Arsenal will be ruing missed chances and defensive frailties yet again after dropping vital points in what should have been a comfortable victory after Van Persie gave the gunners the lead in the fourth minute. The loss caps off a run of very disappointing matches for the gunners with what looked to be comfortable victories on paper turning into dropped points in the form of a draw to Wolves, a loss to Fulham and now a loss to Swansea.
One thing that this game has shown us is how integral Arteta is in midfield. Arteta is Arsenal’s orchestrator, the tempo setter, the link between defence and attack and more importantly a great reader of the game and player who knows where to position himself and how to defend. Today in Ramsey and Benayoun we saw just two attacking midfielders and no-one really getting dirty and supporting Alex Song on defence.
Arteta also knows when to slow the tempo of the match, gives calmness in midfield and more importantly retains possession and doesn’t give away needless passes. It is often a case of his presence going unnoticed, but once he is gone these were the exact things that were sorely lacking throughout the match. Hopefully he returns from injury sooner rather than later as Benayoun is simply not accustomed to taking on Arteta’s role and is more suited to playing advanced midfield.
From one midfielder to another we move onto Aaron Ramsey. The Welshman admittedly had a torrid match in midfield giving away the penalty for the first, although it was a crazy decision, and losing possession in a dangerous position which led to the second. I do think the Welshman will become a great player for Arsenal and hopefully he learns from his mistakes today, but I am still on the fence on whether he should be shouldering so much responsibility for the gunners. It will be interesting to see what Wenger does with midfield when Wilshere returns.
What is more worrying though is that Arsenal are slipping into old habits and getting rattled much like they would last season. There was nervousness and panic on defence as a whole, a phase which I thought was over after the gunner’s strong run this season but one that has seemed to have returned with a similar scenario happening against Fulham and now against Swansea. It is worrying when even Wenger admits to not knowing what is wrong. Defence as a unit was simply not good enough today and will need to improve if we are to win next week.
The last thing I would like to touch on is Andrey Arshavin. We have heard Wenger’s defence of the little Russian, but today surely shows he is not capable of playing even 60 minutes of match. Besides his assist, and a great assist it was, he simply doesn’t have the stamina and work-rate to warrant a starting spot after fading very badly today. He is capable of pulling something out of the hat and credit to him for that, but that is why he should be only used as an impact player and Oxlade-Chamberlain should be given a deserved chance.
We look forward to the next fixture against Manchester United in what could prove to be a pivotal game for our season. We must atone for dropped points we have given away to lesser teams and regain some much needed confidence and what would be a massive boost!
on the game…
The game was difficult because Swansea played well. It was also decided by some strange decisions from the referee, who gave a penalty that was complete imagination.
From then on I thought there were some odd turning points, like when we came back to 2-2 and made a defensive mistake straight away. It looked similar to Fulham to me, the lack of appreciation for the ball. Our defensive performance was not good enough and that’s why we lost the game.
When we got back to 2-2 I thought we could win the game because I thought we could be dangerous. The keeper kept them in the game after too and made some great saves.
I think we also missed some unbelievable chances that are very difficult to understand and explain. But apart from that, well done to Swansea, they played well and deserved the win.
on defensive frailties…
Coincidences are always against us and it is difficult to understand what is going on. I don’t know, I feel we are a bit too nervous. We cannot panic every time they have the ball in the final third of the pitch. We have to show more composure and ambition. I think we panicked a bit too quickly today.
It is always a concern but on the other hand there is a good spirit in the side and a desire to do well. But we have dropped six points in a row now that we should not have.
Djourou Mertesacker Koscielny Miquel
Walcott Van Persie (c) Arshavin
Wojciech Szczesny | 5.5: Can’t really be blamed for the first and second goal, but left himself in no-man’s land for the third. Should have either committed to running out and diving on the through ball rather than pulling out half-way through.
Johan Djourou | 6.5: A great ball to release Walcott for the second goal and had a solid game considering he was playing out of position.
Per Mertesacker | 6.0: I felt the German was solid on defence and could not be blamed for any of the goals we conceded tonight. His only blunder was his inability to get a shot at least on target after the ball fell to him in the six-yard box. Substituted for Chamberlain in the 76th minute.
Laurent Koscielny | 6.5: I only give him a average rating as he played a huge part in the third goal by playing Graham on-side and failing to recover, although I think he felt Szczesny had it covered. It is a shame as other than that he had a very good performance.
Ignasi Miquel | 6.5: Had no favours from Arshavin on defence and considering that did quite well. Looked good on attack and put in a great cross in the second half.
Alexandre Song | 5.5: Not his usual self failing to break up many attacks as he usually does, although he was seldom supported by either Ramsey or Benayoun which may have contributed.
Yossi Benayoun | 6.0: Did not really provide any threat up front considering he practically played as a pure attacking midfielder. Was subsequently substituted for Tomas Rosicky in the 63rd minute.
Aaron Ramsey | 5.0: A bad day at the office for Ramsey who had a huge hand in two of Swansea’ goals, although was not helped by Arshavin who played a dangerous pass which led to Swansea’s second. Hopefully lessons are learned here.
Theo Walcott | 6.5: His final ball was yet again not up too scratch and is becoming way too much of a consistent theme. Did well to score Arsenal’s second though after a great ball by Djourou.
Robin van Persie | 6.5: While it looked as though he missed his chance to convert, he still sneaked the ball passed the near post for the early opener. Had another great one-on-one chance with Vorm saving.
Andrey Arshavin | 5.0: While he assisted beautifully for the opener, the little Russian offered little else in this encounter yet again questioning his credentials as a starter for Arsenal. Substituted for Henry in the 63rd minute.
- Notable Substitutions
Tomas Rosicky | 6.0: Looked to add more direct play to Arsenal’s game then Benayoun and made a surging run towards the edge of the box rifling a shot straight at Vorm.
Thierry Henry | 5.5: Did not get much of the ball and had a hand in Swansea’s third and final goal.