Beaten by Swansea in possession, points and budget | Wenger mess deepens at Arsenal

by & filed under Match report.

No excuses‘ formed the last part of yesterday’s post and here we are today trying to scramble around for a bag of them. Look no further than a weak squad and a manager whose lack of imagination with his tactics and total contempt for ruthlessness in his selection yet again leaves us banging our heads against the proverbial brick wall.

Swansea know how to play possession football, Wenger arrogantly quipped ‘in their own half’ before the game, sadly they showed us how wrong he was. At times they commanded 63% and the bulk of it was in our third. They looked more inventive than us, they were certainly more daring and ultimately, they proved too good for us. Once again, we’re waking up to another defeat, our 7th, against the back drop of taking the lead. That’s 8 points thrown in 4 games and 0 points so far this year.

How did this all happen? Well, it wasn’t because of a bad start. Robin Van Persie opened the scoring after 4 minutes when Arshavin picked him out perfectly with a through ball, the Dutchman looked like he’d taken too long over his decision, he faked, then slipped his snap shot inside Vorm’s post. A fabulous finish.

Swansea didn’t falter though. This wasn’t your usual newly promoted side. This was a team that played like a classic Italian team. They kept possession in the middle of the park and slowed the tempo of the game to suit them, when they saw a chance to slip a winger in, they’d jump on it.

Sadly it wasn’t a lovely piece of possession play that resulted in their goal. Miquel made a hash of a clearance which lead to a Swansea attack, as Dyer was looking to manoeuver in the box, he sensed Ramsey behind him and dropped when it looked like the Welshman had brushed him. It looked soft to start with, on replay, it was a blatant dive. Terrible reffing. A decision we’d never get in reverse. It’s a shame I have to criticise Ramsey for standing behind a player in the box, but that’s the way of the game these days. Sinclair took the penalty and beat the keeper to his left. 1-1.

Ramsey went close soon after we’d kicked off, he latched onto a duff Robin shot, took the ball round Vorm but had no one in a red shirt in the box. Yossi found Robin moments later, the Captain only had the keeper to beat but blasted his shot right at him.

Theo Walcott was looking abject at best. His decision making in the final third was not of the highest order and he didn’t look particularly interested. How long does the boss persist with him? ‘Swansea 63% possession’ flashed up on the screen, they we controlling the game and playing very well.

Our cumbersome full backs were causing us problems. They’d bomb forward without the pace to return. Their lack of mobility in the final third made you wonder why they kept marauding forward like a pack of Bendtners.

The second half opened with a bit more of a bang, Robin fed in Theo, sadly, he could only fire over the bar. Arshavin did the same when Rambo teed him up minute later. Swansea weren’t deterred, fizzing two shots just wide from the edge of our box. We needed to get tighter.

The Welsh took the lead after Aaron Ramsey gave the ball away twice with a poor pass firstly, then a shoddy bit of control, Joe Allen picked up the pieces, played in an unmarked Nathan Dyer with a well weighted pass and let him bury his shot across Chesney. Where was Miquel? About a mile up the pitch… that’s where. Two very weak mistakes by Aaron as well. He really wasn’t doing his Aaron ambassadors any favours…

Wenger changed up the side pretty sharpish. He brought on Thierry Henry for Arshavin (who was dead) and he oddly opted to bring on Rosicky for Benayoun. Why oh why when you’re chasing a game would you bring on a player who hardly ever makes an impact (2 years since his last goal), especially when taking off a player who has always seemed far more dangerous.

My gripes could be put on hold for a moment, Theo Walcott levelled things up when JD threaded him through on goal from right back. Sure it was a nice finish, but it didn’t disguise his woeful performance. Or the fact it was his first contribution to the goal tally since October. He really is out of his depth at Arsenal.

Barely having enough time to sit back down, Miquel was again caught out of position by Siggurdson, he was rumbled, Thierry then lost it on the half way line trying to recover the mistake, Swansea split the defence, Danny Graham beat Koscielny and fired a shot across goal. Chesney was well out of position and they scored. What a debacle.

We were losing by a goal against a team with the lowest transfer spend out of everyone who had a wage bill equal to 3 Diaby’s last season. What a joke. We didn’t really make much of an effort to level things up. AOC was brought on for Mertesacker and he looked bright. Trouble was that no one really gave him the ball. Thierry had a glancing header that whistled past the post and Koscielny nearly acrobatically turned in a spilled Rosicky shot, but bar that, it was frustration all around.

We’d lost. Beaten by Swansea. Call ourselves a top 4 team? Not on this evidence.

Conclusion

What can you say that hasn’t already been rehashed a million times on here? We don’t have the squad to handle injuries to key players. Arteta picked up a calf strain before the game and we lost our maestro. Our passing wasn’t accurate for most of the match and we really struggled to penetrate Swansea in their own half. We had hardly any shots and we certainly didn’t seem to be able to match the fight on show from the minnows.

The team selection gets tougher and tougher to digest every week. We know certain players aren’t good enough, yet we persist. Arshavin did level in with an assist and I thought he did ok in the first half, but his fitness really is questionable. AOC looked far more lively and interested than Theo has for the last few games, yet he’s still only considered for cameo appearances. If a player isn’t in good form, whatever happened to dropping them? We never do… Wenger doesn’t look at a passport when he selects, he looks at how much of his ego he’s invested in a player before he does. He’s certainly wagered a big chunk on Theo after saying he had more than Messi at 19…

What really gets me is our system. 4-3-3 works when we’ve got all our best players available, but when the bulk of them are missing, shouldn’t we change things up. If we really do value intelligence in players, then adapting to a new set up shouldn’t be a problem. Things to consider yesterday…

1. Our full backs were both carthorses.

2. Andrey is the only creative outlet of class

3. Pace is an issue

Why don’t we opt for a more defensive 4-5-1, with Arteta and Song anchoring, Theo and AOC wide with Andrey in the hole… or try something über classic… yep, I’m talking a 4-4-2. We could again have two anchors, like the classic Paddy and Petit with two zippy wingers in AOC and Theo with Andrey playing second striker to Robin. We could switch Arshavin with Thierry when chasing the game.

I’m not saying the above systems are the answer, then again, I’m not going to sit here and tell you flogging the same system regardless of personnel is the future of Arsenal’s football. When we get into ruts like we’re in at the moment, Wenger doesn’t have a way out. He’s incapable of motivating the players and the best we can hope for to change things up is a return from injury.

Typically, the manager was ‘surprised’ at what happened.

‘There were some other turning points. When we came back to 2-2, straight away, a defensive mistake. It looked similar to me to Fulham. Lack of appreciation of the ball. Our defensive performance was not good enough and that’s why we lost the game.

“We made defensive mistakes that you should not make. In the last two games we made mistakes that, at that level, are difficult to explain. It is unbelievable. For a team of that experience, for a team of that ambition, it is difficult to explain.”

He also went on to lambast our attacking play. How can the manager of a team who have conceded 31 goals in little over half a season and been largely dependent on one man in attack claim ‘surprise’ at results like that?

Wenger for me is lost at the moment. He’s struggling to get the best out of players he banked on being legends, he’s despondent about the transfer market (hence why he’s still living in 2002 with transfer fees) and his tactics are too rigid for the quality of squad. We’re in a right old mess that I fear he won’t be able to rectify until the summer.

It’s also worth noting Thierry got into an altercation with a fan. I don’t know the ins and outs… but it doesn’t look good after being back all of 6 minutes does it? Apparently Thierry had to force some of the players to thank the away support, which resulted in a fan accusing the team of lacking passion. A fair accusation. I’d be saying they lack appreciation of what an arse ache it is to get to Swansea and have yourself presented with that dross. Things have changed since Thierry upped sticks and left a few years ago, much like revisiting an old relationship… things are rarely the same again.

On the injury front, don’t get your hopes up. Jack will be back mid-February at the earliest. Most likely the end of. We’ll find out today when Arteta is back later on today I’d imagine, but my gut feel is that if Wenger said he was rested (which he wasn’t), then the injury must be very minor. Still, Santos should be back in the country soon and Vermaelen and Sagna are close. Those two will be an absolute god send to get back in the side.

Oh, and on the transfer front, I’ve heard this new left back we’re trialling is a midget. Smaller than Gael Clichy and built like my nan after her annual bikini crash diet. Superb… can you believe we’re stooping this low?

Anyway, United up next. Brilliant.

P.S. You might want check out this stadium review of Highbury. I’m so depressed today, that feels like something I could do and enjoy.

801 Responses to “Beaten by Swansea in possession, points and budget | Wenger mess deepens at Arsenal”

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  1. Yippee Kai Yay

    Well considering wenger just said that you don’t buy players in Jan, as they are not commited to the cause.

    I guess it must either be a recall or making the squad smaller, after all it couldn’t possibly be a(nother) massive climb down.

  2. gambon

    Incesc

    We don’t need to shift squill to bring Bartley in.

    I’d be shocked if. Wenger signed anyone that wasn’t an omani left back.

  3. Samir

    Exactly Dave…Samba would be a quality signing!

    When everyone’s fit…We could even play one of Koss of Vermy at DM.

    Atleast with a decent defence we might finish 5-8th…

    Then we sort the rest out in the Summer! Starting with the manager and board.

  4. Yippee Kai Yay

    samba’s going to PSG, or spurs. nice idea, but Wenger doesn’t buy in Jan. He said so himself.

    The board on the otherhand are keen to break that lucrative Middle East market which city are benefitting from.

    If only they could some sort of commercial deal going on with a middle east based branded company, then they would be really going places.

  5. David

    When Everyone’s fit

    Id consider moving Koscienly to LB and playing Santos in midfield.

    He’s average defending anyways.

    Vermy at DM would be amazing.

    He’s got a dangerous shot on him and his passing is quite good.

    Mertz and Samba and hopefully we would be good on Set piece defending.

  6. Black Hand Ninja

    Watched the game yesterday. As a game, it was a good watch, but I was upset at the way Arsenal failed to take any control whatsoever. Swansea are a decent side but still.

    Wenger is still putting faith in certain players in the squad that shouldn’t be there anymore. Genius that he is/was, he’s losing the plot a little bit, we’re gonna lose 4th it looks like.

    Arteta single-handedly saving the midfield, but they lack cutting edge. Defence looked like they were improving, but with the injuries they don’t look cohesive at all, especially that 3rd goal.

    Wenger cannot keep waiting for players to come back from injury, he actually needs to buy players now. Glad we didn’t get Cahill though, don’t rate him, we should get Samba or bring back Bartley at least.

    Wenger’s got work to do…..

  7. Bade

    Gambon,

    You faithless!

    Come Wednesday we’ll be declaring the signature of backup goalkeeper, Vertonghen, De Rossi, Gourcuff, Cavani and Remy

    Just wait for the right Wednesday to come!!!

  8. Yippee Kai Yay

    Sorry should have been samba going to PSG, spurs or QPR.

    Mertesacker looks to me like the peter crouch of the defensive world. He may be tall but that’s where the footballing abilities start to let him down, he is ponderous, slow at times lost and proves that ‘white men can’t jump’.

    Samba would have been a far preferable option at the begining of the season and would have needed time to ‘pick up pace of EPL’ , but I think that ship has sailed.

  9. gnarleygeorge9

    Even me down here copped flack from opo fans about the Swansea debacle. Its not good :(

    Each year since the CL final appearance The Arsenal has taken a net backward step. When is this trend going to end I wonder ;)

    Some would say when Arsene leaves, but I honestly think the Board must take some of the flack for the trend since 2006. They have just dithered along with Arsene “Old Pair of Jeans” Wenger. To them he is just a comfy fit, just like a favourite pair of old jeans. We’ve all owned a pair of jeans like that. Its just that the Wenger pair of jeans is starting to get on the nose a bit. Needs a clean up, or should I say clean out.

    AKB’s won’t agree, but most of them are probably just happy to still be alive supporting The Arsenal, having survived the sex, drugs & rock & roll of the ’60′s :lol:

  10. wenger-numb

    untold arsenal website has the slogan..”supporting lord wenger the coach of the decade”……you really have to stop and re-read that dont you!…
    i guess some people are just lost in their own crazy little world!
    wenger out wenger out wenger out wenger out wenger out wenger outwenger out wenger out wenger out wenger out wenger out wenger outwenger out wenger out wenger out wenger out wenger out wenger out

  11. Moray

    check out newsnow and even they seem to have given up on linking us to transfer rumours. It seems, as suspected, that nothing will happen. Our new signings will be those returning from injury, or those failing to return from injury until the summer.

    I suppose the better players are unwilling to move at this stage in case in jeapordises their Euro spot

  12. Gunner2301

    Another good post Pedro. It surprises me that people are still saying if we had so and so playing or if so and so wasn’t injured it would have made a difference. I think everyone needs to wake up to the elephant in the room.

    The team is not good enough it’s as simple as that, I’ve been saying this since before Henry left. So no amount of tinkering with the same players is going to make us any better.

    Year on year the quality of the team has been reduced while Wengers rhetoric about quality has increased. You know what the problem is when Wenger keeps going on about how much we’re supposed to have. Anyone remember “The mentality of the team is strong”?

    We need to wake up to what has happened with our club. We have been sold out by Wenger. He;s not a manager anymore as indicated by his 4th is a trophy statement. We are the Arsenal since when should we be satisfied with that?

    Those calling out for Hazard and Goetze I keep telling you it’s not going to happen. Where in Wengers actions since he’s been at the club tells you that he will buy these type of players? Nothing. Nada. We have gone through our lowest period for a long time in the last year and the signings he made in the Summer is his reaction to that. It says all you need to know about him.

    We need to boycott the club until this man leaves, send a message to the board that we are not going to tolerate this anymore. Your money is giving them the green light to continue on the path their on so unless you cut off the flow of money to the club, they will not listen to you.

    We may qualify for the CL we may not either way Wenger is finished as I see it. Arsenal fans are too forgiving. They assess on a game to game basis. Give Wenger another chance when were winning and crucify him when were losing. What you should be looking at is the total lack of progress that has been made apart from financially and how our Club is being stripped of all its values and ethos.

    I don’t finance the club anymore and will not do so until Wenger is gone and there is a change of emphasis. What we pay into the club should be reflected in what we’re seeing on the field. If we’re not seeing that, we’re being robbed, ripped off, used, hoodwinked. I don’t see Wenger or any of the playing staff being ripped off or robbed do you?

  13. TheBayingMob

    I’ve never known an Arsenal manager cause such schism in the fans. On one side there’s people who still think Wenger walks on water for taking Graham’s and Riochs defense and working in some French flair; then there’s the comments here, which even for someone like me who’s pretty much lost confidence in Wenger it’s still getting a bit hysterical boys, you gotta calm down. Football is in cycles, we’ve got a 60k all seater stadium, big ticket prices and a debt that’s been largely paid down, we will come again.

    Funny thing from the AKB’s it’s always “who we going to get”?

    Were they saying that in 96 when Wenger Who came in? You get the impression that they think there’s no one in world football could come in and galvanise these players to do better. Different system, change the coaching, work out why we always have 6 to 10 players out.

    Someone up top said Jurgen Klopp, he’d do for me for now and why not? Dortmund have won the title with a young team, flair and millions less on the wage bill. Swansea players showing us the way, most of them from lower div teams.

    At some points I see the point of AKB’s, what’s the point of rocking the boat and sinking like the Concordia, but in the other direction you can see Wenger is the captain, he was given free reign and he’s run us the fuck into the rocks.

  14. arsenal1886-2006

    I hope he does not bring Jack back to early and wreck his career. He has a bright future ahead of him, at Barca, Real, United or…………………………………..

  15. Pedro

    Chozzer… you can’t correlate the number on the comment with anything. Our spam filter has taken out 600,000 comments alone. We’re certainly not deleting 23 comments a post. We barely delete 5 comments a week these days.

  16. Pedro

    haha! There have been plenty of comments deleted over the years… I think Ethan took the record for most non-AKB comments removed.

  17. Yippee Kai Yay

    tbf, that shouldn’t be difficult from what I saw last night. Now if he was quicker than Moses, that might be more impressive.

  18. Yippee Kai Yay

    gambon says:

    January 17, 2012 at 08:40

    Hopefully Wenger got my love letter.
    —————————————————
    Sealed with a loving dose of anthrax?

  19. Gambon

    Wenger bought a Jap, a korean and OX all for the future. The need of the senior team is more urgent than back tto the future.For the price of Ox,he could have got a quality addition.I am afraid Wenger has lost the plot.
    If Arsenal to get the cl berth,he should resign or be forced out. Arsenal are in danger of sinking into oblivion not befitting the status of a wc stadium. Yeah I know Arsenal don’t have a divine right to top class status but Wenger has failed repeatedly the last three years with his philosophy be it players or tactics.

  20. Gambon

    Wenger bought a Jap, a korean and OX all for the future. The need of the senior team is more urgent than back tto the future.For the price of Ox,he could have got a quality addition.I am afraid Wenger has lost the plot.
    If Arsenal to get the cl berth,he should resign or be forced out. Arsenal are in danger of sinking into oblivion not befitting the status of a wc stadium. Yeah I know Arsenal don’t have a divine right to top class status but Wenger has failed repeatedly the last three years with his philosophy be it players or tactics.