Sunday, 9 November 2014

#FLASHBACKFOUR – Swansea v Arsenal

Nathan Lewis gives us his weekly rundown on the last four fixtures against our upcoming opponent

If you look at the match previews for Sunday’s game, there is a slight theme. It seems internet pundits are backing Arsenal to “restart” their season against a “faltering” Swansea team. No thanks. After 10 games, we’re higher than Liverpool, Manchester United and Spurs, and two points off the top four. You’re alright.
Let’s take a look at how we’ve fared against Arsenal in the last couple of years, with this week’s #FlashbackFour:
16th January 2013
FA Cup Third Round Replay
Arsenal 1-0 Swansea
After an incredibly entertaining third round match back at the Liberty that boasted three goals in in six minutes, the replay at the Emirates stadium was a much more sedate affair. In a match eventually settled by a low Jack Wilshere drive four minutes from time, Arsene Wenger’s side dominated for large spells. It seemed as if the Swans had just too many games in such a short spell, with midweek legs of the semi-final against Chelsea bookending this FA Cup replay. Looking back, it is hard to argue that Arsenal deserved anything less than three points, given that they had pinned us back into our own half for large chunks of the match, forcing 26 attempts on goal. It was only a clinical edge that Arsenal were missing (makes a change..!), with Olivier Giroud huffing and puffing in front of goal. There really wasn’t much to shout about from a Swans perspective, and the Capital One Cup success will no doubt ease any painful memories we have of this trip to London.  

16th March 2013
Premier League
Swansea 0-2 Arsenal
In all but one of our last six games against the Gunners, half-time has been reached without a goal being scored. This one was no different, with Michu looking the most likely to trouble the scoresheet for the Swans, who were pursuing a league double over Arsenal. For the second time in three months however, Arsenal looked easily the more likely to score, although this time probably not with the ease they had in the FA Cup replay. The Gunners started the second-half brightly, Nacho Monreal pouncing to fire a deflected shot past the outstretched Michel Vorm. There wasn’t much of the game left, and Swansea struggled to work their way back into the match, and Gervinho finished the match off with a decent finish.

28th September 2013
Premier League
Swansea 1-2 Arsenal
Many will remember this match for an impressive performance from teenager Serge Gnabry, but looking back it’s hard not to blame the erratic defending of Chico, or the inability of Swansea to put away chances, for this home defeat. Gnabry certainly showed signs of why he was so highly rated at Arsenal, jinking through our midfield and defence a number of times, but that man Chico finds himself way out of position for both Arsenal goals. For the first, he attempted to rush out for the ball, missed and allowed Arsenal to pass it into the gap, allowing Gnabry to slot home. For the second, Arsenal put together a sweet passing move which embarrassed a number of defenders, not just the ponytailed Spaniard. It could have been a much greater result for the Swans however, with multiple chances being wasted, not helped by the fact Bony was a late substitute. The difference in quality up top was startling and nearly helped rescue a point. Our consolation goal came from Ben Davies seemingly having enough of his wasteful teammates, exchanging a one-two with Wilf, and volleying home. A memorable goal in yet another loss against the Gunners.
25th March 2014
Premier League
Arsenal 2-2 Swansea
Finally a point and some sort of result for the Swans against Arsenal in our recap of past matches. A sign of how far Garry Monk’s men had come during his short reign as manager was that despite only earning a point through an entertaining Flamini own gal, the Swans felt they could have nicked all three points. Having surged past the Arsenal defence, and running clear on goal, the Swans were justifiably angry with Lee Probert for blowing up early, and potentially saving Arsenal from an embarrassing loss. Despite this, a point was clearly a decent result. Having taken the lead through an excellent Bony header, the Swans stayed in control for a long period, before two Arsenal goals in two minutes exposed a slightly frail defence, and gave the London side the lead. The Swans were not disheartened however, and fought hard to equalise, their persistence eventually paying off and forcing Flamini’s own goal.

Games Played: 4
Wins: 0
Draws: 1
Losses: 3
Goals scored: 3
Goals Conceded: 7
Our record against Wenger’s Arsenal is clearly not a great one in recent years then, with just one point from the available twelve. It’s worth remembering however, that we have beaten them twice since we were promoted to the top division, and there is certainly scope for us to pull off an impressive win. Arsenal’s frailties have been well published over the years and the idea of Wilf running at Nacho Monreal at centre-back is certainly one that excites. Hopefully our so far remarkable defensive record can stand the test of Sanchez, Welbeck & co.

My prediction: Swansea 0-1 Arsenal

Thanks to Nathan for his contribution as always - give him a follow on Twitter @NathDavidLewis