Sunday, January 6, 2013

A Replay. Of Course.

Sandwiched between league games against Manchester City and Chelsea. Of course.

At least Arsenal retain some hope of having a silver pot to piss in by season's end.

Swansea 2-2 Arsenal was a showcase of the good, the bad and the ugly. It's hard to watch any Arsenal game, especially during the January transfer window, and not think of the overall context of how the club is being run, how the squad seems so thin.

While Giroud, Arsenal's only real centre forward, snatched at every opportunity that came his way, Swansea had the luxury of sending on their main man, the freescoring Michu, in the second half. With Arsenal having dominated the ten minutes after the interval, they were promptly sucker punched, as the sub lobbed the ball over Mertesacker, glided away from Arsenal's square back line, and imperiously stroked the ball past Szczesny.

So Arsenal resumed banging at the Swansea door, which held firm until the final ten minutes. First, a corner was half cleared before Koscielny bobbled the ball back into the area, and Podolski swiveled to thrash a first  time shot into the corner. Soon after, Arsenal scored a reprise of Podolski's belter against Montpellier, this time with a different, less likely scorer. Gibbs, on the edge of the Swansea area, slipped the ball inside to Giroud and continued his run. The Frenchman lofted a first-time return pass over the Swansea defence, and Gibbs watched the ball drop and then leathered an unstoppable volley into the roof of the net at the near post. Cue raucous celebrations with the travelling Gooners and then, something very Arsenal.

Having completely dominated the second half except for Michu's goal, Arsenal proved unable to see the game out. Swansea were immediately back on the offensive, Arsenal were palpably nervous at the back. They held out for all of two or three minutes before Podolski inadverently flicked on Ki's corner and it eventually was shuffled on to Graham at the back stick, and he lashed the ball high past Szczesny to make it 2-2.

It's clear, especially after the league game at the Emirates, that the replay is not going to be easy for Arsenal.

It's clear, too, as ever, that reinforcements are needed.

1 comment:

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