Arsenal suffered its second defeat in the Premier League this season when it came unstuck to Swansea City 2-1 at the Liberty Stadium. Alexis Sanchez gave Arsene Wenger’s side the lead in what was his eight league goal of the season, but the match unravelled in spectacular fashion in the last quarter of the game. Here are five things learnt from the match.
- Calum Chambers Struggled Throughout
The 19 year old struggled throughout the match and, he could not keep up with Swansea’s winger Montero throughout the match. He came out second best in his personal duel with the winger. The way he was bypassed as if the was not there for the second goal illustrated his struggles. The former Saints defender has had difficult times dealing with fleet footed players in the past, if anything by the evidence of this display, he is more a centre half than a right back as he lacks the pace to catch up with tricky wingers. Arsene Wenger left it too late to remove the England international out of the firing line despite the fact he was repeatedly tormented at right back.
- Without Mikel Arteta midfield is dysfunctional
The manner with which Per Mertesacker and Nacho Monreal passed the ball between themselves on several occasions without a midfielder to pass to was obvious. The build up from defence to midfield was absent, and it was telling that the team could not hold on to possession for long with Mathieu Flamini and Aaron Ramsey in midfield, both players shied away from receiving passes from the defence by not providing an outlet to receive any, while Mikel Arteta was always there to be an outlet for a pass.
- The team’s mentality when leading remains to score another, and not defend
The cliché that a bread at hand is worth two in the bush is alien to the players, prior to the free kick that led to Swansea’s equalizer, there were eight Arsenal players in the other half of the field chasing a second goal, with just Per Mertesacker and Nacho Monreal as the only players left. The team already had a one goal lead that it could protect, the question then why go chasing another by leaving yourself open to a counterattack instead of closing shop in defence? It is a mentality that has cost the team several times in the past, and continues to cost the team.
- Aaron Ramsey’s struggled again in midfield
The Welsh midfielder stayed a bit disciplined by reducing his forays forward after Arsene Wenger said he should prioritize his midfield work. But despite staying further back, he again struggled to exact any influence in the game, and he was at times ponderous in possession. He was part of a midfield two alongside Mathieu Flamini that started in central midfield, and his performance was again below par. Jack Wilshere added more impetus and drive to Arsenal’s game when he came on as a substitute than what Aaron Ramsey did all game.
- Some player looked leggy
Arsene Wenger started with the same line up for the fifth match in the running with only the central midfield of Aaron Ramsey the only difference from previous line up in place of Mikel Arteta. It was evident that some of the players could have done with some rest especially Calum Chambers that struggled throughout, Santi Cazorla that has been indifferent for some time, and Danny Welbeck that has not rested since he was signed on deadline day. In the end they struggled to keep up.