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July 2021

Swansea v Arsenal FA Cup; Billy and Dennis converse

By Billy the Dog McGraw

Swansea is a Stone Age settlement which has been run at different times by the Italians (then going under the name of “Romans”) and the Vikings who set up a trading post known as Sveinn’s Island.

The Welsh didn’t really get going until the 13th century, by which time everyone else had lost interest in the place, and the Welsh began writing poetry, for reasons that will not become clear at this time.

But before then the Normans toddled along and in the 12th century William de Newburgh, 3rd Earl of Warwick, used it as a feeder club for his Warwickshire United site.   He gave Swansea a charter which meant the burgesses had the right to play football on Sundays.

In 1215 King John, who was a turnip of the first order, gave the marshland a second charter which was rather bizarre since it already had one.  This meant that the local football team could play from time to time in the top division, but must spend much of its time in the lower leagues.

He also gave the town a seal, which honks and makes rude noises by slapping and flapping its flippers together.  The seal was thus known as a slapper, and so King John called the town Sweyne-she.

After this a marcher lordship was created which meant that all the seals had to march up and down the River Tawe, barking out incomprehensible sounds.   These sounds can still be heard today.

Now here is an interesting thought.  Although our long term injured players (Lukasz Fabianski, Vito Mannone, André Santos and Abou Diaby) are all out, Emmanuel Frimpong is back with us.   Could he play?  I suspect a bench place for him.  Or he could be on the beach, and for once that would be an accurate prediction.

Djourou and Chamakh have gone on loan which leaves a couple of beach towels available.

But here is another dilemma – how do we accommodate Walcott and Giroud in the same team, along with Podolski.  Do we revert to Walcott the winger, with a licence to roam inside, or do we try to create a Giroud Walcott partnership with the same flexibility and options as the Henry/Piries partnership had?

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Swansea have beaten us in the last two games 0-2, and 3-2, so we are due a win (the last one was in September 2011 when Arshavin scored the only goal of the game.)

Quite honestly I don’t know what’s going on (as usual), although Dennis Bergkamp told me that he suspects the defence and midfield will be the standard one that we have seen in recent games.   Which gives us:

Wojciech Szczesny

Bacary Sagna, Thomas Vermaelen (c), Laurent Koscielny, Kieran Gibbs

Mikel Arteta, Jack Wilshere

Santi Cazorla

Lukas Podolski, Theo Walcott, Olivier Giroud

Substitutes: Damian Martinez, Per Mertesacker, Francis Coquelin, Aaron Ramsey, Tomas Rosicky, Gervinho, Emmanuel Frimpong

Or not, as the case may be.


The books…

The sites…

52 comments to Swansea v Arsenal FA Cup; Billy and Dennis converse

  • dats

    This all leaves one important question. How is Dennis getting along with his allotment?

  • nicky

    @ Guillaume le Chien,
    Not in favour of M.Sagna at right back. Would much prefer Jenks the Keen on the trip to Wales.
    My mate Lee, whose allotment is next to that of DB10 and who often shares a Cyprus sherry with the great man, says that due to the present monsoon DB has built dykes around the whole area and now feels much more at home.

  • elkieno

    So that’s where the name Swansea came from? I thought it was because who ever naned it saw swans in the sea earlier?
    I feel that to win will sacrifice next game but we need this trophy bad!
    Comon you mighty gunners!

  • Welsh gooner

    I’m a devout gooner, I have visited the grove several times, and love the gunners. I live five miles from the liberty stadium, so feel free to dis the team but not the area. Forgive the touchiness of my hometown, but I have been drinking 🙂

  • Gord

    According to, Frimpong is sick (cold, flu, …).

    Interesting writeup, I guess I can trust details that look like history?

  • Why would Podolski play on th right wing?

  • sebas

    I think we’re going to see some rotation this match. Im hoping to see some combination of jenks, rosicky, coquelin, giroud, and maybe even per get some starting berths.

  • Adam

    Obviously I’m hoping for an Arsenal win,but after reading Szczesny’s comments about the magnitude of this game, it seems a loss would cause immense damage to their confidence. It does seem to me (through players comments) that they do put themselves under a lot of unnecessary pressure. I sometimes think they have forgotten what it is like to enjoy playing good football.
    Hope to see our players enjoying the tie against the Swans. And please let’s play with a high tempo. Swansea like to try and close us down so we need to find space quickly and be precise in our passing.

  • Adam

    We have 3 Sunday fixtures on the bounce so no excuses of fatigue.

  • Gord


    I don’t know that they are putting themselves under pressure. What has always seemed likely to me, is that they somehow convince themselves that “the next game will be easy”, and essentially psyche themselves out. And I think a lot of this is due to the press. If the players would talk less and prepare more, they might not run into these problems. And I think having more younger players is part of this, with experience you may not get caught up as much.

    But I suspect you get caught up less than I do, and I’m probably quite a bit older than you. I watched Armstrong on the Moon, live.

    Any ideas how much, West Ham and Hannover might be contributing to wages for Chamakh and Djourou? I suspect this is one place where Arsene’s wage policy hurts, in that most other teams might be paying less for players of the same quality. I would hope they are paying something.

  • Because I wrote it the wrong way round

  • Mick

    I didn’t know George Armstrong went to the moon! That’s some away trip. who were we playing?

  • Matt Clarke

    It was a Clangers special.
    Soup Dragon’s ninth memorial game.
    It was a good turn out considerin, but the game was marred by a certain lack of gravitas.

  • Matt Clarke

    oops, @Mick, sorry Mick.

    Re: “…and the Welsh began writing poetry, for reasons that will not become clear at this time.”

    Don’t forget Dylan Thomas’contribution:

    A Letter to My A-A-Auntie

    I enclose an extract below*

    A Letter To My Aunt Discussing The Correct Approach To Modern Football

    To you, my a-a-aunt, who would explore
    The footballing Blogging Bore,
    The paths are hard, for you are not
    A footballing Forget-me-Not
    But just a kind and cultured dame
    Who knows not History (to her shame).
    Fie on you, a-a-auntie, that you should see
    No genius in Koscielny,
    No elemental form and hunger
    In Ramsey, Santos and in Sagna.
    Fie on you, aunt! I’ll show you how
    To elevate your middle brow,
    And how to scale and see the sights
    From modernist Highbury heights.

    First buy a scarf, no Black lace model
    But one the Faithful wear when they yodel,
    A woven thing with red and white
    Large enough to conceal your sight;
    And then in hobnails walk the street
    (All modern supporters use their feet
    For tromping, on the way to games,
    Eschewing the convience of planes).

    Perhaps it would be best if you
    Created something very new,
    A dirty novel done in Arse
    Or written backwards in Welsh verse,
    Or paintings on the backs of shirts,
    Or a Moaning line on tight-stretched sheets.
    But if this proved imposs-i-ble
    Perhaps it would be just as well,
    For you could then write what you please,
    And modern blogging is done with ease.

    *with apologies to DT.

  • Gord


    Sorry, I should have known there might be an Armstrong in Arsenal’s history. I was talking Neil Armstrong.

    But, having watched people walking on the Moon, if the pitch was standard sized, games would probably be very long. A person could probably kick the ball a mile out of bounds.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Think Howard Webb keeps imagining Swansea are Man Utd so far….giving us nothing, and them everything.

  • Tasos


    And the commentators would still moan about the lack of atmospher.

  • Al

    Agree Webb is giving Swansea everything and nothing for us, its these little things that can decide a game. As an example the Bartley header that came off the bar was a result of one such free kick.

  • Mandy Dodd

    so we live to fight again. We will not make the same mistake again at home. Great goal by Gibbs. How on earth was Michu MOTM? Those who say we have to work a bit more on defence may just have a point, horrible defending for the goals.

  • Kenneth Widmerpool

    Gibbs should have been MOTM, he was great all afternoon. Shame our right flank couldn’t have been as strong as our left…
    Probably could have done with George Armstrong!

  • bjtgooner

    Not the worst result considering we were playing against 12 men. Some of Webb’s decisions were very poor.

  • As of me i had predicted earlier in the archives that we will be losing to Swansea, not because i don’t like my team but the way we play against teams like Swansea perturbs me. Swansea packs the midfield and always catches as on the counter and we can not get a way to break them up. But thanks to GOD my predictions where damn wrong. We live another day.But for how long i don’t know,Sagna is my man by i just wonder such a dependable defender to head the ball back in play rather than consed a corner. Metersacker is a nice lad but for Christ’s sake if we are playing faster teams we need faster defenders look at Benitez he has put Luiz in the middle and we need Le prof to adjust according to who we meet. Liverpool,Man city,Chelsea,Spunks ooh boy we need it now.

  • akasuna00

    That wasn’t bad performance at all. There’s improvement from previous game. With fully fit squad player we can glide through January…

  • Al

    Great recovery, well done lads. Shame we conceded a second against run of play, but these things happen in football, and yes, we will make things right at the Emirates. We were on top everywhere; shots & possession. Poor defending though for both goals, don’t like zonal marking at all, Graham had all the time to bring ball down & pick his spot. Horrible reffing throughout, but hardly surprising considering who the man in the middle was. Agree michu for MoTM is a strange one, but hey, this is ESPN & what could we expect. No player from Swansea deserved it, whereas we had a few with decent shouts but I think Gibbs edged it.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Michu is no doubt an excellent player, and an excellent buy, but seems like he is almost on Martin O Neill, Arry and Bales level in terms of media wankfests!

    Not sure he is worthy of MOTM, but I thought Rambo did really well and in an unfamiliar position. But I will contradict that by praising the effect of Poldi…bought on by a manager who cannot make substitutions..

  • Linz

    The ESPN viewers voted for MOM,stop trying to make out there is an “anti Arsenal” conspiracy.Oh and Howard Webb did a fine job;should have given Ramsey a 2nd yellow for diving and sent him off when he clipped himself and tried to claim a penalty.And yes.i am aware Wenger said it was a pen,but as with most things lately,Stalin is wrong.

  • Adam

    Linz, you display ignorance in all its glory, well done you.

    Has anyone ever voted for a MOTM award via TV?

    Personally I couldn’t understand some decisions by Webb, seemed to let a lot of holding go. will be interesting if this match is reviewed by Untolds refs.

    I did not like our performance today. Too slow, with little purpose. Maybe im being a tad harsh. Gibbs left exposed a few times. Walcott going on walk-abouts and not giving Sagna an option when in possession. Cazorla drifting over to cover the missing Walcott and becoming nullified.

    OK mini rant over.

  • Al

    I thought that was a penalty; another angle(which wasn’t replayed more than once) appeared to show some slight contact between the defender’s left knee and the Ramsey’s right leg, causing Ramsey to lose his footing and trip himself. And Ramsey’s strong appeals suggested there’d been contact, a player who dives usually just lies on the ground hoping for the best. In cases like these the broadcaster should show multiple replays from different angles to eliminate any doubt, but then again this is ESPN…..

  • Al

    “A player who dives usually just lies on the ground hoping for the best…” unless that player is Suarez:)

  • Adam

    Ramsey’s penalty claim was similar to what he was booked for. little clip from behind whilst opposing player was trying to get back. Would have been a soft penalty but a penalty none the less. No malicious intent just knee to heel collision which sent Ramsey sprawling. Bet It would have been given to any Man Utd player at Old Trafford.

  • Al

    True that, which makes it all the more unpalatable that he was booked for a similar accidental foul.

  • Yassin

    Yes, stop talking about conspiracies, for god sake, if the 2nd goal was from a corner, which resulted from a free kick played to an OFFSIDE player, which was in the first place given for Arteta handball, which Web saw from behind the back of Arteta as if he has an X-ray while just for a while before there was a hand ball on Swansea player which Walcott asked for,and yes off-coarse not how can all these be conspiracies.
    And yes Linz we were lucky that Howard didn’t give Ramsey a second yellow card for diving, while the first yellow card was due to a diving Swansea player, how Unbiased you are.
    Just like all the stupid media setting the world on fire for an claimed offside goal against ManU, which wasn`t offside, while all these was not in this game. and should not be mentioned cause this is Arsenal,…. Pathetic

  • Adam

    AL, don’t get me wrong I think Ramsey meant to stop the Swansea full back from advancing, we see it all time time when a player cuts across you, you have to get out the way of his feet or you clip him.

  • @Yassin thanks for that i just wonder how we$b got that when he was not even seeing through arteta i cant imagine a shit ref like We$b.Hope we don’t get him and his lookalike in our coming matches.

  • Stroller

    A similar performance to several others this season. First half – ponderous play, sloppy passing and control, no urgency. Second half – concede through poor defending, then the brakes come off, everything speeds up and we look dangerous. And amazingly we score two and perhaps could have had a couple more. But again we couldn’t close out a game. Right at the death statuesque defending from a corner gifts them an equaliser.

    We could have lost. We should have won. But hey – it’s Arsenal 2012/13 vintage. Sometimes bubbly, sometimes flat.

  • Mandy Dodd

    must admit – have not really been convinced by this zonal marking thing. Or are these mishaps down to the team defending as opposed to the system? Think we need Bould back working more with the defence again, like was supposed to be the case earlier in the season.

  • Yassin

    @ kampala gun, well they are all the same,all the refs and PGMOL, the media, even a lot of ex-arsenal players, all they care is for Wenger to leave Arsenal in any way possible, I dont know why and I dont have a clue, I think maybe walter or tony can find out..

    @Stroller, well Arsenal play badly until a goal is conceded is cause that since Bould came he wanted Arsenal to play a deep lying defense line, which was amazingly not conceding, but that killed our game, when Arsenal concedes or when Wenger want to go forward, he orders the back line to go highly on the pitch thus reaching the center line, which helps Arsenal to reach the goal better, but when u play having Mertesacker in the defense with his slow pace, any through pass will be deadly, just look at the first goal for Swansea, I believe we really need a defensive midfielder and to push Arteta to be in place of Welshere, I dont know where would Wenger put Welshere and cazorla at he is better at that, but arteta is the physicality we need on front who can give good passes and keep possession up front rather than doing it in the back with CBs.

  • alex

    Swansea are not an easy and they beat us twice.Can for one minute give them credit please.

    Yes they are not fancy club and the same they have no fancy names.

    Yesterday Van Persie he came and change the result.Nothing new there.Michu came and scores exactly at his first touch.Good striker.Passed with ease Merte and he stand firm on the ground before shooting to score the first goal.

    The important thing here is Wenger operandi is copied by younger managers and is paying its dividend for them not us.
    The second half (i am not sure whether the Swans choose to defend their goal advantage or we upped the tempo a bit) we where absolutely dominant.I believe when we upped the tempo Swans started plenty of mistakes specially loosing ball and we didnt need second invitation as we capitalise it.
    One thing i notice quick passes and pace it seems to me the unlocking key.Question is the likes of Arteta Ramsey will not do the trick.These two are hard workers at best and not have the quality required for such task.

    By the way where was Theo ?

    While we earned another opportunity to rectify it lets not forget that Swansea are a very good team.

  • Yassin

    Definitely u are right, we shall too give a lot of credits to Swansea since they have been in the PL… when any team plays them, they always take the highest possession, its only us who can beat them at that..but you must admit too we deserved a win there.
    As for Arteta if u watched him last season he was vital when going forward, but since playing in his new position, he is afraid to go forward, which gives us less player up front, he can be amazing upfront, Ramsey can be a bench guy who can kill the game when we are winning just by holding position and maybe a through pass every now and then, but not more, when we went 2-1 I wished he can be back in… Welshere cant connect back line and front line that good and cazorla doesn`t get back to get the ball upfront, they dont rotate either so that eases the game on the defenders…

  • Adam

    For once Arteta had a lot of time on the ball facing the opposition. Usually playing Swansea he is closed down very quickly, maybe cup mentality hit the Swans? However you can’t deny, Arteta had plenty of the ball today. If he didn’t go forward with his passing enough that’s due to the lack of movement in front of him or Swansea closing the options in a kind of half court press system. Either way, for me another low tempo lack of movement at times allowed Swansea to settle in to a comfortable pattern.

    We actually slowed the game down? Was this a conscious decision? We seemed like an Italian side of old, slow, slow, quick, slow. Im not impressed with a large percentage of the game. Don’t like watching Arsenal being submissive. Proactive yes.
    Need more of a hunting mentality.

  • alex

    The one or two players that might come in according to Wenger i would not be surprised if they are not in the mould of Dyabi.I dont know what Arsenal medics recommend about his stay in the pitch but reading from the comment of other medic they praise our doctors for just bringing him to what is today as it was a very nasty injury from that moron of Sunderland.That has complicated all kind of muscles in his leg.

  • jake

    could someone explain to me why Swansea are in the “English” league ? no no in all seriousness why?

  • Gord


    No reason to think it is correct without reading it, but the English Wikipedia articles on Wales, section about Sport, mentions this reference as to why Cardiff and Swansea are in the English League.

    ^ “The Cardiff and Swansea Derby”. BBC Cymru Wales website. BBC. 5 November 2010. Retrieved 23 November 2010.

    Another four Welsh clubs play in English football’s feeder leagues: Wrexham, Newport County, Merthyr Town and Colwyn Bay.

    For me, the BBC article is interesting, but doesn’t answer your question. Maybe it is just too long a day for me at the moment.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    While reading the article above ,the idea came to me to rephrase Dylan Thomas poem with a view to ‘Rage ,rage …’ against the AAA ,but Matt Clarke’s interpretation stopped me in my track .No way am I going to top that !So I leave this unsullied . Enjoy .

  • Rupert Cook

    An away draw at Swansea is a great result. Can’t you moaners celebrate anything?

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ Billy – nice touch about the seal !
    @ Matt Clarke – better touch about black scarves !

  • WalterBroeckx

    League leaders MU go to West Ham, play bad get away with a 2-2 draw and a replay: great MU, great character, great this, blah blah blah

    Arsenal go to Swansea: couldn’t see the game so don’t know how we played yet but if I can believe the media we were not really good in the first half (the same goes for Swansea) then dominate the second half go 1-0 down, turn it around only to have Swansea get an equaliser. Final result 2-2 draw and a replay. Arsenal = crap, sack the manager, sell the players, we are useless,….

    Why oh why do some part of our supporters go over board whenever we don’t win a game??

  • Rupert Cook

    @Walter, I think it’s because results of the Swansea nature happen regularly but how many times do Manu fail to kill off teams? Arsenal are consistently inconsistent. Might also be the fact that Manu have won things in the last eight years. It’s really unfair to judge teams on a trophy count I know but vapid types do, damn them.

    Anyway we drew at Swansea, let’s be happy.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Thought we played ok Walter, especially in the second half, really we should have won it. A couple of bad defensive mistakes, and at least in my opinion, a fatigued looking MF at times that could do with a bit of rotation would be the negative points. Think he is going to have to get the likes of Rosicky in there as Santi looks a bit cream crackered, Jack and Arteta at times looked a bit jaded as well, understyandable in all their different circumstances. Thought Ramsey did very well. But could have been worse, a replay we could do without, think many saw that game as a banana skin waiting to happen.

  • John

    Much of the TV commentary was based on the expectation (hope) that Arsenal would lose. Giving MOM to Michu, or Bartley (as in today’s Guardian) seems inexplicable. They both played well, but 2 or 3 of our players, with Gibbs the most obvious, had stronger claims.

    Yes, 2 serious defensive lapses did prevent us winning. That does not amount to a case for sacking the manager. It is disappointing that so many of our own fans swallow the media messages.

  • Gord


    Yahoo answers had a short answer. Not enough to be worth giving a URL for however. Historically, it seems the sport Wales plays is rugby. For whatever reason, some places in Wales played football early on. Cardiff, Swansea and Wrexham happen to have joined league football (and the only league then was England), before Wales set up a football league of their own.

    So I guess the technical answer, is that they were grandfathered in.