Swansea 1 (Davies 82) – 2 Arsenal (Gnabry 58, Ramsey 62)
Man of the Match – Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal)
More consolidation at the top of the table, as Arsenal took full advantage of losses to Manchester City and Manchester United, and a draw between Tottenham and Chelsea to strengthen their position at the top of the Premier League.
It was a crazy weekend, and I thought normal service would resume as Manchester City took the lead through Edin Dzeko at Villa Park, and Wayne Rooney equalized for Manchester United at Old Trafford, at almost the same time. However, Aston Villa struck twice in almost as many minutes to register a 3-2 win, while Morgan Amalfitano, guilty of missing a penalty in the shootout against Arsenal in the league cup scored what was to be the winner for West Bromwich Albion. Tottenham and Chelsea had earlier played out a rough 1-1 draw at White Hart Lane, which saw Fernando Torres sent off rather harshly.
This had set the tone for Arsenal right about perfectly. A win against Swansea at the Liberty Stadium would consolidate their position at the top by 2 points. Serge Gnabry made his 3rd start in a row on the wing, as the manager continued with the quartet of Flamini, Ramsey, Wilshere and Ozil in midfield. For a change, Arsenal’s bench looked more than an explosion of kids, with Thomas Vermaelen, Mikel Arteta, Nacho Monreal, Carl Jenkinson and Niklas Bendtner named.
Swansea, having been knocked out of the League Cup by Birmingham City in midweek, by a 3-1 scoreline, got into the groove quicker, as summer signing Jonjo Shelvey fired over from distance. Arsenal weren’t really getting much of the ball, and Per Mertesacker’s powerful header went wide.
Mesut Ozil set up Olivier Giroud, and the Frenchman should have done better, but was robbed at the edge of the box, before Aaron Ramsey’s shot went narrowly wide. Wayne Routledge and Nathan Dyer were causing plenty of problems for Arsenal’s full backs Bacary Sagna and Kieran Gibbs.
Then there was a comical moment, when Wocjiech Szczesny held off to Michu to prevent the Spaniard from putting the ball back into play as it seemed to be going out for a goalkick. The Pole waited long enough for the ball to cross the line, before Michu managed to get round of the goalkeeper, and played Wayne Routledge, whose cross across goal wasn’t met by anyone, with Koscielny falling in a heap in the net. Television replays showed Szczesny had enough reason to be nonchalant, as the ball had indeed crossed the line, and the linesman had waved for a goalkick.
Arsenal almost took the lead at the end of the first half, when Serge Gnabry made a darting run through Swansea’s defence, and played in Giroud who should have scored, but the France international’s shot went wide of the far post.
Arsenal started the second half brightly, as Serge Gnabry had the first shot on target, when after a well worked move, his left footed shot wasn’t powerful enough to beat Michel Vorm. However, Arsenal’s resilience and patience would pay off, as in the 58th minute the Gunners scored a beauty.
Some slick one touch football saw Giroud and Ramsey combine to set up Gnabry who didn’t make any mistake this time, and drilled it into the bottom corner. Arsenal should have been 2-0 up a minute later, when Ozil found himself with acres of space and enough time to beat Vorm, but the Netherlands international goalkeeper gauged the German’s shot and saved form point blank range.
It didn’t take Arsenal long though, to make it 2-0, as Szczesny played out a ball quickly, Wilshere won the ball from a Swansea player, and he and Giroud combined to set up Ramsey, who had to cut back and ferociously shoot into the top corner. It was another crowd silencing moment for the young Welshman, who now has 8 goals in 9 games this season.
Swansea shocked by the two quick goals, tried to respond, and bought on Wilfried Bony, who saw his shot blocked by Koscielny, before Szczesny pulled off a brilliant save from a Nathan Dyer shot. Bony had another attempt at goal, after hoodwinking Wilshere and Gibbs, but Szczesny managed to avert the danger.
Swansea did get some reward for their enterprise, as left back Ben Davies’ run ended up in a well worked goal for the Swans. Arsenal held on to the win, as Szczesny was tested a few times.
So, a 5th win on the bounce in the Premier League. A win which sees us 2 points clear of 2nd placed Tottenham, 4 points clear of 3rd placed Chelsea, 5 points clear of 5th placed Manchester City, and a whopping 8 points clear of 12th placed Manchester United.
Aaron Ramsey looks unstoppable so far this season. His game overall, has seen such a rapid and massive change, there is no doubt he is the top midfielder in the league at the moment. Arsenal, however, need to avoid conceding a goal every game. This has been kind of irritating. The lack of clean sheets is one thing the team needs to work on.
Apart from that, possession is another concern, but that is what you usually get in away matched. Arsenal were brilliant again on the night. Next up, Napoli on Tuesday and another trip to the Hawthorns on Saturday!
Jai Arsenal 🙂