By Walter Broeckx
As expected Mkhitaryan starting on the bench. Wilshere was sick so he couldn’t make the trip to Wales today.
Arsenal team : Cech, Bellerin, Koscielny, Mustafi, Monreal, Elneny, Xhaka, Ramsey, Iwobi, Lacazette, Özil.
On the beach: Ospina, Chambers, Kolasinac, Maitland-Niles, Mkhitaryan, Nketiah, Giroud.
A lot of water on the pitch it seems will it affect our passing game? Arsenal with the passing game but Swansea looking for the very long ball and a deflection leading to a first corner of the match for Swansea. Arsenal can’t really get the ball away and a low cross is stopped by good tackle from Ramsey and then Cech smothers the ball. Iwobi trying to play it to Ramsey but he just can’t get on the end of the low cross. Elneny with an excellent tackle on the ball to prevent a Swansea striker going alone on Cech. That had to be inch perfect and it was. 0-0 after 15 minutes.
Arsenal cannot penetrate the Swansea wall for the moment with too many passes going backwards. And too many times the wrong option taken for a pass. Monreal with a cross but Lacazette is surprised by the miss of the defender in front of him and he can’t control the ball. Swansea counter and again Elneny being first on the ball to stop a real chance for Swansea. From the resulting corner a shot is deflected for another corner. Finally a good Arsenal attack finished with shot from Iwobi but an excellent save from Fabianski. Still 0-0 after 30 minutes.
And when you need them most who pop up? Özil with the vision and Monreal popping up at the far post and putting the ball over the line. GOAL! 0-1 after 33 minutes. Again Monreal!
Xhaka then goes to sleep and lets his man run away and Swansea equalise hardly a minute after the Arsenal goal. 1-1 after 34 minutes. Might be a hint of a foul on Özil when Swansea won the ball….. But still how we let our man go…. Özil being targeted when he releases the ball now a few times and Mason mostly letting it go. Özil was indeed tripped when Swansea won the ball with a late challenge. Well typical Mason we will say. Ramsey losing the ball but luckily Fer can only give a tame shot that is easily saved by Cech on a rare Swansea counter. At the other end Koscielny with a tame header so another easy pick for the keeper. Mason for the second time in the way of an Arsenal attack…. luckily we didn’t lose the ball this time. Xhaka blasts over the crossbar from the edge of the penalty area. Arsenal playing too slow and the passing not up to the standard required to break down the white wall of Swansea who sit back with all 11 players deep in their half most of the time. 1-1 after 45 minutes.
No real change in the first 5 minutes. Arsenal trying to pass their way to a packed defence and Swansea trying to counter with a long ball. Elneny goes in the book for a handball. Özil with a shot but not enough power to get it past Fabianski. Mkhitaryan getting ready to make his Arsenal debut. Bellerin with a few dangerous crosses but no Arsenal player at the end of it. Mkhitaryan comes on for Elneny after 60 minutes. Still 1-1.
Monreal lets the ball run out of play, the throw in is given to Cech who miskicks the ball completely and the ball drops in front of the feet of Ayew who scores from 6 meters out. 2-1 for Swansea after 62 minutes What a terrible error from Cech.
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Iwobi with a shot but well over the crossbar. Bellerin goes in the book, that is how things go with Mason. Cech concedes a corner when the ball went well out for a goalkick. Mason now penalising every contact from an Arsenal player. Swansea can almost capitalise when Mustafi is pushed but no foul is given but Dyer misses the goal. Özil with a great cross to Mkhitaryan but his header is saved by Fabianski. He was offside though so wouldn’t have counted. Still 2-1 down after 75 minutes.
Giroud enters the field for Iwobi after 75 minutes. Arsenal players still running too much with the ball always turning to the wrong side. Arsenal pressing Swansea completely back in their own penalty area but the crosses just can’t find Giroud for the moment. Ajew goes away and when his cross is not cleared Swansea score again. 3-1 after 86 minutes. This time Monreal with an error and then Xhaka gives the assist when he tries to clear the ball.
The difference between Arsenal home and away is really unbelievable at times. There is no confidence in the team when we play away from home. We commit errors like schoolboys and our passing is nothing compared to what we see at home.
The absence of Jack Wilshere may play a part, the pitch didn’t really suit our passing game but we were outran by Swansea for the whole 90 minutes. But that is no excuse to make the errors we made in this match. Too many players who where invisible in this match: Iwobi, Ramsey (okay his first real match back from injury), Xhaka too many to be good. Next time we play at home … hopefully we will see the other side then….