Game in a sentence
Fourth place remains in sight as Arsenal capture three points at Liberty Stadium in the rain.
- Nacho Monreal’s first goal in the EPL was the culmination of a series of events that I will attempt to explain. Mikel Arteta’s foul on Nathan Dyer went unpunished — referee John Moss had an up and down day. Santi Cazorla took on the ball, weaving across the box to find Aaron Ramsey unmarked. That was the plan at least. Olivier Giroud intercepted the pass, seemingly ruining the chance, until the ball fell to the former Malaga left back. Monreal became the sixth Spanish player to score for Arsenal.
- Abou Diaby put in a vintage performance. Spellbinding runs followed by inexplicable giveaways. Off the ball the term lackadaisical would be the best word to describe his performance. Aaron Ramsey should’ve started in his place.
- While they held the majority of possession, Swansea’s attack was rudderless. Ki and JDG2 acquitted themselves well in the midfield but Dyer, Hernandez and Michu were ineffective leading the attacking lines.
- Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is making a case for permanent inclusion in the first team. After an excellent 20 minutes in Germany, the youngster was a force in the first half, sending two balls off the bar. He swapped wings with Walcott mid way through the opening 45, a move that seemed to open up the attack for Arsenal.
- Carl Jenkinson was also terrific against Bayern Munich. He backed that up with another solid performance today, save for an egregious giveaway that nearly resulted in a Michu goal.
- Ox made way for Gervinho in the 71st minute, accompanied by Ramsey who replaced Diaby. Arsenal would get their goal three minutes later.
- Cazorla was the best player on the pitch, playing with a limitless motor. The last man standing in a midfield that has been ravished by injuries, it’s scary to imagine where Arsene Wegner’s men would be without him.
- In contrast, Olivier Giroud had a game to forget. Handicapped by poor service throughout, the Frenchman was a relative non-factor until ‘setting’ up Monreal’s goal.
- Cazorla has a future on K street if he wants one. After being hauled down by De Guzman in the first half, John Moss seemed content to award a foul but no yellow. After a brief conference with Arsenal’s talisman, Moss changed his mind. That’s an early frontrunner for a Viduka on Monday.
- Gervinho iced the game in the 90th minute, receiving a pass from Ramsey on the counter and sliding the ball past Michel Vorm. Yes, Gervinho scored. I’m frightened as well.
- Lukasz Fabianski and Michu got into after the final whistle, probably because of the former’s post Gervinho goal celebration that saw the Polish keeper run to midfield in jubilation. Is there a keeper controversy brewing in North London? It was Wojciech Szczesny that separated Michu and Fabianski from each other, for what it’s worth. The former Arsenal #1 then congratulated his usurper. Friends for now, but nobody likes sitting on the bench. Fabianski was great midweek, but didn’t have much to do today.
1. Santi Cazorla
2. Ki Sung-Yueng
3. Nacho Monreal