Tuesday, September 13, 2011

SSN Exclusive: Arsenal vs. Swansea: Alec's take

This is just a little addendum to Bobby's comments about the Arsenal / Swansea game. I was also at the match, so here's my take...

Above it was a bit of a turgid affair which, on the whole, must have disappointed most Arsenal fans. Okay the Gunners won, but if they can't beat Swansea, with their open, attacking style, then things really are bleak.

At the back I don't really share Bob's opinion that 'the Mertersacker/Koscielny pairing shows immense promise'. We are talking Swansea here. His lack of pace meant Mertersacker was caught the wrong side a couple of times, once requiring a great Szczesny parry to bail him out. But he at least understands how to defend. There was one tackle, in which he robbed his opponent with the proper side-on technique that should be shown to the rest of the Arsenal defense 10 times a day. So he should do well with Vermaelen. It's not that Koscielny is a bad player, but I'm not sure he'll ever be top class. He always looks so nervous, which can't make for the best partner. The upcoming Dortmund and Spurs games will be truer tests of the pairing.

As Bob mentioned, the main problem was in midfield, where there was a general lack of movement. With everything too static, van Persie kept dropping back to get into the game. Swansea's job was then made easy as Arsenal had all their players in such a small area. Arteta is a finder, meaning those around him have to make runs, not stand around waiting for something to happen. But as usual, Walcott didn't take the initiative and Arshavin was just too bloody lazy. So there was no penetration. Up front, I don't know why Wenger didn't change things later in the game by playing two forwards.

Swansea were impressive considering they only lost due to a keeper fuck-up. They probably regret waiting until the last 10 minutes of the game to play the more direct football which made Arsenal nervous.

One thing that disappointed was the fact the game was a 'sell out', but one in five seats were empty.

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