We’re top of the league still!
Today was one of those days when you have to take advantage of things going around you. Man Utd, City, Chelsea, and Tottenham all dropping points on the same weekend is something that doesn’t happen to many times a season. Maybe it was the fact that we knew all of the scores from the earlier kickoffs that helped give us the extra edge to get the three points, and although it was no easy task, we were able to beat a very good Swansea team away from home.
Arsenal started the match unchanged from the side that beat Stoke last weekend. I was not sure about Gnabry at the start of the match, as he didn’t impress at West Brom and seemed rather timid at home last weekend. How wrong I was about him. The young German is really shaping up to be a good player and he is not the only one who is impressing. Our entire midfield is really synchronizing together at the current moment, creating chances and passing very efficiently. It will be exciting to see who is going to be in our starting XI once all of our midfielders become fit again.
The first half was one of the most mediocre and uneventful halves I’ve seen of Arsenal in a long time. Swansea were retaining possession the entire period, forcing Arsenal to drop back a lot. It was hard for us to get any shape or movement going, so our only option was the counter-attack, which we didn’t even create that many chances off of. The entire squad was nervous under possession and unable to pick out players from only a few yards away. It was disappointing and very frustrating to watch; luckily the match stayed at nil nil.
The second half was almost a complete 360 turnaround of the first. Immediately after the restart the match was stretched, with both teams trying to find the opening goal. Arsenal started playing more and more slowly and retained possession very well to take the sting out of Swansea. Once we slowed things down more and more of our players found space and confidence to try things. Ozil become more effective, being able to drop into the hole between the striker and the defence while Wilshere was also starting coming into the centre of the field. Gnabry, who I thought got better and better over the period of the game, started taking on players with confidence and power. He reminded me a lot of Oxlade Chamberlain but maybe even a bit better. We looked so much more subtle when we had possession and a deserved goal eventually came.
In the 58th minute, following some good possession, the ball sort of ricocheted around the box and Ramsey found an unmarked Serge Gnabry at the edge of the box. The young German showed no signs of immaturity whats so ever as he found the bottom left corner of the goal with aplomb. It was his first goal for the club and one of surely many more to come. Arsenal looked a completely different side, and another German almost got his first goal for the club. Ramsey released Ozil who was one on one with the keeper. He waited for the Vorm to go down but the keeper stood strong and was able to make a terrific save. It was unfortunate as a player of his quality should be scoring from there, but all credit to the keeper. Arsenal grabbed their second with some really beautiful build up play. Wilshere, Giroud, and Ozil played some neat passes and flicks between each other before the ball found it’s way to Aaron Ramsey, who sent the ball into the the roof the net, grabbing his eighth goal of the season. It was nothing more than Arsenal deserved.
Swansea didn’t really look that threatening until the 80th minute when Bony sent a delicious ball to Ben Davis who only had to make some sort of contact for the ball to hit the back of the net. That set out for one of the most nervy finishes to a game all season where I swear that I lost 20 Lbs of body sweat. Szczesny did well in the end it has to be said as he confidently collected balls in the middle of the air during crucial periods. We held on for the three points. Three massive, massive points. We now lie two points ahead of Tottenham in first in the league with another trip to West Brom next weekend. It is a good time to be an Arsenal fan as it seems we have finally found the light at the end of the rainbow.