On the eve of their replay against Swansea City- something that could have been prevented had the Gunners not thrown away another lead- the mood is anything but positive in the Arsenal camp. The rumoured big name signings such as David Villa and Huntelaar have come to nothing and the Gunners have yet to be linked to anyone, Arsene keeping schtum regarding possible targets. It is undeniable that Arsene Wenger has transformed the North London club it is becoming clear that something needs to change. Arsenal are living under a financial model that other clubs are not currently operating under and while perhaps in a year or so other clubs will adhere to financial fair play-Arsenal fans may not want to wait years for results.
Once a veritable fortress the Emirates Stadium has housed some disappointing to downright diabolical results this season, Arsenal enter their replay in the back of 2-0 home defeat to Manchester City a score line which unfortunately flatters the home side. The defending was sloppy and the morale low something that seemed out of place for a side that mathematically at least, could still contend for third or even fourth place. The Gunners were outclassed by Manchester City (who they’d beaten at the Emirates last season) with star players such as Walcott disappearing into the background. This is a far cry from the team who finished third place above contenders Everton, Spurs and more shockingly Chelsea the side looked depleted and in need of a shake up. Sadly this lax in form could not have come at a worse time for the Gunners who have three consecutive Wednesday matches which will no doubt tire the struggling form.
The match against Swansea will seem the most unfortunate, while no doubt a replay is better than crashing out of the FA Cup it is far from ideal given their upcoming schedule. The Gunners came from behind to beat Swansea in the second half and with a few minutes left it seemed like Arsene Wenger’s side would cruise into the next round. However this was not meant to be and the Gunners settled for a home replay as Swansea mustered a late goal bringing it all square at the final whistle. In many ways this is an achievement, Swansea (nick-named Swansealona for their creative football) are by no means an easy fixture especially at home where there have already been a fair few shock results this season and last. Surely there were some Arsenal fans that were less than thrilled at the prospect of facing Swansea at home, anything but a comfortable draw for the side who lost 2-1 there last season. So in many ways a draw is a successful result against such a strong home side, but should this really be the case for Arsenal? Arsenal are still a ‘big team’ and while Swansea are definitely a side on the up, the game should not have been such a struggle for Arsenal. The fixtures after their replay with Swansea are a mixed bunch away to Chelsea on the following weekend and another weekly fixture against West Ham on Wednesday, and while neither fixture is impossible whatever happens tomorrow night will determine how Arsenal’s January finishes.
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