“This is the kind of game you play 20 times, you win 19 and lose it once. It was the once tonight,” Arsene Wenger said following Arsenal’s 1-0 home defeat at the hands of Swansea City.
The loss could very well have cost the Gunners their chance at finishing second in the Premier League this year (though they have a game in hand, Arsenal trail Manchester City by three points and have a nine-goal-worse goal differential), but that didn’t stop Wenger from finding plenty of positives in his side’s performance. In truth, Arsenal dominated the game from minutes 1 to 85, and then from 86 onward.
“It was a question of finishing better, being patient and not making a mistake at the back. We’ve been unlucky on the goal, but guilty as well. It’s frustrating, but there’s a lot of positives in tonight’s game.
“They came here just to defend and never came out. It takes sometimes one half to get in the right rhythm, and overall we had to be patient.”
The difference between a team that perennially finishes third or fourth, and a team that challenges for the league title, can essentially be found in the results they obtain in games like this. For instance, this year’s champions, Chelsea, would have found a way to score and win this game.
Jose Mourinho’s Blues did it time and again this season, grinding out 1-0 victories and refusing to drop unnecessary points. It’s truly amazing that any team, even one with Chelsea’s financial backing could navigate the Premier League in 2014 and 2015, losing just twice.