A fantastic day of football saw all the usual top 4 suspects (and Spurs) drop points. With Arsenal’s recent fantastic away form, and Swansea’s less than stellar home performances, this was really a chance to move top of the league by some distance. Swansea have been known to cause us problems, their passing style is similar to ours in many ways, and they have great pace on both flanks, as well as Michu through the middle who seems to love scoring against us. Swansea have also scored the two fastest goals so far this season, so we had to stay sharp.
Swansea were pressing well right from the off, and it was proving difficult for us to get any lengthy spells of possession. We were given very little time on the ball, which was preventing the likes of Özil, Wilshere and Ramsey from picking out the right attacking passes.
Neither team particularly looked like scoring in the early goings, with both lacking that final killer ball. Most attacks were being snuffed out at the edge of either box or saw crosses being well over hit. Szczesny was doing fantastically, claiming every cross that came anywhere near him and making saves when required to. Although there was almost a bit of a howler by the young keeper, when he took a poor first touch from an admittedly powerful back pass and was pressed by Michu. The ball went out for a goal kick, but Michu very nearly kept it in leaving an open goal for the tap in. A lucky escape for the Pole.
The first half was very quiet with only a handful of attempts by both teams, and no real penetration. The best chance of the half fell to Giroud after a great run by Gnabry right before the whistle, but he dragged his shot wide and we went into the break nil-nil.
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We came out for the second half looking far more positive, and Gnabry and Wilshere in particular looked different players. Our passes were starting to flow far more, and it wasn’t long before we got our first goal; and what a goal it was. A string of one touch passes at the edge of the box between Özil, Wilshere, Giroud and Ramsey, completely out foxed the Swans defence, eventually finding its way through to Gnabry who slotted it past Vorm into the far corner for the eighteen year old’s first Premier League goal, and Arsenal’s first of the night.
Moments later we could have doubled our lead after a fantastic counter attack saw Wilshere put Özil one-on-one with the keeper. He really should have scored, but his finish wasn’t the best and Vorm was able to push it behind for a corner.
Swansea were still playing well and you had to wonder if we would regret missing this opportunity. We weren’t left wondering for long however, when a second beautifully flowing move between Ramsey, Giroud and Wilshere found it’s way into the net. All three of them had shooting opportunities, but in true Arsenal style that one extra pass kept coming, until eventually Ramsey smashed it past Vorm. It was one of those moves that had we squandered the chance, you would be furious at the players for not shooting earlier, but when it results in a goal, it is a fantastic one.
Szczesny was continuing on from his fine first half performance, palming a dipping Dyer shot round the post, and keeping out Bony after a mistake from Wilshere put him through on goal. I really felt he and the defence deserved the clean sheet today, unfortunately Swansea kept on pressing, and a lapse in concentration from Sagna (who had been superb all evening) allowed Ben Davies to run at the defence, play a one-two with Bony, and get the better of Mertesacker, knocking the ball past Szczesny for a Swansea goal. This resulted in an anxious last 10 minutes for Arsenal fans and players alike, with Swansea still pressing well and Arsenal having to dig deep and play on the counter.
We managed to hold on to our slender lead, thanks in part to a few defensive substitutions by Arsene Wenger. And when the final whistle blew, Arsenal sat comfortably at the top of the table after a superb second half performance. Being able to grind out these wins, even with the extent of our current injury list, bodes excellently for our prospects this season. And if we can keep up this kind of form, and integrate our returning players back into the side too, then things are really looking bright for us this season.
on getting a win on his 17th anniversary in charge…
It was better than any cake but the first half was quite difficult, Swansea played well, they were sharper than us. We didn’t play with enough purpose and they won many duels. In the second half we played in a more compact way and took advantage of every time we won the ball to be dangerous. We have seen a different Arsenal that is much more clinical and playing with much more purpose. We hung on a little bit in the last 15 minutes and they came back to 2-1 but overall I felt we deserved to win the game.
on being more clinical this season…
First of all that’s linked with young players who improve naturally in the final pass. We have added Ozil who can give a good ball in the final third and at the moment we have more confidence as well.
on Ramsey’s improvement…
Aaron Ramsey is a young boy and today Ramsey scored and Gnabry scored. Their combined age is 40 years old.
on the other surprising results in the Premier League…
It came as a surprise but it added a bit more pressure because you always feel guilty if you have an opportunity to solidify your position and you don’t’ take it and I think it’s part of a team as well during the season to grab the chance when you have it.
on being eight points clear of Man United…
Yes but it’s still an early stage and let’s not forget we were in a massive crisis after the first game.
He is surprising. He has the talent but the personality on the pitch as well. He doesn’t look timid, he looks to play with belief and of course talent. Unfortunately he is another player for Germany, he’s not English.
on Gnabry’s age when he started at Arsenal…
He was one year old. I can’t believe it. Now I have some players in my squad who were not born when I arrived at Arsenal.
on overcoming the ‘crisis’ of losing on the first day…
In our job there is only one response and that is on the pitch and that is what we did.
on conceding a sloppy goal…
Yes it was a bit of a sloppy goal. It was a bit easy and was down to a lack of concentration.
on scoring two goals in quick succession…
You feel that when we get over the halfway line on the counter-attack that everybody made the right decision and you see the danger coming. That is an enjoyable feeling because you feel when we are on the counter-attack that we can score.
on Ramsey’s resurgence…
First of all let’s not forget that his career was disturbed by a big injury and you need patience. After that people became a bit impatient with him and put pressure on him when he had some bad games. I believe it was a turning point for him when his game was questioned because it’s always an important period in the life of a football player, can you deal with that, come back to basics and practice even harder? Or does he feel sorry for himself and give up. That’s when I saw him responding in the way he did. I always thought we would come back and that’s why I kept faith in him.
on his goalscoring record…
Honestly I could not predict that. The only thing I can say is that he was always in good positions in the box and because he has improved his technique he doesn’t rush his decisions. Even the goal he scored today he needed a good touch, go past a player and finish quickly. Before, he used to rush his finishing but now he is more confident.
on Ramsey continuing his record…
I wish, but finishing is a bit cyclic because he will not score 38 goals in a season and you have to accept that. But it’s good you have players from midfield who can score.
Sagna Koscielny Mertesacker(c) Gibbs
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