By Chris Harris
"You would worry if you played 90 minutes at home and never created a goal chance because that is difficult to [fix]. We know we need defensive urgency, to maintain focus and togetherness. We can learn a lot from Tuesday night for the coming months." - Arsene Wenger
Disappointment and disbelief. That sums up the mood inside and outside the club when the final whistle blew on Tuesday night.
Arsenal's Champions League encounter with Anderlecht was not so much a game of two halves as a game of three thirds - two of them good, one of them regrettable.
That final third saw Arsene Wenger's side surrender a three-goal lead and settle for a 3-3 draw that in some respects felt like a defeat.
And yet, now the dust has settled on that setback, the positives are easier to see. Wenger, as hurt as anyone by his team's second-half collapse, noted them after a repeat viewing at the training ground.
"It’s always good to watch a game again because our second-half performance was not that bad, but we lost urgency and maybe we moved a little bit from team targets to individual targets," he told Arsenal Player.
"We were winning 3-0 and maybe they thought ‘I want to score my goal’. A team is mature when, regardless of what the score is, they continue to respect the basics of the game, the love of the game and the urgency of defending together.
"As soon as you lose that, you can win sometimes and not be punished, but you can be punished. On that occasion we were punished.
"We are of course disappointed with the result because when you are at home, to [concede three goals] looks terrible. But I would like to highlight that we have a dynamic in the team that is very positive."
Amid the disbelief there was a tinge of relief. If Arsenal were to squander a three-goal lead at home for the first-time ever, better to do it when a draw was not fatal. Champions League progress is still well within reach.
And the bigger picture looks brighter. Three straight wins and two straight clean sheets preceded Tuesday's episode; a bad half-an-hour should not cloud a couple of solid weeks.
Arsenal's 'happy hour' on Tuesday showcased the attacking options at Wenger's disposal.
Alexis Sanchez, Santi Cazorla, Danny Welbeck and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain started the match - two of them scoring - Theo Walcott, Lukas Podolski and Yaya Sanogo were among the substitutes, while Mesut Ozil, Serge Gnabry and Olivier Giroud are on their way back from injury.
So what's the perfect formula up front? Wenger admits he has much to think about when he selects his team.
"It all has to harmonise well from the build-up through the back, and after, getting you to find the players who have the quality to give a good ball"
"You're considering the build-up, final-ball givers, runners and the finishers," he said. "[Things like] the pace, the penetration, and the guys who can finish.
"It all has to harmonise well from the build-up through the back, and after, getting you to find the players who have the quality to give a good ball. After that as well, the guys that can make the runs and finish."
Arsenal's striking riches leaves Wenger under no pressure to rush Walcott back into his starting line-up, or Giroud for that matter - the Frenchman could return to training as early as next week.
"Theo is not ready to start yet, but he will be," said the manager. "I [have to] punish players who have the quality to play and are sometimes not even in the squad. That competition is part of being in a big team and at the end of the season, we all win, or all lose.
"Some don't play in October but play in March. That's what it is about in our job. On that front, you cannot complain. Our job is to be ready when needed for the collective cause.
"You care about everybody, you love all your players and you would like them all to be happy. We are in a privileged job. We have chosen a job where there is competition, and you have to respect that and live with it."
While Wenger ponders the identity of his attacking triumvirate at Swansea, he may make a straight swap in midfield - Mikel Arteta (hamstring) is "out for a short period" but Jack Wilshere is back in the squad after sickness.
Swansea have always given Arsenal problems - and they've just made their best start to a Premier League season.
The good news is that Michu, once the scourge of the Gunners, is out of the picture and on loan at Napoli. But his role as Swansea's talisman has been taken by Gylfi Sigurdsson, who has thrived since returning to the Welsh club after a stop-start spell at Tottenham.
Sigurdsson was never the main man at White Hart Lane but has been responsible for eight of Swansea's 13 Premier League goals this season - assisting seven and scoring one.
"Maybe he [is doing well at Swansea because he] feels he has the confidence and the time needed to express himself," offered Wenger. "At Tottenham he [might have] felt a bit more under stress, a bit more under the need to perform quickly. That can explain it.
"Swansea have had a good stability for years now," added the Arsenal manager. "They have a way to play out from the back, that is of high technical quality. When you go to Swansea, you know you have a difficult place to go to. But if we keep our way to play, I think we have a good chance to win the game."
Arsenal will have to find a way past a familiar face - Lukasz Fabianski. One of his former club's cup heroes earlier this year, the Poland goalkeeper left the Gunners in search of first-team football.
"I told you many times that I rate Lukasz highly, and I'm happy he gets the recognition he deserves," said Wenger. "I'm not surprised that he does well."
Arsenal are unbeaten in five matches against Swansea since a Michu-flavoured defeat a shade under two years ago. But Sunday's opponents - under the watchful eye of Brendan Rodgers, Michael Laudrup and now Garry Monk - have always run them close.
With Chelsea flying at the top of the table, every game feels like a must-win in terms of the title race. A victory in south Wales would recharge Arsenal after their midweek stutter and give them a respectable 20 points after 11 Premier League games.
"That would be a fraction short [of my target]," said Wenger, "three or four points short. But we know we had a difficult start with the Champions League qualifier. We are now on a good run and let's continue. If you can maintain the run, you will come back."
Arsenal have a good habit of responding to setbacks - "We have that in our genes," according to Wenger - and you would bet on them getting the basics spot-on after sifting through a damning body of evidence from Tuesday.
"We want to correct the negatives of Tuesday night and keep the positives which are predominant," said the manager.
"You would worry if you played 90 minutes at home and never created a goal chance because that is difficult to [fix]. We know we need defensive urgency, to maintain focus and togetherness. We can learn a lot from Tuesday night for the coming months."
Arsenal have scored twice on all four of Wenger's visits to Swansea. If they have learned their lessons, they shouldn't need more than that to bring three points back across the border.
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