Good morning from Hungoversville. Population: Me. But you know what? After a result like yesterday’s away to Swansea, there was no way I’d sack off blogging on a Sunday morning. Make no mistake about it, yesterday’s victory against the Welshmen was MASSIVE.
In the blog yesterday I spoke of my nerves. I spoke of the threat that Swansea provide, of how they will fancy their chances and how we will need to be back to our best in order to get a result. After all, most teams that go to the Liberty cross back over the Severn Bridge with very little to show for their work. So to go into an international break with a solid 2-0 away victory is most satisfying, I can tell thee.
As is customary from Le Boss from time-to-time, he threw a few curve balls with his starting line up selection, giving the nod to Monreal - which was expected, but also The Ox and Diaby - which was not. Rosicky and Rambo made way and Santi dropped back into midfield to assume the role that he has played more often than not this season of free roamer. Lukas and Laurent also retained their places, so the team had the look of a side that was big enough in squad depth to cope with the rigours of the English football season. As I said on Thursday in the wake of the Bayern game, one swallow doth not a summer make, but it was a really positive thing to see Arsene rotate his team and still manage to get a result. It’s something we’ve all wondered about this season when it comes to the ability of the whole squad to compete.
We knew what we would get from Swansea. They passed and passed and passed the ball and probed for their chance and of course it was inevitable Michu would get one or two, but to be honest Swansea didn’t spend that much of the first half banging down on the Arsenal defensive door. In fact, it was Arsenal that came closest through The Ox. Hit hit the post early on in the first half and right on the stroke of halftime.I thought the Ox had a good game yesterday and looked like more like the young and confident player that we saw at times last season.
I thought Diaby wasn’t at his best yesterday and his style leaves a lot to be frustrated about, so when he and the Ox were substituted for Ramsey and Gervhino, it was the right decision by Wenger. This was made all the more evident with the two substitutes combining to finish off the game on 90 minutes. It must have felt good for Ramsey, who gets roundly booed every time he comes to Swansea. The best way to silence home fans is by beating the home team and Rambo will have probably taken a little bit more pleasure from the result than anyone else.
The second half started off with The Arsenal in ascendency and for the first ten minutes or so and with Santi Cazorla skipping past players and looking like the fleet-footed player we saw at the start of the season, from this humble bloggers eyes it looked like we could get a result, despite having to listen to commentators purring over Swansea’s passing even when they don’t go anywhere. It’s funny, when Arsenal have lots of possession but no penetration, it is seen as ‘typical Arsenal’ and we’re chastised, but such is the love of an underdog in this country, that when Swansea had the same dilemma, they are seen as playing great football by the media.
It was good to see Monreal on the score sheet yesterday, albeit through a scruffy effort, and although Vorm probably should have saved the scuffed shot. Much like all of the back five, who managed a second clean sheet in a week, that I thought was also a really pleasing thing about the result. we’ve become so used to seeing Arsenal make rod for their own backs defensively, that it is just as good to see a ’0′ beside the opponents scoreline at the end of the game.
This was a dominating and thoroughly deserving result from a team that will take a lot of confidence going into the international break. It means we can enjoy the break without having to stew on the poor result for two weeks. I thought the intensity of the play was also a plus point. With the result won and time ticking away, you could be forgiven for thinking that the players would be happy to see the result off, but the attitude of the players from the first whistle to the last was epitomised with Aaron Ramsey forcing Vorm to kick the ball out for a thrown in despite being 2-0 up. This is the attitude that we want to see and this is the desire that will give us the best shot of finishing in the top four. I questioned Le Boss’ ability to motivate the players on a consistent basis between now and the end of the season, and after a result like that I am only happy to be proven wrong. All we need to do now is win the other nine and we’ll probably be fine!