Swansea City 2-2 Arsenal: Feels Like a Loss

I give you fair warning, dear reader: I am as angry about this result as any we've had in quite some time. It may not make sense in relation to what this fixture means to our season as a whole, but it just feels to me like it is so indicative of everything that is wrong with this football club.

To begin with, we have the starting XI. Most of it was OK - I'm glad that Arsene Wenger didn't feel the need to play Vito Mannone in goal, for example. But, Aaron Ramsey was deployed on the left - the sort of selection that makes a person's head explode when you think about it for five seconds. This is what our squad depth is reduced to?

Next, you have the fact that we wore our shitty Grimace purple shirts when there was absolutely no reason not to wear our home kit. Swansea wears white, so it's not like there would be a color clash. Nike isn't quite in the same circle of hell I reserve for Judas van Persie, but they are not miles away, either.

Then, you have the first half. Honestly, I have almost no memory of what transpired in the first 45, such was the dismal fare served up by Arsenal. There was no penetration from the attackers, no ideas on how to break down the Swansea backline. Much like the Southampton match, Arsenal dominated possession for the first few minutes without ever seriously threatening.

It is telling that when halftime came, there were exactly two highlights shown - Wojceich Szczesny beating away a long drive from Danny Graham, and Per Mertesacker almost scoring an own-goal off a corner, his header luckily hitting the crossbar.

After the interval, Arsenal at least showed some signs of life, Olivier Giroud forcing a save from Michel Vorm (though it was straight at him). A few minutes later, what we thought was a penalty in real time turned out to be Ramsey tripping over his own legs like a newborn foal. Later, Giroud had another good look at goal, and this time the shot was better. Sadly, Vorm was up to the task and palmed it to safety.

At this point, Swansea manager Michael Laudrup recognized that the game was getting away from his side a bit, so he made two substitutions before the 60th minute. Hey, it's almost like sometimes you can take underperforming players off and replace them with other guys who might change the game! Isn't that bloody amazing? Maybe it's something our manager should look into sometime!

Needless to say, Swansea took the lead milliseconds after making their changes. A long goal kick from Vorm saw the first header won by a Swansea player, and Koscielny wasn't able to clear away the second ball. Michu, having just gotten onto the pitch, looped the ball over Per Mertesacker and was in alone. As is his wont, he calmly slotted the ball past Szczesny (who I think should have came off his line more decisively, though that is nitpicking).

Up the other end, Giroud missed a free header. This was not his finest effort today.

Finally, after 70 minutes or so, the manager made his one substitution of the day. Lukas Podolski came on for the massively ineffective Ramsey, and wouldn't you know it? We scored minutes after.

Off a corner, first Bacary Sagna and then Laurent Koscielny kept the play alive. The ball bobbled out to Podolski, who hammered an unstoppable shot low and in the corner. Say, you mean we took off an out-of-form player, brought on a better one, and good things happened?  Unpossible!

Things got even better two minutes later, as Arsenal took a lead that they hardly deserved on the balance of play. Kieran Gibbs played a ball to Giroud, who clipped a beautiful ball over the Swans defense. Gibbs ran onto it and emphatically half-volleyed a shot over Vorm's arms and into the roof of the net. Seriously, what a goal that was.

That gave us a 2-1 lead with seven minutes left to play. When you get a gift like a wonder goal from your left back to give you a lead with less than 10 minutes to play, not winning at that point is an absolute risible failure.

We sure did manage it, though. I'm sure you'll be stunned to know that it was typically brain-dead defending off of a set piece that did us in for the 543759347593475893475983758943759th time.

A late Swansea corner came out to Ki Sung-Yueng, who controlled well. He played it out to Graham on the back post, who was left in acres of space. Mikel Arteta was in the general area, but he didn't attempt to close him down whatsoever. He just stood there. It's so uncharacteristic, too...I mean, Arteta has done a brilliant job this season playing in a position he's not especially suited for. He's been almost metronomic, a dead-cert 7 out of 10 the vast majority of the time. I can't explain what possessed him to stand there and watch as Graham turned and lashed a shot past the helpless Szczesny...but I suppose that if you asked him right now, he wouldn't be able to either.

That leaves us with a replay that we absolutely do not need, that will tax a thin squad (that I guarantee you the manager won't strengthen in this transfer window) even further. I hate to be this pessimistic and I know this match report has been overly bitchy. I apologize for that, but this was so stupid and so unnecessary and so typical Arsenal of late, I can't help but have this reaction.

Oh, well. Maybe we can get things going next week with a nice, easy league game. Who is it we're playing again?

Manchester City?


The Modern Gooner Player Ratings:

Szczesny 7, Gibbs 7, Koscielny 7, Mertesacker 5, Sagna 6, Arteta 6, Wilshere 6, Ramsey 5 (Podolski 7), Cazorla 6, Walcott 6, Giroud 6

Man of the Match:  I don't often go with the general consensus, but today is the exception. Kieran Gibbs was the best of a bad lot.