Swansea's Michael Laudrup appears to have out-Wengered Wenger with victory over Arsenal

Arsenal 0 Swansea City 2

The Emirates Stadium

Michael Laudrup, the Swansea manager, was asked after Saturday's victory at the Emirates Stadium whether his team had "out-Arsenaled" Arsenal. He downplayed the suggestion, even though his team had been superior in all the departments in which the Gunners usually excel, taking them on at their own passing game rather than going down the proven route of parking the bus. But perhaps the question should have been: has he out-Wengered Arsène Wenger?

When Wenger arrived in Britain in 1996, he brought an unrivalled knowledge of foreign players, especially French ones such as Patrick Vieira, and added their qualities to those he found at Highbury. Laudrup has done something similar in South Wales, enhancing the best of the virtues instilled in Swansea by Brendan Rodgers with clever signings such as Michu, the £2m gem unearthed from the Spanish game that he knows well.

Michu's two late goals against Arsenal made him joint top-scorer in the Premier League this season with 10, level with Luis Suarez and a certain Robin van Persie, and in the immediate aftermath of Saturday's game, Wenger's failure to discover a Michu seems to have compounded his inability to hold on to Van Persie in the eyes of those who loudly expressed their dissatisfaction.

Some of them might be inclined to see Swansea's victory as an impressive audition by Laudrup for Wenger's job when the Frenchman decides to vacate it or the board makes a change, but caution should be exercised. For instance, it does not seem too many weeks ago that Santi Cazorla was at least joint-favourite with Michu in the minds of the pundits as bargain signing of the season.

It has helped Michu to be an unknown quantity, part of the fresh twist that Laudrup's arrival in summer for his first taste of English football has given a Swansea team that might otherwise have succumbed to second-season syndrome. In contrast, every rival knows what to expect from a Wenger team after 16 years, and even a player of Cazorla's talent finds it hard to shine in games such as Saturday's, when so many team-mates have off-days at once.

A year ago this morning, Arsenal were the same number of points (five) behind third place in the Premier League as they are today. Last season they caught up, and Wenger counselled against an instant verdict on a team that has lost only one of its last seven games and has reached the Champions League knockout stages once again.

"We lost a game and even though it is a massive disappointment, I do not want to go straight away to general conclusions," he said. "You can see from the results that it is difficult for everybody at the moment – all the teams, even those who have invested a lot of money. You have to keep the focus and the desire and the ambition and turn it round. That's how it works."

Wenger believed that his team were tired, having played two more games than Swansea in November, both in the Champions League, while their midweek 1-1 draw at Everton was harder work than Swansea's 3-1 stroll at home to West Bromwich Albion. But what worries fans – even the ones who did not jeer at the end – is the collapse in Arsenal's form at home, where even some of their wins have been unconvincing.

"It's difficult to put a finger on it because we won 5-2 against Tottenham," Wenger said. "You look at the moment at this uncertainty amongst the fans, where there is not complete confidence that we will win games. Has it an influence on our performance? I don't know. I believe that at the moment we cannot be satisfied with the quality of our game. That is more important than the psychological side."

And just as Wenger warned against over-reaction to a defeat, so Laudrup preached caution against reading too much into victory or expecting Swansea, who are unbeaten in seven games, to keep pushing up the table. "When I arrived everybody, but not me, talked about relegation, that fourth from the bottom would be great," he said. "Now the fans can dream and I think they are doing it both in the league and we have a [Capital One Cup] quarter-final coming up in ten days. That is part of what it is to be a fan. The rest of us are working daily – players, coaches, managers – to be a bit better and take one game at a time."

Match facts

Arsenal: SZCZESNY 7/10, JENKINSON 5, MERTESACKER 4, VERMAELEN 8, GIBBS 6, WALCOTT 3, WILSHERE 5, CAZORLA 6, ARTETA 5, PODOLSKI 4, GERVINHO 4

Swansea: TREMMEL 6, DAVIES 7, CHICO 7, WILLIAMS 7, RANGEL 8, KI 8, BRITTON 7, DE GUZMAN 7, MICHU 9, DYER 7, SCHECHTER 6

Goals: Swansea City Michu 88, 90.

Subs: Ars Oxlade-Chamberlain 5 (Gervinho, 67), Giroud 5 (Podolski, 67), Rosicky (Wilshere, 79). Swan Moore 8 (Schechter, 67), Tiendalli (De Guzman, 74). Bookings: Ars Vermaelen.

Man of the match Michu. Match rating 6/10. Poss: Ars 44%. Swan 56%. Att on target: Ars 8. Swan 10.

Referee M Clattenburg (Co Durham). Att 60,098.

Champions League: Eye on the opposition

Olympiakos warmed up for Tuesday's Group B dead-rubber visit of Arsenal with a 2-1 win over Platanias to maintain their unbeaten record and lead at the top of the Greek Super League. Djamel Abdoun and Vassilis Torossidis put the hosts in front before a Chigozie Udoji consolation. Olympiakos are already assured of third place in the group and a Europa League spot.

Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
Voices
Hunted: A stag lies dead on Jura, where David Cameron holidays and has himself stalked deer
voicesThe Scotland I know is becoming a playground for the rich
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
Sport
Fans of Dulwich Hamlet FC at their ground Champion Hill
footballFans are rejecting the £2,000 season tickets, officious stewarding, and airline-stadium sponsorship
News
Shami Chakrabarti
people
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites Star Wars 7 rumours
Sport
football
News
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker