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August 2021

After Swansea, part 1: The missing link

By Walter Broeckx

When does a team reaches it’s tipping point? Or what is the importance of that one player that rarely catches the highlights but who is so important for the balance in the team? Are Arsenal really a one man team for the moment? And with a one man team I don’t mean Robin Van Persie. No I mean Arteta. Let’s have a look and try to see what was missing yesterday when we played at Swansea.

We have our injuries of course. We have a few players away on the Africa cup. Without wanting to step in to Dale’s territory too much but if I am correct we couldn’t pick the following players yesterday: Fabianski, Sagna, Jenkinson, Santos, Gibbs, Vermaelen. That is 5 defenders and one goal keeper missing. And as Mertesacker has been sick all week and hadn’t trained it wasn’t the best of preparation possible for this game.

In attack we didn’t have Gervinho and Chamakh. And I think the first one is the hardest to miss. I know he lacks a bit of composure certainly in front of goal but what he does bring is a constant threat to the other team and he certainly is a player that is ready and willing to work hard for the team. Something we cannot say of all the other players at times.

And in midfield we were without the long term absentees Wilshere and Diaby. Rosicky was on the bench but like Mertesacker he hadn’t trained all week because of illness.  And as a special surprise missing person we had the absence of Mikel Arteta. The first rumours about his absence came on Saturday and I really hoped it would be nothing more than this: a rumour and best of all a false rumour. But when the team sheet was announced he was missing and on it said that he had a mild calf strain.

After the game we now know exactly what Arteta brings to the current Arsenal team. He is no Cesc that spreads the ball around and gives assists and does many brilliant things in a game (when Cesc was in form that is). He isn’t a Cesc just like that. No he is maybe more important because Cesc didn’t have to defend much as he got a lot of freedom in his role to attack. But Arteta is a player that links defence and attack in a way that Cesc could or didn’t have to do it.

Arteta is not just a great passer of the ball (I think his statistics are really amazing) but he also is a good reader of the game. And maybe more importantly he also knows how to defend and how to get his foot in when needed. He is not just a player that runs around the field like a blind man but he is there where you need him.

But yesterday when we needed him… he wasn’t there. Sidelined with an injury and we can only hope and pray he will be back very, very, very, very soon.

On Monday when we got past Leeds in the FA cup Arteta was given the captain’s armband. Okay RVP was given a rest, Vermaelen was out injured so someone had to get it but the choice of Arteta was not just a choice of  ‘oh, lets just give it to him” . No I really do think it was the choice for the most important person in the team.

It was a long time ago but for the first time it felt as if there was not a real team on the field, just 11 individuals. The lines didn’t link up with each other as we have seen it in most of our games. I think it was because of Arteta not being there to make the link between the lines. Something he does when he plays and something that goes unnoticed most of the time. Until the player who does this is not available.

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We lost the ball far too easily at times and this cost us at least one goal. Combined with a young and rather inexperienced makeshift left back who totally ran out of position after winning the ball in his youthful enthusiasm. Learning money they call it in my part of the world.  But this is something you can have when you have to play a young and inexperienced central defender as a 5th choice left back.

We could and should have defended better but to do this we must have our best defenders back. So I’m not going to blame Miquel for making a mistake as I hope and think they will talk to him about it and point at the fact that sometimes you just have to wait a second before running forward when there is no need for it.

The saddest thing however yesterday was that I saw on Twitter that some stupid and classless person who called himself an Arsenal supporter went completely over the line when he was twittering about Aaron Ramsey. I think nobody will realise more than he himself (and if not tell him Arsène) that he didn’t have his best game. In fact I noticed before that when Arsenal pass the Welsh border he suddenly loses his composure a bit.

I seem to remember when he came in the first team a few seasons ago as a very young person we had to play in Wales in the FA cup. He got a starting place in that game and he was awful. You just could see he wanted to show the people in Wales who he was. And then sometimes you end up with being too nervous and under-performing.

Was it the same yesterday? Was he to eager to make a mark in the game to show the people over there what he can do and produce? He is still young and he still has to learn a lot. Maybe he put too much pressure on himself yesterday. He was in the middle of the penalty decision and lost the ball for the second goal so a very unfortunate afternoon for the young Welshman in his own country.

But as he has overcome his terrible injury and shown character in doing so, he should be able to overcome such a day and again show what he is made of in the next weeks. And maybe with the presence of Arteta in his neighbourhood he will have a great person who can guide him better on the field.

A few stupid and avoidable and costly mistakes from some of our young players didn’t help our cause.  If we had taken our early chances we could have got a better result. But if you don’t take your chances, you can end up losing the game. A long known and hard truth in football. And we had our early chances in this game. From what I could see in fact (I had a bad stream) it looked as if Swansea was not that great until they got the penalty.

And for those morons who have been twittering those terrible messages towards Ramsey: just leave Arsenal. You are not worth of being an Arsenal supporter. Go and support some scum team. Because that is what you are when you write such messages to one of the great Arsenal players of the future. Because Ramsey will be a massive player for us. Just like Arteta is a massive player for us already now. But sometimes people don’t realise what they have until it is gone.

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53 comments to After Swansea, part 1: The missing link

  • davi

    The reason Swansea won is simply because they worked harder off the ball, when their team had possession and when it didn’t. It made it much more difficult for us to keep possession by marking everyone tightly, and their players had more options when they had the ball. We needed to work harder – I guess fatigue is playing it’s part.

  • Ed

    we pressed really well at the start of the game. but we cant keep that up for 90 minutes. and wen we backed off, we also did not move well enough to give options to our players to pass.

    i agree with walter that arteta was missed as he is normally the glue in the middle to allow others to pass to and we probably would have held possession better if he was playing.

    i think it is terrible that some fans are calling for ramsey to go. he was excellent at the start of the season and during our good run to get back up the table. the last few games maybe he has got tired and been less dynamic, but he has played nearly every game, and its his first full season since the injury.

    yesterday, he was poor, but he wasnt the only one, and you could see him trying hard which just made me feel sorry that he has such unfortunate luck. and he is still only 20 or something… he will improve!

  • Justin

    I loved the ramsey part of your article.
    Its horrible to hook ramsey for yesterday’s performance. Playing with Benoyoun and Song is not easy task. Hopefully Arteta is back soon. Arteta-Wilshere-Ramsey and we can take on the world.

  • Solomon

    I couldn’t agree more with Davi, fatigue played a major role in that game. If you look at Song closely, he looked tired from the start of the game. Mer lack pace though he’s not a sprinter. Even Miquel tried his best if we look at the level of his exposure in the premier league. Maybe we could have substituted Ramsey because we could see that he put himself under a bit of presure maybe because he wanted to impress his home fans. Just like anybody, we all like to prove a point at home but he was only unfortunate yesterday that things went wrong. But i guess that is part of the game.
    I just hope that we get Arteta, Vermuelen maybe Jack and Sanatos back for the Man U game.
    I think we must have learnt a lesson or two from the Swansea game. Is better to move on and focus on the sunday match against Man U.

  • Arun

    Yesterday were three big points dropped since chelsea won their game. We may be seventh next weekend if we fail to beat manure next sunday (which is definitely going to be an arsenal win if we don’t get a s*** referee).
    I know it’s difficult to get a decent fullback on loan but we must get it done to avoid dropping points like these.But I am hopeful that we are gonna finish third ahead of chelsea and tiny totts.

  • Jim

    I watched yesterday’s game with my ManU supporting friends and they couldn’t be happier that we are facing them next. After yesterday’s performance another heavy defeat is likely next week, if we don’t get our injured players back or Wenger buys some quality.
    And about Arteta, remember guys, before that 8-2 defeat, Arsene was actually happy with the squad and had no intention of buying anyone except Jenks, Oxo and Gerv and everyone knows how that defeat led to buys like Arteta and Mert. I shudder to think where our league position would have been if those deadline buys had not happened.
    So I am desperately hoping that Wenger takes some bold decisions in this January window, sell some of the dross, and buy a good LB, creative MF and a Forward to support RVP to rescue our season because we have massive games in March and April. And considering our bad luck with injuries and poor quality backup players leading to overplaying and fatigue to our first team, we may again implode then as last season and not get even that 4th place trophy.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Jim, I do think there is a difference between actually being happy and saying that you are happy.

    What do you expect a manager to say before the Utd game? Do you think it would be wise from him to say: the players I have left (we then also in that game faced the loss of our first full backs and Vermaelen) are rubbish and we are no good.

    No manager would say such a thing. It would bring the confidence before the game to below zero.

  • Jim

    I know that our coach has to show faith in his players before an important game and motivate them, but my concern is not with that one game so I get bragging rights although I would be chuffed if we thrash them. I am more worried with massive games later as I said.
    And though we have players coming back by Feb end, considering our luck, what are the chances we will not have new injuries and fatigue. And God forbid, if it strikes RVP, where we’ll get the goals from, and Henry would also have left, with Chamakh and Park not coming good so far. And as they say, failing to plan is planning to fail.
    That’s why I want our coach to make some bold decisions now so we don’t regret at the end of season saying we lost out on 4th because key players got injured, fatigued etc, only if we had added able players in Jan, we could have been 4th or higher.
    And as you know Walter, we have reached our maximum squad limit, so to buy some, unfortunately we’ll have to sell some of our underperformers. And we have the money to buy good players.

  • yaenkah

    to me ramsey nd miquel were worst players on the field, ramsey always thinks very slow of wat to do with the ball,he lacks the vision nd discipline wilshere has(oh my God i miss him),when wishere come back,ramsey’s ass will rot on the bench likwise ashavin wen gervinho comes back,ashavin lacks that spark he has when he first came,we also missed arteta in our midfield,song was doin the wrk of our other 2 midfielders that was so cruel on him,i think wenger should get a left back by loan and striker

  • DC

    @davi & Solomon,
    I agree with your points. Fatigue was certainly a major factor and no one can do anything about that when you have a thread-bear squad due to injuries (just look at Manure’s defence and performance against Newcastle)!
    Arteta’s composure, technical ability on the ball and intelligence in the middle of the park were definitely missed but unfortunately, expecting any player to play every match is very unfair and unrealistic with the match schedules that are laid down! What disappointed me most yesteday however was conceding yet another quick goal after getting back into the match! At 2-2, even though we had played very poorly, anything could’ve happened especially after the substitutions! That frequent loss of individual focus and concentration at pivotal times within the match is a massive problem that is beyond Arteta’s control alone; and everyone has to focus as a unit!
    Ramsey for me played ok and tried his heart out as he always does since coming back from his horrible injury. He missed Arteta badly and was exposed by Song (who did look tired)! Song should have played more disciplined and defensive, and stayed at the back to cover the full-backs and centre-backs when they went out of position. He would have expended whatever little energy he had more purposefully! I hope he can appreciate that until we get Arteta back!

  • DC

    Aaron’s work rate and energy level is something to behold and he never looks lazy wHIV his performances! He will definitely become one of the best box-to-box players in the world!

  • DC

    Just buying players is too simplistic. We usually lose matches because of three things:
    1. Individual losses of concentration at crucial points in the match;
    2. Very bad and dubious decisions by the officials;
    3. Not working as hard as the other team to earn the right to play.

    Let’s FULLY address these first before going down any other routes because buying so-called “better-class” players doesn’t mean that they are immune from injury too!

  • DC

    If these 3 points are addressed with this group of currently fit players, and I’m not even including the absent first-teamers we have to come back, we will beat Manure next weekend, finish 3rd if we can’t catch the Manchester clubs, and have great runs in the Champs league and the FA cup! But the lads must earn the right to play against ANY team they come against and RESPECT their abilities FULLY!

  • Jim

    I think you are right and I got a little too frustrated by our defeat and the stick I got from some of my ManU friends. Maybe better focus and arrivals of Sagna, Vem, Gibbs and Wilshere will revitalise us.
    But I also feel that if we can sell or even loan some players like Squilly, Chamakh,and try getting Podolski, Cissokho and even a cheeky bid for Hazard and Goetze and landing one of these will only strengthen us even though I know its too simplistic and wishful thinking. But then if u look back, arrivals of Arteta, Mert and Santos did fire us from a disastrous start to a near 4th position in Dec end. And now that we are drifting apart again, maybe that one signing could make a difference at the end of this season. Remember Arshavin in 2009.

  • goonergerry

    Why didn’t the club have enough options against a team with the resources of Swansea?
    Never any criticism of Wenger or the Board on this site-the most blindly pro-Wenger/Board on the web. Arsenal ran out of options- to the delight of Spurs fans everywhere. Young players are erratic by definition-
    Don’t get after young players like Aaron Ramsey-its self defeating.
    He is a kid that should not play more than one game per week.

  • DC

    Gotze and Hazard would be wonderful signings and they would compensate for Cesc and Nasri, if not give more! Podolski is a proven player and perfect up front! The money is there I’m sure but Arsene wants to bring in the right youth now after waiting so long for them to mature; and he’s not that far off too although it may seem like it and the AAA & and media would have you believe!
    This first team and squad, even when you look past the named 25, has potential you would not believe but the three points that I have mentioned are the only things really holding them back! I’m not even beginning to say that they are easy to address, especially the officiating, but Arsene and the club are trying NOW! A top 4 finish will not make Hazard, Gotze et al, look beyond the bigger money move and wages at another club because of their agents but if the have the chance to join a club that feels like it’s an academy of excellence where they will be able to play and express themselves, then they will choose Arsenal! Going a very long way in the Champs league, and only losing to Barca if we really have too and I hope in the final, a top 4 finish and possibly winning the FA cup, will be enough to get any player to want to join Arsenal FC! Keep the faith and I wish your friend Goodluck once the Europa cup starts again next month!

  • Marcus

    I am not sure any amount of signings will change anything. Sure, Arteta is phlegmatic, which helps in the present climate.

    Sadly though, we live in a very corrupt society, from the top down. Tony & cherie Blair getting however many million for whatever, Mandelson getting kicked out and reinstated several times…the present lot will probably be not a lot different…..

    The corruption is particularly manifest in the seedy world of football.

    I’ve nothing against people like Robbie Savage and John Hartson, but these guys are not educated, and outside of football I doubt they have much future. So I guess for 200K a year they are very happy to tow the party line..

    I actually find these apologists for the Murdoch empire a bit tedious…..

  • Dgeoel

    The difference between Barca and Arsenal, it is said, is in what we do (or don’t do) when we don’t have possession. Barca are quick in repossessing while Arsenal take ages. This was very evident against the Swans yesterday. We did what Barca does off the ball for the first few minutes of the game and we soon went back to being Arsenal when off the ball. On many occasions during the match, when off the ball, our players would try to attack a player on the ball who has a myriad options to pass the ball to. This is always an exercise in futility. What most teams do is to first cover the passing options and then apply pressure on the player on the ball. That way, we no options to pass to, the player either concedes possession or makes a forced wrong pass enabling the team to take the ball. What the Swans did magnificently also was the way they moved with the ball before passing it. When a player on the ball moves, everyone on the field moves opening up play and increasing the passing options. Contrast this with what we did when on the ball. Our player on the ball would immediately look for a passing option which in most cases will be covered leading to a concession of possession or a misplaced pass when put under pressure. When you receive a pass the first think is to move from where you were into an empty space because an opponent may have targeted you when you were still an option. These are basics our players should have learned at A.W tutelage over the years. For along time I used to wonder why an opponent would come from behind to still the ball from Eboue while Cesc would have a quick glance at his surroundings while he is still a passing option and would know exactly which direction to run away from the crowd.
    Take away nothing from Swans though, the played the game the way football should be played in the modern era. Some Man U supporters I was watching the game with, jokingly kept on asking if we were unknowingly playing Barca.

  • Marcus

    I also think Wenger has a double handicap.

    1) French
    2) An educated “Intellectual”

    Being educated doesn’t go down at all well in the Footballing fraternity.

    that’s the bottom line really, footballers are not educated generally, and they feel threatened by someone who has the temerity to get an economics degree.

    Sad really

  • bob

    What does your “not being sure about any amount of signings” have to do with your view that society is seedy and corrupt? Do you suggest there’s a link between these two opinions?

  • Tasos


    The bias/corruption that Arsenal/Arsene face is deep rooted into the fabric of football within the EPL. Pundits, players, ex-players, journalists, managers, ex-managers the list is endless. All happy to tow the party line and continue the agenda, its easy money for the likes Savage and Hartson. Their message is clear, British is best and “Johnny foreigner” has no place here.

    Wenger has proved far too intelligent for them over the years although it is commendable he has lasted so long in the face of endless provocation and ugly xenophobia.

  • bob

    You make excuse (“I have nothing against”) for two dumb footballers for continuing to shit on Arsenal as two dumb footballers getting along as best they can, poor blokes (@200K/per year). Does this mean it is acceptable to you for people to be cunning and traitorous to pay the rent, as long as they’re just blokes? And you find no link between such bloke behavior (that you accept) and that of the Tony/Cherie/Mandy trinity at whose feet you lay all of society’s ills?

  • bob

    Methinks that if Arsene/AFC could (deservedly) get back but 1 per cent of the gravy train that the “football fraternity” (as Marcus there calls them, and you describe), that would instantly pay off all debt and bring in the priciest quality striker that anyone might ever dream of. The “football fraternity” should strew rose petals in his path for paying their rent all these years.

  • bob

    p.s. meant to say: “that the ‘football fraternity’ makes off slating them…” (Arsene/AFC)

  • WalterBroeckx

    If I may bring you some good news today the media in Belgium reported that the man who is standing next to me in the picture (and I don’t mean Tony 😉 ) will be back against United.
    They even said that Wenger could have played him against Swansea BUT at the risk of losing him again. Muscle injuries are dangerous to start too soon.

    If we could get Arteta and Vermaelen back in action that would be a very welcome addition to the squad.

  • Mahdain

    un-fucking-believable… mike dean is going to be our ref vs man united… thats 75% of our winning chances slashed….a draw is a best thing we can hope for now…im disgusted

  • Mahdain

    that or we should really hope dean pulls up a hamstring or an injury before the game but then dowd will be waiting in the wings which will be just as bad..looks like we are in for one hell of a screwing

  • Mahdain

    i might skip the match tbh..this is so infuriating

  • indy_gooner

    If Ramsey was tired, Arsene should have benched him. No point in giving fatigue as an excuse. No disrespect to Ramsey, he hasn’t been fluid this season. Apart from the Chelsea performance and the goals he scored against Spurs and Marseille, all he has done this season is to give posession back to the opposition. How many simple 3 yeard passes has he misplaced?

    Rosicky has looked very sharp this season, even yesterday we were more of a threat after he came in. Don’t understand why Arsene doesnt start with him.

  • bob

    I reluctantly agree with you. It’s Ramsey’s first full season, so then it should go more slowly. My frustration is with his so many shots being struck too hard and sailing well over the crossbar. This is something that Arshavin and Theo are also doing chronically, and for two seasons at least. There somehow needs to be more to strikes than blasting the ball based on the adrenalin rush. If we converted one third of these, then the goal production would go beyond RvP and make us a genuine offensive threat on the pitch as we are on paper. We need another striker (TH will be gone in 6 weeks) and a creative offensive midfielder; therefore, to unload some way some how our excess baggage. I realize that Ramsey can be defended, and I would and will for the future, but it seems he’s being overused and is not really ready, despite his captaincy at Wales. I’m happy to be dead wrong on this, but I cannot understand the size of the gap between Ramsey’s performance at Wales and those at Arsenal. Too much pressure and expectation too soon? And if so, imo, we need to drop some players to bring in another quality midfielder.

  • Mahdain

    and to add insult to injury phil dowd will be the 4th official…looks like PGMO dont want any mistakes

  • bob

    What if we’re hard done by Mike Dean in the upcoming match? The script for a Fergie XX requires that we lose. Is Mike Dean, then, the “best” that central casting (PGMOL) will provide for this match? I mean now that Howard Webb either could not or would not put the (indefensible) brakes on their loss to Newcastle, perhaps a more reliable sort is required on the pitch. If someone could provide a clear list of Dean’s game-changing calls and non-calls that cost us points in recent seasons it might constitute a shining of the light on him and possibly put the brakes on a bit?

  • indy_gooner

    Bob, we just have to look at Wilshire to see what happens when a very young prospect is overused. I fear the same for Ramsey too.

    I don’t want Arsene to sell Ramsey, but he should be gradually brought into the the all important CAM position. Forget creating goal scoring opportunities, he is not even able to successfully simple passes.

  • indy_gooner

    Is it true that Arsenal’s record in last 10 games with Mike Dean as the ref is: 5 draws and 5 defeats?

  • Pat

    Brilliant article Walter. Spot on about Arteta and Ramsey.

  • Mahdain

    @indy gooner yep mike dean is on an unbeatable run vs us.. 0-5-5

  • Arun

    Looks like webb is out to stop man city after his dismal performance against newcastle and dean along with dowd is after us.Dean is not going to manc because manure doesn’t want totts to win.
    I am hoping for a late winner from henry in this tie (his last goal at emirates was in this tie).

  • moses

    Should AW not be starting OX instead of Theo? Apart from the goal he scored I didn’t see any meaningful contribution from him. Or What do u think?

  • dan

    We have a great squad but very injury prone, with Verm/Arteta we would of won. On other matters I had a weird dream with Torres playing for us, make what you will of this.

  • andy bishop

    Ramsey has run and covered more than any other player this season..he regularly laps Arshavin and Rosicky. He is expected to support VP and also cover for our inadequacy in defensive midfield duties. Arteta was a big miss last night.

  • Tasos

    I suspect some on here might be interested in this neutral website.

  • bob

    andy bishop,
    no doubt about AR’s work rate – he’s all heart. but the shooting and finishing are terrible. both are true. what is to be done, then?

  • Mandy dodd

    Amazing tasos. Why are these morons looking after stoke so well? Northern grit I guess, if stoke are actually northern.

    One more thing, compare and contrast the media reaction to dyers blatant foul followed by dive, to a retain situation involving Eduardo when he played for us. The silence is deafening today.
    Anyone who is having a go at Rambo knows nothing about football.
    As usual, injuries are doing us, theo and arsh need fast attacking fbs to support them, they always have. Try as they might, jd and miquel are not and never will be that. I believe the level of our injuries needs to be seriously looked at , along with the bias of most of the officials we get but I would not question the effort of the likes of Rambo. Only arsenal could have four fbs, plus verm, plus jack and arteta out in one go. No team would be able to thrive with our injuries,

  • RedGooner

    Walter Oddly I though that Ramsey was our best midfielder and worked the hardest.

    Arshavin what did he do ? woke up and made one assist and wasted numerous other oppertunities.
    Walcott goal aside didnt do much.
    Benayoun missing in action.
    Song pretty poor by his standards.

    The lack of team effort was what hurt most supporters. Swansea wanted it most.
    The ref annoyed us also with the penalty decision it was a disgrace.
    But we can not talk about injuries and how they are effecting us because year after year its the same and we clearly arent doing enough to prevent it.
    No offence I love gibbs but if hes never gonna be here and diabi the same cut them loose.

  • bjtgooner

    Good article Walter. One positive with Arteta is that he is always moving into a position to receive a pass – so in a situation where we are being pressed he is there to help move the ball away from the pressed area. With Arteta absent no one else seemed to do that well enough and some players held the ball far too long or tried to dribble through too many opponents.

    The sad fact is that despite Oliver and our defensive errors, we had more than enough chances to win yesterday, but did not take them. That needs to improve and quickly – double shooting practice for everyone?

  • Blacksheep63

    insightful as ever. my three pennysworth is that with a fit first or even second choice set of full backs we would not have lost that game. arteta was certainly missed but Song has to learn that his postion is defensive midfield – he has to protect his back four. Arshavin is a busted flush – I love him, he has bags of talent and is one of the most technically gifted players we have but he gives up. we can’t aford that when we are up against it, so he has to be an impact sub.
    I’m not sure there is any one out there for Wenger to buy, but the squad needs an extra midfielder and defender. Injuries are unfortunate but questions have to be asked about why they keep happening. Diaby is permanantly out and so I;m sorry but we have to let him go, we need the squad space. And some people need to leave ramsey alone, he will prove to be an excellent powerhouse midfield player – at the moment we are expecting too much of him.
    4th place is NOT out of reach, Liverpool and chelsea are not that great this season. Keep the faith gooners

  • Mandy dodd

    Must admit, thought at the time we were hasty in losing cliche and eboue. Maybe they wanted to leave, get the impression wengers priority was to bring Gibbs through and clichy was sacrificed. At the moment, that does not look the best decision, but Gibbs will come good, as will santos.
    Arshavin and probably gervinho have suffered at losing these lbs. arshavin is getting stick but he was never going to be a box to box player, he just is not made that way.

  • Mahdain

    @all what do you think abt PGMO’s decision to send both dean/dowd at our match vs united?

  • Damien Luu

    Yeah, just let some players go and buy some ones else, make sure those are good ones. Very easy to say. But how can you unload the injured players? Who wants to buy Diaby RIGHT NOW? And as Arsene said, the best thing you can find in the January transfer window (even if you have money, that is) is a player who did not play since the start of the season or a potential player who could not make it into the first team. Who is ready to sell their BEST midfielder/defender/attacker RIGHT NOW, at the middle of the season? And Arsenal demands nothing but the best, right? Come on, guys, this is real life, this is not some football manager video game that you and I play everyday. If it is that easy, I must be earning millions per year right now in some FM seat. But even in a FM game, I doubt that you could do much in the situation we are in right now. Oh, yeah, and don’t forget that in FM games the refs are goddamn FAIR!

  • Damien Luu

    @Mahdain: They are desperate, and they don’t even bother of hiding their evil deeds. Because (they think) nobody could touch them?

  • rusty

    Note that Ramsey isn’t just Welsh — he came up in the youth system of Cardiff City, Swansea’s eternal hated rival. Can’t imagine the home fans were excited about that.

  • Rhys Jaggar

    Hopefully there is now sufficient respect for Swansea as a football club not to have to read the sorts of articles which this site published prior to the home game?

    Some attention to defensive frailty would not go amiss either…….