A rainy afternoon in Wales and the fast paced pitch at Liberty stadium pointed towards a cracker of a match as Swansea hosted Arsenal. What we didn’t expect that against the run of their recent league form, Swansea would leapfrog Arsenal in the race for Champions League football with a spirited 2-1 victory over the gunners. Arsenal is the top team in Premier League, in terms of passing and possession football and Swansea being a team with matching style of play, the start was rather slow and sluggish in the first thirty minutes of the match.
After the first five minutes of possession play dominated by Arsenal, Swansea started registering their presence with Sigurdsson and Wilfried Bony in the thick of the action. Mathieu Flamini was seen marking Sigurdsson, while Aaron Ramsey was playing a disciplined role in the midfield, clearly suggesting that Arsenal had a plan to play cautiously and hit their opponents on the counterattack. First noteworthy controversial moment came in the first quarter, when a push by Calum Chambers on Bony in the penalty box, went unheard by referee Phil Dowd, once again echoing the fear of Swansea being unfairly treated by the officials thus far in the league.
The first half was rather scratchy with Arsenal taking too many touches and not using the pace at their disposal. Another chance for Swansea, was squandered by Emnes in the thirty fifth minute by a tame finish. Swansea’s Taylor and Ki were cautioned in quick succession towards the end of the first half as they tried to curtail, the electric pace of Alex Chamberlain and Co. In the forty fourth minute Danny Welbeck came agonizingly close to scoring, after a brilliantly worked move by the gunners, and the effort was followed by a wonderful volley from Aaron Ramsey which missed the goal by inches. It was a sluggish first half, with Arsenal being the happier of the two teams by picking the pace and creating more chances towards the end. The second half started with Welbeck out on the left hand side, as Arsene Wenger slightly tweaked Arsenal’s formation.
What followed was an opportunity for Alex Chamberlain to score from a well-worked pass by Alexis Sanchez; however his finish was not good enough to beat ex-gunner goalkeeper Fabianski. Around the hour mark Welbeck almost broke the deadlock with a fine solo effort, but rather than taking a shot at goal, he passed the ball and lost possession in the process. With the increase in the downpour at the Liberty Stadium, Arsenal kept the majority of possession and kept pressing at Swansea’s defense. A misplaced pass from Bony in Swansea’s half and a combination of Chamberlain and Welbeck in the build-up, lead to Arsenal’s Talisman Alexis Sanchez scoring in the sixty third minute and netting his eighth goal in as many matches for Arsenal this season. As expected after a goal, the game opened up and Bony came close to scoring an equalizer with Montero pressing incessantly from the left flank.
A foul by Gibbs on the debutant Borrow, earned Swansea a free kick right in front of Arsenal’s penalty box, and in the seventy fifth minute Sigurdsson scored a screamer and stamped his authority on the game. Within three minutes from the first goal, Gomis who came off the bench to replace Bony, scored a thundering header past Szczesny to put the Swans ahead. The dying moments was all about Arsenal trying to equalize, and Arsene Wenger went all out with the threatening trio of Walcott, Wilshere and Sanogo. With the final whistle Arsenal’s players were on their knees and it surely ended as a frustrating week for the fans supporting the London club. What lies in store next, is a surely a mouthwatering clash for all neutrals concerned, with Arsenal hosts to Van Gaal’s sluggish Manchester United team, Swansea faces a tough opponent, on their travel to the blue side of Manchester, where a stuttering Pellegrini’s squad will try to beat Swansea comprehensively and make ground on league leaders Chelsea.
Picture: Source: SkySports.com