It was a Serge forward
I said yesterday that I didn’t think Serge Gnabry will start at Swansea because of his midweek involvement and I couldn’t be more wrong. It was one of those times that I’m more than happy to be wrong. Gnabry was selected to start and perhaps the young age played a part in how quickly he recovered from his midweek exertions. His performance yesterday proved that we have plenty to be excited about with his prospect and the manner in which he took his goal was definitely encouraging. If little else, it does show that when Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain comes back, there are genuine competition for places.
Momentum was continued
Given how the results in the other matches yesterday, it was extremely important that we take full advantage of it. None of our closest challengers picked up full points and we’ve opened up some gap by continuing our amazing run of away wins in the league. Two points ahead of that team, 4 ahead of Chelsea, 5 ahead of Manchester City and 8 points ahead of Manchester United. Even at this stage of the season, that is no small distance to be putting ourselves in front of the others. For the team though, they don’t really have to look at the table just yet. What is important for them is to harness the confidence that we’ve built up and use it to continue to win matches and the rest will come along.
It’s that Welsh midfielder again
Aaron Ramsey continues to perform and it would be to the amazement of everyone if he doesn’t win Premier League’s player of the month award. His awareness of where Gnabry was, in creating the opening goal was wonderful to see. As for our second and the goal scored by him, it just highlights the calmness he has in his game now. If previously, he might have snatched at that chance, Ramsey is now better in assessing the situation and the extra touch he took before hitting the shot proved just that.
Swansea will continue to do well this season
Of all the teams that we’ve played this season, Swansea have been the toughest opponent. Which is to be expected, given what we know of them. They were organised in defending with good movement and interchange of positions going forward. It was difficult for us in the first half as they managed to stifle our creative midfielders and close down the space that we were seeking. Mesut Ozil rarely had time to himself and like the rest of his team mates, were constantly and quickly closed down.
Extra rest days counted in the second half
All but 2 of our XI, played at the Hawthorns. Swansea had 4 players who played against Birmingham in midweek and were without the service of Leon Britton. It’s only a marginal difference in the numbers but it counted. In the second half, we were just that half a yard of pace faster than them. Quicker in the passing and quicker in the closing down. Swansea couldn’t live with us and the two goals were the result of that.
Then we got sloppy
Satisfied with the two goals lead and the control we have over the match (perhaps even Napoli playing on the minds), we took our foot off the pedal and went into auto cruise mode. Lapse of concentration was the reason why Swansea managed to halve the deficit. The manner in which Ben Davies was allowed to burst past a few players, is something of a concern. By the 2nd or 3rd player, someone should have already fouled him.
But we held on for the win
After conceding the goal, you could see that the whole team pulled themselves back together and wasn’t going to allow the home side the chance to get level. We’ve developed this new found resistance and strength to close out matches and it is hard to fault them in that regard. Another away win, another 3 points and this adds to the magnificent response that the team has produced since the opening day defeat. From a supporter’s point of view, hard not to look at the league table and be more than a little excited.