143 Comments

Swansea

arsene

I don’t usually watch Arsène’s duels with the press. Not that I don’t like hearing his dulcet tones and seeing that flash of a smile as he claps a stopper over some impudent line of questioning. Of course I derive a certain satisfaction from seeing him spear the occasional journalist, who doesn’t? Generally though I simply can’t bear to watch him wheeled out to face these reptiles every week. Those self styled voices of the people who in fact do not speak for you and I any more than Tim Payton speaks for the majority or even a tiny minority of Arsenal fans. I cannot stomach seeing such a cerebral, dignified man wasting his time deflecting leading questions and smiling in the teeth of such monumental disrespect as that with which the British media treat him. It puts one in  mind of a room full of deaf men throwing faeces at Johan Sebastian Bach. Brilliance gnawed at by vermin.

Yesterday I made an exception and I found a way around the problem. The trick is to mute the sound as Arsène gazes off to the left or right with that faint hint of amused tolerance playing around the corners of his lips and increase the volume as he gives the little shrug which usually precedes a response to some inane question or other. He was so relaxed and eloquent yesterday. Modest to a fault as he hinted that signing a new contract wouldn’t take much persuasion and at the same time suggesting that his further employment wasn’t a top priority right now. This is the single most important man at the club bar none and yet we never see a scintilla of arrogance, not a shred of hubris. He frightened us a little with talk of Theo being as much as five weeks away and by revealing that Aaron and the Flaminator needed fitness tests, but it wasn’t what he said so much as his air that grabbed my attention. He has such vast and supreme experience in the world of football that he knows all too well how swiftly events can turn around and just how shifting and insubstantial a run of good results can sometimes prove to be. Yet he looked like a man on top of the world right now. Like a Mafia boss who has just received word that the heads of the other four families have been wiped out, and until their lieutenants can reorganise he is the supreme authority in the city. Of course first can swiftly become fifth, we know that and he knows it better than anyone but he is a man who was born to be top. Made to lead. Destined for greatness. All I’m saying is the frown was gone the smile was back and it was like basking in unseasonably warm Autumn sunshine. I nearly took my shirt off.

Arsène mentioned his opposite number in this afternoon’s clash. He liked Laudrup as a player and singled out his Scandinavian and Dutch football education as important. The man has essentially learned to play the game as it should be played. I’ve only seen his Swansea side once this season and I have to say I remain an admirer of the way they try to go about their business. They are as shy of hoofing the thing out of defence as are we and that is to their credit. Unfortunately the game I watched was on this year’s Jonjo Shelvey Day and was such a crazy affair that I couldn’t form any coherent sense of their strengths and weaknesses. I do remember thinking that Michu seemed a shoe in for this season’s Dimitar Berbatov award. He strolled languidly about the place as if on a sightseeing tour of South Wales whilst somehow contriving to maintain an air of suppressed menace suggesting he could at any given moment produce a devastating blow seemingly from nothing. Overall though on the rare moments when one could focus on anything but Jonjo’s Flying Circus the match showed us that the Swans can be intricate, inventive and incisive up front but will give the opposition a lot of space to work with at the back. Naturally if I can see that, then their coaching staff can too and there’s no guarantee that they will make similar mistakes against us.

Unlike last week when we had to break down Mark Hughes and his merry men, the games against Swansea are among those to which I most look forward. You can take it as read that I’m happy to see us play regardless of the opposition but it is so much more enjoyable when the match is between two teams dedicated to passing football. I know I’m out of step with the prevailing blogging mantra of The Only Thing That Matters Is The Three Points but seriously, come on, if that were true then no one would watch the game at all. We’d all just tune into Sports Report and listen intently as James Alexander Gordon does his thing. I want to enjoy the football. I want a spectacle. Win lose or draw I want an hour and a half of entertainment. You could of course argue that we got that in our midweek fixture. Nail biting end to end, sliding tackling, blood and thunder entertainment, and you’d be quite correct. But the great man has spoiled us with season after season of Wengerball and now we’ve become habituated to champagne let’s be honest, Vimto doesn’t quite deliver any more.

James-Alexander-Gordon-2084911.png
So to this afternoon, or if you prefer this evening. The only question I have is whether or not Arsène will start with Serge in lieu of Theo. He hinted that he might not, three games in a week being quite an ask for one so young. If the boy has recovered from his exertions against West Brom, I suspect he will start. If the kid is to be our temporary replacement on the right wing then the more he plays and the better those around him get to know and grow confident in him, the happier things must be for the team. Having said that I bet I’m not alone on relishing another glimpse of Chuba Akpom running at an opposition defence. His cameo on Wednesday was blistering; brimming with confidence speed and strength and the boy is surely not far away from the first team. Don’t panic though I’m no armchair strategist, God knows we don’t need any more of those. In any event Arsène is entirely capable of surprising us all and playing both Arteta and the Flaminizer together, pushing Jack left and The Wonder That Is Aaron Ramsay out to the right with Mesut Özil behind Goal A Game in a sort of 4 2 1 3, or 4 2 2 1 1. Honestly? I don’t have a clue but that’s fine because no one does with the possible exception of Steve Bould and even then only if Arsène has thought to tell him. As I’ve said many times, if you want predictions visit a fortune teller.

chalkboard-01

All I do know is that we are in an extremely ebullient mood on our travels these days. We may not have turned the Emirates into a fortress but we have made of ourselves extremely unwelcome house guests to whose visits no one looks forward with any relish. And it isn’t only Arsenal fans who are aware of our away form. A quick skim through the Swansea blogs reveals they are all talking about our phenomenal record away from London. We can pontificate on the reasons for this, we can fear that the bubble must one day burst, or we can just sit back and relish the fact that slowly but surely we are starting matches with the opposition already wondering how they might get anything from the game. It’s a place we’ve been once before in our recent past. All of course thanks to the man with the warm smile and the confident air. I don’t say we’re back to that amazing period in our history where we just never believed anyone would beat us, but the signs are at the very least promising. The confidence is returning both in the stands and on the pitch. For now all we can do is to keep the pressure on and hope the runners in the pack start to falter.

About steww

Arsenal, books, photography, bass guitar, dog walking, mountain biking, being on the radio, writing, talking too much, failing, making mistakes, buggering on regardless.

Comment navigation

Newer Comments →

143 comments on “Swansea

  1. Anyway, we have won, another weekend at the top, boys played well, lets bring on Napoli!

    Like

  2. This team can withstand pressure cant they? Swansea’s goal though annoying was beautiful. Were were great in attacking for about 30 mins in the second half and great in defense for the rest. Special mention to Szczesny. I see why he has kept Fabianski out.

    Like

  3. @SA
    Yeah, Szcz has really upped his game ever since he was dropped for the Bayern tie. I think he knows that Wenger does not believe in names (or in player’s dads!) and he will drop him again if his forms drops. Thankfully, Szcz isn’t giving him any reason to think about that.

    Like

  4. BOOM SHAKA SHAKA BOOM
    Tops again. These weekends are getting Betta & betta.
    there results ,our results.
    BRAVO TEAM. BRAVO AW. sign that thing. lol.
    Bravo all & mostly my PA pals.
    Excellent. Have an awesome weekend everyone.

    Like

  5. Brilliant!

    Like

  6. How’s that humble pie feeling in your innards all you PREMATURE DEJECTIONISTS brats.

    Like

  7. This is some fucking “End Of an Era” party we are having.Have Endofanera.com forgotten to tell Arsene?

    Like

  8. This calls for a celebration. Time for another STELLA. & A SHOOT OF PATRON. oh yah.
    WE LOVE YOU ARSENAL!!!
    OH YAH WE DO!!!!
    take it away DJ cacophonies…..

    Like

  9. Somehow the thought of Judas having to play on Thursdays or not at all in Europe from next season on makes me really, really happy.

    Like

  10. Early days of course but this is the time to celebrate and enjoy being a football fan. As long as they last I shall do just that.,

    Like

  11. Oh happy days! I’m pleased that the boys managed to deliver 3 points on Arsene’s anniversary and what a day for young Serge to score his first senior goal. Top of the league baby – and long may it last!

    Like

  12. @ Evil September 28, 2013 at 7:45 pm
    ha ha ha!

    @ PG
    And don’t forget the negative spiral we’re in – that’s turning out to be one hell of a ride.

    Like

  13. Oh and before I forget: promoting Gnabry? Wenger knows!

    Like

  14. Serge Gnabry. What a beautiful goal that was from him. Love to see that happen, what confidence it will give him. We’ll need him in form for a while, what with Theo, Alex, Lukas, out. And how happy the other players were for him. I love this team!

    And Aaron. Good grief. Even I am running out of superlatives. Gareth Bale the best player in the world? He’s not even the best player in Wales.

    Like

  15. Evil, Wenger was talking about Gnabry last season. Looks like he gave him the chance when it opened up.

    Like

  16. I don’t like to steal from Twitter, but this is fabulous. Credit to @ZineAFC:

    United fans.
    Look at Cleverly, now to Ramsey, back to Cleverly, now back to Ramsey. Sadly he isn’t Ramsey.
    Look down, you’re in 12th

    Like

  17. We got the best Welshman footballer playing for ARSENAL.

    AARON effin RAMSAY!!!!!!
    thanks for keeping faith with him ARSENE. THANKS..

    Like

  18. GEORGE
    maybe they meant ” end of an era of our transition”.
    There is you save face door pals. Take it. Take it I say.

    Like

  19. I’m struggling to express myself….just enjoying you lords and ladies doing it for me…..

    Like

  20. who was man of the match? Gnabry? Ramsey?

    Like

  21. ALABAMA
    hahaha to that tweet.
    I have love RAM RAIDER ever since he made fools of manure and spit in their faces.

    Like

  22. ” what does Wenger see in RAMSEY. HE is a complete an utter liability”
    From the pierk morgan

    Like

  23. The others faltered. Arsenal leads the pack.

    Like

  24. HAPPY 17TH ANNIVERSARY AW !!!!!!!!
    AND MANY MANY MORE……

    Like

  25. How about them gooners?
    Top of the league!
    Congratulations on your 17th anniversary Arsene Wenger, greatest ever manager. And they said it was the *End-of-an-era*. Our golden age has just begun.

    Thanks boss for justifying our faith in you.

    Like

  26. Hear, hear, Shotta.

    Like

  27. Hilarious, right goonerkam? But only if you’ve seen the Old Spice commercial. For those who haven’t:

    Like

  28. Spot on BAMA. I hope soon he becomes larger than life. Did you see the intricacies of the passing just before he finish with his thunderbolt.? Hehe. The goalie must have soiled his shorts.
    ONWARDS AND FORWARDS GUNNERS !!!!!!

    Like

  29. Alabama @ 8:38pm
    Töp töp quality.
    It’s your bandwagon, girl! We are all on board.

    Like

  30. Let’s have a Monday night 17th party!!

    Bring your vodka and some Charlie!

    Like

  31. But, but, but don’t you posidivas know we are in a crisis, a crises I tells ye?

    Like

  32. Özil hasn’t scored, he’s rubbish. What a waste of £42m.

    Like

  33. She said 12th Robin, she said 12th… Oh Robin she said 12th.

    Sorry about the bad taste. But the shit has it coming.

    Like

  34. SA @ 7:28pm
    bang on, give the swans some credit. That is the best team we have played so far this season. Their goal was excellent, hard to stop that.

    Hauptmann Mertesaker was outstanding, as was the whole back line.
    Shezzy just is getting better and better – a masterpiece of being a goalie today.

    Like

  35. Not my bandwagon, DC. Plenty of people here have been on it all along. But, I will keep my seat in the front!! Right behind the driver. Where the view is good. (banned smiley)

    Like

  36. Stick it to ’em Evil!
    tickets for the sunshine bus are still available.

    You have them by the short and curlies: ducky at 9:05pm.

    Like

  37. Kelly, I know you are riding sawn-off shotgun on this wagon!

    Like

  38. Wow, Evil is doing a single handed Aaron Ramsey to the formerly best Arsenal blog site.
    Go over and enjoy. He has utterly destroyed their premises…
    Plesse get the pun.

    Like

  39. And finally
    “Take a good look at my face, does a Smile look out of place?”*
    No. It fucking doesn’t.

    *Sorry to Smokey Robinson & the Miracles.

    Like

  40. Welcome to the moral superioity, ducky.
    Tickets for the bus are still available.
    Wenger’s driving – Forward!

    Like

  41. Evil,
    ROTFLMAO.

    Like

  42. DC….look:

    JonJon
    September 29, 2013 at 1:55 am

    its a good job wenger made a compromise and listened to the fans isnt it..
    8 years of the same fuckups and then he finally listened.
    well done the fans for getting the message across..

    Ahahaaaa …….oh dear …….such pain ….

    oh and my favourite :

    “He knows the path to the end of the season is fraught with danger and be wary of the dangers of complacency.”

    i.e…if wenger fails to make his players guard against complecency so as to bring us the trophies then my “end of an era” dogma still stands …got it everyone?……. ahahaa..

    Like

Comment navigation

Newer Comments →

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: