Arsenal Fall 3-2 at Swansea City in a Thrilling Encounter

H AndelAnalyst IIIJanuary 15, 2012

Arsenal found the going too tough at Swansea City.
Arsenal found the going too tough at Swansea City.Michael Steele/Getty Images

Arsenal were served the bitter medicine of possession football at Swansea City in an encounter that neutrals would describe as thrilling.

Fitting as the superlative may be, it was a disappointing display from Arsenal, who were out-dueled in every department—tempo, rhythm, pressing, possession, corners and goals.

It looked promising early on for Arsenal, who took the lead through Robin van Persie in the fifth minute from Andrei Arshavin's glorious through pass.

A missed call by the referee in the 16th minute, when Nathan Dyer fouled Aaron Ramsey but instead went to ground himself, earned Swansea an undeserved penalty to equalize.

That was the cue for Swansea to take total control of the match through quick pressing and possession. Their dominance was such that they forced Arsenal to play at their chosen tempo.

Although Arsenal looked dangerous each time they went forward, their inability to keep possession proved their undoing.

Loss of possession resulted in Swansea's second and third goals, with Aaron Ramsey again involved in the second goal, having been dispossessed in the midfield to hand the ball and the advantage to the hosts.

When Theo Walcott looked to have brought Arsenal back into the game in the 69th minute, the celebration was short-lived. Swansea quickly regained the upper hand within a minute by taking advantage of Arsenal's loss of concentration.

The changes that Arsene Wenger made were the right ones, but they proved too late. The fundamental problem here was tempo, pressing and possession, a trio of factors that Swansea used to devastating effect.

Watch out for my in-depth tactical analysis of the match in the coming days.