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Arsenal v Swansea retrospective. Awful crowd violence

By Tony Attwood

The violence that occurred in the crowd during the Arsenal Swansea match was shocking.  It must have been particularly frightening for anyone close by who was not minded to be involved, and is always disturbing to see.

But is it news?  Obviously not for the BBC coverage and various press reporters in their privileged position almost opposite the outbreak of fighting in the crowd.  And interestingly it was not mentioned by the bloggettas either – at least not by the ones I looked at.   I wondered why.   Was it because most of them are written by people who were not actually at the game?  Or are the bloggettas now so much part of the newspaper scene that they too are banned from writing about trouble in the crowd?

Certainly Premier League regulations have got more stringent of late in their attempt to control what is said and shown about football matches in reports, rather like the way reporting of the royal family is also controlled in Britain.  But whether it is reported or not, there was an outbreak of violence within the away supporters compound during the match which led to some extremely vigorous activity by stewards, with whom at least one perpetrator kept on fighting.

It would be interesting to know if Swansea will work to ban those involved from subsequent games, although the fact that the incident didn’t take place, according to the press, will I suppose make such action harder.  Meaning further outbreaks are more likely.

Mind you there wasn’t too much emphasis in the reports on Swansea’s prime tactic of parking not just the bus, but also of bringing the whole car park into the match, and then having 12 men (eleven player and the ref) locked behind the ball for much of the match.

However it was to be expected.  Before this game Swansea had scored two and conceded one goal away from home, so our match against them actually contained as many goals as Swansea’s away support had seen in all four previous games.  Maybe that’s why they fight: to forget just how dreadful watching Swansea actually is.

We have had arguments on this site before about when three at the back is actually five at the back, but in this game it was more like eight at the back, with three central defenders, two conventional full backs (not wing backs) and three defensive midfielders all lining up in two ranks that were only about a yard apart, and then two supposedly attackers just in front of them.   5-3-2 if you are generous.

Swansea scored because the three defensive midfielders did have a breakaway and linked up with the two attackers and caught Arsenal on the hop – but thereafter they were both pinned back and getting increasingly tired – which of course explains the lack of away goals.

Naturally the media blamed Arsenal for this, one report claiming the Arsenal attack “was lacking natural width, physicality and aerial presence [and] were simply trying to use their vast technical qualities to pass through swathes of Swansea bodies.”   It is difficult to see what else Arsenal could have done other than move across to a long ball game, hopefully lobbing the ball into the midst of the morass of defenders, maybe looking for a clearance to hit another player as it was booted out with it then rebounding into the net.  Fortunately we didn’t get that.

So Arsenal pushed up, Swansea waited, did the long ball thing, had a rush up the pitch and found Ramsey, Granit Xhaka, Kolasinac and Bellerin too far forwards and scored.  It’s a goal, but not football as a a spectacle designed to bring people into the ground.

After Swansea’s goal things got worse, for they had what they came for and did everything to protect it, and it was fairly clear that half time gave Arsenal the chance to reaffirm their tactics against such opposition: wait for the breaks, keep battering the bus.

As many have noted before Kolasinac, bought for £0 was a brilliant buy, and the goal of course gave everyone faith that this match was there to be taken, and indeed it was.

Not surprisingly the statistics revealed that we had 73% of the possession and outshot Swansea 17 to 4 – real car park figures.  As was another one that showed that the number of times Swansea actually got more than one man out of their half was tiny compared with a match where both teams seek to play football as it was intended.

But this is how it goes now.  Don’t report the crowd violence, don’t place too much emphasis on the negativity and never ever mention referee mistakes.  Like his failure to penalise the Swansea goalkeeper who at one point held the ball for almost 15 seconds without even a little flap of the hand from the ref to order him to speed things up.  It was ever thus.

And so the table after ten games reads

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Manchester City 10 9 1 0 35 6 29 28
2 Manchester United 10 7 2 1 23 4 19 23
3 Tottenham Hotspur 10 6 2 2 19 7 12 20
4 Chelsea 10 6 1 3 18 10 8 19
5 Arsenal 10 6 1 3 19 13 6 19

It is not where we want to be, but better than predicted after the opening few games.  And an interesting reflection on how much money various teams spent.  We are a long way behind Man City, that cannot be denied, but then they spent over £200m more than Arsenal.  But it is interesting that Chelsea are in our sights.

28 comments to Arsenal v Swansea retrospective. Awful crowd violence

  • blacksheep63

    hi Tony, I didn’t see the violence in the stands but then I am a long way away and I was concentrating on the match (such as it was). It is frustrating when teams come to park the bus but its nothing new; this is now the norm at the emirates (and elsewhere) and, like defending or taking corners, it is surely possible to coach a way through? Or do we have to rely on opponents getting tired, losing a crucial player to injury or a red card, or just luck to get past them?

    You know I am a positive pro-Arsenal Arsenal fan not an AAA or an Arsenal Fan TV type but it was extremely frustrating to again (third game in a row) concede a goal when we were dominating possession. Rooney, some unknown Norwich player and Clucus, all took their chances very well, each capitalising on dithering in the midfield or defence. Yes both Xhaha (vs Everton) and (possibly) the BFG (vs Swansea) could have a shout for being fouled but mostly they were all chances taken that could and should have been avoided.

    Thereafter Swansea played even more defensively but who can blame them? They had the chance of at least a point if not more away at one of the top 6.

    We are fifth and in touch with a top four place but apart from some brief cameos we haven’t played very well at all this season and at Liverpool and Watford we had stinkers. This is not a team that looks like challenging City this season nor one that looks like wresting the initiative from Sp*rs or Utd or Chelsea either.

    Lets not get carried away with the negative opprobrium that’s heaped on Arsenal by the media but nor should we try and we blame a lack of sparkle on the defensive tactics of so-called ‘lesser’ teams that visit. If we park the bus and leave the Eithad with a point next Sunday I for one will be very content with that.

  • Dominic Furey

    I was sitting in the Coock End, right by the divide with the away supporters. There was actually 2 outbreaks of violence in the away end. One in each half. Both times the stewards forceably ejecting 3 people.

  • para

    I would not have known of the violence if not i did come to Untold. They seem to want to “direct” what the public perceives.

    Anyway Arsenal, although still some little problems that trouble us from time to time, is generally stronger and more focused, at least it seems like that to me.

    Arsenal seem like a horse straining at the start just wanting to release the gate so they can take off, and is frustrated when it don’t release.

    This team can do things, even with all the “uncertainty” surrounding the club, an uncertainty that is mostly contrived by the media.

    So, next comes City, and i hope to enjoy this game, firstly because of the two managers, who love to play football, secondly because the teams will have or want to prove themselves against one another(at least i hope so).

    AW will not want to lose this and should come up with a way to defeat Pep, but they know one another’s teams.
    I hope that somehow Nketiah is on the bench to give him another taste. And from his way and attitude(if you have seen him in his youth games), he could be a (not so secret) weapon.

    Really looking forward to this game.

  • goonersince72

    Tony
    Viewing the game on TV I was not aware of the violence at the away end. I don’t recall the commentators mentioning it. Perhaps they did. For me, 3 points are 3 points, job done. But I’m glad you mentioned AFC’s league position and points total. They’re tied with Chelsea sitting, 1 point behind Spurs. Chelsea and Spurs are painted as gritty contenders. Arsenal are painted as weak bumblers with no chance. Am I missing something? Do the media and blogettas see something I don’t see? Doubtful. But soon we’ll hear from the antis on UA. ‘They should have scored 10’. ‘They don’t deserve the points becasue it was a 10 man side’, etc. I’m waiting, Tony. They’ll be on here soon.

  • Gord

    OT: Musing about the rest of the season

    Well, the early game (Brighton – Southampton) ended in a draw. The other game today, plus tomorrow night’s game could easily end up as draws as well.

    Looking at the standings (points and goal difference), if there is a split between the top clubs and the rest of the pack, it looks to be at the Arsenal/Liverpool!!! divide, with Liverpool!!! on the wrong side (in their minds). Three points and a 5 goal difference change there.

    A Newcastle win would muddy the dividing line, as they would leapfrog Liverpool!!!

    Assuming both of the remaining games end in draws, the average number of points for the rest of the pack in 10 games is 11. Extended to the end of the season, gives about 42 points. The mean square deviation on 11 is 10.4, which gives a standard deviation of 3.2 The high value is about 1.6 deviations above the mean, and the low value is about 2.2 below the mean.

    I am not going to suggest that the team currently in 6th will stay there, but it seems likely that the top of the rest of the pack will finish with about 61 points, and the 20th place team will be about 15 points. Again, this isn’t saying that the team currently in 20th will be the one that in that position at the end of the season. As we are expecting an average for the rest of the pack of 42 points, the relegation battle could be fierce this year.

  • WalterBroeckx

    I had to watch it on a stream that was all stop and go. Well more stop than go in fact. So I missed so much of the match I couldn’t do my match report. Looking at a stopping image every other minute or so I could “admire” the bus parking a lot. It was terrible to see all their players being so deep in their own half all the time. So I missed a match from Arsenal but didn’t miss any football match….

  • Rantetta

    Here’s a Swansea forum with a few peoples take on the fighting:

    https://www.fansnetwork.co.uk/football/swanseacity/forum/211310/fighting-at-the-emirates/#18

  • MGee

    A few drunk fans got pulled out of the crowd by heavy handed stewards. There was no fighting just gestures. Total non story. I was there

  • colario

    From Rantetta’s link you go here and rate the ref
    https://www.fansnetwork.co.uk/football/swanseacit

  • omgarsenal

    blacksheep63,I have the impression that the Arsenal have not yet fully hit their stride defensively. The midfield is a stop and go sort of experience but the attack is gelling,slowly but surely. The next few games, which are a major test, should give us a good idea of what to expect when the opposition improves. It seems that the start to the season was perturbed by the contract negotiations and injuries. I am optimistic and realistic about the remainder of the season, and I feel that AFC will end up in a top 4 position and do very well in a few cups,as we have the depth and talent to rotate players as needed.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    I believe Arsenal will not only challenge Man City to the EPL Title win this season but they will beat them as well at the Etihad on Sunday this week.

    Due to my daughter’s groom to be family and my own family getting together meeting for our two families formal introduction to facilitate the bestow of my daughter by me to her husbad to be which preludes their marriage engagement and wedding that will follow later that I had in my house last Saturday from 3:00 PM – 7:30 PM, I could not for the first time this season watch Arsenal live in the PL. I only saw the match highlights later and the 2 goals scored for Arsenal by Kolasinac which was a cracker and the one scored by Ramsey. I hope to watch the replay of the full match tomorrow when it will be shown.

    As most of us the Gooners must have known by now that whenever the lower teams in the Premier League and the teams in the Skybet divisions come to the Ems to play against Arsenal in the PL or in the Cup games, these lower PL teams and the Skybet teams come to the Ems are highly motivated to play a World Cup final match against Arsenal. Because it is the iconic Arsenal they are playing against which if they win, it will equate to winning the World.Cup for them. I think this is the reason behind Arsenal at the Ems have found it somehow hard to beat Doncaster Rovers and Norwich City in the Carabao Cup and Swansea City in PL yesterday convincingly. Let’s us remember that Swansea City have a history of coming to the Ems to cause an upset in PL matches against Arsenal in the recent past seasons. It is this upset causing which they want to cause for Arsenal yesterday at the Ems that made them play well an took a lead in the game. But for the starting XI and the 7 man bench Gunners being the strongest Arsenal team so far this season who Le Prof used to execute the match, Arsenal would have dropped points in the match yesterday if it were the former recent past teams that played the match.

    Therefore, my Kudos go to the Gunners. I strongly believe if Le Prof use this same starting XI and 7 man bench Gunners team he used in executing the match against the Swans successfully yesterday; this same 18 man match day squad if used by Le Prof for the Man City match will raise the level of their game at away far above the level of the game they played against Chelsea at the Bridge this season and will beat Pep Guardiola’s Citizens team who with the aid and abetting of the PGMO referres have been raping teams in broad day light raping in the Premier League matches this season by getting some unjustified penalties and also getting away with offside goals scored by them thus winning some matches illegally. But against Arsenal on Sunday, the Gunners will not give in to any raping attempts by the Citizens in the game on comes whatever adding and abetting of Man City cause by the PGMO match offucials for the match. But rather, the Gunners will not only beat them to win the match by scoring just one painful solitary goal match winner in the game, but could decide to rape Man City in the game in broad day light at the Etihad and return to the Emirates Stadium with all the 3 points cotestested for in the game which they’ve collected but also with the 2 goals they’ve scored, one of which is a raped goal.

  • colario

    ”a raped goal”

    I would think not a word for a Christian to use in any context

  • Pat

    It comes to something when a reporter ACCUSES us of using our ‘vast technical qualities’!

    They should be grateful to have a team that’s got them and uses them instead of twenty teams that play like Swansea.

  • Pat

    To be fair, the Swansea link doesn’t seem to show awful crowd violence, although it is really bad that our stewards were attacked. These things happen; one Arsenal match I was at two blokes – one of them accompanied by a little boy – squared up to each other right next to me. I attempted to comfort the little boy while his dad was misbehaving. Drink I think. Stewards had to intervene there too; luckily no one was actually hurt.

  • Andrew

    From a swansea fan I apologise for them we aren’t like that I know it’s horrible behaviour. I had a great day drinking with arsenal fans in a pub with Che Guevara signs. I would like to thank you for your hospitality and I will be contacting the club swansea in the morning if they need statements they will get them we don’t want people like that associated with the club. Again apologies

  • Chris

    Pat,

    right on the point : just incredible to be criticized for our vast technical qualities.
    I mean, what were we supposed to do ? Play the ball between ourselves in our half of the turf ? Just decide to fold the game and go home because the other team does not want to play ? I was wondering if there ought not be some rule like the 20 second rule in baskeball – a team has to shoot at the basket in that time or loses the ball… I’m sure some adaptation of it would be possible to break that strategy that poisons the beautiful game.

    This is where this stupid Arsenal bashing goes way overboard and they say totally stupid and senseless things.

  • Jax

    Does anyone know the source of the ‘trying to use their vast technical qualities’, as I can’t find it anywhere other than on Untold. I’m interested in seeing it in the context of the match report. Google’s no help, so perhaps someone here might have seen it.

  • Gord

    Searching

    If you put a number of “words” on a search query, it is likely that what you will get for hits, is the result of ORing all the terms and then sorting on the number of terms met. So, if you have 4 terms in your search, you will see all the results where all 4 terms are present, then the results of 3 of 4 terms, and so on.

    If you “quote” (single or double quotes) something in a search term, the search probably _REQUIRES_ that this term be present. But, the search done is probably not what you might be expecting. If you search for “I hate Mourinho” it will search for documents where there is “I” followed by “hate” followed by “Mourinho”. There is no requirement that the terms you quoted, formed a phrase. Only that the terms in the quotation, occur in the order indicated.

    But, it is actually more general than that. All search terms are “stemmed”, and so it looks for the stems to be in the correct order.

    The object of stemming is to reduce problems of tense and plurality to a single “token”.

  • Gord

    Nice to see The Sun trying to paint Wenger as someone wholies all the time. NOT!!!

  • Gord

    Nice to see The Sun trying to paint Wenger as someone who lies all the time. NOT!!!

    Sorry, I am doing a SAA here.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    *Alzheimer’s test to be taken regularly by all above 40*

    *If you are over 40 years, you SHOULD take this Alzheimer’s Test*

    *How fast can you guess these words correctly and fill-in the blanks ??*

    1. _ _NDOM

    2. F_ _K

    3. P_N_S

    4. PU_S_

    5. S_X

    6. BOO_S

    My answers –

    1. FANDOM – community of people who admire a particular hero, sports team,

    2. FINK – syn- canary, sneak, sneaker, snitch, stool pigeon, stoolie .

    3. PUNKS – jerks , creeps , morons ,

    4. PUSSY – adj- containing pus ; of being septic . syn – purulent

    5. SAX – noun-a single-reed woodwind with a conical bore

    6. BOORS – offensive , repulsive, obnoxious, unsophisticated oaf.

    Apparently , I got all wrong . On my behalf , I can , with hand on heart ,say that my answers may have been swayed in part by reading the above article on Swansea fans as well as certain comments by the usual………

    How did you guys fare ?
    Answers will be posted soon.

  • Jax

    Cheers Good. It was no big deal really was it. That’s the way Arsenal usually play against packed defences.

  • JECashy

    We would have probably dropped two points but this season we have The Tank … fairly useful against entrenched defences.

  • Minesy

    Must admit I didn’t see any violence on Saturday, Tony, and I’m in Block 111 which I think is near you.

    Didn’t see a lot of football either, unfortunately …

  • porter

    That’s the way of the world now Minesy. You see the fixtures as they come out and you can virtually predict the games worth going to. Then you see the half dozen potentially good ones get moved for television purposes to make travelling awkward . The rest are survival teams which means bus parking and the standard passing game trying to prise a can open with a lolly stick in a predictable manner which we all know the next pass as well as our opposition do.
    It makes the purpose of having a season ticket more and more questionable.

  • Jack P

    I have rarely read such a load of sour grapes driven tosh. Football as it was intended eh?? According to whose rules? What do you expect teams with limited resources to do? If u have the cash (or debt) to have all those top players in your team earning 150k per week then expect a bit more of them.

    Swansea’s goal was not a true goal eh? I take it you missed the perfectly weighted pass from Abraham inside the full back then?

    Yes there were a couple of idiots arrested – I hope they get banned. But we didn’t even hear the arsenal gas until the 70th minute. You might find your team does better if you support them with a bit of passion. Pathetic.

  • Cheadle

    In other news about violence:

    T.D. of Watford is charged with violent conduct but that is not the news, the news is that Blogettas are prescribing a three-match ban!!

    1. L.S. of Liverpool got a TEN-MATCH ban for biting B.I. of Chelsea on the arm

    2. T.M. of Bournemouth got a FIVE-MATCH ban for Stamping on the head of Z.I. of Manchester United.

    3 How Many games should T.D. get banned for Armpit-Choking, power-lifting and Cheek-gouging Stoke City’s J.A.?

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