Arsenal 1 v Swansea 0

Was this the new Arsenal? The scoreline would suggest it was an Arsenal from back to the future. 1-0 to the Arsenal, three points in the bag for the first time this season and lets quickly move on. Yes, lets very quickly move on, or is that being rather cruel on Arsene Wenger’s side? All five transfer window signings were on view at the Emirates, with only Per Mertersacker and Mikel Arteta making the starting eleven. However it was left to a transfer window capture from seasons past Andrey Arshavin to prove to be the deciding factor at the Emirates, the Russian profiting from a poor attempted throw out from Swansea ‘keeper Michael Vorm for the eventual winner.

Greater ambitions

Those who came to the Emirates expecting to see the Gunners roll over Swansea and get back on track to greater ambitions were dealt a huge reality check. This Arsenal side remain a work in progress, but when you have lost players of the calibre of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri, the reality of their worth and the affects of their absence is felt even greater when you see a performance like that which was witnessed here on Saturday.

Defensive fragility

The start could have been so much more auspicious, with only 57 seconds on the clock, Arteta slipped in Aaron Ramsey, but his shot flew wide with only ‘keeper Michael Vorm in his sights. So we sat back and expected more of the same. Swansea however have a passing game and a brand of football that Arsenal recognise and they were keen to remind the Gunners of their well known defensive fragility. Mertersacker has brought in much needed height, but the visitors still saw Kemy Agustien hit a free kick over the bar and Kieran Gibbs had to be alert to clear the danger from Joe Allen’s cross. Prior to that only the alert acrobatic save from Wojciech Szczesny as Danny Graham stole in front of Mertersacker prevented the visitors from netting their first Premiership goal.

Frimpong curbed

Arsenal pressed again and Arshavin had combined with Theo Walcott to see his shot beat Vorm, but covering defender Steven Caulker cleared off the line. Emmanuel Frimpong returned from suspension and has clearly been told to curb his natural exuberance that saw him see red in the loss to Liverpool, and how it showed. Frimpong played a more disciplined role and that was to affect his command in the midfield role.

Clipped boot

Mertersacker has spoken of his admiration for Tony Adams, and the German showed flashes of his hero with two defensive blocks of the highest order. Five minutes before the break saw what was top prove to be the games’ only goal. Vorm prevented the ball from going out and attempted to throw the ball to his defenders. It clipped the boot of Angel Rangel and a surprised Arhsavin found the target from out on the left. A lucky goal perhaps, but given Arsenal’s malaise of late, it was a vision of beauty.

Hold back

Laurent Koscielny continues to show his appetite for the game both defensively and as seen after one defensive foray offensively too. Arteta showed glimpses of his game that was to earn him a yellow card, and both Mertersacker and Frimpong did not hold back when pointing Arshavin in the right direction.

Swansea saw chances to level with Scott Sinclair seeing his free kick hit the bar and away and late on Danny Graham pulled high over the bar in another awkward moment for the Gunners’ defence.

Arteta intrigue

Before that Robin Van Persie worked a shot that clipped the post, Arteta combined with substitute Yossi Benayoun but pulled his shot wide. The best chance for the Gunners to double their advantage however fell to substitute Marouane Chamakh, after a Gibbs cross from the left. Benayoun’s half hour effort was full of intrigue as he showed no hesitation in switching sides or going through the middle. Much is promised from the on loan midfielder, with the same true of this Arsenal side who will grow with an experienced backbone that had been so sorely lacking in recent seasons.