Swansea Preview & Transfer Tall Tales As Ollie Wants To Go To Chelsea

With all the madness of the transfer window swirling around in our heads, it’s something of a relief to have a football match to talk about. Yes, I know; crazy, huh? Football, sheesh.

The trip to Swansea is tougher than it was a month ago. Not because we don’t have Alexis, but they are winning or at least not being beaten. So close is it at the bottom that two wins could see the Swans in mid-table; let’s not be one of them.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan will make his debut tonight, which is a confident prediction on my part since Arsène hasn’t confirmed anything yet. If I guessed who was to make way, I’d say Alex Iwobi. It’s one of the decisions for the manager to make this evening and going forward.

Aaron Ramsey’s return is another to resolve in a new-look midfield. I’ll be honest, I’m expecting there to be a few teething problems tonight as we have a phase of ‘getting to know you’. Mkhitaryan and Ramsey returning lend themselves more to a back four than a back three formation.

Whatever the choice, we can’t afford a repeat of the slow start we made against Chelsea. Despite the blitz against Palace, the warning signs were there in that game as well. Were it not for Mustafi’s timely header, we could have been one-down inside the first five minutes in that game.

As an away game, you’d expect us to sit back a little and let Swansea run out of steam in the first twenty minutes. But this is Arsenal and we don’t do things the easy way. We’ll rock, we’ll roll, reel from punches; we’ll muddle through and it just depends on whether we concede an early goal. If we don’t, we could win handsomely.

Photographs of Fancy Tricks

And we do owe Senor Carvalhal for the embarrassment we served up at Hillsborough a couple of years ago. Tonight would be good to let him see the proper Arsenal.

I’d expect the line-up at kick-off to be:

Cech; Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal; Xhaka; Mkhitaryan, Wilshere, Ramsey, Özil; Lacazette

If Wenger decides Ramsey needs a gentle return, then Elneny in front of the back four is the solution with Xhaka pushing further forward. For away games, that might be how we set up with Ramsey and Xhaka rotating or just the Welshman playing. We shall see; injuries and suspensions have a habit of upsetting things.

At this time of year, football is almost peripheral to the transfer window. For other clubs, that is; I’m always surprised when Arsenal are genuinely involved in talks with other clubs which may lead to a new signing or departure.

We’ve been quite ruthless this winter with Theo and Franny Coquelin going; two players who were part of the decor. Now they are spraying their unique talents elsewhere. In the latter’s case, I always thought Arsène could be obtuse in his team selection but Marcelino playing Coquelin as a central defender takes the cake.

Still, it’s nowhere near as weird as the reaction to Olivier Giroud’s departure. You’ve forgotten the 13-match barren run or that as a supersub, he’s pretty much failing the test. He’s scored four in 14; good stats but like any stats, you need to look behind them. There’s a 9-match barren run and two of them came in one game underpinning them.

I’m not having a pop at him, just not understanding why you’re elevating him to a god-like status. He’s been good for the club, working hard but not so good you need to be losing your sense of perspective.

And All The Girls That He’s Going to Fix

Ultimately, Aubameyang for Giroud is an upgrade. And with Lacazette in the squad, we’re covered for the Europa League at least in the starting line-up. Welbeck is a useful sub but he’s heading down the Theo route with, I think, an exit next summer if he doesn’t sign a new deal before the end of the season.

Let’s not forget that the portrayal of this is Giroud –> Batshuayi –> Aubameyang. We might see him cut Batshuayi out of the loop and go to Dortmund but Oli’s been reluctant to move to Germany, even on loan.

I understand the theory some put forward that they don’t want to strengthen Chelsea. Good point but also irrelevant; we’re strengthening Arsenal to get to a point where we can challenge Chelsea; even with Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang, we’re not there yet. We need another summer to do that; the defence needs sorting out and a new goalkeeper.

Arsenal are in the midst of major surgery. The footballing philosophy is mutating again, the squad being overhauled. It’s the perfect time to change the manager and let a new guy have a decent base to work off when he arrives. It won’t happen; it’s all going to pot next season while Arsène takes his time deciding on whether to renew his contract again.

Anyway, that’s enough of the transfer talk. We’re three points off Tottenham and for once I’d rather Manchester United handed out a good gubbing to their opponents. An Alexis hat-trick would make the media insufferable but bring us level with fifth place on points. One down, one to go to fourth; yes, that’s the limit of this season’s ambition. Two cups and fourth? It’s a decent end result given the starting point.

Everybody’s Got New Orders

But we must win tonight to make that a possibility. We’ve got 14 games left and pretty much need an unbeaten run to gatecrash the top four. I still think the only route to the Champions League is the Europa League but this is what a bit of transfer activity with half-decent players coming in and the squad being trimmed does. It gives a bit of hope relatively speaking.

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it.

’til Tomorrow.


220 thoughts on “Swansea Preview & Transfer Tall Tales As Ollie Wants To Go To Chelsea

  1. Nickerless Bender says:

    Well that was quite upsetting! Even our new shiny player looked around and thought wtf? We could buy Messi, Ronaldo and fecking all the best players in the world, But if we continue to play slow slow slow from the back under this quant. We are basically fecked.

    Forest, Leeds, Newcastle, Sunderland, Fulham nd preston north end used to be great teams and look where they are now.

    Something has to change and it needs to change now. My heart can’t cope.

    Give Giroud his due though… he was the only one that came over and said goodbye and thanks for the fish.

  2. Ras says:

    Comme d’habitude another Comedy of Errors. Some folks will never learn. So we will just continue to get burned. It’s as simple as that.

    Ramsey in the team with Xhakia don’t work. Period. Xhakia does not work in this team.

    Once again we see poor poor decision making by AW. You can’t play football this way and truly expect to win. Joke thing. AW is no capable of putting a ‘ team’ together. He’s a chancer. A risk taker and has had his pocket picked again.

    Your line this morning YW ( 1st paragraph) ‘ football is back and will give us something to talk about ‘ very prophetic… We are indeed engulfed again in banter that once again shows the short comings…. Get Buckland in … Get Mr Peter C to check out…

  3. andy1886 says:

    Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger: “I felt defensively we were very poor and made big mistakes. It’s better not to talk about the second or third goals.

    “Swansea were sharp, disciplined and hungry. Unfortunately I believe we were not good enough, I believe we were not disciplined enough.

    “I don’t want to talk about second or third goals.”

    On the possibility of Borussia Dortmund forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang joining Arsenal: “We will know more about that tomorrow morning.”

    Has Olivier Giroud played his last game for the Gunners? “It’s a possibility.”

  4. Paulie Walnuts says:

    Forget who plays where, tactics (haha) & coaching (HAHAHA) , we’re watching a slow motion car crash of a great club.

    Getting to Wembley won’t gloss over this shit.

  5. fell says:

    I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Henry on fire off the shoulder of Irwin. I watched Wilshere glitter in the dark at the Nou Camp. All those moments will be lost in time… like tears in rain… Time to die.

  6. Bill says:

    That was almost the same team that started the game and looked so dynamic against Crystal Palace. Its amazingly frustrating to see the consistent inconsistency. The defense clearly gets most of the blame and there is no doubt that Arsene has to take the majority of the blame for our poor team defensive ethos. However, we just as terrible on the other end of the pitch and attacked at a glacial pace and we probably could have gone another 90 minutes and not scored a second goal. The players have to take some responsibility too.

  7. Jonnygunner says:


    You’re not alone with your sightings……some of us are getting on a bit…..

  8. C says:

    Say what you want but with Elneny recently we have looked more solid defensively, without him against Swansea we were absolute shit.

    I’m sorry but Iwobi, Ramsey and Xhaka looked shockingly like non-Arsenal quality even with Ramsey and Iwobi having engines and willing to help out defensively.

  9. Mattack says:

    Arsenal bingo. Concede a minute after scoring – check. Gift a goal – check.

    It’s the first time this season that Swansea scored more than two in the Premier League.

  10. Bill says:

    What is really bad is the way we played today looked like more then 1/2 of our games this season. We not only play bad but we look terrible. Right now we are on a pace to concede 51 goals which would be easily the worst of the Wenger era. In the past when we conceded a lot of goals we could at least say that we are an attacking team and entertaining to watch but we are currently on pace to score only 69 goals which is not the worst of the Wenger era but very close. We are on pace to collect 64 points which would also easily be the worst of the Wenger era. Let’s face reality, these players are not very good on either side of the pitch. We need a new manager and he needs to rebuild this team.

    The defense is a hopeless cause at this point as long as Arsene is the manager. PEA will certainly be an upgrade if he comes but Lacazette was a prolific striker for the 4 years before he came to Arsenal. PEA is probably not going to fair any better then Lacazette or any of the other goal scorers not named Alexis that we have brought into the club in this decade. There is no way for them to find the space and time they need to finish when we play the slow paced football and have 75% of ball possession but do nothing but ping the ball around midfield 35 yards from goal.

  11. G4E says:

    I feel now that Arsene Wenger can sign Messi, Neymar, and 9 more of top world footballers and still produce the same results.

    I didn’t watch the game because of work, I’m not planning on watching it. It’s probably the same shit his teams dish-out more often than not.

    We have lost to two of End of the table teams in the same season, remarkable. It just feels like either we are gifting these teams 3 points to help them avoid relegation, or we are just pure shit!

    That’s it, Arsenal will make the fans happy again by signing Aubameyang and the shit show continues.

    We are cementing our place in 6th now….That may still be an “Achievement ” in Wenger’s Book.

  12. Dukey says:

    I have to say, and it pains me to say it as I do like Ramsey but its hard to defend having him as a starter now. Agree him Dhaka and iwobi should be the reserve players, but maybe these three are the players Wenger signed. We where the fuck is the tank?? The one player we had at last that took no shit from the opposition! Too hard for Wenger eh. Its just a mess. And we all know Auba will be off once he realizes how tactically inept and lazy an outfit we are.

  13. Wavey says:

    We played our first choice back four last night and were shown up. Lacazette looked ineffective, but it didn’t help that our slow pace of attack allows the opposition to pack the defence. Swansea were doing what we can’t, breaking at pace and using the width. When we got wide it was so slow and by the time we looked to put a cross in there were two men on the wide man. This is exactly the same way we have played for some time and it only works if the team we are up against don’t press, or park the bus.

  14. andy1886 says:


    To be honest it doesn’t even have to be ‘parking the bus’, teams just have to defend solidly. It’s what so called lesser sides have done since the dawn of football. How we can take what is in reality a set of very good players and turn them into the rabble we regularly see on the pitch just amazes me. Defence is awful, almost schoolboy level. Midfield is a mess, £35M for Xhaka looks like a bad joke (more holes than a Swiss cheese, another bad joke), and offensively Wenger’s ability to take a striker and totally ruin their game or fail to play to their strengths is becoming legendary.

  15. Damon says:

    Wengerball has been long dead. Long live “Laissez Faire” football. No shape, no coaching, no game plan, no in game management.

    Just 11 leaders on the pitch and a bench full of millionaires let loose for an hour and a half every few days to kick a ball around.

    Win lose or draw they all get paid and move on to the next game.

    Repeat. Repeat. Repeat

  16. lari03 says:

    It is never about the players, but about the coach or manager.

    It is a crisis of tactical leadership. Arsene Wenger continues to play the old fool who will never learn. Why were the substitutions done in such a manner? Why did Elneny have to be the first to come off ? Why isn’t clear that Giroud isn’t quite effective as a striker, when the team is tactically flawed? Has anyone noticed that the blue strip this season is a color of calamity ? Why play Ramsey, Xhaka and Iwobi ? Why was Iwobi considered better than Lucas Perez ?

    Wenger has shown why he never was the greatest manager in England even while at his prime, how he has stubbornly refused to improve on his work, and how poor he has become.

    I would personally play Xhaka ahead of Ramsey as a box to box player because we are not some team that requires the beheaded chicken type of runs which Ramsey offers. Lack of defensive tactics, failure to build young players, failure to trust skillful players, insistence on a failed ideology of playing without a defensive midfielder.

    Honestly,hope someone does us all a favor and puts us out of our misery. I am tired of this cycle that ends in predicted shambles.

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