice low cross was put in from the left and both Theo and Sanchez had shots, but once again they flew straight to the chest of Fabianksi as he continued to stymie the Arsenal attack.

With time winding down in the 85th you could be forgiven for accepting the draw and 1 point and moving forward, you would also be wrong.  At that moment Swansea began to move forward down the right flank where they played an absolutely terrible cross over the Arsenal penalty area, but the ball landed favorably for Swansea at the feet of another Swan. This time the ball was put in better and it fell to Swansea substitute Bafatimbi Gomis.  Initially it looked as if his attempt had been turned wide by the post, but thanks to goal line technology it was made clear as day that the ball had crossed the line.  Truly a dagger to the gut and Arsenal were never really able to get another chance on goal.

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With the loss Arsenal no longer control their own fate for 2nd place and must hope not only for Manchester City to slip up but also to get a result at Old Trafford this weekend.  It was pretty disappointing overall. We were on a nice unbeaten run and though I’m not sure we did enough to deserve a victory, surely we did not deserve to lose, but hey, that’s football.

Fabianksi was absolutely brilliant for Swansea between the sticks.  It was like he had magnetic hands and chest which the Arsenal players just could not get past.

Our midfield looked good to me again too but our final ball was just left wanting.  A disappointing result for sure, but these things have happened before and will surely happen again.  The only thing that can be done now is to look forward to old Trafford and putting that Dutch Skunk in his place.

Until Next time #COYG

Next: Wilshere to Start Against United?