Arsenal: Ospina, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Cazorla, Ramsey, Ozil, Alexis, Giroud
Subs: Szczesny, Gibbs, Gabriel, Flamini, Wilshere, Rosicky, Walcott
Arsenal’s long unbeaten run came to an end as a late winner provided Swansea with a 1-0 win at the Emirates this evening.
Arsene Wenger named an unchanged line-up for the 5th consecutive game, meaning Aaron Ramsey had recovered well enough from his Hull kicking to retain his place on the right.
The Welshman has been in great form and created the first chance of the game in the 4th minute, clipping a nice cross to Olivier Giroud whose header flew just over the bar. At the other end David Ospina had to be alert to stop a shot heading towards his near post, and alert to head away when a long ball almost put Nathan Dyer through on goal.
A Mesut Ozil free kick hit Per Mertesacker after Giroud had been fouled, before the Frenchman lost the ball deep in his own half allowing Shelvey a sight of goal before he was closed down by determined Arsenal defenders.
Swansea were well organised, sitting deep to deny Arsenal space resulting in lots of red and white passes but not much in the way of clear cut chances. It was the epitome of football stalemate, with the visitors content to waste time as much as possible.
There wasn’t much in the way of attacking threat from either team, especially Arsenal who had the lion’s share of possession. John-Jo Shelvey picked up a belated yellow card for a foul on Alexis, and some nice work from Arsene Wenger’s side saw a Cazorla shot blocked in the area,.
Giroud’s 43rd minute effort curled wide but it stood out simply because he had a go, and Aaron Ramsey almost found himself on the end of a looping ball over the top before former teammate Lukasz Fabianski came out to claim the ball. Just before the break, the dangerous looking Montero fired a shot wide, but it remained scoreless at the whistle.
There were no changes to either side as the second period began, and the game settled into much the same pattern with plenty of Arsenal possession – although there was some carelessness to our passing at times.
There was, however, a good opening when Ozil found Giroud and his flick saw Alexis with a sight of goal. His shot from a tight angle hit the side netting with a deflection off the defender but no corner was given.
The game felt a bit more open and Olivier Giroud saw an effort saved by Fabianski after he was set up by Ozil, followed by another shot into the side-netting, this time from Ramsey and it was just outside the post.
The former Arsenal keeper just about held onto a Cazorla shot with Alexis poised to pounce on the rebound, before Arsene Wenger made his first change introducing Jack Wilshere for Francis Coquelin in the 67th minute. It meant Wilshere playing from the right with Ramsey in a more central role, and that was followed by another change with Theo Walcott replacing Giroud in the 69th minute.
Arsenal looked to ramp up the pressure. Cazorla saw a shot deflect wide, Walcott couldn’t quite get enough of a touch on a low Bellerin cross, and Nacho Monreal’s fantastic run was found by an equally fantastic Alexis pass but under pressure his shot was saved.
Ramsey had a pop from distance but again Fabianski was equal to it, before the two best chances of the game fell within seconds. Ramsey clipped the ball into the box, it fell for Alexis but he hit his shot straight at Fabianski, and the rebound came out to Walcott who did exactly the same when he should have scored. The Pole then saved from Cazorla as he looked to have one of those games visiting keepers often do.
Then, wouldn’t you know it, Swansea scored. A Montero cross from the right was headed towards goal by the Swansea striker, Ospina looked to have saved it but replays showed it was behind the line. 0-1.
Arsenal tried to turn the screw in the final few minutes but found Fabianski as safe as houses, in truth though, we never really did anything that was too difficult for him.
So, the unbeaten run comes to a disappointing end and it means we have to picks ourselves back up ahead of the trip to Old Trafford on Sunday.