Arsenal – Swansea, sometimes football can be cruel

By Walter Broeckx

For the second time in a row Arsenal  made no changes to the side that played against Hull last week.

Ramsey recovered from the kicking he got and started. Jack Wilshere remained on the bench. So the same team that started, something that doesn’t change that much at Arsenal because of all the usual injuries we get.

The team that started was:  Ospina, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Cazorla, Ramsey, Ozil, Alexis, Giroud. On the bench we had:  Szczesny, Gibbs, Gabriel, Flamini, Wilshere, Rosicky, Walcott.

Shelvey immediately clamped his leg around the legs of Alexis. A first dangerous tackle, Friend could have done a bit more than just give a foul. Arsenal with an attack on the right and the cross from Ramsey is headed just over by Giroud.  Swansea defending with all players behind the ball and speculating on the counter. Ospina had to get down to a shot from distance.  And had to be alert on a long ball over the top to head it away. A nice cushioned header by the way.   Williams from Swansea overstrechthing his knee when he brought down Giroud just outside the Swansea penalty area. Özil with the free kick but it hit Mertesacker in the wall. Another kick on Alexis from behind was to be seen within the first 15 minutes. Friend keeping the cards in his pocket.

Arsenal finding it difficult to find an opening between the defensive line up from Swansea for the moment. Özil finding a bit of space on the left flank but Ramsey cannot direct the header in to a dangerous situation. Giroud being judged just offside by the assistant when he was level. Only an Arsenal goal could open up this match. Fernandez with another kick from behind, on Giroud this time and again no cards. Come on Mr. Friend you are supposed to be a home refereee? Sanchez being pulled back from the free kick but Friend lets it go. The tempo from Arsenal not high enough to create real chances in the first half hour.  So still 0-0 after 30 minutes.

Based on this first half hour Mr. Friend is not just a home referee. Özil picking out Alexis with a briljant pass but he can only force a corner. Swansea getting a foul from Friend and wasting some more time on each occasion. Shelvey then finally getting a yellow card for another foul on Alexis. But all in all too many wrong passes from Arsenal up to now. And to break down a team that parks the bus you need accurate passing. Giroud with a curling shot that went wide a few minutes before the end of the first half. Most attacks ended up with Arsenal players being outcrowded by a lot of Swansea defenders. In the last minute a long ball from Sanchez to Ramsey but Fabianski was just first on the ball.  Did the Swasea manager at one time work under Mourinho? Well he sure knows how to put up a defensive team. 0-0 at half time after a dissapointing first half. You would think that a team that has nothing really to play for would be a bit more adventerous but no indication that they even think of trying to really attack. Just hope for the bloody lucky counter was what they did during the whole first half.

After some 5 minutes a first fast attack on the right flank but a defender could prevent the low cross reaching Giroud. Giroud then feeing Sanchez who worked himself past a defender but his shot ended up in the side net.  Ramsey doing some good work but the final cross let him down completely.  On the other end Ospina with a good interception on a low cross. A low shot from Giroud just before the hour but Fabianski could stop it. A bit later another attack but Arsenal again hitting the side net, this time it was Ramsey.  Still 0-0 after one hour.

Cazorla with a shot from 10 meters out but Fabianski again stopping the shot and holding on to the ball. Friend giving the ball to Swansea when Monreal was clearly fouled.  Jack Wilshere coming on in the place of Coquelin after 66 minutes.  Wilshere on the right and Ramsey dropping back. His first cross ended up in the hands of Fabianski. Walcott then came on in the place of Giroud after 68 minutes. Friend giving a throw to Swansea when even Richards ran away from the ball. A low shot from Cazorla was blocked in to a corner. Walcott with a too but he couldn’t put enough force on the ball and Fabianski could collect.

Some real pressure now from Arsenal but Cazorla was blocked 3 times in the space of seconds.  Monreal getting away on the left but his shot was stopped by Fabianski once again. Arsenal now really deserving a lead by now. A Ramsey shot but again Fabianski stopping the effort. Then Alexis hits Fabianski and Walcott his rebound is again stopped by Fabianski.  And not a minute later he stops another effort from Cazorla this time.

Friend giving every 50/50 to Swansea still. And as a result suddenly Swanse got away and  Gomis headed the ball over the line with 5 minutes to go. 0-1 to Swansea. Ospina could only stop it when it was over the line.  Putting football on its head….

And Fabianski just kept collectin all that came his way and if not a body was in the way of a Ramsey shot.

Football is about putting your chances away. We didn’t take them and the team that came to defend ran away with the points.

We didn’t start well enough in the first half but the second half was all about Arsenal. But as said before if you don’t take the chances you don’t win.  Swansea seems to be one of those teams against whom we struggle against in the last seasons. And they did the double over United this season as has been said before.

These things can happen. Time to make up for it next week.








72 Replies to “Arsenal – Swansea, sometimes football can be cruel”

  1. Walter,

    Wasnt Gomes making a foul on Monreal when he headed the ball? He used Monreal shoulder to reach the high ball and head it strongly, thus preventing Monreal from jumping.

  2. Hate to say it, but Walcott is currently just a waste of space. Can’t hold up the ball, doesn’t make any runs, no aerial presence or strength, doesn’t get in front or behind defenders and generally doesn’t seem to offer anything. I feel that today was more of a move by Wenger for him to sign a new contract rather than for him to make any real impact in the match. Terrible choice to bring Giroud off, especially as we were getting into the flow of things.

  3. Here ladies and gentlemen, like a swarm of all consuming locusts, filled with their angry Wenger-out chirping, and eager anti-Arsenal mandibles grinding, come the aaa trolls, overjoyed that FINALLY the Arsenal, who they proclaim to the heavens to love, have lost!
    A tough loss to be sure but not in any way a fatal one to our chances of finishing in the top 4 nor of bringing home a second FA Cup.

  4. Omgarsenal,

    If I had tk choose which match to win, today or Villa, i would choose Villa. Hope this is the off game we had from now till the ens of season (by off I mean to our standard and not as if we were totally off and playing bad)

  5. Blatant penalty for foul on Sanchez in first half not given. Many wrong decisions against us on corners / goal-kicks and throw-ins, plus lack of yellow cards for repeated fouls.

    Just one of those nights. Can’t fault the players, they were not perfect, but they are human and they all tried their best.

    I always knew Fabianski was good, only the negative Arsenal fans couldn’t see that, or just followed the media narrative that all our keepers are suspect.

  6. Disappointing result for sure but even more disappointing first half performance. No urgency by our players whatsoever.
    Too static and ball watching up front with very little movement and no options for our playmakers.

    Swansey came in with a solid game plan that included playing deep in their half , and a lot of time wasting. Unfortunately, it was Arsenal who wasted even more time by sideways and backwards passes.

    If your game plan is to be patient for some sixty minutes plus, against a small although quality side at home, than you just might take a chance on leaving it too late. And we did.

    In effect you deprive yourself of three quarters of the game to do something enterprising.

    Every shot we took in the second half went straight to Fabianski. Every save he made , you would expect him to make.

    The goal we conceded was a typical Arsenal goal to concede.

    All players involved , from Bellerin who got beat too easily on the wing, to our CD’s and the keeper didn’t do enough.

    People who still have reservations about Ospina( like myself), might point out that an extra few inches of reach might’ve made the difference in saving the goal.

    This one really hurts, mostly because of the feeling we didn’t do enough and we didn’t try hard enough.

  7. Tom,

    Although I agree we had a plan that didnt work and we wasted 60min.

    Still I think we deserved the 3pts and we did play much better in the second half. We lost the game on our head, some final desicions were too bad (Ramsey shooting to the sidenet instead of passing to Sanchez or Monreal, as an example)

  8. Disappointing result.

    But tremendous effort and performance by the whole team. Maybe it just wasn’t to be.

    Nice to see Jack and Theo given enough time to add to the team’s efforts.

    Both they and the team will be back.

    AND wasn’t Ozil just fantastic, yet again.

    Well done to all involved, goes like that sometimes.

  9. The ref was a complete fuckwit, maybe they worry that a flaky Utd will get through a CL qualifier.
    But, that was a bit old school Arsenal and not in a good way. We had the chances to kill them off, but got caught by a sucker punch with our players too far forward, think I remember that happening before.
    Still think we will finish third, and win the cup, but that must serve as a wake up call.
    The lessons,
    1/ we need a Coq like player on the pitch virtually all times it seems, we should not have conceded that goal against a player we should know well
    2/ we need a physical forward who can help out with the defence..on the pitch virtually all times
    3/ theo is going to need a few games to get back to himself
    4 / bad day at the office, we still have work to do to eradicate these things, they need to get up, dust themselves down and get ready to face pgmol/utd, get a result or at least avoid defeat, grab what will now most
    likely be third and move on
    5/ as Nicky and countless others on here have stated in their own different ways, we are Arsenal, and we never go about things the easy way

  10. Tom
    Agree we didn’t play well enough but only the first half. Second half we upped the tempo and played well and did more than enough to win but couldn’t find the the net with one of our many chances. You’ve played the game, you should know that sometimes that’s the way it goes. Sorry but I am not having it we didn’t try hard enough, that’s an insult to our players.

  11. Must admit despite his performance (Fabs) we did shoot straight at him. We do need a physical in your face forward and an experienced defensive midfielder who can bring Coq to the next level.

  12. Bob Mac

    I may very well be “daft” , but by my count Arsenal completed twenty or so sideways and backwards passes around the halfway line in the first half alone.

    If I’m the Swansey defense , I’m loving it.

  13. We have a great squad and just need a couple of additions to start challenging for honours.

  14. And I thought Friend was one of the better refs? what happened to him this year?

  15. Swansea employed every time-wasing tactic from kick-off to the end. Stunned Friend let them get away with it.

  16. Bloody hell, sucks to be reacquainted with this feeling. Phhh.

    Don’t think we can underestimate what we lose among our direct rivals by not being pen-hunters. I firmly believe we wouldn’t get them anyway (and would get almighty stick if we try any Hazardian funny business) but it’s still hard to take.

    In the last 10 days or so both Chelsea and Utd have been helped in tricky frustrating games with generous pens, while we could easily have lost that semi as a result of Ramsay’s honesty and today lost out in the Monreal situation in which our rivals would unquestionably have tried for the pen, and almost as surely got it.

    It’s impossible to know how much credit to give our players for honesty and how much is a result of simple conditioning- knowing we don’t get them, knowing the media will feast upon a hint of us trying to earn one, the players have over time stopped trying for them.

    Either way, it’s a huge disadvantage for us. Quite simply, we need to be about 3-5 per cent better over a season than a rival would have to be to win the title. I believe we might be capable of that next year, but with no new attacking additions it will be impossible unless there is an improvement from somewhere in our finishing.

    Four good chances tonight, four poor shots. Horrible echo of that Monaco game.

    Phhh. One of those horrible kick-in-the-balls nights.

  17. Don’t think there was a lack of effort Tom but we showed that once again with a team packing defence and trying to hit us on the break we weave pretty patterns but have little or no penetration . Fabianski for all the saves he made was never really stretched. Most of the time they were just regulation straight at him stops . As we tried to go through the needles eye for the umpteenth time shots were charged down . We needed to get the ball wide whilst Giroud was on the pitch ,be a little more direct and turn their defence . One of those nights which we have all seen before.

  18. Think Danny would have been useful in that game at some point.
    If our players are too honest, they need to stop it because it is not going to get them anywhere in a system biased towards cheats like Chelsea and Utd.
    But a wake up call sometimes does no harm. As Wenger said, most times we would have won that game. Every team gets caught out sometimes, this year, Chelsea less than the rest of us, but we know what they resort to, and get away with.

  19. One silver lininig… Swansea may keep the Tiny Totts from qualifying for Europa thingy. LOL!

  20. Yep honesty and football on the pitch does not mix well. Shearer proved that with his invisible elbow!

  21. Oh look we lose a match in the PL for first time in months and they come out whatever place they have been hiding….

  22. We’re still on course for a successful season so despite the knockers. COYG!!!

  23. Tom,

    Yours is a pretty fair assessment- so long as you are not one of the many people who hates- i.e is very critical of- both slower play and losing the ball frequently.

    What gets you through that first half Swansea defence? A perfect move, or a lucky break. Passing forwards quicker and more often doesn’t greatly increase your chance of either happening, and does increase your chance of being hit on the break. I heartily approve of the side being less willing to be hit on the break these days.

    Breaking down that Swansea side was a tough ask. We are capable of it, or a bit of luck could have done the trick, but as far as i’m concerned it is only fair and logical to accept the increased risk of misplaced passes if you demand playing the ball quicker or increasing the difficulty of your passes.

    Among our fans, I see so many people who have next to zero tolerance, if we are not winning, of a single pass going wrong
    , while at the same time being very unhappy when our play is not quick enough. The message is basically : win, damn you, win, play great.

    We all have that in us, but it’s not really the stuff of reason nor reasonableness.

    These are the same fans who despaired of us committing too many men forward but accept no trade off when we… show caution about committing players forward. They cannot handle frustration and defeat. In defeat (or even draw) there must always be a story for them about something we got badly wrong in our approach.

    We were about a low 6 out of 10, in terms of our play first half, a high 7 in the second. We missed the four or five good chances we created against a very tough defensive set-up, and conceded a poor goal. Bad night.

  24. I think we tried hard enough but we weren’t direct enough in the first half. We have shown that we can defend so we shouldn’t be afraid to try for the killer passes even if it means losing possession. Often we just weren’t on the same page and so took the easier pass though Oezil put some nice passes through and we had about half a dozen chances that we didn’t put away…In all honesty, we didn’t cover ourselves in glory on their goal. We had 3 players who could’ve covered their guy…meh. ManU away at the weekend. Let’s go you Gunners.

  25. Think the main winner this evening has been Piers Morgan. He loves a moan, he can now moan about Arsenal and the news that England cricket team will not be selecting Kevin Pietersen, despite him scoring over 300 not out today. Have to say, I do agree with PM on KP but heh ho……

  26. Hmm, I have seen it coming. It’s my gift. I posted the warning on early on in the week as I said, young Garry Monk will come to Emirates Stadium with Spoilers Game App Data Plan Swans Starts to face the Gunners and will attempt to spoil the Gunners chance of placing 2nd in the League table. And the Boss should counter that Garry Monk’s Game App Data plan with his own Destroying Spoilers Spoilings Game App Data Plan Gunners Starts. The Boss starts for this game are very in order. But the Boss gave in to the unecessary wish of Walcott to play as a CF and also the Boss has this his obsession to must play Jack Wilshere. That’s what caused Arsenal the successful outcome of the game. I think it is high time Walcott stopped pressurizing the Boss to play him as Arsenal’s center forwad and stays in his wide play role for Arsenal. The Boss substituting Giroud for walcott was wrong in my observation. It should have been Walcott for Ramsey. And the Boss should not have removed his DM – Coquelin for Wilshere. But his Wilshere obsession will not allow him not to do that. It is just a question of been more patient to win the game or at least get a draw which will still be okay for Arsenal. Only 1 substitution would have been enough by removing Ramsey for Walcott or Wilshere if there must be a substitution. Let’s not forget that, a Swan in the person of Jack Cock had revealed his dreams of playing in the Europa League to settle a score with his former Southampton club by not bothering to use Arsenal as the scapegoat to achieve his aim. And he is on his way now to achieving that. But have I cried over spilled milk?

  27. Anyone know what joys the pgmol will send us for the Utd game? Perhaps a referee from Greater Manchester, Mr Taylor?

  28. Mandy Dodd

    Mandy Dodd

    we have…Mike Dean for Utd.

    And for Sunderland…Anthony Taylor.

    It’s extremely blatant sometimes. What justification could there be for having the same ref home and away? It’s clearly bad practice.

    Honest people do not say ‘it’s ok, because we’re honest. Trust us’; instead they set up systems full of checks and balances which minimise the possibility of anything untoward taking place.

    What are the chances Utd would see a ref again in a season if he had allowed a key goal which should have been disallowed, and ‘not seen’ a bad foul which injured one of their players (for 5 months)?


  29. Really Rich!!!! How many times is that we had Taylor this season? Guess they have not given up hope getting Utd to third, or our boys taking a kicking before the cup final.
    We can sometimes be the authors of our own misfortune, but these things do not help, especially when you see the gifts handed out to others, Utd and Chelsea for starters. Must be strange for Cesc, knowing he can now get away with potential ankle breakers, as Tom has suggested, standard Chelsea practice in the opening minutes of games.
    unbelievable…..but maybe not when you see what Utd got away with last weekend.
    Still think we will have enough for third though, we should be able to beat those two.

  30. Per previous thread, I do not buy into the “we were crap” meme – although acknowledging it wasn’t the best performance.

    Where I thought we were really stupid – and have to lay this at Wenger’s door I’m afraid – is that a point would have left us 3 ahead of MU with a +8 GD. Therefore even a (relatively narrow) defeat at OT next weekend would mean we would only have had to win one of our last two games.

    There wasn’t a need to go gung-ho – i.e. take off Coquelin. Don’t understand the thinking there I’m afraid. Now a defeat at OT means we will need a win and a draw from the last two. Should get it but no guarantees.

    The only thing we should be focusing on in the League is finishing 3rd and thereby avoiding 4th. 2nd is nice for bragging rights but not really important.

  31. Agree Pete, taking have read differing opinions as to his effectiveness tin this game, but still think Coqs presence just sometimes almost hypnotises the team into being more organised and gives the players confidence. A,draw,would have sufficed for our bare minimum, which is now surely third. We will be seriously kicking ourselves if an attacking substitution, a silly conceded goal by a player we know all about, and a ref at Utd and Sunderland conspire to make us play a qualifier again.
    As you say we were not crap, indeed we were a touch unlucky, but we really have to get stupid foot shootings out of our system, once and for all…as much as that can be applied to the game of football of course.
    Do not know the stats on goals conceded, but would imagine when we go gung ho, there is something quite horiffic lurking in the data over the years. Is it just perception, or are we inordinately punished when committing,to attack and chasing games? We cannot afford to go back to some of our failings in the first half of the season. Apparently Gomis scored with his third touch, very foreseeable, preventable and annoying. But these things I guess do happen. In such a game. A truly frustrating end to a great run, I think there are lessons to be learned, and something of a reaction is called for at OT , pgmoll permitting.

  32. Yep, really.

    Think that makes five for Taylor, not including the one where he came on because of injury.

    Taylor is everywhere: lots of matches, big matches, cup, play-offs. It’s only thanks to this site (cheers, guys) that I can recognise the way Riley operates when he has decided someone will become one of his main men; and he has decided in a big way on Taylor.

    Got a tiny little glimpse into the secretive world of refereeing in a book, Warnock’s (I know, I’ll stoop to the depths), I read last week.

    Managers apparently score refs each game and are provided with space for comments. Warnock, unhappy on the day, ( and quite funnily) gave a score of 100 and left the comment ‘I really hope Swarbrick gets promoted to prem next year’. Next time Palace had Swarbrick, he made clear to Warnock’s assistant he’d read the comments, was unamused, and reffed the match accordingly.

    It doesn’t seem like a good idea to me for the refs to see those comments. And it really makes you wonder what was written by Wenger- what did he score Riley?!- after game 50 and on other days,too. Each refereeing performance looks different when you consider those refs have received a full assessment and copious feedback, including Wenger’s views, on all their previous matches. Think of Atkinson and weep.

    I suspect the world behind what we get to see is probably even grimmer than we imagine here. It’s those feedback mechanisms which would allow Wenger to know with certainty what he is up against. I feel we can know it well enough, in some ways, but in others not at all.

    If you take it as a starting point, the real horror was not Riley’s performance on the day; that leaves room for shreds of doubt and hope that it was merely an outrageously incompetent performance. You’d find out almost immediately if that was the story,though. You’d put in your feedback, and be given a private apology.

    But no, I think it’s pretty much guaranteed that didn’t happen. They gave him the top job. So it’s certain Wenger knows.

    Another morsel I got last week was that Scudamore’s pay is, or used to be, decided by a committee headed by…Utd’s chief executive (now Britain’s top Fifa guy)

  33. Mick

    Agree , in the last 20 minutes our players gave it all.

    The first half , however , was quite pedestrian.
    Whether it was by design or not , that’s another story.

  34. Pete

    Very perceptive stuff. I hadn’t made those calculations; the team probably should have!

  35. “Among our fans, I see so many people who have next to zero tolerance, if we are not winning, of a single pass going wrong
    , while at the same time being very unhappy when our play is not quick enough. The message is basically : win, damn you, win, play great.”

    That might be true, but that’s not how I view football.
    Swansey were very lucky to win this game no matter how disciplined they were on defense , and Arsenal created enough to run out comfortable winners.
    My observation regarding the first half has nothing to do with us losing the game, but rather everything with a simple fact that wether by design or not , our player lacked any urgency.

    I was critical of our substitutions against New Castle away , not because we lost the game ( we won) but rather because that’s what I felt needed to be better.

  36. Pete
    I think you are being harsh on Arsene Wenger for taking Coquelin off.

    We had plenty enough players to deal with Swansey threat going forward.
    On the play they scored we had four defenders against their two attackers.

    Players need to take responsibility .

  37. Pete
    Just re watched the Swansey goal again.
    Three Arsenal players should’ve done better on the play.
    Bellerin gets beat too easily, Koscielny loses Gomis and is about a yard or so too close to Mertesacker.
    If he isn’t gonna mark Gomis closely, he needs to be just inside the far post,
    And Ospina’s positioning at the cross is to close to the near post.

    None of those is Wenger’s fault. Like I said , players need to take responsibility.

  38. I don’t see why to criticize Wenger for the defeat. It wasn’t him shooting straight at Fabianski (Alexis, Walcott, Cazorla, Giroud, Monreal), being troubled by Montero whenever the Colombian went forward (Bellerin), leaving his spot in the central defence when it was not needed to help Monreal (Kos) or making poor decisions in the penalty box (Ramsey).

    As you might have noticed, I named almost the whole team because a victory – pretty much like her ugly twin-brother defeat – is a team effort.

    If there is one thing Wenger shouldn’t have done, it was some of his answers at the press-conference. He should have given a credit where it was due (Monk and Fabianski).

  39. If there was one game we could afford to lose in the closing stages of the season, this was it.

    The games against United & Aston Villa are must-wins.

  40. Well, I dont think we were as poor as some are suggesting.

    We had shots on target but were too close to Fab. Too straight. And That combined with excellent positioning of Fab, dint help. But this is sort of a practice match for the trip to OT.

  41. I have not published a couple of comments on the “Wenger is a waste of space” theme because they don’t seem to add any new dimension to the debate. Just saying that phrase or one like it, and listing five players who are supposedly not good enough or talking about how a manager who is not going to sign a central defender is not good enough, without actually giving some sort of analysis is, to my mind, silly.

    We see it in a lot of places, so just repeating their arguments here without anything different really doesn’t do anything to help the debate along.

  42. Was disappointed with the result , but they guys did try hard although they kept running in walls. A little bit more composure and firmness could have secured all 3 points .
    Swansea stuck to their rigid plan and came up with the sucker punch. Lets just move on to the next game and hopefully finish off rest of the season in style .
    Up the Gunners !

  43. Swansea had a plan and it worked. I don’t see why Wenger should criticize it as we’ve seen this style of football before and we often have trouble dealing with it. We’ve even employed it ourselves in a more mild mannered form against Dortmund. If Swansea think it’ll get them what they want then they’re quite entitled to play anyway they wish. It’s our job to outwit them. Unfortunately we returned to that unproductive sideways passing which looks great when you see possession stats but it means nothing unless you use it productively. We did improve as the game went on and we just needed one shot that was a foot wide of Fabs to score. Bit like the Manu game earlier this season.

    WBA and Sunderland may use the same tactics but I’m confident that we’ll be more clinical when we get in front of goal and also those teams are not of the same quality defensively as Swansea are. Sometimes a bad result can fire the team up for the next game and maybe we should adopt Chelsea and Swansea’s tactics and play for a draw, after all Wenger says it’s easier to play that way, and a draw at OT would almost guarantee us third.

  44. Shit happens!!!

    We are more than used to having teams park the bus for 90 mins – and so it was again last night.

    Flapianski outdid himself this time – can’t remember if he ever had a performance like that wearing our shirt – still well done to him…he needed to be at his absolute best!

    Of course we have the aaa and trolls out in force – WHO CARES what they think!!!

    Lets smash Manure and cement our position ahead of them and perhaps the other manchester outfit – all is well!!


  45. If you suffer it is because of you. If you feel blissful it is because of you. Nobody else is responsible – only you and you alone . You are your hell and you are your heaven too.

    Personality is : Who we are and what we do when everybody is watching .
    Character is : Who we are and what we do when nobody is watching.

  46. The first 10 mins was the Arsenal we knew, then after it was like a switch was thrown and Arsenal started making the silliest mistakes and passes. Constantly passing to a man surrounded by 3 players, etc. I did not know what was going on and i got the impression, again, we were waiting for Swansea to score. Not a good performance at all. I thought these kind of blips were a thing of the past, but it looks like we have successfully created another boogey team for ourselves.

    And for those who did not realise, Swansea played much like Arsenal does, 4-1-4-1, this is what we use against tough teams.

    Looking forward to the breakdown on Arsenal player.

  47. it’s a misnomer to say that Swansea only played defensively and I disagree with Wenger on that point. Garry Monk brought on Bafetembi Gomis in order to try to win that game, it he was only interested in defense he would have played three DM’s like Chelsea do. Instead of defense first, what Swansea did was the same thing that Arsene Wenger did against West Ham in December at Upton Park, they played efficiently.

  48. Tom, agree on this:
    whether by design or not , our players lacked any urgency
    that sums it all up.

    And i have to mention again the great welcome given to Fab by the whole Arsenal team before the game. Tell me that did not have an effect on both Fab and on our players 🙂

    Anyway, on to the next game ManU, who will be looking to beat us. We probably will let them win(not play to our full potential) because we do not want any injuries for FA cup.

  49. Tom

    That’s the kind of thinking I respect and believe is becoming rarer.

    I probably shouldn’t have associated you with those fans who kill me, but your post provided just enough of an opportunity to have a good moan about them.

    It’s actually a relief for me when, after the dust has settled on a defeat, I can conclude our performance and, more importantly, idea of how to play, were actually not bad or even quite good. Ditto when I can see past the relief and happiness of a win should we have not played particularly well and/or gotten very lucky (Anderlecht away was the big example this year). Those things offer the best proof I can get that I am not being completely ruled by the emotion of results.

    Football has a big component of luck, (huge if you include ‘finishing’), so it follows you’ll lose some when you’ve played well, win some when you’ve not been very good.

    Last night, like our defeat to Spurs this year, was miles away from the defeats of last year which gave me so much cause for concern. We’ve come a long way.

    Agree with your analysis,though. We were not near our best first half, missed good chances and were poor defensively for the goal.

    It’s one of the question marks at this point. Can we make a big improvement-ie are we making big mistakes- in defending those crosses, or are they simply extremely hard to defend?

    If someone plays a great cross in that situation, is there almost nothing you can do? I’d like to think not, and if that’s the case we need to work hard to be much better at it for next year. Things have gone badly for us this year when someone’s in a good crossing position and there’s a big man who is good in the air in our box.

    Hull, Leicester, Swansea twice- those were remarkably similar goals and each time the defenders got nowhere near the player making the header despite them being the only threat in the box.

  50. I don’t think we lost last last night because we were unlucky. The team were totally flat for the first half and they can only have themselves to blame. We have seen it before this season – the Monaco game springs to mind. Despite some of our players saying that they learned things each time we lose (see player comments after the Monaco game), it does not appear that the really do learn from losses at all. Without 100% commitment in every game no matter who the opposition, we will continue to drop points that we really should not and ultimately continue to fall short.

    One can only hope that the attitude against Utd is better because we need to win that game to push for second place. A loss and all of a sudden, 3rd place is a struggle. Finishing 4th and having to play a CL qualifier would be most unwelcome.

  51. jayramfootball

    What games can you recall where we played excellent, non-flat football against full on bus-parking for an opening half without scoring?

    If, over a long period of time, you find you are always very unhappy with a performance in defeat, and never too unhappy with a performance in victory, alarm bells should ring that you are judging a result- a scoreline- not a performance.

    ‘ah, we won with a late goal in a game against massed ranks, having created four or five very good opportunities and not come close to conceding at any point, but don’t be fooled, our commitment was very wrong out there first half, and we’ve not learned any lessons from our painful defeats, the last one of which was a few months ago’ – can you imagine yourself, in the event of only 20 seconds of last night’s game being different, feeling and saying that?

    I think it would make a great experiment, and a valuable one for this community, if you were to record a score for our performance every time you watch the team- one for each half and with an extra column for ‘commitment’.

    Would you predict ever giving a good score ,for performance or commitment, when we end up losing? Or can you ever imagine us scoring very low in games we win?

    What would your score have been last night if the game had been exactly the same until the 86th minute, when we proceeded to score the only goal of the game? Given that that would be one moment in the football match, the scores should be, that moment making up such a small percentage of the whole, nearly exactly the same as the score you would give it now, after what did happen in that tiny segment of the game.

    Given the nature of football, you should quite regularly see good performance and commitment scores in games which a team loses, and low ones when they win.

  52. I tend to agree that we were not unlucky last night , we were pedestrian and wasteful . We really don’t know how to play teams that shut up shop and catch us on the break it happens too often for it to be a coincidence . I thought last night that we were playing a side that in general keeps the ball well and that in consequence we gave them the respect that we don’t give to lesser opposition. They suckered us in and like they have done before caught us cold at the end.

  53. There have been many comments regarding the performance and I won’t dwell on that as it has been analysed to death. I wanted to mention the ref who I thought was appalling. He was extremely lenient to Swansea and allowed constant kicking and pushing without punishment. All we had to do is breathe on a Swansea player and Friend would blow in their favour.

    Shelvey should have seen yellow twice (at least) and I spotted two penalties that were not given (one for Giroud being ‘bearhugged’) and the other for Sanchez being pulled back. For that matter Monreal could have had one, as he was pushed over when shooting in the box. The time wasting was also not punished, with goal kicks and throws regularly taking 20 to 30 seconds. Friend for me was showing bias towards the visitors and I will read the ref appraisal with interest. I think it was one of the worst ref performances I have seen at the Ems in 2015; if not the season as a whole.

    Aside from that we were too slow with our passing in the first half, but much better in the second. I put it down to ‘one of those nights’ and I hope it works as motivation for Sunday to spank the Mancs!

    Aside from that

  54. I really dont get its as if the Arsenal are being relegated,what tha fuck is wrong with some of our so called Fan(tics)we lose a match and all the ssholes are up and sewer rats are out ,but i pity them because as always we will persevere we just need to get our heads back and carry on as the defending champs of the FA.

  55. “Flapianski outdid himself this time – can’t remember if he ever had a performance like that wearing our shirt – still well done to him…he needed to be at his absolute best!”
    apo Armani,
    Let’s not distract ourselves. Fab didn’t need to outdo himself or be at his absolute best. That kind of summation takes the focus away from where it needs to be so that we can improve our side: greater clinicality up front; and a key throwback defensive lapse – two points which AW himself made in his post-game comments (– which, alas, can get lost if we only focus on your Fab at his best; or on AW’s lamentable, reductionist, and, imo, bad loser summation that Swansea only came to play defense. No they were more subtle and legitimate a contender than that).

  56. Brad, Mandy, rich,
    Fully agree on Enemy’s bias and share trepidations about a Riley stitch-up to come in the next matches. This especially in light of Rich’s/Warnock’s expose of the fact that manager’s report on the PigMoles and that – true horror – that the PigMoles get to read the manager’s report which must fuel future grudges. This because bad reviews threaten a Ref’s top-flight career; so that they are prone to retaliate against (vulnerable) managers who expose them; which in turn gives Riley room and leverage to manipulate/wind-up/excuse these refs (such as Friend/Enemy?) for the excesses (in calls and non-calls). I could vomit at the sight of Friend pointing smugly to his watch like a wanker when it buzzed to let him know that the Replay signaled Gooooaaaaal. It wasn’t him at all who had a thing to do with the result, was it.

  57. Rich – it’s not just the bus parked, it’s the traffic cop allowing the passengers to destroy the public.

    When any club has to go through history like Arsenal has since the arrival of Wenger or maybe it’s the upsetting of rednose, it is miraculous to have won so many trophies.

    We have had some bad decisions but Liverpool were slaughtered in many of their games. When one sees how ex rednose players are allowed freedom of the park against all chosen competition, then & only then can you realize how much is corrupt.

  58. @rich

    I am actually more interested in the performance than the result. I want to see players who put maximum effort in at all times and if they lose then so be it. Winning or losing is not the issue.
    As a contrast, against Hull, the players were fantastic in the first half. They closed down, they played the ball quickly and it was joy to watch the movement. The complete opposite happened against Swansea and it is the inconsistency that is the hardest thing to take. I have very little love of footballers in general in the modern age and when i see over paid players swanning around and not putting in the required effort then I do get just a tad annoyed by it.

    In terms of losing and still being happy? To an extent yes. I though the players really worked hard and played super football in the away leg to Monaco which resulted in a defeat (ultimately across both legs).

  59. Just read a few of the posts, skipped most as I was just checking the list of posters…. And boy oh boy, had not seen some of these names since Christmas I think. Where the hell have they been????

    That said, playing against a side playing for a draw can be one of the most difficult thongs. If I’d been asked if there was a single match I would be happy to lose from remaining ones then this would have been one of them.

  60. @apo Armani:

    have you forgotten Fabianski’s heroics against Liverpool in FA Cup last season?

    Or against Bayern in Munich in the last two years of his Arsenal career?

    Or against Manchester City when we thrashed them 3:0 at Etihad?

  61. Menace

    Sometimes I have to rein myself in on the ref talk, partly to give myself a mental rest (the injustice drives me mad and breaks my heart at the same time) from it, but also because ,even though I believe so strongly something is badly amiss, to moan about them in every post I make looks, to the sceptical, like excuse making.

    But as you’ve brought it up first…the refereeing was absolute bullshit again.

    It surprises me that any seasoned Arsenal fan can look at our matches and not think ‘what on earth is going on? At nearly every big club in world football, refereeing advantages are to be had for being a big club, especially in home matches…while we get Swansea visiting us, and they are allowed numerous bookable offences to go unpunished and are given free kicks for the softest things imaginable. What the f*** explains this?’

    If I’m in the wrong in seeing that, it’s genuinely terrifying that my eyes and my brain can malfunction so much.

    I really don’t think I’m wrong,though; in fact, it’s one of the areas of reality I’m most confident about.

    How many penalties have we had against top four rivals in the last decade? How many times have they had players sent off?

    How many of the penalties, and sendings off, that we ARE awarded against other teams (i.e. not in the biggest matches of the season for us and our rivals) come when the game is already won?

    Watching games in these critical weeks of the season it has been painful to watch big clubs all over europe be given penalties in tight matches where they really need a result- Chelsea, Utd, Real Madrid : it is a huge part of their repertoire for winning these crucial games. The disadvantage for us in not being pen-hunters, in the first place, and not getting ones that happen naturally ,second, is a considerable one. And pens are only the most obvious window into how we are officiated.

    At least we know two things : it makes it extra sweet when we can triumph in spite of it; and if we are to win the league we can be sure it will be with a special team, as they would have to be to overcome the normal challenges and these extra ones too.

  62. After reading all those long winded and smart assed comments from the irregulars , it all reminded me of this old joke .

    The Lone Ranger and Tonto went camping in the desert. After they got their tent all set up, they fell sound asleep.

    Some hours later, Tonto wakes The Lone Ranger and says, “Kemo Sabi, look towards sky, what you see?”

    The Lone Ranger replies, “I see millions of stars.”

    “What that tell you?” asked Tonto.

    The Lone Ranger ponders for a minute, then says, “Astronomically speaking, it tells me there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, it tells me Saturn is in Leo. Time wise, it appears to be approximately a quarter past three in the morning. Theologically, it’s evident the Lord is all-powerful and we are small and insignificant. Meteorologically, it seems we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. What’s it tell you, Tonto?

    Tonto is silent for a moment, then says, “Kemo Sabi, you dumb ass. It tell me someone stolen tent.”

  63. Guys, you win some, you lose some. I was gutted, but heyho, life goes on. Cant fault the players or manager.

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