Arsenal came from behind to win yet again at the Emirates this season.
It was the third game in the row that the Gunners had to come from behind to secure a win. In mid-week, it was 18-year-old Eddie Nketiah who saved Arsenal. On Saturday, it was the older, and bulkier, Sead Kolasinac who made the difference.
The first half left many people frustrated, but the team improved their performance in the second half to secure the three points and move into fourth. Get your “Arsenal in fourth place” jokes in while you can.
As always, here are five things that we learned or noticed during the game.
1. Arsenal must clean up sloppy play
Coming from behind is always a good thing, but not having to do it in the first place is even better. It’s the third game in a row we’ve needed to stage a comeback because of sloppy play handing the initative to the opposition. Defensive mistakes are part and parcel of even the most in form Arsenal side, but the wayward passing and inefficiency in the final third must be improved. We can get away with it against Everton, Norwich, and Swansea, but won’t against City and Spurs.
2. Sead Kolasinac has been excellent value
Not every transfer needs to see millions of pounds trade hands. Arsenal moved early to sign Sead Kolasinac and what a signing he’s been so far. The wing-back’s enterprising performances on the left have made him a firm favourite with the support, and his heroics against Swansea will only make him more popular. We’ll soon see how he copes with bigger tests to come.
3. Petr Cech is fading
If Cech’s inability to save a penalty in an Arsenal shirt is a statistical quirk, his recent failure to prevent goals should be a real concern. It’s the second game in a row where he’s been culpable for Arsenal conceding. His ability still comes out at times, but he’s becoming less reliable between the posts as time goes on.
4. “AOL” needs more time
There was plenty of hype for the Alexis-Ozil-Lacazette front line after their performance against Everton. However, one game isn’t enough to form a partnership, and today showed it. The three were rarely in contact with one another against a deep and sturdy Swansea defence, while individually each of them were quiet. More time together in training and on the pitch will remedy that, but in the meantime, we should curb our expectations.
5. The Emirates needs to relax
It doesn’t make much for the home crowd to turn, does it? Optimism becomes frustration whenever Arsenal’s performance is just a bit below par. Swansea’s opening goal was the cue for groans from the supporters, while any pass that wasn’t forward earned a negative reaction. Arsenal weren’t great, but fans could do with chilling out and seeing how the game plays out over 90 minutes before getting on the players’ backs. As Saturday proved, there’s always a chance the team will improve and turn a game around.