Swansea 1 - 2 Arsenal
Arsenal travelled to Wales to face a capable Swansea side, ahead of points being dropped across England by Spurs, Man City, Man United and Chelsea. A win would see The Gunners go two points clear at the top of the table, but The Swans were prepared to do everything possible to spoil the party.[quote_right]” You got the feeling that Arsenal were going to find it difficult to settle…”[/quote_right]
The Gunners began the game with a few jitters. Swansea were coming forward with purpose just seconds after kick off, thanks to some clever runs and passes.
Two corners were given away in the opening minutes, and you got the feeling that Arsenal were going to find it difficult to settle, especially since Swansea were exercising good off-the-ball work to compliment their probing attacks.
As the half went on, Arsenal gradually found their feet, but that didn’t seem to faze the opposition. Chico Flores was keeping their defences firm, whilst Michu and Dyer were keeping Arsenal busy at the other end of the pitch. Thankfully though, Mertesacker was doing a similar job of shoring up his back line.
The half time whistle blew with the deadlock unbroken, but Swansea were looking by far the better side.
For the second period however, Arsenal really turned on their more familiar, expressive style of play. They looked more energized, and were holding on to the ball better in more dangerous areas of the pitch.
It took just until the fifty-eighth minute for the goal to come. After some typical passing around the box, Giroud laid the ball off to Ramsey, who intelligently played it through to Serge Gnabry. The youngster made no mistake, and drilled his shot into the far bottom corner. It was an absolutely vital goal.
Just five minutes later, Arsenal scored again. Jack Wilshere won a good 50-50 challenge before exchanging passes with Giroud, who once again managed to lay off Ramsey, but this time, inside the area. The Welshman made some space for himself, and launched his shot into the top of the net.[quote_left]”Swansea were looking tamed, yet at the same time, Arsenal refused to go for the Jugular…”[/quote_left]
Although the two quick-fire goals were great to watch, it was typical to see Arsenal take their foot off the pedal soon after. Swansea were looking tamed, yet at the same time, Arsenal refused to go for the Jugular.
As a result, Swansea managed to spoil Szczesney’s clean sheet in the eighty-second minute. Davis cut inside across Sagna with the ball, and played a one-two with Bony as he continued his run behind the Arsenal defence. The ball over the top from Bony was superb, allowing Davis to finish easily past Szczesney. Suddenly, The Gunners didn’t look so assured.
The remaining minutes of the game were nervous. Arsene threw on Monreal to help out defensively, but Swansea kept bombarding with crossed and cute passes in front of the back four.
Fortunately, Arsenal held on. The final few minutes weren’t pretty, but they got the job done, and as the final whistle blew, The Gunners climbed confidently to the top of the table, two points clear.
[title]Arsenal Player Ratings[/title]
Had a nervous moment early on, but that was more to do with a poor pass back. He came out and commanded his area with corners and crosses, made smart saves, and looked confident overall.
Looked solid throughout the first half, but his performance levels dropped in the second. The Swansea goal was largely down to poor defending from Bacary, and he seemed lethargic in the air towards the end too.
A fantastic game from Per. He read passes and runs perfectly, made important interceptions, was always in the right place, and won a few headers in the Swansea box too.
Began the game with a poor clearance leading to a corner, but got himself back to a good level as the match went on. Showed a lot of aggression around the area to keep Michu and Bony quiet.
A good game from Kieran. He had a lot to deal with defensively, and managed to repel quite a few attacks down his side of the pitch. Got forward to help Wilshere out when he could.
Not his best performance. He looked a bit off positionally at times, and Swansea were finding it a bit too easy to dance their way through us, especially in the first half. Still, he helped keep us organized with his shouting and exaggerated hand movements.
Ramsey: [8.5/10] - MOTM
Another quality display from Aaron. He did well to play Gnabry in for the opener, and took his goal very well too. He made a one or two wayward passes, but overall, he looked comfortable.
His first average performance. Mesut looked tired all game, and even misplaced a pass. But he also managed to show some good touches and help get Arsenal forward whilst on the ball.
Jack isn’t having too much joy out on the left flank, but he’ll have to start making things happen if he is to keep his place in the starting eleven. However, he did well in the build up for Ramsey’s goal, and tries his best to help out defensively.
Serge really impressed me. Not only did he take his goal brilliantly, but he also did all the other work which is expected of him. He defended very well, cut inside to bolster the midfield, got into the box, and more. A hugely positive performance from him.
A bit of an uninspiring performance from Olivier. He had a few chances to get himself a goal, but he either made the wrong turn, or simply missed the target. Did well in the air though.
Didn’t have much to do other than defend, and he did a decent job of that. Managed to get himself booked for a silly raised leg though. Whatever that means.
Had to chase a ball down against a Swansea defender deep in their half, but looked more tired than anyone else on the pitch - despite only just being brought on.
Aaron Ramsey was my Man of the Match today for obvious reasons, but Serge Gnabry really, really impressed me.
Is he ready for a permanent place in the starting eleven? No. But that doesn’t mean I can’t praise his excellence today. He chased back, won tackles, made intelligent runs, and finished his chance perfectly. He’s definitely one to watch.
More importantly though, Arsenal ground out a very good three points. Swansea away is no easy fixture, and with our injury list, it’s fantastic to see us grabbing all the points. Especially since all of our rivals have dropped so many. Next up, Napoli at home. *Gulps*.
What do you think of the Swansea vs Arsenal match? Share your views in the comments section below!