Arteta – Bright Start but faded…..
Its September 10th, a New dawn, new beginnings, from the ashes of Project Y’sssh and the dishevelled remains of a team that faced the Old Trafford onslaught, it was Wengers regrouped band of footballers with a significant number of new recruits, grabbed on the supermarket trolley dash on 31st August, who took to the field, ready to drag Arsenal back to the upper echelons of the premier league………
Per – Slow Steady Start
There was an air of anticipation around the ground, as we all took our seats, Arteta and Mertz were in the Line up and the other new boys all on the bench…..A team selection rightly predicted by many, but from now on perhaps not so easy to predict, so the depth is there…
Little time to get the know the new players as our team returned from around the globe after their international endeavours with goals aplenty scored by our boys…….so they do know where the ball should go………?
Anyway, a bright start to the game saw a Spaniard look composed and assured on the ball, with deft touches and slide passes, he was playing with a smile and a zest about his play. And the fans had their early voices heard…..
The first chance saw Arteta put Aaron through on goal, but he lost balance and smashed it high and wide. Arsenal continued to press and knock the ball around. But the next best chance was seized by the Swans…….
A delightful cross in from the right from agustien, as Danny Graham attacked the six yard box (please note this arsenal), got in front of Per and stabbed it to the bottom corner, wrong footed, off balance and his eyes closed, ok that bit was made up, Szczesny somehow got down to his left to produce a stunning save…….
Arsenal kept up the initial pace of the game with the lively Arshavin releasing the ball through the middle to Theo who came from the right, Theo managed to squeeze the ball goal bound under Vorm, as it edged towards the goal, Caulker cleared the ball away…
Arsenal continued to move the ball around, but it lacked real zip and the movement in the final third was poor, as chances were few and far between. Frimpong back from suspension showed heart and the fight for a battle, had a dig from range, but it was dragged wide.
Gradually Swansea became more dangerous as their confidence grew with Dyer and Sinclair causing problems with their pace and directness, arsenal struggled to gel as a team. Another cross flashed across the 6 yard area, Graham nearly getting his head on it, with arsenal defence static Gibbs nearly steering in his own net as the ball came at him.
As we moved close to half time, no player really was standing out for Arsenal, Arshavin was certainly been more involved than of late and couldn’t have been lambasted for his usual laziness, as he chased and harried every ball, soon he got his reward.
Frimpong, passed into Theo with his back to goal, who turned inside to his right and done two men on the edge of the area, but flashed his shot high and wide with his left, a deflection looped the ball up high and as it edged towards the corner, Vorm collected the ball and rolled it out, but it hit the heels of the swan defender Rangel, Arshavin turned and with his left peg, curled a sweet shot into the empty and inviting net……..
Second half started lively with both sides knocking the ball about, but both lacked penetration. Sinclair raced towards goal; he tried to evade Kosceinly who scythed him down, yellow card. Sinclair’s free kick hit the bar and over.
Moments later, Arsenal moved forward down the left, Arshavin played into RVP, who took the ball with two players in close quarters, he shrugged them off and turned to his left and across the goal and unleashed a curler to the far right post which he clipped.
Arshavin came off for Benayoun on 63, which considering it was his best performance for a while was unfortunate.
Arteta, played the ball out wide to Sagna, who moved forward and curled the ball across the goal, just nobody attacking the box, Van Persie just too late……
Frimpong was replaced by Coquelin on 75; quickly he got into the game, he reads the game well, and he worked hard to close down players. On 81 Van Persie was taken off for Chamakh, which was a strange one, but later at the end, RVP limped as he walked on the pitch to applaud the fans, so maybe a precautionary move?.
Chamakh almost had an immediate impact; a long ball from Koscielny was headed back to Ramsey, who fed Gibbs on the left, who crossed perfectly first time, Chamakh rose, good contact but straight at Vorm.
In the last few minutes, Swansea pressed and won some corners and from one of them, the ball broke for Graham, who turned and couldn’t keep his shot down and fired over from 5yards…..
So we end with 11 men, no bad ref decisions against us and we get a little bit of luck for a change, so has the Vorm turned?
Well it’s a win, a clean sheet and 3points. Important not to drop points, especially with the pressure at the end of the match, nervous but we didn’t concede a sloppy goal which was a trade mark last season.
Fair play to Swansea, they played well and looked good at times, need to find the scoring touch soon to stay in this league, but we are not prolific!!! My only gripe was way too many players went to ground holding their heads………
Picked a team, most of us picked beforehand but 3 points so cannot mark down too harsh. I would love to know what instructions he sends Theo out with, his play no way as effective as against Udinese. Standard substitutions, didn’t improve the game, as we lost our shape, allowing and inviting pressure.
Szczesny: 8: Just for that save, which truly was world class, Number 1?, commands the box and is more considered with his distribution now.
Sagna: 7: Not spectacular but dependable and solid, Sinclair will cause problems for who ever he faces. Got forward well.
Koscienly: 7: Reads the game well, under rated for me, I’ll say as always, he just lacks aggression for me. Rightly booked
Mertesacker: 6: Steady and slow start, little time to acclimatise to premier league so will mention a couple of good tackles he made. My big concern was he didn’t attack the ball enough and use his height effectively
Gibbs: 6.5: offensively was probably better with some good crosses, but again he failed at times to attack the ball in defence, one very notably near the end that could hav cost us. Positionally naïve or still learning? Needs to up his game or Santos will be coming early this year……..
Frimpong: 6: Heart and fight, plenty of drive, his effort alone endears him to the crowd, a favourite of mine already. But his passing was poor. Although when he gets it wrong he chases till he gets it back…..Young and will be a stalwart for years…….Tired towards the end, before been subbed.
Ramsey: 7: Heard some comments knocking his performance, thought he did well, looked for the ball and moved us forward. Had an early chance that he blasted wide. Never hid and worked tirelessly. Heard someone say he isn’t good enough for Arsenal, balderdash…….have a word…….
Arteta: 7: Really lively start, probing and laying off deft touches, a Spaniard orchestrating the midfield, he is his own man and he will do well for us. Hacked down several times, showed that he was seen as dangerous by the swans. Dropped off in the 2nd half as our shape went apples and pears……
Arshavin: 8: A much better performance, worked hard and close down defenders, always looking and probing. Definitely not a lazy boy today…….Took his goal well, it might have been an open net, but most would have missed that from that angle. Went off before 65 as usual….Just gets my MotM for his goal and work rate.
Walcott: 7: A crowd splitter, he tends to frustrate more than he excites, but just what he instructions does he get? The team doesn’t aid him and he is not suited to balls in tight areas to his feet. I will defend him, but I agree without pace he wouldn’t be as useful, but he has pace so that statement is pointless, he does give us an outlet, he needs to become consistent to realise his full potential. But I would say, he has an Ox breathing down his neck…… I know quite a few will disagree with me but for all his knockers, he did more than Van Persie.
Van Persie: 6: Didn’t get involved enough, if he plays point, he needs to attack the area with more vigour. Great shot in the 2nd half that hit the post. Subbed late on, took a knock? Play him in the hole…….
Benayoun: 6: Lively
Coquelin: 6: Tenacious
Chamakh: 6: Had a header, but little time.
Next up: Dortmund……….Champions league, we need a better shape and more movement in the final 3rd. Defenders need to attack the ball and not let it bounce. With Gervinho and Song back in the team, we will step it up again……..
End Note: Condolences to Brendon Rodgers, Swansea Manager, whose father died on Friday.
Written by Harry