A deserved victory for sixty million well spent quid, or seventy something if you include the wedge spent on Lloris, whose second half reflex save thwarted Swansea’s most dangerous attempt on goal. And one shouldn’t forget Dembélé or Vertonghen. Let’s call it a round 100 million, and there’s likely more to come of course as the Willian fiasco proves.
For all the impressive individual performances and the control we exerted for the majority of the game it’s clear that there’s a spark missing. Someone to knit the runs and craft of Soldado to the control and composure of the excellent Paulinho and Capoue. If we can fill the hole that is the hole behind the front man then we should see a team that produces performances that equal and exceed the sum of its parts.
It was a win forged on a midfield full of power and I suspect that’s a description we’re going to have to get used to this season. It was in many ways a carbon copy of the game against Palace last week, even down to the penalty being earned by the right winger surging into the box. Townsend’s rather eager fall to earth under the challenge of Shelvey gave Soldado the opportunity to prove his confidence when given a chance, swap Townsend for Bale though and Swarbrick is more likely to have reached for his pocket rather than point to the spot. Not that we care, despite him being listed on the back of the programme, this is now the post-Bale era after all.
As last week, the team contained contrasting, and not completely complementary styles. The direct and dangerous Townsend played at a tempo matched by Walker, Rose, Chadli and Sigurdsson (when he came on). Elsewhere though there was a confident ‘what’s the hurry?’ swagger in the side, an air of ‘we’re good at what we do, it’ll be alright’ and they were right of course, it is worrying though that we’ve not yet scored from open play. Paulinho’s looked an awesome player the two times I’ve seen him in the flesh, he perhaps should’ve nicked at least a couple here though.
Swansea weren’t quite the possession hungry risk-free outfit we’re used to seeing. Like Palace they looked better when they were behind and came out of their shell, but despite having more of the ball in the last half an hour and notwithstanding Hugo’s aforementioned save, they were poorer than I guessed they’d be. The combined talent of Michu and Bony caused us less problems than Kevin Phillips did last week.
Big game next week of course. The gooner’s figurative strength is in midfield as is ours but more literally. If we can win the battle there we’ll have gone a long way to achieving a positive outcome. Danny Rose has had a couple of decent games at left back, looking far more composed a player than last time he was with us. He’ll be up against Theo Walcott next week though, a man who always looks like he has a point to prove in derby games. That’s the one-on-one encounter that’s going to cause me loss of sleep this week.
Still, bring it on. COYS.
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