Arsenal got their first win of the season with an unconvincing, but very welcome, 1-0 over Swansea at the Grove today.
The Gunners handed debuts to Per Mertesacker and Mikel Arteta and both impressed on their first starts.
We fashioned the first chance of the game after just 80 seconds. An Arteta through ball found Aaron Ramsy in the box but he shot high and wide, admittedly under some pressure.
Swansea then almost scored, of their blokes whose name isn’t that important, got a toe to a cross from the left. It looked as it was going to nestle right into the bottom corner but somehow Szczesny got a hand to it and made a brilliant save.
Theo Walcott, played clean through by Arteta, nearly put Arsenal ahead but his shot took a small deflection of the goalkeeper, taking enough pace off the effort to allow the defender to clear off the line.
Arsenal dominated possession but found Swansea well organised at the back, denying them space and frustratin Arsenal in the way many teams do. So when the goal came it was something of a gift.
Goalkeeper Vorm took a Walcott shot which had looped high in the air, as he tried to roll it out to his right back it hit the defender’s legs and fell for Arshavin who curled it home first time from a tight angle. A horrible mistake but a fantastic finish from the Russian and the goal would turn out to be the only one of the game (goal clip at bottom of report)
Swansea, knowing they had nothing to lose, played very well in the second half while Arsenal, already not at their level, seemed to drop off and looked tired at times.
Assured goalkeeping by Wojsciech Szczesny meant Arsenal had a solid platform at the back but the big Pole was beaten when a Scott Sinclair crashed off the bar.
Arsene Wenger tried to freshen things up, introducing Coquelin for Frimpong, Benayoun for Arshavin, and, rather inexplicably, Chamakh for van Persie despite the fact Theo Walcott treated the second half like a game of hide and seek. And he wasn’t the seeker.
Still, the Moroccan almost scored, a fine header from a Gibbs cross forced a good save from Vorm.
As Swansea pressed Arsenal became more nervous and the visitors should have been level in injury time. Szczesny came for a corner from the right, missed for the first time all game, and Danny Graham had the goal at his mercy from 6 yards out. Somehow he contrived to spoon it over the bar and maybe that’s the bit of luck that this team needs.
In the end Arsenal hung on and the win is more than welcome. Today was never about performance, it was all about getting the points.
We did that.
Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Ramsey, Frimpong, Arteta, Arshavin, Walcott, van Persie
Subs: Fabianski, Park, Andre Santos, Djourou, Chamakh, Benayoun, Coquelin
Swansea: Vorm, Rangel, Caulker, Williams, Taylor, Agustien, Britton, Allen, Sinclair, Dyer, Graham
Subs: Tremmel, Dobbie, Lita, Moore, Bessone, Gower, Richards