Going into the Arsenal game on Saturday I wasn’t too optimistic but felt that a point would be satisfying given the quality of opposition and our recent form. I tucked into my pre-match meal at the Italian restaurant I normally go to for a home game, I have the same thing every time which defines the point of meals out but hey ho.
I’m going on a bit of health binge this month, I only drink on the weekends anyway but I have drank so much water recently I could fill a drought in the desert at the moment. As I tucked into my meal I was watching the Spurs West Brom game which saw Poch’s men trail a system which is similar to Chelsea’s under Conte this season. The system paid off. Spurs finished as 4-0 winners and could have won 8-0 they were that good and West Brom didn’t get a kick all game. That won’t happen to us this weekend surely I thought. Oh how wrong was I.
Anyway, Swansea team news came in via twitter. The Swansea team presented as a strong side but there was no place for the new boy from PSV. He was out injured, this was followed by confirmation of the near completed deals of Tom Carroll and Martin Olsson from Spurs and Norwich respectively. A substandard left back, a Spurs reserve and a crocked winger who hasn’t played for six months. Great transfer business Swansea.
I then checked the Arsenal team-again via twitter and then the fear set in. The front four was Giroud, Alexis, Ozil and Iwobi. Yeah we have no chance I thought to myself. Having finished my meal I walked into the Liberty Stadium with an observation of the number of people who were quite clearly Arsenal fans.
What gave it away you ask, London Accent? Haven’t seen them before? None of those reasons folks, it was the fact that they were wearing Arsenal shirts in the Swansea end without even wearing coats to blend in. Good luck being quiet guys I thought. Paul Clement was introduced before the game, he wore a coat which made him look more like an undertaker than a football manager. The way the game went he might have taken a few of the Swans players to the cemetery as they would have been better use there.
The game kicked off and the Swans looked positive to start with as Ki was denied a penalty and Naughton going close with a shot. Arsenal had small bits of possession without really penetrating Swansea who held their own against the title contenders. The breakthrough came towards the end of the first half and it was disappointing given how well Swansea played.
Dyer gave the ball away which led to lovely one touch play from Arsenal, Ramsey was then played through by Ozil and the ball was smashed across goal by the Welshman. Ozil and Giroud both missed the first cross, the ball was then retrieved by Alexis who wiped a second ball in for the free Ozil – Jack Cork and Ki were too busy looking at where their family members might be instead of picking him up I am assuming. His header was blocked by Mawson which went only as far as Olivier Giroud who made it 1-0. Cue our Arsenal friends celebrating in the home end, this didn’t go down very well as some fellow supporters who wanted to congratulate them by punching one of them in the face. They were helped out of the ground by the stewards on duty.
Swansea’s first half performance was very good apart from the error leading to the goal. Going down to the concourse for a half time tea break, I felt if we kept playing like that we would get something out of the game. That optimism died after halftime. Arsenal were relentless after halftime as Ozil, Alexis and Iwobi should have scored before Iwobi’s deflected shot off Jack Cork made it 2-0 to Arsenal. Swansea simply hadn’t turned up in the second half, Ozil and Alexis ran the show all game and showed how poor Arsenal would be if they left.
Swansea brought Leroy Fer on for Nathan Dyer who was a much use as his injured mate from PSV who was watching in the stands. The two Swansea centre-halves played very well during the game particularly Federico Fernandez who had come in for criticism previously. The very impressive Iwobi made Arsenals third, driving the ball from the wing and with a bit of nice footwork, hit a low cross which the unfortunate Naughton touched in for an own goal.
Number four came after an Arsenal break, Ramsey was clattered in the area but Sanchez was at hand to finish from close range. The worst thing at the time that it was only the 70th minute and there was 20 mins left for me to suffer.
Fortunately, Arsenal eased off and it was only the four in the end, Sanchez then had a paddy when he went off and replicated every teenager taken off by their Sunday league team. From my Swansea fan reflection on the team’s performance, it was a positive first half but a terrible second following confirmation of terrible transfers into the club before the match. The only way is up for me.
Arsenal were impressive but should have won 7-0 with the amount of clear chances they missed. Overall, there is a lot of work for Clement to do as Swansea boss but I have more faith in him than I did in Bob ‘Don’t call me Regan’ Bradley.
Onwards and upwards. Hopefully!