Swansea 0 – 3 Arsenal
After three big wins in just one week, followed by an insipid and clueless League Cup loss midweek, we have now entered another period of three key games: two to keep us competing for the PL title (Swansea and the Spuds) and one to get us closer to the next round of the CL (Bayern). After our embarrassing loss on Tuesday, we needed to start well against Swansea as to build up a positive momentum to finish on a high before another interdull commences.
Eight positives from the game:
- Ozil is in the zone: On the BBC they announced that Mesut has run more miles and made more sprints than Alexis this season. This does not come as a total surprise to me, but it is worth mentioning nevertheless. Mesut had two assists today and was once again our mastermind on the pitch. If he continues like this he will end up with the PL player of the year award; you heard it here first!
- Campbell grabs his chance: He was eager and energetic all over the pitch and formed a good partnership with Bellerin. The goal was a bonus but I reckon his defensive support for our Spanish full back was just as important. It remains to be seen whether Wenger will play him for a third time in eight days against Bayern, but Joel is taking this opportunity to show us what he has got. On a day in which Sanchez does not find the net, we need our other attackers to take their chances and both Ollie and Campbell obliged.
- We can bank on Giroud: He will not take every chance that will come his way but this season he has been very sharp and consistent. His overall team play is key too of course, and once again Ollie was central in our attacking and defensive play. Giroud will be very important against Bayern on Wednesday, and I will keep a close eye on his partnership with Ozil: together they will have to break up the Germans’ tiki-taki, and, once in possession of the ball, they will have to hold it long enough to be able to release one of our wingers (Alexis and Campbell, or Bellerin for this occasion) to punish the Germans on the break.
- Bellerin keeps maturing: This was not an easy game for him, as Montero is a fast and intelligent winger who can embarrass every defender on the day. But Hector Vector handled him well and his attacking contributions were once again sharp and strong.
- Koz the complete defender: What a solid defensive performance once again and two goals in two games for our all-devouring CB: you just got to love him!
- Wenger half time talk: I don’t know what Arsene tells his players at the half time breaks and I would love to be a fly on the wall during them. In virtually all games we perform so much better in the second half compared to the first. I have been telling myself a few times during recent games that we just need to not concede in the first half so that Wenger can win us the game with his team talk and tactical adjustments, and boy does he deliver every time. Our second half against the Jacks was soooo much better than the first one, and anybody saying Wenger has not got a clue tactically does not know what they are talking about.
- Another clean sheet for the defence: they rode their luck a few times in the first half, with especially Gomis lacking composure to finish his very good opportunities, but I am so pleased we now have a decent defence that is getting more solid and cohesive with every game they play together. Against Bayern we need to play more compact and I am sure we will, but another clean sheet will give our defenders even more confidence to withstand another Lederhosen onslaught on Wednesday.
- Incredible away form: Arsenal won five out of six PL away games, and the one we lost, against the Chavs, we got robbed by the referee. Wins at Newcastle, Swansea, Leicester, Palace and Watford show how much character and will to win our team has, as quality alone would not see us pick up fifteen points during our travels. It is still early days, but a strong away form is key to us winning the title.
These are my positives but I am sure there are more, so make sure we hear about them!