Only a few days removed from a brave performance in Munich, which saw Arsenal fall just one goal short of completing a remarkable turnaround, The Gunners completed back-to-back wins by knocking off a highly-rated Swansea City side.
After impressive performances in midweek, both Laurent Koscielny and Lukasz Fabianski retained their places in the starting line-up - with Nacho Monreal and Abou Diaby being the only changes from the side that beat Bayern Munich, at the expense of the ever-improving Aaron Ramsey and Kieran Gibbs. Incidentally, it was the January signing that broke the deadlock at the Liberty Stadium, with a scuffed shot being enough to beat Michel Vorm.
Prior to the goal, Arsenal and Swansea exchanged chances, with the most notable falling to the League Cup winners through Angel Rangel. Alas, Arsenal’s defense held strong, through another impressive performance by Laurent Koscielny. Gervinho capped off the win with a well-placed finish from a counter-attack late in the proceedings.
Another good win made all the more important following Tottenham’s failure to secure any points against Fulham.
What to make of the game?
What really stood out for me was the way in which we are now defending as a unit. The midfield tandem of Diaby and Arteta didn’t have the greatest game, but kept it relatively solid and provided a base for the back four - that had to bail them out on a number of occasions. Even having said that, these two were overworked at times, and a more natural defensive midfielder in the ilk of Etienne Capoue or Victor Wanyama wouldn’t go amiss this summer. Fabianski looks to be out to stake a claim for the number one jersey, and it’s come at a welcome time; Wojciech Szczesny has been below par as of late. I for one have stated my admiration for his confidence in the past, but perhaps he was getting a little comfortable in his role.
Olivier Giroud is not Robin Van Persie, but he shouldn’t have to be. The fresh-faced Frenchman had a disappointing game. Giroud has come under a lot of criticism this season - some of it unfair - and this was another game in which he didn’t really do a lot, proving many of the doubters right. Possible transfer target Ashley Williams kept him under wraps most of the game, forcing frustration to grow. A striker is needed in summer, that’s for sure, but it shouldn’t spell the end for Giroud. He’s a threat in the air and a great team player - as seen with some of his assists this season, let’s hope he can grow from his first season in the Premier League and become a solid player.
It seems he’s either involved throughout, or goes missing for the whole game. Theo Walcott is really starting to frustrate me. At his best, he’s incredible, yet it seems he’s not quite working as hard or getting in enough good positions as of late. However, he’s signed a contract, so it’s vital to keep faith in him. The quality is there, as we’ve seen this season. Time to return to that early season form now, Theo.
Mikel Arteta has some annoying tendencies. He gives away far too many fouls, goes for tackles he doesn’t need to make and is just not the right man for the defensive midfield position. Arsene Wenger recently said that a big, physical player is not needed now as much as it used to be, but I can’t help but think this team would be a lot better with a destroyer patrolling around infront of the back four. However, Arteta is still a tremendous player and an asset to any team. Let’s hope we sign a defensive midfielder to compliment Arteta, instead of having him to focus on the defensive side of the game too much.
Nacho Monreal looks like a smaller Peter Crouch. It’s uncanny, right?