The Swansea game wasn’t the easiest to watch, I have to admit. We looked nervous at the back and uncomfortable throughout the 90 minutes; in fact we looked like a team that was still struggling to come to terms with having the absolute stuffing knocked out of us by one of our greatest rivals which was fair enough. So in light of this, it was a good job Swansea were visiting (no disrespect intended). Had it been the blue half of Manchester or one of our London compatriots, it may have been a different story altogether and our crisis would have been ever more obvious.
As a result, our wounded troops ground out an old school 1-nil result, all be it thanks to a lucky goal but a goal that could just be the stroke of luck our boys needed. Everyone knows how much of a difference a moment like that could mean to a season and it certainly feels timely given the fact that Swansea were defiant as Arsenal tried in vain to drive that goal home.
And Arsharvin, a player some sceptics have looked at as surplus to requirements, still had to draw on some magnificent skill to slot that ball home. Despite not knowing what was going through Arshavin’s mind as that ball presented itself at his feet, he showed true professionalism and a calm head to curl in the most important goal of Arsenals season so far. It made me feel dizzy just watching Arshavin keep things together knowing what was riding on that shot and especially as he has been lacking in confidence of late.
It’s true that we looked jaded and especially nervous as Swansea went close on a number of occasions but we held firm. Mertesacker and Arteta debuts went well overall. Mertesacker will need to exert his presence a little more in future games but he stayed solid and more importantly, kept a clean sheet.
Arteta played as if he had always had Arsenal blood in him; he took control of the midfield from the offset and looked at home in his role as he pushed Arsenal forward again and again. Both players had the perfect start as they adjusted to the team and will only get stronger as the season progresses and although some would think it was only against Swansea, the fact is it was never going to be the opponent that mattered but the result. Arsenal needed a win, they needed 3 points and no one was going to accept anything less.
Yes it was unconvincing but it was a result. We did expect more from them but you can’t falter the way the boys handled the game, not to mention the 60,000 expectant fans waiting for a little bit of hope and all this against a team that properly fancied their chances of an upset. After all, Swansea were desperately seeking their first Premier League goal and in truth we had presented ourselves as their best chance to date.