CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Arsenal suffer fresh humiliation at Swansea

30 January, 2018 — By Richard Osley

FA Premier League
SWANSEA CITY 3 (Clucas 34, 86 Ayew 61)
ARSENAL 1  (Monreal 33)

WHAT must Henrikh Mkhitaryan be thinking? He’s experienced Arsenal at their deflating worst this evening on his first appearance in a Gunners shirt. What’s more what must be crossing the mind of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Borussia Dortmund’s star striker who is apparently nearly confirmed as manager Arsene Wenger’s latest lunge into the transfer window.

Wenger’s record at bringing in the right signings is becoming almost as bad as his attempts to win wet midweek away matches, if only for the fact everything seems to go down to the wire of the final day of trading. Other clubs seem more than proficient enough to get their deals done in good time. Wenger, cast as a sage like professor when he arrived in north London, is now the kid desperately trying to finish his homework in the final hours.

This was a terrible advert to take to the market: a miserable defeat to one of the worst performing teams in this year’s Premier League. While Arsenal go shopping for strikers and creative midfielders, there are obvious issues at the back which feel left unmedicated for too long.

Wenger’s inability to sign a goalkeeper and defenders who can be relied on to maintain focus for 90 minutes is remarkable, and set it against, if you will, the fact he has let players leave who may end up as champions in other leagues. Thomas Vermaelen is set for winners medal in La Liga with Barcelona and keeper Wojciech Szczesny may win Serie A with Juventus if they can overtake Napoli.

The killer moment at Swansea was provided by a dozy moment from Petr Cech in the Arsenal goal, with the teams tied at 1-1. Mustafi supplied a tricky back pass, the keeper miss-kicked and Jordan Ayew was gifted a tap-in. Behind at a team fighting for its Premier League survival, the Gunners found the task of turning it around too much, even with Mkhitarayan pulled from the bench.

Strangely enough, Wenger also called upon Olivier Giroud to get his tracksuit off and appear as a sub. The French forward has been offered all over the shop with Aubameyang due to take centre stage at the Emirates. One possible destination is Chelsea, so the Arsenal manager was essentially asking Giroud to help rescue a team who his next club could, in theory, be in competition with for a top four finish. Riddle that one out.

Rather than find a way back into the match, Swansea added a third through Sam Clucas, the same player who had levelled up Nacho Monreal’s opener in the first half.

Wenger said afterwards: “We have no rational explanation. Swansea won decisive duals offensively and defensively. On top of that we made unusual, massive mistakes. That was the killer. Swansea were sharp, disciplined and hungry. Unfortunately I believe we were not good enough, I believe we were not disciplined enough. I don’t want to talk about second or third goals.”

SWANSEA CITY: Fabianski, Olsson, Naughton, van der Hoorn, Fernandez, Mawson, Clucas (Routledge), Ki, Fer, Dyer (Carroll), Ayew (Bony)
Subs not used: Abraham, Bartlet, Nursing, Nordfeldt

ARSENAL: Cech, Bellerin, Monreal, Mustafi, Koscielny, Xhaka, Elneny (Mkhitaryan 60), Ramsey, Iwobi (Giroud 76), Ozil, Lacazette
Subs not used: Chambers, Kolasinac, Maitland-Niles, Nketiah, Ospina

 

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