It’s typical, eh?
You wait all weekend for a match to come along and then up pop Swansea with a bus.
Despite years of practice, Arsenal were unable to shift it in a way that was all too familiar as they blew their chance to close the gap on Manchester City and heaped pressure on themselves ahead of Old Trafford.
The first half at the Emirates will go down in no-one’s memory, mostly because everyone watching was fast asleep.
70% possession and zero shots on target tells you all you need to know about a ponderous Arsenal who looked a little bit handbraky.
To be fair, games between these two sides have a history of producing exactly zero goals in the first half so we all waited for the second, safe in the knowledge that things could only get better as we discussed a radical overhaul to the points system to stop teams turning up with no intention of trying to actually win a game.
I suggested Emirates Cup rules, where you get an extra point for every goal scored, but then it was pointed out that we don’t win that either.
Swansea came out with slightly more attacking verve in the second half, looking like they were hoping to nick a goal they could then defend for the rest of the match but it opened the game up slightly and Arsenal started to make in-roads.
We finally had a game.
Arsenal’s first shot on target came just short of the hour mark, the ball finally making it’s way to Giroud at the edge of the box but his shot was directly at Lukasz Fabianksi and not very well hit. Still, it was progress.
That was followed by Aaron Ramsey driving one into the side-netting after twisting and turning inside the box, Arsenal were getting closer and the crowd could sense it as the team started to find their range of passing which had been missing for the first 60 minutes.
Cazorla then tried his luck, only to be denied by Fabianski after, again, shooting straight at him and as Wilshere stood on the sidelines for an age waiting for a break in play, there was no let up on the pitch.
It was, however, the introduction of Theo Walcott for Olivier Giroud and playing in the centre (contract much?), just a few minutes after Jack replaced Francis Coquelin that almost found the breakthrough and had his legs been an inch longer he would have opened the scoring with a toe-poke.
Fabianski was again called into action when he denied Ozil after the German was played through by a lovely ball. His positioning was good, but Arsenal’s finishing far from clinical as Walcott showed when he passed the ball back to the former Arsenal keeper when the goal was gaping.
The minutes ticked away and Swansea got deeper and deeper, urging Arsenal to try and find a way through the wall of white that greeted them but they were unable to do so and, just like in the game against Chelsea, Arsenal could not find the cutting edge needed to slice the tyres on the bus.
However, unlike against Chelsea but like in so many other matches we’ve seen, it was Swansea who dealt the killer blow, Gomis rising to head a quite tame header that David Ospina should have done much better with. It was Swansea’s sixth touch in the Arsenal box. It went to the goal-line decision making system. Goal given.
There was still time for Arsenal to find an equaliser but, again, a lack of cutting edge and fierce Swansea defending left Arsenal frustrated.
I had postulated that the old Arsenal would lose this game 1-0 about 20 minutes before they scored, but this was meant to be new Arsenal.
It was all too familiar and many old problems were on show for the Gunners.
With all the talk of challenging for titles next season, some fundamental issues that have dogged Arsenal for years still need to be sorted it seems.