Arsenal crashed back into Premier League football with a messy 3-2 victory over beleaguered Swansea. Momentum was very much in the home sides favour heading into the game, but The Swans had the intangible buzz of a new manager as well as a pretty exceptional 5 game unbeaten run against us at The Emirates.
Theo Walcott was the star man putting to bed a bad week for England with 2 of the easiest goals he’ll score this season. The first one was some far post defensive shenanigans from Swansea that allowed him to poke the ball home opportunistically. His second was just as embarrassing from a Swansea perspective, Theo found himself unmarked alone after his marker comically launched for the ball, Theo controlled, turned on sixpence and smashed his shot past the on-rushing Fabianski.
You kind of hoped that’d be the end of the game, but Swansea made their way back into the game when Xhaka dangerously tried to showboat outside our box, he rolled his foot over the ball, forgetting he needed to touch the ball, he collapsed in a heap, Sigurdsson picked up the ball, jinked inside Koscielny and span a shot to the far corner leaving Cech no chance. A superb finish and the start of a bad day for Xhaka.
Ozil finished our scoring with a superb second half volley he roofed into the top of the near side netting, after watching a looping Sanchez cross attentively. A great way to celebrate his birthday, though it has to be said, the lack of assists is telling from the German. The magic isn’t quite there this season, which is odd considering how much pace he has to play with this season.
Just as I was complaining we needed to rotate in some of our subs to rest jet lagged legs, Barrow absolutely roasted Monreal on the right, made his way into the box picking out Tomas for an easy sweep home of a finish. 4 minutes later Xhaka made a clumsy late challenge on Barrow (I think) for causing us such a menace at home and was brutally dealt out a red card. Can’t help but think nine times out of ten that’d barely receive a yellow card…
Wenger brought on the cavalry, Coquelin steadied the ship… but we still faced challenges down the right with Monreal not having his best day. Gibbs came on to help out there.
We saw out the game, three points delivered after a nasty international break… joint top of the Premier League with Manchester City dropping points to Everton.
A very good day.
So what to think? As many of the ‘battered by Wenger Arsenal crowd’ are so keen to point out, it feels like we’re usually here at this time of the year… hope, at its peak, but with the underlying feeling that we’ve seen this too many times before.
It was great to pick up 3 points, and don’t get me wrong, these games are always tricky… but the performance wasn’t as comfortable as you’d like. We should have battered Swansea early on because they were absolutely pony. We didn’t, we allowed them back and we made it tough for ourselves.
I’m hoping that’s just the handbrake and not a sign some of our players are starting to fatigue. Sanchez was pretty quiet today and I think we can all agree that Ozil is not looking the majestic man he was for parts of last season. Sanchez had 2 shots zero on target, one of them was blocked. Ozil was way down the pecking order for pass completion, dropping a shocking 75%…
Anyway, we managed to steer a victory where normally we’d drop a draw. I just hope Wenger uses the next few weeks to bring some new talent into the side. Boro, Reading and Ludogorets don’t need the full first team… we need our best players fresh for December, which I cannot stress enough times, is looking brutal.
Right, see you in the comments!