Halloween at the Liberty

31st October 2015

"Fright night", "horror show", "nightmare result" . . . you'll probably see at least one of these phrases used somewhere in tomorrow's football headlines and reports.
Journalists can't resist being topical whenever matches fall on special dates like today's.
"Sparks will fly" usually gets used in previews for matches on November 5, and "heartbreak for United/City/Rovers" (delete where applicable) is sure to make an appearance on February 14.
Goals become "gifts" at Christmas time when they always come in "sackfuls". Exciting matches are generally described as "crackers" while boring no-score draws are obviously "turkeys".
Meanwhile, at Easter there is sure to be an eggs-traordinary result or an "eggs-tra special performance".
So, will this afternoon's game be a "trick" or a "treat" for Swans fans?
I thought it might be interesting to take a look back at the last couple of times the Swans and Arsenal have played matches on October 31 to see whether I could get an indication of whether we'll be stroking or kicking the witch's black cat when she comes calling later on tonight.
Not that I'm superstitious or anything, but I thought that today of all days there may be omens to be taken from past results.
 As it turns out, Halloween has been more synonymous with goals than ghouls for both sides and All Hallows Eve should hold no fears for either club.
I certainly got off to a promising start to my research, because the last time the Swans played on October 31 they beat Liverpool 3-1 on their way to winning the Capital One Cup in 2012.
The Daily Telegraph report of the match predictably included the following paragraphs:
"Sometimes, evenings at Anfield produce a performance from the home side so ghastly that the match ticket should carry a parental warning. 
"This was such an occasion, an 18-certificate horror show for Halloween. Swansea City returned to haunt former manager Brendan Rodgers and secure a deserved quarter-final place."
See what I mean about journalists liking to be topical in their copy?
But there can be no doubting it was a horror show for Rodgers as his former club conjured up their first ever win at Anfield.
Just five-months after Rodgers had walked out on Swansea, his ex-colleagues turned up on his new doorstep on a dark late-October night. But they weren't content with giving him the fright of his life; they carried out their threats to the full.
The Swans dominated the first half and went into the break a goal up thanks to a Chico Flores header.
Nathan Dyer scored a second with 20 minutes left, before Luis Suarez took a bite out of the Swans' lead. But Jonathan De Guzman grabbed the clincher in injury time to record a historic victory for the Swans and continue their journey towards Wembley later that season.
The Swans previously played on Halloween back in 2009, when they travelled to take on Scunthorpe United in the Championship.
The Swans were in bewitching form once again as they proved to be party poopers for the hosts.
Craig Beattie and Cedric Van Der Gun were on target as the Swans enjoyed a 2-0 win which extended their unbeaten run to nine games and moved them up to 11th in the table.
So far so good for the Swans then, but when I started to look at Arsenal's recent form on today's date, I discovered that the Gunners are equally at ease when the ghosts and goblins come out to play.
On the very same day as the Swans were beating Scunthorpe at Glanford Park, Arsenal were enjoying a rather more glamorous game at the Emirates when they took on archrivals Spurs.
Once again the scribes lived up to their reputations as they revelled in the Gunners' 3-0 win over their North London rivals.
The Daily Mirror described the match as: "the rockiest of horror shows from the Tottenham defence on Halloween and Arsenal's fans revelled in their nightmare."
For the record, the game was won by two goals from Robin Van Persie and one from Cesc Fabregas.
Two years earlier, Arsenal were once again in action on October 31 when they travelled to Sheffield United for a League Cup tie.
And again they ran out 3-0 winners thanks to a brace from Eduardo and a third from Denilson.
So, if recent history is anything to go by, this traditionally terror-filled festival should hold no fears for either side today.
So, in the absence of historical Halloween horrors for the visitors, perhaps, as a Swans fan, now would be a good time to put the frighteners on Arsenal by reminding them what happened last season when they met the Swans.
Hopefully it will be a case of a recurring nightmare for the Londoners as the Swans go for a witch's hat-trick of wins over the Gunners.
Come on you Swans!