Is there a better time to play Arsenal than at the current moment? Swansea didn’t think so, so they came down the M4 in their numbers to see what the Swans could do at The Emirates. And of course right in the middle of that Welsh cake was Abi Davies.
Prior to Saturday’s game much speculation had surrounded how Arsenal would respond following their 8-2 demolition at Old Trafford two weeks ago. However a busy transfer deadline day ensured Arsene Wenger’s squad would be better equipped to deal with the demands of the Premier League – having seemingly suffered after the departures of the influential midfield duo Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas. Not being a betting girl I decided to put a cheeky £1 on us coming away from The Emirates with a draw. I did a simple Google search to look at where I could get the best odds. A result that said “All the best odds and all the stats help you to place your football bets: Footballscores.com is the web’s best resource for scores, results and all things football.” wasn’t a bad place to start and so I looked forward to winning big.
New recruits Mikel Arteta and Per Mertesacker were drafted straight into the starting XI whilst there was a place among the substitutes for fellow deadline day signing Yossi Benayoun.
In contrast to Arsenal’s last match, Swansea City signed off for the international break in a different manor, delivering an outstanding performance at home to Sunderland to record their second consecutive point.
Alan Curtis and Colin Pascoe temporarily took the helm due to the absence of Brendan Rodgers following the sad passing of his father.
The Swans were forced into making one change to the side that started against Sunderland as Wayne Routledge was ruled out through injury meaning Joe Allen earned his first start of the Premier League campaign. With both Monk and Tate absent Ashley Williams retained the captains armband and lead Swansea for the third consecutive game.
Swansea got the game under way but quickly found themselves on the back foot as Arsenal settled into the game and looked the better in possession during early exchanges. The home side’s first chance came within the opening two minutes as Arteta set up Aaron Ramsey who’s effort fired over the bar.
The visitors were presented with their first chance of the game when Kemy Agustien played the ball into the box and despite Danny Graham’s touch directing the ball on target, Arsenal’s player of the month Szczesny reacted well, got down low to make a fine save and deny Swansea their first Premier League goal.
Walcott came close to breaking the deadlock 15 minutes in, as he worked his way into the box before dinking the ball past Vorm, however as the ball seemed destined for the back of the net some great defensive work from Caulker saw the on loan Spurs defender clear the ball off the line.
Arsenal were in the ascendancy however The Swans were able to uphold the pressure applied by Wenger’s side as they failed to break through The Swans solid back line on a number of occasions.
Mid way through the first half , Swansea came agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock for the second time. Following a surging run forward from Nathan Dyer in which he beat a number of Arsenal defenders, the winger earned his side a free kick after being brought down by Frimpong. Kemy Agustien stepped up to take the set piece, only for his shot to fire marginally over the cross bar.
The opening goal of the game came in unfortunate circumstances for The Swans. With just 5 minutes of the half remaining, a momentary lapse in concentration from Michel Vorm, who has been dependable so far this term, allowed Arshavin to pounce and score his first goal of the season. After Robin Van Persie’s initial shot was half-blocked, Vorm collected to prevent an Arsenal corner, after doing so, the Dutch keeper tried to roll the ball out quickly, however the ball ricocheted off the back of Rangel’s foot and fell for Arshavin who finished well.
Swansea made a bright start to the second half but despite some great build up play it was a lack of clinical ability again hindering the Welsh side’s game.
The visitors almost got themselves back on level terms 10 minutes after the interval as Scott Sinclair earned a free kick which he stepped up to take. For the second time in 2 games the winger was denied by the cross bar.
Shortly after, Van Persie suffered the same fortune at the other end of the pitch as his sweetly struck shot was denied only by the woodwork.
Swansea were forced into making a change shortly after the hour mark as Kemy Agustien limped off with a hamstring injury, replaced by Mark Gower.
Gower was involved immediately, with a great ball into the box for Danny Graham who rose above Mertesacker, however couldn’t direct his header on target.
Swansea’s final chance to take something from the game came in injury time. From Gower’s well taken corner, Caulker headed the ball down finding Graham who blazed over from close range meaning a first competitive goal in Swans colours still eludes the striker.
In a game which Arsenal shaded in terms of possession, Swansea had numerous chances to get back on level terms, but the home side managed to hold out for their first win of the season.
Swansea’s build up play is far too slow at times, meaning opponents are able to get 11 men behind the ball before we are in an assertive position. We saw this a number of times against Arsenal, where we almost looked too afraid to lose possession, ultimately doing so then finding ourselves extremely exposed on the counter as Arsenal were able to break quickly.