Swansea City 3 (Sinclair 16(pen), Dyer 57, Graham 70) – 2 Arsenal (van Persie 5, Walcott 69)
Man of the Match – Nathan Dyer (Swansea City)
Outplayed. Outfought. Outfootballed. Christen it what you may, but today was clearly not Arsenal’s night, as they slipped to their 7th loss of the season and their 6th away from home, in South Wales, to a thoroughly deserving Swansea team.
Arsene Wenger can have no complaints about this one. Of course, he can complain about the pitch, which was used for a rugby game, 2 days prior. But, apart from that, his players gave him no chance of an external complaint, as they were thoroughly beaten.
There were minor flutters among the Gunners’ faithful, as Mikel Arteta was withdrawn due to a calf injury. However, Per Mertesacker and Tomas Rosicky seemed to have gotten the better of their sickness. On the left, Arshavin was again given the nod, ahead of Thierry Henry.
Arsenal raced to the lead, with just 5 minutes gone, with van Persie latching on well to an Andriy Arshavin through ball. Michel Vorm, probably the league’s best kepper was completely beaten.
From there on, it was all about Swansea. Having received praise from all quarters for their passing game and their positive style of play, the Welsh team put their best foot forward, as they heaped pressure on the Gunners. They played it tight, giving the Gunners’ little room in midfield. They fought back the ball well throughout the game.
And they got their equaliser on 16 minutes, when the pacy winger Nathan Dyer, was clipped by Aaron Ramsey. Scott Sinclair scored off the resulting penalty, even though Szczesny guessed the right direction. For the remainder of the half, Swansea seemed like the team that was going for Champions League Qualification, while Arsenal seemed like the team that were the new boys in the Premier League.
Dyer and Sinclair made Szczesny come out of the box to make a hasty clearances. Aaron Ramsey soon almost made up for his earlier mistake, by nearly scoring. His shot, from the thinnest of angles struck the far post, into the hands of Vorm. Caulker’s header seemed to be going goalwards, only to be cleared by Koscielny. Dyer, then cut in but his shot was saved by Szczesny. Arsenal had a brilliant chance before half-time, when van Persie found himself in acres of space, with only Vorm to beat, but his right-footed shot was parried away.
Swansea’s midfield of Joe Allen and Leon Britton were impressive in the second half, and were ably supported by Nathan Dyer, Scott Sinclair and new signing Gylfi Sigurdsson, who replaced Augustien at half-time.
Swansea showed their determination to win the game, as they robbed the Gunners’ off the ball on numerous occasions. And they got their reward, when Joe Allen made most of Ramsey’s misjudgement to play in Dyer, who cut past Miquel to give Swansea the lead.
Arsenal threw on Thierry Henry and Tomas Rosicky in place of the poor Andriy Arshavin and Yossi Benayoun. But, it was Theo Walcott, who raced clear of the Swans’ defence 6 minutes later to score the equalizer.
Swansea’s response was swift. So swift, even the live TV camera’s didn’t pick it up. Sigurdsson made most of Henry’s mispass to release Danny Graham, who beat his marker Koscielny to slot past Szczesny.
Oxlade-Chamberlain was thrown on, but didn’t manage to make any impact. Rosicky attempted a van Basten and Ramsey’s powerful header well held by Vorm. Henry won the ball for one final foray, but Swansea held on for a famous win, which sees them up to 10th place.
As for Arsenal, a second defeat in a row, sees them stuck in 5th place, 4 points behind Chelsea and 10 behind their fiercest rivals Tottenham. The task doesn’t get any easier. Next up, the visit of Manchester United.
Szczesny (6.5) – Got no support from a poor defence today.
Djourou (6) – Scott Sinclair was brilliant today, partially helped by a poor performance from Djourou.
Mertesacker (6) – Looked like he was playing through an illness. Clearly, has a lot of work to do to suit to the pace and demands of the league.
Koscielny (7) – Arsenal’s best player on the night. Could have done better with the 3rd goal, but overall a solid performance again.
Miquel (6) – Industrious on the left, but at times couldn’t deal with Nathan Dyer.
Walcott (5) – Score an easy goal is all that he did on the night.
Song (6.5) – Was good with possession, in comparison to his teammates.
Ramsey (6) – In fault for 2 of Swansea’s goals, but put up some decent play in midfield.
Benayoun (6) – Played, thanks to the injury to Arteta, but failed to make his mark today.
Arshavin (5) – Lacklustre. Lethargic. Lazy.
van Persie (7) – Was an onlooker, most of the time, with little service.
Rosicky (6.5) – Wenger needs to rethink his value to the team.
Henry (7) – Had a few good touches, but not the magical one, that he produced against Leeds.
Oxlade-Chamberlain (6) – Too late to make an impact of any sort.
Overall Team Rating – 6.17