1) Another victory under our belts, how were you feeling pre match about the game?
@laurielaker - As is often the case with tricky away matches, I wasn’t wildly confident. Over recent seasons, Swansea have become something of a bogey team for us. We lost this same fixture 2-1 last season, and with Swansea not being in the best form this season I had a nasty feeling that they’d really be up for this one. A win against the co-leaders (I’m ignoring goal difference!) would kickstart anyone’s season. Overall, I know we’ve got a better squad and are in some seriously good form - so I was nervously confident.
@outahb - I was a bit scared before the match because of Montero and his ability on the ball. The injuries to the OX and Theo were also worrying.
@srctm - Massive three points. I fancy us to beat Spurs at home so thought this would be our biggest challenge in the PL before the Intl break. Delighted we got through it and took the three points with a clean sheet and no further injuries.
2) There was a lot of talk pre match about who would replace Oxlade-Chamberlain. Would you have gone with Joel Campbell or would you have moved the side around to play someone else?
@laurielaker - I’d have gone with Campbell, yes. A player who performed as well as he did at the World Cup doesn’t become useless overnight, despite not playing regularly. He’s a naturally front-footed player, pacey and willing. As with many of the more notable Central and South American players, he has an energy and hunger to his game that others often lack. Reshuffling the entire side, particularly that already thin midfield pack, would’ve unbalanced things horribly. The Coq/Cazorla partnership has become so, so key. In my mind, that’s the last partnership in the side you want to ruffle.
@outahb - I've always thought Campbell would come good. I had initially thought about Bellerin being played in an advanced position but that would mean Debuchy being brought into the side, which scared me.
@srctm - I wouldn't have moved Santi. I'd rather play around with just the one position than two. I have to admit I said I would have gone with Iwobi as I didn't see much of a future at Arsenal for Campbell. Awkward.
3) What did you make of Joel Campbell's performance? Why do you think there was an improvement in his display
@laurielaker - For a player making his first league start for a massive club, in a tricky away fixture, with all the pressure on him due to injuries and the manager’s comments - he was magnificent. Not world class, as he’s not there on any level, but he was industrious, direct, and played a vital part in keeping our defensive shape and then adding pace on the inevitable counter. His tackling and harrying impressed me, and his lovely run and dribble deserve more than a collision and fizzling out. He took his goal exceptionally well, too. More experienced heads have blasted over from that range, or dragged wide. A great, composed finish, to cap a very impressive display.
@outahb - I think Campbell played well for someone who does not have match fitness. He defended well and offered an outlet for our midfielders. I just think he needs to have composure and he'll be good.
@srctm - He did very well. Worked hard, gave Bellerin defensive support and took his goal well. I knew he was the right choice...
4) Who was your man of the match and why?
@laurielaker - Mesut Ozil. Showed why his recent imperious upturn in form has seen us kick on to become to the league’s form side. Had everything today except a goal for himself: touch, vision, and a slightly odd thing - practicality. The way our possession saw out the game was brilliant. Ozil’s movement, his eye for a pass that nobody else can see - it was brilliant to watch. He kept us ticking over, and provided the clinical pass for at least two of our goals - some are reporting all three came via Ozil’s gifted boots.
@outahb - My man of the match had to be Bellerin. He stayed in the game despite being tormented by Montero. His goal line clearances also say a lot about the type of player he is. Absolute beast. Big shout out to Monreal who was also great
@srctm - Mesut Ozil. He's a delight to watch at the moment. I think he's been outstanding since last December, glad to see he's finally getting credit for it too. Look at the third goal, he orchestrated the whole move.
5) Who was not at their best and why?
@laurielaker - It’s obvious, but Alexis Sanchez. I think it’s partly down to tiredness - he’s played non-stop football for more than a year now. Also that he’s a far freer player when he plays with Walcott. Giroud’s style and the rigidity he adds to our final third somewhat limits Sanchez’s significant creative abilities. Walcott, with his fluidity and pace, creates far more space for Sanchez to exploit. He should’ve had an assist though, but for Giroud’s wayward finish. Kept going, but could really do with being subbed off earlier for a sit down and a Lucozade.
@outahb - I thought Sanchez was off the pace. He lost the ball, didn't track back overall he wasn't his usual self.
@srctm - Alexis was the only one who looked off the pace. The lack of chasing back after losing the ball showed how tired he was.
6) In your opinion, why do you think we were not at our best during the first half?
@laurielaker - I honestly don’t know. From the commentary, you’d have thought we were losing 3-0. It wasn’t anywhere near as bad as everyone would want us to believe. We matched them for chances, and it could have been 2-2 rather than 0-0 at half time. That said, our fluidity wasn’t there, and I think that’s because we were almost too intent on defending and keeping our shape, versus exploiting the spaces left by their attacks. Second half, energy and aggression went up a bit - and we got a great away win.
@outahb - we were just being cautious after last season's defeats at their hands.
@srctm - Hadn't played for a week and took us a while to get going again? Conscious that we lost twice to them last season? I didn't think we were that bad anyway. We had a couple of chances and apart from the Gomis one on one, they didn't have much in the first half either.
7) Would you make any changes for our trip to Bayern Munich?
@laurielaker - Honestly, I’m not sure we can afford to. We need a result of some kind to keep our chances somewhat alive, and away at Munich is about the biggest test in club football. Our shape, solidity, and ability to soak up and survive pressure, have never been more necessary than they will be at the Allianz Arena. I believe we can get something from it, with a bit of luck.
@outahb - I wouldn't make any changes
@srctm - No. I don't think there's much we can change with injuries right now anyway. Maybe Gabriel in for Per.
8) Any other thoughts?
@laurielaker - It’s a bad idea, but I’m optimistic we can genuinely grab a major trophy this season. I love the FA Cup, but for me - I want the league. With City struggling, our run until our meeting with them on Dec 21 is going to set the tone for the destination of the title. It’s North London or Manchester again, in a different guise, and it’s bloody great.
@outahb - We'll win the league.
Thanks as ever to the guys above for the great responses. If you would like to follow the guys above, just search the twitter handle and get following.
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