Keeping It Real Mon In Season’s Swan Song


Swansea City 0 – 2 Arsenal

0 – 1 Monreal (74)
0 – 2 Gervinho (90)

Arsenal’s international contingent leave for their national squads having clipped The Swans wings. Her Majesty might be the only one to enjoy roast Swan on a regular basis but Arsenal had a small taster yesterday. The eventual margin of victory would have been more bar the intervention of the woodwork and a goalkeeping display from Michel Worm which has seen him linked once more with a move to North London in the Summer.

The expected change in defence came with the recall of Nacho Monreal to left back but it was a courageous decision to recall Abou Diaby for Aaron Ramsey given the Welshman’s performance in Bavaria and the reaction if the result was less than favourable; Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain the final move to replace Tomas Rosicky.

Arsenal started brightly, Oxlade-Chamberlain almost broke the deadlock early on, coming closer to breaking the bar with a curling shot having bundled his way through the right side of the Swansea defence. The hosts countered with Rangel prodding wide before Michu span a shot past the post following Jenkinson’s sloppy play on the edge of the area. Riding your luck has always been an element of solid defences, playing away from home does not lend itself readily to the myth of not allowing your opponent any opportunities at all.

Cazorla’s dipping shot was parried and gathered by Worm at the second attempt before the half ended as it began, Oxlade-Chamberlain’s shot from distance clipping the top of the bar en route to safety. The second half was more of the same, sporadic attempts from the home side, pressure from the visitors. Neither side was creating chances of note though. Gervinho and Ramsey took the place of Oxlade-Chamberlain and Diaby; within five minutes Arsenal had the lead. Cazorla squirted the ball through to Giroud, his stumble and miscontrol quickly recovered to push the ball back to Monreal. The Spaniard created space before his shot hopped, skipped and jumped the corner of the net, breaking his Arsenal duck quicker than any modern era Arsenal left back except Ashley Cole. Just clear of Winterburn mind, one game.

Gervinho’s moment almost came before de Guzmann rippled the sidenetting with a freekick. The Ivorian had the last laugh. Ramsey was sent clear on the right and he squared the ball inside to Gervinho. With just the goalkeeper to beat, he finished with an aplomb which had been missing since the Autumnal leaves span their way to earth.

Three deserved points were gained but the manner of victory was crucial. Swansea pierced the home defence just once, the rest of their chances were from distance. Having surrendered a late lead in January’s FA Cup tie to a sloppy equaliser, Arsenal showed great maturity in the final fifteen minutes. de Guzmann’s effort aside, there was a solid line of red shirts across the pitch when Swansea pressed for a goal. The Welsh side could not breach the line and were restricted to wayward efforts. It was disciplined, the pressure of the manager’s words about it being a must-win match bringing about the desired professionalism as a response.

Arsène praised his charges in the post-match press conferences,

The attitude of our players and our team was outstanding. Even when the legs were a bit less fresh, we kept going and refused to drop points.

It was the much-needed continuation of the performance levels shown in Munich. International breaks are rarely well-timed in the football calendar, this one particularly poor from Arsenal’s perspective. The momentum gained in these two games will diminish as outside and in some cases lesser, influences provide an unwelcome interruption to focus. Arsène noted that the two results would have a positive effect on the squad,

I think to win a big game on Wednesday night transformed the belief of the team a little bit. We’ve struggled during the season to find that and I think you could see today again that you cannot question the attitude of these players. The solidarity they showed are qualities that will be needed until the last day of the season.

That is the key difference between now and three weeks ago; two good results, two defensively solid performances have given them some self-belief that was long missing. When the season ends is the time to address the question of why this has taken so long to come to light. Right now, the manager and coaching staff will be looking to work on it with those who remain behind and others when they return.

’til Tomorrow.


155 thoughts on “Keeping It Real Mon In Season’s Swan Song

  1. And GP,
    Wenger could have been ‘ruthless’ with TV at any point in the season before now. Kos has been available more often than not. There’s been ample opportunity for doing so, we have only 9 games to go ffs.

    Personally, I don’t see dropping TV as a sign of some newly found ruthlessness. Vermalaen is hardly indispendable. Any player can be dropped as anyone who’s followed Arsenal for more than a couple of seasons can tell.
    All managers drop players from time to time, depending on form, even the highly rated ones.

  2. @Marc

    I have not studied it at any great length, but I do know they have Everton, Swansea, Chelsea and Manchester City to play.

  3. Does anyone truly care more about Wengerball than our team winning? I mean attractive football is great when we have it but I would rather grind out a result than create 30 chances just for the opposition to win by converting the 1 chance they had.

    This team of ours has to find their own identity, it is pretty simple and when they do they’ll play to the strength’s of it.

  4. JJ

    The point of all of this is I like Wengerball and wish for more. It’s good to graft every now and again, but not be to defined by it. I also have a dislike for the battlefield analogies, when I read some of your stuff I feel you are just a breath away from reminding us how ‘we won the war’ and ‘we are warrior nation’. I hear this all the time here in the gritty north and it’s a load of bollocks.

  5. nobody gives a bollox about wengerball anymore..
    we just need to win..

    george graham gets beat alot but george was a victim of his own doings..

    georges earlier teams played some of the best stuff weve seen..the 91 team were one game away from being invincible..we played some good stuff but george starting selling them and replacing them with not as good players..

    but he realised it..and he adapted to it and we became a boring but effective cup team so he could keep the board and fans happy..

    but his time was coming..

    with arsene its kinda the same..hes sold his best players and the quality isnt the same as it was before but the difference is with him and george is that arsene didnt react to it, he still wanted them to play wengerball and we dont have the same killer instinct..

    we should have gone back to basics at the start of the season when there was everything still to play for, not when theres 10 games left weve been knocked out of everything and hes worried his perfect top 4 record is about to go..

  6. JJ

    Well, that makes a lot of sense, I must say. But where we differ is you put everything squarely at Wenger’s door. I don’t believe he willing sold any of those players. I do not believe he is the dictator that has the ‘board’ wrapped around his finger. I do accept that he understands what must be done to ensure the long term future of Arsenal football club however mercenary that may appear to us fans. I believe he very reluctantly accepted those players to be sold.

  7. wars have been won and lost on cups of tea..

    maybe thats the secret, weve done away with the lucozades and nickys grans mashed a brew for everyone..

  8. @JonJon

    The thing is hindsight is always 20/20 mate. Should TV5 have been dropped earlier? maybe, but we as fan are always pretty quick to judge. I don’t think TV5 has been the only player this year that you could have argued should have been dropped.


    I don’t think it is bad to wish or hope for total football (wengerball or barcaball). The thing is (from my point of view) this team just does not seem to have the attributes for it. Teams are much smarter than we sometimes give them credit for, they are closing us down faster and allowing less room for our forwards to use their pace. Unfortunately, we seem to have been a little slow to adjust to it.

  9. “I do accept that he understands what must be done to ensure the long term future of Arsenal football club however mercenary that may appear to us fans. I believe he very reluctantly accepted those players to be sold.”

    I agree, you cannot prevent a player from getting what they want anymore. All the club and manager can do it ultimately get the best deal they can upon the players departure.

  10. It is not like the old days where the clubs basically held the rights to the players. Now it is more like a lease, and those leases are easily gotten out off.

  11. MA
    there is no hindsight

    most of this was talked about at the beginning of the year when ppl said it was a mistake to make TV captain becuase it meant he was undroppable and kozzer was our best CB..

    i maybe wrong, i had a look and i couldnt find it but im sure yogi wrote a number on it and we all had it out then.. but i know i had it out with somebody in any case.. because i remember the majority of us wanted sagna or arteta..

    your correct though, hes not the only one..but that goes back to the ding dongs weve had about squad depth and how weve had none because players are always injured or out on loan..

  12. JJ

    The bankers that precipitated a global economic crisis can do one. Did you hear how many premier league clubs are in financial difficulties this morning? West Ham have mortgaged their TV deal money due next year already, some £60 million. Arsenal had to cope with the crisis and seem to be pulling out in good shape. It takes as along as it takes. Usually we fans are far less patient and not privy to all the information.

  13. Yet another refereeing disaster. Definitely a handball from the corner, but the ref seems to think it was a legitimate flick on and Wigan score from it. Dreadful weekend for the refs.

  14. our fans have been patient enough GP..season tickets are claimed to be the main source of income and our fans have paid through the nose to keep this club affloat through these difficult times..

    that shouldnt be forgotten when the fans get a caining and blamed for fans no club..

    and the finances are a whole different beast of a debate, many think weve got no money and only exist becuase we sell players..well what sort of model is that? it will get to the point where youve got no more players left to sell and you’ll drop out of CL and lose that revenue as well..

    but its going off topic becuase we do have money and it still doesnt explain why 14 other teams have better defensive records than us on their own patch..

  15. No process of complaint against referees just an arbitrary panel who can relegate a ref to the Championship for a weekend. No wonder standards in officiating are not improving.

  16. JJ

    I don’t see 14 teams with better defensive records above us in the league. We have joint best defensive record for away games. Let’s reserve judgement till the end of the season. Cherry picking data is always unwise.

  17. but TV has carried the burden of captaincy before though. both for Ajax and for Belgium. So it is weird that he crumbled as much as he have done under the preassure…

    Maybe its more linked to all the operations hes had… Also if Kos has been carrying a knock just as Poldi for long periods of time. what do you do?

    But if Fab is more vocal than Chezney maybe that helps too? and latley, especially when we started Rosicky, Arteta and Ramsey against Bayern our midfield was alot better, they covered better for our defense.

    Infact, and this maybe crule, but after Jack went off injured our midfield has worked bette with the defence. Jack, Verm and Chesney, basically our backbone, swapped and our team works better….

  18. oh and i can smell blood now. the boys can smell blood now. we will nail that 4th on the dispense of Tottenham i think. I think they can get semifinals in the europa cup and will go for that..

    We will nail that 4th for sure….

  19. We cant play wenger ball anymore

    We don’t have the players

    We might become competant at some point but never a mastery like teams of old.

    Wenger ball was rightly criticised for its ineffective ability to win games and to concede more

    But i argue that our team now is more error prone and our caution has led to more mistakes

    But thats just me.

  20. stand corrected

    13 it is..

    poodle its the setup not the players..

    but certain players have been made to look poor for so long confidence is battered and they needed to be benched..

  21. well the fact United are so shit as they are and we are so far behind them as we are says alot about the PL atm….

  22. Waves

    We are 5th in the league so 13 other teams having better defensive records at home will only mean anything if they finish above us at the end of the season. Does Stoke still hold the best defensive record? Wow!

  23. @JonJon tbh i dont care, i just want that 4th and i want to win the rest of the matches this year. ( i can accept a draw against shit united).
    If that means we have to play like Stoke then so be it.

    4th is the bread and butter of this club. after 4th we can concetrate on makin 4th beautiful. but first we need the basics, then we layer it with style, stars, trickery, tippy-tappy and you name it.

    but first things first. and thats 4th spot.

  24. no GP
    it means we have a complacency at home that saps confidence and leads to inconsistency

    thats why ppl are saying we must take our away tactics into home games..
    if people cant score against you they cant beat you and we are capable of goals from anywhere on the pitch so i dont get why we must go out and try beat everyone we play at home 10-9..

    no need..

    we aint saying it for the fun of it we know where the problem is..

  25. Thanks for that, Spy. Yep, a shame that so many pubs have gone. I remember the Green Man.

    No, duke, I lived near Putney East.

  26. I could see you down on the Thames in Putney climbing into one of those posh boys boats with your mates Bob,I’m thinking a young Nigel Havers…..

  27. Ah we are back to playing at the Emirates like we play away JJ

    And relying in our visitors to do the same

    I think Kosc’s issue is trying to play football at the wrong moment sometimes

    Wembley for example

  28. TV has always been a little gung ho with his defending – I don’t think the captaincy has effected that.

    Having said that both Mert & Kos have also struggled at times making a first choice pairing difficult to find.

    This can also effect the keeper & full backs & may explain some of the inconsistency we’ve suffered this season.

    I think it’s vital that AW now sticks with a pair no matter whose nose is put out of joint.

  29. Anybody watching the Athetico Madrid game? I’ve seen Diego Costa a few times now and he seems to be starting to pick up the goals. He collects fouls well, but he gets up quickly if there is an advantage to be played. He likes a battle as well and is often in shoving matches with players from the other team. If he turned up in the Prem I’m pretty sure he would become the most hated striker fairly quickly. Could definitely take the title from Suarez.

  30. Best home record and meanest defensive in the league overall is Man City. Conceded 11 at home and only 26 in total. It just shows that a mean defence by itself is not enough. There is likely to be another big clear out of strikers at Man City in the summer as they still search for that 25 plus goal scorer to lead the line. I think Dzeko is definitely on his way out and he did look fairly poor yesterday.

    @GP I wasn’t specifically commenting on our defensive record at home, just stating the facts. I do agree with JJ that we appear complacent at home though. I’m not sure what the reason is, because we aren’t exactly going gung ho in attack either.

  31. The discussion seems to be polarising with some stating we should play in a more gritty way (like against Bayern and Swansea) and some that it should be Wengerball or nothing. Why are the two mutually exclusive? If we were able to tighten up some of the sloppy passing we have been making this season (even in the last two games) we would all be saying that we still have that ability to move the ball around whilst also having introduced some discipline into the defensive side of our game. We have players at the club who can pass the ball well so we don’t have to give up on that side of our game, but nor do we have to play with no thought to the defensive side of our game.

  32. Did you all notice when the Man$ity defender held Fallaini back in the box yesterday and the ref ignored it? A less blatant situation with Kos left him sent off and a penalty given. Perhaps the ref realised he made a mistake there, by not giving a peanlty when the ball clearly hiot Fallain’s hand in the box at the end of the game.

  33. Ridiculous comments by hacks on Talk Shite reacting to Wenger’s comments about wake up call for premier league in Europe. Fact is there are no English Clubs in quarter finals in Champion league this time. Chelsea winning it last time was an aberration.

  34. Its great that avb is trying to do both, win the europa and get cl. he’ll end up with none. harry had it right he gave up the europa to get cl.

  35. bloody hell, missed all the fun. great weekend.

    to be a tot ay. but to be fair if they win their next 4 games they deserve 4th and more. gotta be thinking here we go again though. bale did pull a great van p though. kinda, nearly.

    we got no excuse. kinda (prematurely) looking forward to summer now. yay.

    fully capable of winning every game from now, even manure. the title has gone already thanks to us we should use that game to build momentum for the new season.

  36. Posh boys, Mel. Behave!

    No YW, Thai Green Man was/is up Putney Hill on the corner of the Common. Can’t think where you mean! It’s all a bit hazy.

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