Sunday, January 15, 2012

No Joy in Swansea: Swans 3 - Gunners 2

It's always tough traveling to Wales for a match, but the Gunners were not only outworked by Swansea, but outplayed for most of the match. It was the Swans who looked like a contender for a Champion's League spot, while the Gunners looked like a team just hoping to avoid the drop. The result was not a fluke. Arsenal got what they deserved: another result in the loss column.

The Gunners clearly missed Mikel Arteta. In his absence, Jack Ramsey struggled to coordinate the offense from midfield. His passing was unusually wasteful. Meanwhile, there were the usual poor performances from the usual suspects (Walcott's one moment of brilliance for Arsenal's second goal cannot excuse his lack of quality through most of the match; Arshavin, by contrast, didn't even have one moment of brilliance).

Thierry Henry came on for the last quarter of the match, but didn't have the same magical impact he had in the midweek FA Cup tie against Leeds. In fact, he had no impact at all.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was quoted in the press this week to the effect that he did not expect to make any further changes in the squad during the January transfer period. Apparently, he is sufficiently happy with a make-shift defense that allowed three goals today against Swansea. Nor will he sell Andrei Arshavin, though perhaps because he could get nothing for him.

Arsenal are not yet out of contention for the fourth and final Champion's League spot next year, but they are pretty rapidly playing themselves out of contention. Recent poor results at Fulham and Swansea are disturbingly reminiscent of the Arsenal team that started the season at the bottom of the League Table.

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