Three points in the bag. Move up to 11th in the league (still early days to consider any significance of the table). No injuries suffered during the game. No red card accrued during the 90 minutes. Andrey Arshavin opened his accounts for the season and another clean sheet kept by Wojciech Szczesny (not that it was his effort alone, those in front of him helped of course).
Arsene Wenger did not throw any surprises over the starting line-up. There was confusion as to whether Park Chu Young would be able to take his place on the bench due to visa issue. However, that was rectified a couple of hours before the start and the Korean was joined by Andre Santos as the only 2 new signings that did not come off the bench.
The other 3 did get their first run-out in an Arsenal shirt. Mikel Arteta and Per Mertesacker, started as expected while Yossi Benayoun replaced Andrey Arshavin with 30 minutes remaining on the clock. Emmanuel Frimpong played the defensive midfield role and together in midfield with him was Aaron Ramsey and Arteta. The Ghanaian had another reasonable performance but still makes those rash challenges.
Worth noting that Arteta did not exactly play in the Cesc role. It was almost reminiscent of when Jack Wilshere and Ramsey played together. Both given equal chance to surge forward and become the 4th man in attack. Arteta’s ability to find the passes were good. Nothing through the eye of the needle, just simple early releases to get the team going.
As for Ramsey, he looks to me like he’s exhausted. I know it’s only the 4th league game of the season but the boy has only recently returned from a very very long absence. His body and recuperation powers needs time to adjust back to the rigours of continuous football.
That of course is not the only deficiency that I see of him. Ramsey slows down the game for Arsenal. Seemingly trying to take too many touches and not being aware of the runners around him to make that quick pass. There was a breakaway late in the second half which could’ve given us some breathing room. It was a 3 on 1 situation (excluding him) and his pass was straight to the Swansea player.
This was not a comfortable game for Arsenal by any stretch of the imagination. The opposition might not have their manager for the day but when Brendan Rogers gets a chance to watch this game, he would’ve been very proud of his charges. The promoted side was full of energy and true to their style, played football the right way.
Scott Sinclair and Nathan Dyer were a constant threat up front. Pace and trickery were their arsenal and they used that to great effect. Even the ever dependable Bacary Sagna must claim that this was one of the toughest game he must have played. At times, I felt Sagna and Kieran Gibbs could’ve used some help when defending against the duo but were afforded none by their team mates.
At the back, Gareth Williams and Steven Caulker had a very decent game for Swansea. Marshalling their defence well and did not give Robin Van Persie any space inside the box. Michael Vorm was having a rather easy game, mostly dealing with crosses or shots from outside the penalty box.
I think by now we are accustomed to seeing the opposition keeper having the game of their lives when playing against us. Thankfully for us, Vorm was not having that yesterday. It was his poorly chosen roll out that hit his own player and gave Arshavin the chance to score. It was a tight angle but if anyone is expected to hit the target from there, it would the Russian captain.
Arshavin applied himself well throughout the game. Becoming by far our most important attacking outlet. Constantly letting the ball run past him to make room for himself without having to slow down the game. Interesting to see him play the best game for Arsenal for quite some time. A game which saw his hug the touchline less and roam much much more.
Laurent Koscielny looked very comfortable playing alongside Mertesacker. It was another impressive performance from the Frenchman. Moving from the right side of centreback to the left, his adaptability is very commendable. Got a yellow card but was probably left overly exposed by a marauding Gibbs. Meanwhile, the German international had a solid début. Cleared his line when called upon and made some important interceptions.
There were also disappointing performance from others in the game. Most notably Theo Walcott. I do realise he is an easy target to pick but his performance yesterday really warranted it. Far too predictable and lack of ideas. Without Gervinho in the side, Walcott changes flank less and stuck mainly on the right wing. Tried to use the the same tactic over and over again on Neil Taylor but it did not come off. The boy needs some variation and he needs it fast.
In the end, we probably have to thank lady luck for the win. Put on a plate and gifted to us by Vorm. Not the kind of backlash that we were hoping for but we will have to take it as it is given. If we won the rest of the 50 odd games until the end of this season, it would make me very happy. Increased chances of heart attack, but happy nonetheless.
Next up, Europe.