Tag Archives: Swansea

Swansea 3-1 Arsenal—Vote for Player Ratings & MOTM!

Well, that was unexpected. After all of the hype and excitement of adding Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang, Arsenal arrived at Liberty Stadium and promptly laid an egg against the Swans. At least it wasn’t a goose-egg, if you don’t mind my mixing metaphors. Monreal salvaged a tattered scrap of dignity by briefly putting us ahead. However, horrific defending allowed Swansea an easy equalizer—and without suggesting any blame—Mkhitaryan came on and bore witness to a god-awful comedy of errors as Čech squibbed an easy clearance directly into Ayew’s path, and it was 2-1. We never really showed any fightback after that, and we deserved the result—the beating, really. I just hope the ink is dry on Auba’s contract. He might be reconsidering his options. Feh. Let’s get down to the poll.

Arsenal 2-1 Swansea—vote for player-ratings/MOTM!

Arsenal dominated most of the first half only to see Swansea’s Clucas score on a counter, and it looked like Swansea’s defensive set-up would be enough to keep the clean sheet. However, we came storming out of halftime with two goals, as Kolašinac scored during a scramble and then assisted Ramsey moments later. There was a ten-to-fifteen minute stretch there during which it looked like Arsenal would blow the game wide-open. In the end, though, things settled down into a comfortable rhythm, more or less, or Swansea never really rose to the occasion after that. It’s three points in the bag against a club we’ve struggled to beat in the past, and it’s enough to see us climb into the top four, if only temporarily. Good enough for now. Let’s get down to the poll to rate the lads!

Arsenal vs. Swansea: cakewalk or banana-peel?

Swansea. They’ve been a bit of a banana-peel over the years, one of those squads that we really should do better against than we have since they were promoted in 2011. However, they’ve frequently given just as good as (if not better than) they’ve gotten, even going so far as to win at the Emirates in two of their last three visits. As such, we’d do well to look past their recent form and focus on our own, which, Everton not withstanding, has hardly inspired confidence.

In fact, red cards might deserve just as much credit for recent results as our own play. Against Red Star, after all, it was only after Rodic was sent off that we found a goal. Again, against Everton, it was only after Gana was sent off that we were finally able to carve Everton open. Withuot dwelling on the issue too much, the only match in which we’ve really looked convincing was at Stamford Bridge—a match in which, again, a red card helped us. At some point soon, meaning by Saturday, we will have to refine tactics other than getting clattered enough to convince to referee to send someone off.

If there’s good news, it’s that the Everton match gave us, at long last, a glimpse of what it can be like to see Alexis, Lacazette, Ramsey, and Özil on the pitch together. Even if Everton are in utter disarray, even if they were down a man when our quartet finally erupted, it’s matches like those that produce confidence and chemistry for tougher fixtures down the line. I hope I don’t slight Mr. Nketiah by omitting him after his outburst against Norwich, but I’m sure he’ll take it in stride. The larger point is that the attacking options we now have available after injuries and interlulls should be more than enough to overwhelm any keeper, even one as fine as Fabiański. Even if there were times when Alexis and Ramsey bickered or remonstrated about the other’s wastefulness and selfishness, the threat that they and Lacazette can pose with Özil’s service should strike fear into most keepers’ hearts.

From the other end, we’ll have a bit less to worry about from the Swansea attack, such as it is. They’ve scored just six goals and look likely to struggle without the services of Wilfried Bony, and they’ve depended almost entirely on starlet Tammy Abraham, who’s scored four of those goals, two of them against Huddersfield, one against Watford, and one against Palace. Most of his service and most of Swansea’s attack will likely come down our right side as Jordan Ayew and Tom Carroll lead the squad in assists and key passes, respectively. The absence of the loaned-in Renato Sanches deprives the Swansea of some creative spark and defensive grit in the heart of the midfield, but it must be noted that Swansea have still managed to hold their own in the Prem. As perhaps a signal of their priorities, Paul Clement named a much-changed XI for their League Cup clash with Man U, suggesting that he wants to focus on climbing the Prem ladder. His emphasis on defensive stability does show Swansea to have conceded just ten goals in nine matches.

Long story short, we may have our work cut out for us. Given that Fabiański will likely bring his best back to the Emirates, we may just have to be patient. On the other hand, they may just collapse as they did the last time we faced each other as they conceded two own-goals on their way to losing 0-4. Against our quarter, the larger part of me suspects the latter.


  • Swansea 0-4 Arsenal (14 Jan 2017)
  • Arsenal 3-2 Swansea (15 Oct 2016)
  • Arsenal 1-2 Swansea (2 March 2016)


  • Arsenal have lost the last two times they’ve hosted Swansea.
  • There have been less than 2.5 goals scored in Swansea’s last nine away-games.
  • Arsenal have scored at least two goals in their last seven home-games.


  • Cazorla, Chambers, Mustafi, Ospina, and Welbeck have all been ruled out.


  • Čech; Monreal, Mertesacker, Koscielny; Kolašinac, Xhaka, Ramsey, Bellerín; Sánchez, Özil; Lacazette.


  • Despite our history against Swansea and their own rather stout form, look for Arsenal to eviscerate Clement’s side rather ruthlessly.
  • Arsenal 4-1 Swansea.

Will Arsenal shake their Swansea-struggles? Lucas Pérez says si…

At first blush, a trip Swansea might be just the balm to sooth Gooners’ frayed and tattered nerves after leaving it awfully late in recent weeks at Dean Court and Deepdale. However, a closer look at Arsenal’s record at home or away to the Welsh side suggests that we’d do well to be wary, even if they’ve now named a fourth manager in one season, have shipped 45 goals across 20 matches, and are likely paying closer attention to goings-on in the Championship than in the Prem.

Paul Clement is now at the helm, bringing with him an impressive resume that includes assistant manager’s stints at Chelsea, PSG, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, all under Carlos Ancelotti, during which time he surely has picked up a trick or two about managing (even if Swansea boast somewhat fewer galácticos than he’d grown accustomed to in those stints). In any case, he’s bound to bring with him a bit more nous and inspiration than his predecessors. The shambolic Swansea that had conceded 13 goals in four matches under Bob Bradley looked much improved in two matches under Alan Curtis, and Clement is likely to at least sustain if not build upon that improvement. The mood around Liberty Stadium has been gloomy at best, but Clement’s reputation and achievement, if not his tactics, could mark a turn-around in Swansea’s fortunes.

As such, Arsenal should look to its own recent struggles rather that take Swansea for granted. We’ve had just about enough of the conceding first followed by the dramatic comebacks, thank you. Swansea waltzed into the Emirates last season and took all three, and we were fortunate to escape their October visit with a win when a red card to Xhaka left us at ten men defending a narrow lead for the last 20 minutes. Whatever the source of our malaise, be it against Swansea specifically or against anyone more generally, this is one of those matches from which we most absolutely seize the early advantage and take all three points. Late winners and equalisers are wonderful, but they come at a cost. Score early, as we should, and we can defend a lead rather than chase that late goal.
Against that backdrop, then, I’m looking to Lucas Pérez as one to seize the day. Though unheralded upon his signing, he has shown his quality, and it was his efforts and workrate against both Bournemouth and Preston that made a massive difference. Whereas others in the squad have looked jaded or enervated, Lucas has looked lively. With Walcott still nursing a stubborn injury, Lucas is a natural selection. He’s made the most of his time against lower sides in the past and looks ready to do do some damage against Swansea.
Arsenal 3-2 Swansea (15.10.2016)
Arsenal 1-2 Swansea (02.03.2016)
Swansea 0-3 Arsenal (31.10.2015)

The visiting side has won three of the last four fixtures.
Swansea have conceded two goals or more in seven of their last nine.
The clubs first clashed on 6 March 1926, a 2-1 win to Swansea in the FA Cup.

Elneny is off representing Egypt at AFCON, and Cazorla, Debuchy, Coquelin, and Mertesacker are all out. Gibbs, Walcott, and Bellerin face late injury-tests are are likely unavailable.

Čech; Monreal, Koscielny, Mustafi, Gabriel; Xhaka, Ramsey;  Alexis, Özil, Lucas; Giroud.

After sleepwalking through first halves in recent outings, expect Arsenal to come out eager to seize an early lead en route to a comfortable victory.

Swansea 0-3 Arsenal.

Not with a bang but a whimper…or is it simply darkest before the dawn?

Words can’t really express how I’m feeling after this result. Fifteen minutes in, we were up 1-0, Tottenham were down 0-1, and I was starting to think we could go into White Hart Lane level on points with a wobby Leicester in our sights. Oh, how wrong I was. Heart-breakingly wrong. I thought I was undone by the loss at Old Trafford. I thought no loss could sting as much as that one. Now, I realise my naïveté. After all, I could console myself by saying, “it’s Old Trafford. Tough venue, even against a threadbare squad.” Heck, but for 71 seconds or so, we actually looked tolerable. Against Swansea—Swansea, for feck’s sake—we looked, well, terrible. Is this how Arsène’s reign will end?

It seems almost unthinkable in this of all seasons. Chelsea have imploded, and the anti-Arsène Mourinho was sacked. Liverpool collapsed, leading to Rodgers being replaced (and Klopp struggling to resurrect the squad). Man U, despite having spent enough to make even Sheikh Mansour blanche, can barely latch on to a Europa League spot. Man City, plagued by indifference in the absence of a “true” rival, have sleep-walked through the season. This should have been our time. However, we’re actually three points off our own pace from last season. No one could have foreseen Leicester’s stunning form. Tottenham’s, though less surprising, is even more troubling.

This was supposed to be a season in which Arsenal broke through. Having paid down stadium debt, we should have been able to go into this campaign flush with funds, at least enough to reinforce key areas. After adding Özil and Alexis in previous summers, we might have counted on something more-ambitious than the addition of Petr Čech. He’s been grand, but our frailties were all too obvious. Alexis’s second-season struggles have exposed them all the more. Giroud busts his butt to the best of his ability, but we clearly lack someone who can rise up and, by sheer force of will, turn a game on its head. At least he tries.

Speaking of trying, could anyone have foreseen a season in which the removal of Joel Campbell would inspire rage and despair in equal measures? He’s quickly become our best option on the right wing, and that’s just as much a compliment to him as it is a criticism of those ahead of him in the pecking order. Walcott, Ox, and Ramsey might sport superior pedigrees, but Campbell’s been the only one to soup something up on a regular basis.

Years ago, we might have hailed Campbell as yet another of Arsène’s visionary strokes of genius: plucked from obscurity and given time to marinate before exploding on the scene. However, he’s come to embody the darker sides of Arsène’s vision: a player bought on the cheap who exceeds all expectations and plugs a gap just well enough to get us by as often as not. His goal against Swansea was crafty and clever, but it was the beginning and the end in this match. He was, after all, one of the only players on the pitch visibly giving it his all.

There is a definite lack of a winner’s mentality in our squad, a pervasive sense that we will bottle it if the pressure gets too high, and that’s what’s happened twice in a row now. I’m struggling to sustain my pragmatic belief that Arsène should stay on past the end of this season. We went into halftime level against an inferior foe, but our second-half fight came up short, and now our hopes waver on the edge of failure. We now have to split hairs: how will it feel to finish behind Leicester but ahead of Tottenham in a season in which our “real” rivals have folded? Is that enough to justify Arsène’s continued reign? What if we win the FA Cup for a third straight time but finish below Tottenham?

With ten matches to play, a six-point gap separates us from winning the Prem. If we can win at White Hart Lane—something we simply must do—we can still win the Prem.

Long story short, I still cling to hope—not that Arsène will stay on forever, necessarily, but that he’ll have a chance to bow out gracefully on the heels of having won the Prem and FA Cup, bookending a career that has been both as magnificent and as ambivalent as any in any club’s history. I do still believe that there is time. There are ten Prem matches left. If we run the table, well, we should finish atop the table. Three matches separate us from that third consecutive FA Cup title.

Thirteen matches, then, stand between us and a blaze of glory. A double would lift us all to levels of elation that none of us have felt for more than a decade. There are still plenty of fixtures, chief among them a certain North London Derby on Saturday. Tottenham have rarely if ever been in this position before. Let’s see how they handle the pressure. Something tells me they’ll bottle it. It’s what they do, after all.

What does this all mean as far as Arsène’s tenure? It’s too early to tell. Losing to Swansea might sound like a death-knell, but ask not for whom the bell tolls. There will be time enough to assess what it all means after it ends.