Search

Arsenal win at Swansea could lead to success at the end of the rainbow

PUBLISHED: 07:16 16 January 2017

A rainbow is visible in the sky during the Premier League match at the Liberty Stadium, Swansea.

A rainbow is visible in the sky during the Premier League match at the Liberty Stadium, Swansea.

PA Wire/PA Images

Midway through a hard-fought first half at the Liberty Stadium a rainbow appeared. Not just any rainbow, one of those glorious technicolour efforts which make you feel warm inside.

It actually looked as if one end appeared to finish in the away section where the loyal and vociferous travelling support was located – even if one wag suggested Arsene Wenger wouldn’t spend the crock of gold during this transfer window anyway.

But the colourful apparition only served to momentarily distract eyes from what was a hugely impressive opening 45 minutes in Paul Clement’s tenure as Swansea City head coach.

The question at half-time after Arsenal edged ahead through another important Olivier Giroud goal – making it nine in nine and 11 in total – was whether Swansea could keep up their intensity and knock their more gilded visitors off their stride.

Three second half goals to make it a 4-0 rout proved Clement’s team simply couldn’t sustain their intensity. And we all know teams that lack confidence never get the rub of the green when their luck is out.

But even if two of the goals were fortuitous, it was still an efficient performance from the Gunners as they made it 27 league strikes away from home.

Was it really only four years ago that a buoyant Swans team walked away from Valencia’s imposing Mestalla Stadium with an unlikely win against one of the giants of Spanish football in the Europa League?

If a week is a long time in the game, then four years is an eternity. One thing that doesn’t change is the fact that a team from this proud working-class city always give their London visitors a tough match.

And so it was with the home team, fired up by the arrival of a new manager, the highly regarded Clement – who Arsenal’s upcoming Champions League opponents Bayern Munich agreed to release from his role as Carlo Ancelotti’s number two.

In the years laden with a League Cup triumph and Europeans trips, the Swans were renowned for their work-rate and intensity of their pressing.

However, the instability brought on by a number of changes of management, and a lack of a coherent strategy – on and off the pitch – has led to a far more laissez-faire approach.

It was clear in the early stages that Clement has already convinced his charges of the benefits of hard work in closing down the opposition.

And when the opponents are Arsenal, it tends to lead to a more attacking ethos. If you add good technique and impressive movement to the home side’s armoury, it was no wonder Wenger’s men were under the cosh in the early stages.

But the Gunners knuckled down and ultimately their quality showed. Was it because they realised a defeat, or even a draw in south Wales would have effectively ended their underwhelming argument as title contenders? It was difficult to tell what was more impressive from Arsenal – their refusal to buckle under intense pressure in the first period, or their second half power-play.

The year rolls on, with pivotal moments still to come. The memory of the 4-0 victory at Swansea – as satisfying and easy on the eye as the first half rainbow over the Liberty – will be soon be saved in the file ‘four-goal victories during the 2016/17 season’.

But in terms of continuing to cling to the coat tails of the title challengers its importance cannot be underestimated – even if come May the joy and satisfaction gained from this win may prove as fleeting as that rainbow.

Follow me on Twitter @laythy29

Latest Islington Sports News

Three Islington judoka from the Sobell Judo Club travelled to Thessaloniki, Greece with the JFAUK National Judo Team to take part in the 2017 Miyazaki International Cup.

09:35

As I was putting together a round-up of how the Arsenal men, and teens, got on during the international break it suddenly struck me. Apart from a few minutes of England v Lithuania snatched during Mothers Day – to keep tabs on The Ox more than anything – I hadn’t actually watched any games.

Islington Panthers U18s successful season continued as they reached the second round of the U18 play-offs.

Yesterday, 16:41

Islington Boxing Club had another busy wekeend for its boxers.

Yesterday, 15:00

Olympian will fight again on April 15 after KO win in first fight

Yesterday, 12:21

Boxers from Islington Boxing Club started their journey to be crowned London Boxing Elite Champion with the quarter-finals and semi-finals.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Today’s Friday Fanzone Q&A talks to ‘Highbury Harold’ a member of the Black Scarf movement – the supporter group ‘that says it like it is’. Read on for this fourth generation Gooner’s views on all things Arsenal...

Friday, March 24, 2017

Extra £410,000 to identify and support young talent

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read sport

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now