the three letters tar inside a cannon
article banner
JokAFC avatar


Swansea 3-1 Arsenal - Taking liberties at The Liberty

Swansea showed that reports of their demise was greatly exaggerated, as they bested us 3-1 and left our top four hopes deservedly in tatters.There was no debut start for new boy Henrikh Mkhitaryan, the Armenian schemer started on the bench. Olivier Giroud was another on the subs bench, as his future seemed undecided.Arsene Wenger again opted for a three man midfield, with Mohamed Elneny playing the sentry role, with Granit Xhaka and Welshman Aaron Ramsey playing, with no role in the matchday squad for Jack Wilshere. With the England midfielder’s recent form, his exclusion surely would have been down to injury.In attack we had Mesut Ozil and Alex Iwobi behind Alex Lacazette, and we had a four man defence, with Kolasinac again missing out. The home side named two men up top, with Tammy Abraham partnering Wilfried Bony in a brave lineup. They had enough in the locker to trouble us, and with the rain so heavy it was making our zippy passing a little difficult - this game looked like it would be a struggle from the start.The match was scrappy and devoid of any pace, whether that was down to the players or the bog of a pitch was up for debate, but Swansea were making us look nervous. The first real chance fell to Iwobi though. The young Nigerian was teed up by Lacazette on the edge of the box and his low effort looked to be squeezing into the near bottom corner, but former Gunner Lukasz Fabianski got down well to save.It wasn’t long before we had the lead though.Mesut Ozil used his eagle-eye vision to put over a wonderful ball toward the back post. What a surprise that it was man of the moment - Nacho Monreal - that slid home. It was his fourth goal of the season and his third in as many games.We then made Swansea look like world-beaters and gifted a goal to a player who never scores - par for the Arsenal course.Ozil was dispossessed a minute after making the opening goal, and Alfie Mawson put through a pass for Sam Clucas. Clucas then finished like Romario to deny Cech his 200th clean sheet. ur keeper has been waiting a while for that special moment.We have a nasty habit of making average or poor teams look like Cruyff’s Ajax team in the 70’s. Swansea had failed to reproduce this showing throughout the season so far, so was it a surprise that they had turned up against us?Frankly? No.We managed to escape shooting ourselves in the foot any further before the half time whistle, as we trudged off the field with the scores level at 1-1. We really should have kept our lead though. The good thing was, our bench was strong, so we could shake things up if we needed to.There were no subs at half time, and the second half continued much like the first - with our midfield looking intermittent and our defence strangely at sea. We were lucky that Clucas, who suddenly resembled peak-Jairzinho, didn’t connect cleanly with a cross and give the home side the lead. We needed to shape up, but this was an all too familiar story this season. There was no reason for this insipid approach, especially when we’ve shown what we’re capable of at times. Yet here were again, counting our lucky stars that we hadn’t conceded another goal to a bang-average side.There were half chances for both sides and we were starting to crank up some form of pressure, but there was no changing the scoreline. On the 60th minute mark, Henrikh Mkhitaryan made his debut, taking the place of Mohamed Elneny. That signalled that we would have a two man engine room, with our new boy playing behind Lacazette, along with Ozil and Iwobi.He would have to work miracles though, for soon after, Swansea had taken the lead.Shkodran Mustafi rolled the ball back to Cech and our keeper sliced his clearance horribly. It fell kindly for Jordan Ayew to slot home, and yet again, we had giftwrapped points to a team that we should be beating.Then Swansea hit the woodwork with an effort, to underline how poor we were. This Swansea team were bottom of the league, and yet they were inches away from going 3--1 up against us…We called for the man who is likely to be leaving us. Olivier Giroud, the striker who has saved us on so many occasions, had fifteen minutes to give us what would probably be a parting gift.Instead, Swansea sealed the points, and it was the ginger Jairzinho who made the points safe.Clucas latched onto a deflected pass and smashed home, leaving Cech no chance - and we did nothing with the remaining minutes, as Swansea won 3-1.On this evidence, we best hope Aubameyang has already signed, because if he saw this game, he’ll be running back to Dortmund.