Arsenal 0 – Swansea 1 (Gomis 85)
Man of the Match – Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea)
Arsenal’s 10 game unbeaten run came to an end, with a narrow loss to Swansea, at home. It was the most unlikeliest of results, and if someone were to pick a side that would beat the Gunners in the run-in, the Swans would have had very few takers.
There were no changes made to the squad, for the 5th game running. Aaron Ramsey recovered in time to start, having gone off in the 67th minute against Hull. Swansea have had a mixed run-in to the game. Having lost to Sp*rs 3-2 and Liverpool 0-1, they beat Aston Villa 0-1, and Hull 3-1, drew 1-1 with Everton, lost 2-0 to Leicester,and then beat Newcastle 2-3, and Stoke 2-0.
Aaron Ramsey created the first chance of the game, when his cross for Olivier Giroud, saw the Frenchman clipping it just over the bar. David Ospina had to be alert too, to stop a shot from creeping in, and then to head one far away, with Nathan Dyer almost set up for a tap-in. Per Mertesacker couldn’t make much of a Mesut Ozil free-kick, and then Giroud lost the ball to former Liverpool midfielder Jonjo Shelvey, who was crowded out by Arsenal’s defenders.
Swansea were compact and gave Arsenal little time and space to work in the final third. Arsenal were forced to aimlessly pass in midfield, with Swansea happy to let the home side keep the ball. Jonjo Shelvey picked up a yellow card for a foul on Alexis, who definitely must be the most harassed man in the Premier League. Arsenal then carved out a chance, but Santi Cazorla’s shot was blocked inside the area.
Olivier Giroud got a rare chance in the 43rd minute, but it went wide. Lukasz Fabianski had to be alert, as Aaron Ramsey was about to capitalize on another long range pass, like he had against Hull. The former Arsenal keeper was enjoying a solid night, on his return to the Emirates Stadium. Swansea’s dangerous Ecuadorian winger was giving Hector Bellerin a reasonably tough time, but his shot, just before the half time whistle, went wide.
The second half was pretty much the same, with Arsenal keeping lots of possession, but getting little to do with it. There was some neat passing, and it could have been an useful lesson for young kids wanting to excel at the game. There were some careless moments though.
Eventually, Arsenal managed to create a chance. Mesut Ozil played in Olivier Giroud, who flicked it to an onrushing Alexis, but the Chilean could only find the side netting after it struck the foot of a Swansea defender. Fabianski then kept out an effort by Giroud after the French striker was set up by Ozil. Aaron Ramsey then found the side netting, but this time it was closer.
Fabianski had to be alert, as he saved a Cazorla shot, with Alexis lurking for the rebound. The Pole collected it. The manager decided to field the adventurous Jack Wilshere and took off Francis Coquelin. This allowed for a change in the system, with Wilshere moving towards the right, and Ramsey getting a more central role. Arsene Wenger then bought on Theo Walcott in place of Olivier Giroud.
Arsenal looked to be going for the kill, by now. Cazorla’s shot deflected wide, Walcott couldn’t connect to a low Bellerin cross. Alexis then spotted Nacho Monreal on the overlap, and played a fine pass but the Spain left-back was crowded out, and his shot under pressure was saved by Fabianski. Aaron Ramsey took a shot from distance, but Fabianski thwarted the Welshman again.
The Pole came to Swansea’s rescue again, when Ramsey played in Alexis, who hit his shot straight at the keeper. The rebound came to Walcott, and he should have scored, but met with the same end result. Cazorla’s effort was then saved by Fabianski.
Just when it seemed like the game was destined for a draw, Swansea managed to put the ball in the back of the net, completely against the run of play. A cross came in from Jefferson Montero, and Bafetimbi Gomis managed to prod the ball past the line, with Ospina managing to save it, but it was too late. Arsenal huffed and puffed, but Lukasz Fabianski intended to keep his shop shut all day, as Arsenal slumped to their 7th league defeat of the season!
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