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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific