Saturday, 28 September 2013

Swansea City v Arsenal: live -

56 mins Swansea work a counterattack and a long ball looks to connect with a great run from Michu. But the ever alert Szczesny sprints from his line and the danger is done for now.

55 mins Still passing, still Dre still probing.

54 mins Arsenal wrestle the ball back from Swansea and push forward. They pass and probe and pass and probe and pass and probe their way across the pitch but nothing is coming of it so far.

51 mins THERE HAS BEEN A SHOT ON TARGET! It was from Gnabry (who has looked like the only player interested in taking this game by the scriff of the neck) but Vorm saved easily enough.

50 mins Breaking news ... Clare are All Ireland champs having beaten Cork 5-16 to 3-16 (thanks again John Hope), which seems like a good time to add this tweet to the live blog.

48 mins There were no half-time subs to speak of by the way.

47 mins Swansea put Arsenal under some early pressure but the Gunners clear their lines and do some attacking of their own via Gnabry. The winger's work earns his side a corner but it comes to nowt.

46 mins Right, we are back. Come on lads, do try a bit harder this time. At the very least, please try muster a shot on goal. Is that too much to ask? Is it? Huh?

Patience being the operative word.

Half-time. The less said about that half the better. By the way Giroud is fine - indeed he missed a decent effort towards the end of said half after some good running from Gnabry - and last I heard it was Clare 3-11 Cork 1-16 (thanks John Hope).

45 mins There will be a 2 more minutes of this. Meanwhile, Giroud is down and looks to be in some (calf/ankle) pain.

44 mins After some more passing from Swansea, Flores finds himself on the ground after a hefty challenge from Ramsey. A host of players stand over the ball but De Guzman takes it. His effort is high and wide and woeful.

42 mins There have been five attempts on goal from both sides so far; not one has been on target.

41 mins The crowd who were all yelps, screams and shouts when the match began, sound like they have fallen asleep.

E-mail"Up the rebels!" yahoos William Hargreaves. Anyone know what score it is?

37 mins All this passing is getting a little tedious. Come back Crazy Gang/Jack Charlton/Stoke all is forgiven.

34 mins The last few minutes have seen Swansea dominate Arsenal. They are controlling possession and there is some very nice build-up play from the Swans - with Shelvey at the centre of it all - but they are failing to really threaten Szczesny's goal. They could pay for that later.

32 mins Why would Szczesny take those chances?

30 mins Just while I was copying and pasting that last entry, there was a real let-off for Arsenal. Szczesny was closed down by Michu, the keeper thought the ball had gone out when in fact it had gone to Routledge who shot goalwards (but the linesman has his flag up)

E-mail"Michael Laudrup the coolest manager in the league? Pretty spot on there. Composure is at the centre of it, I guess. Ian Holloway could be a contender but he is too vocal for my liking," reckons Nisar Khan.

26 mins Wenger must have some faith in Ramsey if he is willing to shunt Wilshere out to the wing in favour of the Welshman. Wilshere is many things to many people but he (like Ramsey) is never a wide player and he keeps drifting inside meaning Swansea have plenty of room to attack down the right which is where they have looked most dangerous so far this evening.

22 mins Flores strides forward and slices open the Arsenal defence with a wonderful pass that sends Dyer scuttling through. Gibbs recovers and snuffs out the danger however.

19 mins Swansea are tiki-takaing their way around the pitch now. Wilshere gets frustrated and takes it out on Tiendalli. Most teams would be happy to lump the resulting free-kick (just past the half-way line) into the box but Swansea's resume their tiki-takaing ways.

17 mins Anyone out there?

15 mins Ooooooooooooooooooooooh! We nearly had the first goal of the game there. Ramsey gets the ball laid up for him by Flamini about 25 yards out and his fizzer of a shot misses the target by a matter of inches.

13 mins Arsenal have finally managed to get their foot on the ball and are now stroking the leather in the way the fans expect. Deep in enemy territory, a nice pass from Ozil almost had Giroud through on goal only for a defender's foot to intercept the trouble. That could have spelled t-r-o-u-b-l-e were it not for that timely intervention.

10 mins From that corner, Arsenal did a quick counterattack that saw Gibbs pushing into the box and sending a dangerous ball across the front of the goal. Unfortunately for Arsenal fans, no one was at the back post to poke it past Vorm.

8 mins Ramsey is getting a serious case of the booooooooooooooooos from the home fans given his Cardiff past. Meanwhile, Swansea attack and earn a corner. De Guzman takes then Szczesny takes.

6 mins Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Clearance. Pass. Chest down from Shelvey and a shot fired over the bar. Decent effort from the former Liverpool man though.

4 mins Swansea have made more successful passes than any other team in the league this season and so far they have been hogging possession, building from the back through the middle. Arsenal yet to string a pass or two together just yet.

2 mins Swansea via Dyer put some pressure on Gibbs down the left-hand side and win the first corner of the game but they fail to trouble Szczesny.

1 min Right so. The team talks are done, the jerseys have been tucked and untucked and the players are on the pitch and are ready to get going. Swansea are in their home white and for some reason Arsenal are in their away yellow. The home side start playing right to left.

17.18 Ozil has been up to his old tricks in the warm-up.

17.06 Manchester United are in 12th. 12th! Meanwhile, it's Clare 1-3 to 2.

16.49 Here is what what you have been waiting all day for. As expected Ashley Williams is out of today's action due to an ankle injury - he is replaced by Amat who is making his Premier League debut - as are Angel Rangel and Pablo Hernandez due to some hamstring twang. Tiendalli slips into the full-back slot. Since Aaron Ramsey and Mathieu Flamini have passed fitness tests and are ready to rock and/or roll, Arsenal are unchanged from their last Premier League game. Their starters look strong but the bench does look a little on the light side though given that players like Santi Cazorla, Abou Diaby, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lukas Podolski and Theo Walcott are all on the treatment table. Those teams in full then are as follows:

Swansea: Vorm, Tiendalli, Amat, Flores, Davies, Canas, Shelvey, de Guzman, Dyer, Routledge, Michu
Subs: Tremmel, Alfei, Taylor, Britton, Pozuelo, Vazquez, Bony

Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Gibbs, Wilshere, Ramsey, Flamini, Ozil, Gnabry, Giroud.
Subs: Fabianski, Vermaelen, Monreal, Jenkinson, Arteta, Ryo, Bendtner

16.30 Hello. How are you you? Well?

Hilft das Bier gegen den Durst, stillt den Hunger eine Wurst und ein Deutsch stillt den Durst der Arsenal Fans nach einem herausragenden Spieler goes the old axiom. And satisfied is what every Arsenal fan should be right about now. Before today's results their team was top of the league, their team was keeping Tottenham from being top of the league and oh yeah, they have Mesut Özil in their side.

Those of you who have watched him from the Bundesliga to the Bernabéu via Die Mannschaft will know what a superbly gifted player Özil is. (Frankly, why Real Madrid were happy to get shot of him is utterly beyond belief). The chances he creates are numerous, his touch is the softest of silks and there are fewer better people currently employed as full-time professional footballers who can create space for themselves when on the ball. But he's going to take time to get used to the rough and tumble and pace and power of the Premier League, right? Wrong! Two games he has played - 160 minutes to be exact - and already he has more assists than any other player in the entire league. Not even man-handling's Stoke could ruffle his pinnae.

But the German is not the only fancy, free flowing feather in Arsenal's plumage these days. The Good News Department is happy to announce that Aaron Ramsey seems to have finally got over that utterly horrific leg break and is playing what must amount to the best football any Arsenal fan has ever seen from him. He looks confident, he looks strong and, like Olivier Giroud, he looks like he is going to score a hell of a lot more goals this season. All of which means that Swansea face one hell of a tough match this evening.

Swansea have kept last season's swag and style but it's been a patchy start to the season so far hasn't it? There has been some impressive wins in the Europa League but no so much in the Premier League and their defence of the League Cup is done, dusted and destroyed already. And while Michael Laudrup won't be too worried about their league form just yet, he is worried about the (mental) tiredness in his team already. "Because of all the games players can lose a bit of focus," he said the other day. "It's not even the number of games but the fact that you can have three matches in three different competitions in six days, like we have just had."

Well there has been no such high flying and jet setting for them this week and thus no such excuses to roll out. They were able to get the better of Arsenal away last season but if they are to stop the Gunners from equalling their best run of Premier League away wins, then all the stops are going to have to come out too. Team news will be with you shortly. Promise.

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