how arsenal outplay swansea city

Swansea City vs Arsenal: How Arsenal Outplay Swansea

With Chelsea slipping up for the first time in fourteen games, all eyes were focused on Liberty Stadium where Arsenal took on a void of confidence Swansea team. With just 15 points from 20 games, Swansea were praying that new head coach Paul Clement could be the man to turn their fortunes around. The Swans squared up against an Arsenal side that hadn't won an away game in their last three outings. What followed was a game of intensity, attacking quality and calamitous defending.

Team News:

For the first time since May, Arsenal welcomed back Danny Welbeck to a matchday squad. Alongside him Petr Cech, Alexis Sánchez, Mesut Özil and Laurent Koscielny all came in to retain their places after missing the FA Cup weekend. Swansea made two changes to the team that beat Crystal Palace last week, Neil Taylor and Jay Fulton through injury made way for Stephen Kingsley and Kieran Dyer. Arsenal lined up in a fluid 4-2-3-1 relying on the roaming of players to create chances. While Paul Clement opted to deploy a wide 4-3-3 in attack and rigid 4-5-1 in defence.

Arsenal vs swansea team

1st half: Pressing vs. Passive Passing:

Intensity, pressing and closing down defined the opening 20 minutes of the game. Right from the first minute, Swansea City aimed to deprive Arsenal of space and time on the ball. Clement had clearly told his team to press in groups of three, by having one player close down the man in possession with others cutting off the surrounding passing options. They disrupted Arsenal's pattern of play and completely nullified Arsenal's threat in their half. However, for all their intensity, Swansea struggled to create clear-cut chances and were limited to shots from outside the box.

Swansea pressing

Swansea pressing Arsenal in packs in cut off all available passing options and lanes.

The only problems they caused to Arsenal were down the right flank. Nathan Dyer & Kyle Naughton constantly created 2v1 situations against Nacho Monreal. A lack of defensive cover from Alexis left the Spaniard in no man's land on several occasions. In attack, Wenger's men were experiencing problems in the build-up. Creativity was lacking, the movement was static and intensity was non-existent. Gabriel who is not a RB, was surprisingly not a liability in defence but rather a hindrance to attack. As Iwobi drifted, Gabriel didn't have the attacking work rate to provide width down the right. This led to a lack of passing options against a compact Swansea defence.

Arsenal in the final third

Swansea defending deep and compactly in front of their own penalty box. Gabriel not wide.

Arsenal finally began to find their rhythm halfway through the first half. Once Mesut Özil started to drop deep to aid the centre-backs build from the back, Arsenal found their groove. The key was in passing around Swansea's relentless press. Evading Swansea's first wave of press from the front three forced Swansea's midfield three to abandon their positioning and close down Xhaka and Özil. This in return led to gaps appearing in Swansea final third, allowing the likes of Iwobi and Sánchez to exploit.

After a lacklustre 37 minutes, Arsenal's superior technical ability shone through. A flurry of blocked shots and low-drilled crosses led to a Olivier Giroud tap in from close range. The Frenchman has now scored 13 goals in his last 18 shots on target. The lead sent the Gunners into half time 1-0 up and firmly in the driving seat.

how arsenal outplay swansea city

Giroud becomes the first Arsenal player since Emmanuel Adebayor to score in 5 consecutive games.

2nd half: Free-flowing Wengerball:

As the second half appeared so did the Arsenal of old. The Gunners started to push high up the pitch starting with their defensive line. The full-backs stayed high up the pitch on the flanks and Mustafi & Koscielny camped on the halfway line. They squeezed Swansea into their own half and increased the tempo of their passing and movement. Swansea couldn't live with it. Gaps began to appear and Mesut Özil started to drift in & around the final third. Aaron Ramsey under clear instruction from the manager vacated his MF position to join the attack. The aim was to overload Swansea's low-block defence and cause chaos in the final third.

Aaron ramsy as second striker

Aaron Ramsey operating as a second striker high up the pitch.

All of a sudden, the Gunners were dominating and dominating in style. Each player had a role to fulfil in the attack. Alex Iwobi began to drift inwards from the right, Özil dropped deeper, Giroud physically occupied the CBs and Alexis Sánchez attacked the space between the RCB and RB. Conducting all of this was Granit Xhaka who spread play from side to side effortlessly. The untraceable movement and quickly zipped passes sliced open the Swansea defence and the contest was over by the 54th minute.

Ozil passing vs swansea

Mesut Özil completed 27 passes in the final third.

All in all the Gunners will be satisfied with a routine win over a relegation contender. Swansea, on the other hand, will have to go back to the drawing board after they shipped four goals without reply. The win allows Arsenal to stay firmly in the top four race 8 points behind league-leaders Chelsea. While Swansea continue to stare down an empty barrel of hopelessness, rock-bottom of the league with only a -26 goal difference to show for it.

About the Author Mathaeus Abuwa

Arsenal fan with a soft spot for Pascal Cygan.

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