Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has criticised Swansea for ‘refusing to play’, after the Swans completed a smash and grab 1-0 victory at the Emirates Stadium on Monday night.
The home side were dominant for much of the game, but Bafetimbi Gomis’ 85th minute header was enough to seal maximum points for the visitors.
Wenger said his side were “unlucky against a team who refused to play completely and just defended”.
“I cannot say they played a lot tonight. They go home but I don’t know how many passes they made.”
His opposite number Garry Monk made a good point though, saying: “If we didn’t play how did we get the three points? We could have gone toe-to-toe but they have the quality to hurt us.
“There are times you have to be adaptable – if people don’t like that it’s not my problem.”
Swansea did ride their luck at times in last night’s victory and on a different night it could probably have been a comfortable victory for the Gunners.
However, former Arsenal ‘keeper Lukasz Fabianski pulled-off some superb saves to deny his old team and the Swans stayed organised and compact. They then took their chance when it arrived. It was the classic away display from the Welsh side and Garry Monk’s game plan work perfectly.
As Monk explained Swansea could not go toe-to-toe with Arsenal, because the Gunners simple have more technically proficient players. If Swansea would have attempted to go toe-to-toe with Arsenal then the home side would have probably came out winners.
Clubs like Swansea cannot go out and spend big money on players to make them capable of competing with the Gunners on a level footing. They have to come up with ways of combating the so called ‘big teams’ and getting the best result for their team.
I am sure Garry Monk would love to have the money to go out and sign a player of Alexis Sanchez’s quality this summer. Somehow I think he will be shopping in the bargain basement this summer, rather than Harrods.
As former Everton and Manchester United boss David Moyes once said you do not bring a knife to a gun fight. It turns out Garry Monk had the right tools to come away from the Emirates with a win, even if it may have been slightly fortunate.
For much of the season Arsenal have played brilliant football and have been a joy to watch, but in the first hour of this match the side north London looked very lacklustre. The fact that they struggled to get shots on target in that time says a lot about their attacking play on the night.
They dominated possession and in the last 20 minutes or so the attempts on goal. However, they never had the know-how to find a way past a stubborn Swans defence and former ‘keeper Fabianski, who was outstanding on his return to the Emirates.
Top bosses have the ability to change things around when things are not quite going their team’s way. For me Wenger is a top boss, but his decision making at times in recent seasons has been poor at times and has cost his team points.
The decision to replace first choice striker Olivier Giroud with Theo Walcott when the Gunners needed a goal is one that has to be questioned. The Gunners were in complete control of the game. Why not put Walcott on up front with Giroud?
I do not think many people would say that Giroud was having a great game, but he is the focal point of the Arsenal attack and could quite easily have popped up with a goal, or even assist for a teammate.
Arsenal have been linked with moves for a new ‘keeper this summer, with Chelsea’s Petr Cech believed to be a target.
Gunners current number one David Ospina should have done better with the Swans goal, as Gomis’ header did not seem to be that powerful as it headed towards goal, but somehow crossed the goal-line. Referee Kevin Friend had to rely on the on goal-line technology to confirm the goal, but on further viewing the ball was well over the line, despite Ospina’s protestations.
Everybody connected with Arsenal, including Arsene Wenger now needs to move on and concentrate on finishing in the top three and securing an automatic Champions League spot for next season.
The Gunners face a testing trip to fourth-place Manchester United next weekend, but could still finish in second in the Premier League, as they are just three points behind second place Manchester City with a game in-hand.
Last night was a bad one for the Gunners, but it was not the end of the world and I am sure Wenger’s side will bounce back to winning ways in the near future.
Was Wenger right to criticise Swansea’s style of play?