When I saw the pictures of the Arsenal training in wintry snow ahead of today’s trip to Swansea I confess to harbouring a certain sympathy for them. As my Scottish uncle used to say to me that snell wind makes everone fair jeelit. The sympathy has evaporated this morning as I sit in my frozen writing shed stabbing with numb fingers at my frost hardened Smith-Corona. But on I plough.
It wasn’t only compassion which moved in my breast at the sight of poor Danny Welbeck muffled in his muffler. I also felt a twang of envy. You see I rather like the town of Swansea and I was a little jealous of the players and fans who will get to visit today. I should imagine the beach at Rhossili will be a bit parky this weekend so I doubt a trip to the Gower is on the cards, but I do urge you to make a weekend of it if you are travelling and at least have a little tour.
Swansea City FC, we are told, has done much to put the ‘ugly, lovely town’ on the map. Since their ascendency to the higher reaches they’ve earned plaudits for playing the game as many of us like to see it played. A fashionable football team allied with a popular university can encourage an enlightened view of what had previously been regarded as a somewhat grim industrial setting.
Sadly the Swans have been struggling of late. I’ll leave you to decide whether the managerial merry go round in which they’ve indulged themselves has been cause or effect of this unwelcome downturn in their fortunes. Personally I think it is always a mistake in life to panic, to chop and change when things are going badly.
An unfashionable view in a footballing world where many seem to crave change simply for the sake of change itself. I can only assume that decades of consumer culture, of an economy built on endless growth, demands we throw away and replace at every opportunity. This is not the road to happiness, merely the endless dissatisfaction of the spoilt child given too much, too often.
So while I am grateful for any advantage to the team I support I am also saddened to see one of the few smaller clubs to actually beat us by coming and out playing football going through hard times. I believe the league is improved by keeping the good guys and losing the dross and not the other way around.
Improvement of the league isn’t the concern of most of you, I know this. All that matters is three points and that is of course your prerogative. Just as it is the prerogative of those who take a more holistic view to want to be part of a culture of excellence rather than a lowest common denominator tactical dirge, which, if given too much rope, will strangle the golden goose as audiences eventually tire and turn away.
So Swansea are all at sea and should be there for the taking. Surely an away win is such a guaranteed result that there is no point in even watching. Just go bung a tenner on us at the bookies and collect your one pence winnings at ten to five. Well perhaps. Perhaps if you’d never watched a season of football from start to finish. Maybe this is your reality. In my reality teams who are struggling need to be put to the sword a little before their fragile confidence is exposed.
Concede an unlucky goal such as that fortuitous, bobbling, pinball series of deflections which gifted Preston the lead the other day and that fragile confidence will cease to be a factor. A team in decline can still surprise you and we will need to be sharp and up to the scratch from the moment Mr Jones emits his primary peep.
What of the teams? Swansea will be without Neil Taylor after having his cheekbone broken in training on Wednesday. I don’t know much about the estimable Mr Taylor but as he played every minute of the Welsh teams heroic failure in the Euros I’m sure Kelly, our resident Cymru expert, can fill us in on the details. Losing a first choice international full back against an Arsenal team rightly famed for their fast, wide attacking game cannot be a good thing.
They will also be missing Jefferson Antonio Montero Vite who is one player and not four as you might think. He is a fast and dangerous wingers and one that the home team will surely miss. Talking of flyers we still see no sign of Theo nor of Hector and I am just beginning to worry that Theo’s small, irrelevant, only keeping him out as a precaution, niggle might be turning into something more significant. It is a mark of the quality in our squad that we can miss these two hugely important players and still approach any fixture with confidence.
Given Gabriel’s flawless understudy shift when Hector first joined the sick list and seeing just what a player Arsène signed in Lucas Perez I don’t think we need to be overly concerned. Of course we want our first choice players fit and healthy but Perez in particular excites me and so I’ll be happy to see him step up in Theo’s absence.
With Danny back and raring to go we have a superfluity of striking options which ought to make us blush. Sanchez and Giroud are in stunning scoring form, Mesut has also stepped up in front of goal this season and we all know the boy Iwobi can find the net when the fancy takes him. Add to that the goals Aaron can get us running from midfield and the Swansea defence ought to be in for a trying time this afternoon.
I shan’t be watching with you today as I have been thoroughly duped by my ever resourceful wife into attending what I’d assumed was an evening event but transpires to start at three and finish at seven thirty. That will teach me not to listen when I’m trying to concentrate on Doom Three Hell On Earth. Lesson learned. Press pause and get all of the details before saying yes to anything.
If you are lucky enough to be in beautiful South Wales today then wrap up warm and should you bump into me at Longleat’s Festival Of Lights don’t tell me the score, it wouldn’t enhance our friendship.
Rambo said on soccer saturday the other week Oli is a bit of a drama queen and they dont normally take much notice when he goes down. This seem to be a bit different and so i dont think he will make next week.
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Game of the Day – that’ll do !
‘WE WERE RELENTLESS UNTIL THE END’
Arsène Wenger was certainly the happier manager at Liberty Stadium after we hit four goals past Swansea City on Saturday.
Olivier Giroud and Alexis were on target for us, while two own goals completed the rout, but we were made to fight for the breakthrough in the first 35 minutes.
‘I’m definitely claiming the first one’
The only negative from the afternoon was the knock Giroud picked up after opening the scoring, and Wenger gave the latest up date in his post-match press conference.
on the performance…
We had some problems to get going but I put that down to the fact that Swansea played very well in the first half. They were well-organised, they put unbelievable work in and certainly the second half we took over and they couldn’t follow the pace that we put into the game any more. We were relentless until the end and much sharper in the transitions and more accurate and quicker in our passing. That made a big difference.
But overall, for them, I must say we were a bit fortunate with two goals and in their position of course it’s mentally difficult. But they should take some encouragement from their performance today because they have shown in the first half that they have quality, and when you are down there, of course it’s a vicious circle because you lack confidence. When you lack confidence you need a win and when you lose a game it’s even more difficult. I still feel they have enough quality to get out of it.
on Giroud limping off…
He has an ankle problem, I don’t know how bad it is. But he is being assessed by the doctor. I don’t know, but he’s limping quite a lot and so I hope it’s not too bad.
on Alexis’ performance…
He was very sharp. You know I rested him for two weeks and gave him a little breather. I think he benefitted from that and I gave him another rest today so he will benefit from that as well.
on Alexis’s contribution…
Look, he is hugely influential, Sanchez. You look at the numbers, he had scored 13 goals, seven assists, now 14 goals. So he was involved in about 25 goals in our team. But we also had players on the bench who are strikers, who need competition. We were 4-0 up. Ozil as well comes back from sickness so it was a good opportunity not to be stupid.
on Alexis’ reaction to being substituted…
All the players are frustrated when they come off, some show it, some not. I am long enough in the job to know that. I just make the decision I feel is right and that’s it. Nothing more than that. He’s a good guy who gives a lot and wants to do well, always, for the team. There is no problem. But every culture is different. Some South Americans are a bit different to Europeans, Southern Europeans are different to northern Europeans. You have to respect that. That’s why we are a multi-national team.
on whether he prefers that kind of reaction…
No, I prefer nothing. I prefer to score goals and not to concede goals, that is all I like. But all the players like the game, I think after you are more extroverted. That’s minor. I think looking at the game tonight, that’s really minor, minor, minor.
on whether he will speak with Alexis…
We speak always, about everything. Honestly I cannot even answer. I don’t look, I don’t look at that. I look at how well the players do who come on, how comfortable they are, because Danny Welbeck has not played for two years. That’s for me much more important than an individual response. That is vital when a player 25 years of age with regular play in the national team comes on, you have an opportunity to give him game time – that’s something that is vital when you come back from such a long injury.
Read more at http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/20170114/-we-were-relentless-until-the-end-#0EiTqiw4YgELFfBM.99
Ryan @RyanTomes 27m27 minutes ago
Scholes, Hargreaves & @mrjakehumphrey all predicting Arsenal won’t make top 4, do you guys never learn? #pltonight
Stuart MacFarlane @Stuart_PhotoAFC 56m56 minutes ago
Not sure what the fuss about Alexis getting substituted is all about. Seemed pretty happy when I saw him after the game. #agenda
23 replies 263 retweets 371 likes
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BT Sport FootballVerified account@btsportfootball
Who won’t make the #PL top four?
All of our #PLTonight pundits predict @Arsenal will fall short.
man city v spurs next saturday, we just need to keep winning and we will pick up points on our rivals
‘I’M DEFINITELY CLAIMING THE FIRST ONE!’
Alex Iwobi enjoyed an influential display at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday afternoon – even if he won’t formally be credited with two goals.
The Nigeria international twice saw his efforts turned into the net by Swansea players, but insists he won’t have both his goals taken away with a fight.
“I’m claiming the first one! It’s on target so I’m going to claim that one,” Iwobi said. “Second one I can let slide, but the first one is definitely my goal.
“It was quite big [the deflection] I’m not saying, but they all go in, they all count. But that one at least, I’m praying it’s my goal.”
The 20-year-old also revealed that Arsène Wenger had instructed the team to be more ruthless during the half-time break, something Iwobi feels was carried out in the second half.
“The boss got onto us a bit saying we know we can do better, just keep on moving the ball quickly, as fast as we can,’ he said. “In the second half we showed our quality and were able to get the three points.
“Swansea gave us a difficult start, they pressed us really well and they also kept the ball and were on the front foot. It was a great performance from us and at the end of the day we were able to get the three points.”
Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to http://www.arsenal.com as the source
Read more at http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/20170114/-i-m-definitely-claiming-the-first-one-#AId3Qxb3TXcTQZSu.99
https://oneshortcorner.wordpress.com/2016/04/29/arsene-wenger/ worth a read
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arsenal’s game is 3rd on match of the day tonight.
Bill Dithers @WengerBoy1 5h5 hours ago
After 21 games last season we had 1 less point than now (43). We were top.
you know all this we should recall jack wilshere to replace cazorla in the starting 11 stuff, or better still, we should sell ozil and let jack be our cam, well jack has played 16 games this season, and has no goals, and 1 assist, he does have 3 bookings, and he has had 8 shots, 5 on target and hitting the woodwork the other 3 times.
Imagine the abuse Ramsey would be taking for a big proportion of those who are shouting the loudest about bringing back jack, cos from what I see, its a lot of the Ramsey haters who have most to say about bringing jack back. Something we actually can not do.
Alexis Sánchez @Alexis_Sanchez 5h5 hours ago
Feliz por el triunfo y por el equipo .. 💪🏽🇬🇧⚽️. Happy for our victory and for our team
I thought this game was going to be a lot harder for us than it ended up being. Swansea have been underperforming all season and we’re always the club who a team in bad form shows up for.
Iwobi is my favorite player at the moment. I can hardly believe he’s only 20. What a player.
Oh, the delicious irony of Chelsea having their best player prized away by someone with more money than their owner.
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WozTheGooner @wozthegooner 7h7 hours ago
You won’t like this but Xhaka-Ramsey pivot have played 312 minutes together we’ve scored 13 goals (one every 24 minutes) & conceded 2.
Kaveh SolhekolVerified account
Conte due to have meeting with Costa on Tuesday to sort out differences. Costa’s agent asking for new £300,000 a week Chelsea contract #CFC
Arsenal after 21 games last season and this season
2015/16 P21 W13 D4 L4 GF37 GA21 GD16 PTS43
2016/17 P21 W13 D5 L3 GF48 GA22 GD26 PTS44
Re comparison last year and current we have a better display this year than last year considering we had Santi with us in the first half of the season last time out.
Also the league is stronger this time than previous season.
Surely we are on an upward curve.
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I think all of the top four positions will need more points than last year. The prroblem for us is our run in looks hard, our last ten games will take some good form to collect near maximum points from.
New post up