We welcome Swansea to the Emirates off the back of a decent run of form. The weekends result aside (which I will discuss later on) we had a decent Xmas period and managed to close some ground on the top.
In football, you are only as good as your last game as results tend to follow on and a really poor performance one week tends to lead to a timid, restricted performance in the next. Fed by the desire to not dropped more points, teams tend to drop back to basics and leave the Hollywood at home whilst they try and nail three points to the board.
As we have seen recently, Arsenal doesn’t do the basics very well. Koscielny’s sending off at the weekend was laughable. Certainly if you are a Citeh fan. It was ALWAYS going to be a sending off. You just cannot haul players down and not expect to be pulled up for it.
The game against Citeh was pretty unremarkable, they started better than us and put us on the back foot. Koscielny panicked and got himself sent off then we were always going to struggle against a top side, but for Sczcesny, it could have been an embarrassing scoreline by halftime.
An extremely good friend texted me during the first half and asked if I was watching and told me about the sending off- unfortunately I was working all weekend so was just watching the live text.
My words were simple, “Dean can be card happy, we just need to be careful and get some pride”. My concern was exacerbated when Vermaelen got a yellow on the cusp of halftime.
Arsene got into his players and a different Arsenal stepped out in the second half. Thank the football gods! We played shorter football and tried to get back in the game. We restricted Citeh and we were able to see the game out 2:0. Credit where it is due, the Scum only lost to us because they went down to 10 men, so that 5:2 scoreline being an indicator of what happens when you lose a man I think we performed pretty well against a top side.
Kompany’s sending off at the end was harsh, ref’s give them based on perceived intent rather than the tackle itself and I am pleased that it got rescinded, I thought it was a yellow when looking at the highlights.
So based on the above the Arsenal side facing the Swans should be positive. We need to be free-scoring tonight and be miserly at the back, two things that have been unreliable at best. Looking at the players training before the game, it’s good to see Frimpong back in the fold. I’d like to see him get a run-out tonight. Rest Diaby for the weekend, unless Arsene is thinking “play him whilst I have him until he breaks down again”? A sensible action perhaps. When you have a
player that is so frequently unavailable, the temptation to over-play him on his return must be huge with the idea of getting your moneys worth out of him. Dear god we’ve struggled to do that with Diaby for so long.
We need to be focused, determined and free in our minds to express football the Arsenal way. We need to forget the obvious importance of the cup for these 90mins and just get the result. We need it before the weekend when we take on Chelski on Sunday. That will be a real cup final as they are one of our rivals for a top-four finish. Not lofty aspirations, but the minimum.
Come on you Gooners!! Come on Theo, sign and bang in a hat-trick tonight.