In the end, they did it. After 38 games and a...
Arsenal v Swansea; Match Preview – FA Cup Replay
It only seems like last week when we plast played Swansea. Oh yeah. Sorry for the poor humour. With all the woe surrounding Arsenal right now, I think of a statement by Lord Byron – “If I laugh at any mortal thing, tis that I may not weep.” So my poor attempt at wit is an attempt to hide my despair.
We find ourselves just before another game and as usual for the majority of bloggers I know you want to approach the preview with the sense of optimism and hope that each fresh match offers up. We’ve discussed it before, no matter how bad things get, you always support the team and only at the end of the match do you either rejoice or despair.
But in looking at this match, I don’t even know how to assess this team. And while, I am filled with my usual sense of pre-game Arsenal-lade bravado and support, I can’t give you an honest idea of how this match is going to go?
When you disect the team and the available players, its not without talent and its not without issues. So it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that the team takes the pitch and absolutely whipes the floor clean with Swansea. However, it’s also equally as possible that Arsenal take to the pitch and get a right good rollicking at home. You just don’t know.
But something has to give. Somehwere, someone has to give a damn, that they stand up and force this team to be accountable. Managers and coaches can only do so much to get a team prepared to play. We’ve discussed the failings in this department and likely will discuss them yet again. For Arsenal right now some focus has to be on the players and sucking it up and working it out. They need to take some accountability for their actions.
Swansea aren’t going to make it easy. They’ve become a bogey team for Arsenal with the Gunners only taking 1 of the last 4 matches. Throw in Michu taking Didier Drogba’s place as chief tormenter (he has scored 3 in the last two times these clubs have met) and Swansea have shown themselves more than capable to handle Arsenal in the last two years.
I read Nigel Winterburn’s assessment of the match, and I agree, the Gunners look best this season when they are playing at a high tempo. The problem is when Arsenal get thoughtful and patient in their passing. Passess move side to side and back and it slows play down. It allows our opposition to get positionally set and wait and soak up the Arsenal attack. When we press from the get go, starting at their back line and move the ball with purpose (and make runs off the ball) we look like we will score. Why Arsenal haven’t approached each match consistently with this is perplexing.
Realistically, this our only hope for silverware. If the team doesn’t put in a performance today then the cries of pain you’ve been hearing will only get worse. A win today and it will hopefully have a carry over effect for the games hereafter. This is a team that needs confidence. The home crowd will be behind them and will them on. It will of course go south if the team goes south. But from the get go, expect the home support to will the team forward and the team needs to respond to that as well as their own understanding at what is at stake.
Arsenal are the second most succesful team in FA Cup history behind United. This is also a cup that Wenger used to treasure and the Gunners won it four times under the Frenchman. It’s the only shot we have at silverware this season (unless the impossible of all miracles occurs). Time to have a proper go.