View From The North Bank: Swansea 3 Arsenal 2
Monday night’s moment of pure joy didnt last long then. Defensive frailties cost Arsenal yet again away from home as Swansea beat us at our own game. Again, the players let Arsene Wenger down at a time where he needs more than just Robin Van Persie and the returning Thierry Henry to step up and prove their worth.
Yet again too many abject performances cost us. Just when you need a player to grab their opportunity to push for a starting place in the absence of starters, Arteta and Gervinho, we’re subjected to two anonymous performances from experienced internationals – and captain’s of their counrty’s no less. Benayoun and Arshavin were very poor yesterday. Far moreso than Ramsey and Miquel who rceived the brunt of the blame online following the final whistle.
Walcott continues to disappoint following his early season form. He warrants dropping, with Chamberlain pushing for a Premier League start, though that will wait given our next league match on Sunday. I feel that Walcott would make an ideal impact substitute and that this area of the squad needs further reinforcement. Whether we’ll see any moves this month remains to be seen – signing a world class player will be difficult, especially in such a static transfer market.
As if this back-to-back league defeat wasn’t bad enough, we have to endure yet more Twitter vitriol that turns the stomach with Aaron Ramsey the target of one particular scumbag. It’s frustrating, it’s disheartening, but players should never ever be subjected to personal abuse of that ilk.
Ramsey is a frustrating player as we all know what he is capable of doing, but Gooners need to remember that this is his first full season in the first team, and having recovered from a career threatening injury he’s been required to start almost every game this season. He’s guilty of doing too much at times, but if being guilty of trying too hard (a cliche I’m not fond of but one that is necessary here) is worthy of criticism, then I’d love to criticise more of our players! Oh and it might be worth remembering also that Ramsey is 21 and has been afforded the added pressure of captaining his country and coming to terms with his manager – a big influence – taking his own life.
A word on Ignasi Miquel, our 19-year-old centre half being asked to help out the team at left back. Damning tweets regarding his performance from fleet street’s most influential Arsenal hack hardly helps his – or the teams’ – cause. He gave the ball away a few times, yes. He was caught up field for Swansea’a winning goal, yes. But, he was up against a player on top form in Nathan Dyer playing in a position that is unfamiliar. I thought he acquitted himself well given the circumstances. On the one hand, a downfall of our recent performances has been put down to missing our fast, attacking fullbacks (aside from the defensive mistakes which Wenger has been clearly angry about); yet the Press are quick to jump on a rookie centre half for pushing forward at a time when our tails were up.
More to blame in my opinion was Wojciech Szczesny for his poor decision making in flying off his line. If he stays at home, Danny Graham has to produce something very special to score. Koscielny could also have stepped up to catch Graham offside, but for me, if we’re pointing fingers – which it’s apparant is flavour of the month – then Szczesny needs to shoulder the blame for the third goal as he did for the Fulham equaliser two weeks previous. Prior to that a gaping hole was found in the left-back berth for the second goal, but Song was at fault here for not tracking Dyer. The same Dyer who had landed his studs on Ramsey’s shin, fallen to the floor as if his shin had been stud-raked and subsequently won a penalty from which Swansea equalised.
Our best hope is to finish fourth, so let’s get behind the team – all the in-fighting and player harassment should be left for clubs of far less class and repute of The Arsenal. We knew this season would be a struggle as soon as our Skipper jumped ship (excuse the pun) and another valuable member of the team chased the lucre rather than fight for the club that made him the player he is. Or was.
Keep the Faith