Arsenal 2 Swansea 2: The Gunners Crumble at the Death
Everyone needed a response from the horrid affair on Saturday. As expected, the manager shaked things up in the starting line up and handed starts to Thomas Vermaelen and Mathieu Flamini.
Arsenal were the quickest our of the blocks as Mikel Arteta’s cross to Olivier Giroud was blocked by Ashley Williams. The resulting ball fell to the Ox’s path and he lashed a volley that was saved by Michel Vorm. Against the run of play, Swansea grabbed the lead when Neil Taylor lofted in a cross for Wilfried Bony that jumped ahead of Vermaelen to head the ball home with Szczesny rooted to the spot.
Not the start Arsenal had envisaged.
Tomas Rosicky and Santi Cazorla attempted one-two passes to get in behind the defence but Rosicky chose to pass instead of attempting a shot at goal. Typical Arsenal. The resulting corner was headed to the side netting by Per Mertesacker.
After Giroud had created a chance for himself that was blocked, Swansea was almost two goals to the good when they instigated a counter attack that put Arsenal on the back foot but the final shot was blocked by Cazorla.
After some tame attempts from the Ox and Sagna, Cazorla evaded a couple of markers before firing a weak shot at Vorm. Arsene Wenger had seen enough from the Ox and replaced him with Podolski that went on to have a stormer. The German was directed involved in Arsenal’s equaliser as he latched on to Gibbs’ superb cross to side foot the ball home.
While the Gunners were basking in the euphoria of getting a vital equaliser, it took Podolski just 66 seconds to send an inch-perfect cross into the danger area that was slammed home by the much maligned Giroud. That was his 19th for the season and it was a good that sent the Emirates into raptures.
At that point in time, I’d already thought of my headlines for today’s post and it was going to have some Podolski splattered all over it.
There was time to get Kim Kardashian Kallstrom his long awaited debut and he came in for a clearly exhausted Rosicky. Swansea brought the warning signs when Bony’s header went straight to Szczesny’s direction and Rangel was having a lot of free space on his side but he failed to create a good chance.
Right at the death, Wenger brought on Sanogo for Giroud with the aim of winning down the clock to what would have been a hard – fought victory but at the end, disaster struck…
Leon Britton was allowed to run at the Arsenal defence and he attempted a one-two with an unmarked Rangel. With the diminutive midfielder bearing down on goal, I had feared the worst as he went down but it got worse as Szczesny kicked the ball aimlessly and it ricocheted off Flamini into the net.
That was an utterly frustrating moment and the fact that Everton whooped Newcastle puts them in contention for a fourth place finish and if the Gunners continue to falter like this, I fear for the worst.
It’s only normal for bloggers, journos, pundits and fans alike to dwell on some performances after a disappointing result but I must say that it was painful watching Bacary Sagna yesterday. A player that was renowned for his consistency in the yesteryear, he looked out of sorts and lacked confidence when he received the ball. It’s in moments like this that you would see why the Gunners have taken such a stance on his contract situation and he certainly didn’t play like someone that deserved £100,000 per week.
Another player that failed to impress yesterday was Arteta as age is slowly creeping in on the midfielder. With Flamini stationed in the anchor midfield role, Arteta played the box to box role and he was largely disappointing.
It just a shame seeing out season crumble at the business end and at this point in time, qualifying for the Champions League and a FA Cup win will be ‘good enough’ to add some gloss to what is turning into a difficult campaign.