Good Morning Positive People from a misty brown and gold Norfolk this Sunday,
I think we all approached yesterday’s game with a healthy respect for Swansea, a wariness earned on the back of some good games between the clubs and the six points they removed from our locker last season.
I expected a stiff challenge. In spite of some fairly dire recent results for Swansea the Liberty is no easy place to win points, as Stew explained yesterday.
I had the benefit of radio coverage and for the first half, with the roar of the Jacks each time the ball crossed the halfway line it seemed that Cech was the busiest man on the pitch, a virtual one man display.
Having now had the opportunity to watch the game on TV that impression was wrong, but the home side did put up a good display, a combination of good passing, solid defence and disrupting the possession when we broke with niggling fouls and barges. Fair to say though while he might have the perfect profile for radio Shelvey was actually good in that first 45. Had Gomis shown a more confidence in his own ability, and/or Hector dawdled a millisecond longer, the half time banter might have been sheer anguish. What a difference confidence makes to a striker !
Watching the rerun on the box also illuminated that Per should keep his hands/elbows lower at free kicks, an incident totally missed on the radio, not to mention by Mr Friend.
A little flutter as Giroud went to ground writhing just before half time. It was nothing, he is French after all.
Thereafter with the half time break behind us, and as has happened often in recent weeks, we set about the opposition with much greater purpose. An excellent header from Giroud rocked the locals back before the Bovril had be drunk, and we took control of the ball and the game. The 2,000th goal under Arsene, remarkable record. We shall not see that longevity again, or at least I won’t. Incidentally since making his Premier League debut on 18th August 2012, Olivier has scored more headed goals than any other player in the division, 15.
Gradually we pushed Swansea and the threat they offered steadily withered away, Montero ineffective and well policed, Gomis faded, with both eventually replaced. Ki was lucky not to receive two yellows, and Naughten was lucky to get away with a telling off.
Bit of controversy about the second goal. Not sure what Fab was doing, or thought he was doing ? Goalkeeping error though. No hiding behind the referee for Lukas. After the second any hopes the locals had of a return from the game evaporated. The third came within five minutes, Swansea cut open, well finished by Joel through a crowd of Swansea players in the six yards box. Both sides went through the motions for the final 15, each with eyes on the ‘next’ fixture.
Our outstanding players ? The usual suspects, Cech (for what was a good first half display), Nacho, Hector and Kosc, Mesut with an almost perfect second half display, Giroud for hitting the decisive opener, and Joel. A special word for Joel in fact as he has the full scrutiny of the Arsesphere as well as the media on him yesterday, and stood up admirably. Push on from yesterday’s performance son, in Munich and against the neighbours, and who knows when or even if you will be lose your place as our injured limp back into action.
Right that is it. A decent break over the next three days before the small matter of taking on the current best football team in Europe. Toodle-pip ‘til Wednesday.