Starting XI: Cech, Bellerin, Koscielny, Mustafi, Monreal, Xhaka, Elneny, Ramsey, Ozil, Iwobi, Lacazette
Subs: Ospina, Maitland-Niles, Chambers, Kolasinac, Mkhitaryan, Nketiah, Giroud
Swansea City came from behind to beat Arsenal 3-1 on another abject away day for Arsene Wenger’s men.
The Gunners took the lead against the run of play when Nacho Monreal prodded home on 33 minutes but the lead was cancelled out by Sam Clucas’ strike within a minute.
Petr Cech made a dreadful mistake to gift
Andre Jordan Ayew the home side a second not long after Henrikh Mkhitaryan had come on for his debut before Clucas rounded off the scoring with four minutes remaining.
Arsenal’s record against Swansea since they achieved promotion to the Premier League has been something of a mixed bag to say the least. We’ve had a couple of notable wins at the Liberty Stadium – a 4-0 this time last year and a 3-0 in October 2015 – but also three painful defeats at the same venue.
Despite being bottom of the table it was clear that last week’s unexpected victory against Liverpool had Carlos Carvahal’s outfit full of confidence. The Swans completely dominated the first 25 minutes and might have been a couple of goals ahead were it not for sloppy finishing and some impressive last-ditch defending by the Gunners.
Ramsey denied Mawson at the back post with the goal begging and Elneny made an unbelievably well-timed challenge to deny Clucas as he bore down on goal on 16 minutes. Cech’s goal lived something of a charmed life with a deflection taking an Ayew shot wide and Ki’s skidding effort zipping past the post.
Even watching on a dodgy stream, it wasn’t hard to spot Arsenal players being bad at football. Ayew and Fer took turns running at our retreating back line, in both cases leaving men in blue sprawled on the turf before messing up their shots.
An Iwobi shot aside, Arsenal hadn’t mustered anything of note on the attacking front in the first half hour. It was, therefore, a huge surprise when we took the lead.
The architect was Mesut Ozil. The German, who’d had little room for manoeuvre up to this point, found space on the edge of the Swansea box, looked up, saw Nacho Monreal making a darting run to the back post and curled a beautiful pass for the Spaniard to prod home at close range. It was majestic from both men and had Arsene Wenger off the bench doing his trademark double fist pump. (1-0)
Naturally, Swansea went straight up the other end and equalised. Mesut Ozil was dispossessed, Mawson picked up the ball about 35 yards out, slid in Clucas, running between Bellerin and Koscielny, and the midfielder slotted home at Cech’s near post. (1-1)
Back to the drawing board for the Gunners, who refused to renege on their dedication to moving the ball patiently in front of a bank of eight defenders. A Xhaka shot that flew over the bar was the best we could muster.
The first 15 minutes after the break were spent waiting for new boy Henrikh Mkhitaryan to come on for his debut. Wenger duly obliged, replacing Mohamed Elneny.
In classic Arsenal style, the Armenian’s new teammates marked the occasion by pressing the self-destruct button. For some reason, Monreal let a ball he could have cleared run out for a throw deep in Gunners territory. The Spaniard threw it to Mustafi who, under pressure, panicked a pass back to Cech. The veteran keeper went to clear but made a complete hash of it and Ayew just rolled the ball into an empty net. It was comically bad. (2-1)
Just for the record, the goal marked the first time this season in the Premier League that Swansea had managed two in a game.
The home side continued to have the better of things. Cech and Mustafi in particular looked rattled at the back. The German centre-back was incredibly lucky that Dyer couldn’t take full advantage of a misjudged header, his shot after pouncing on the loose ball, coming off the outside of the post.
Arsenal’s frustration continued to grow. A Mkhitaryan header saved by Fabianski, ruled offside, was the best we could muster. So on came Olivier Giroud despite the fact he was hours from a move to Chelsea.
It felt like we were running down the clock for the home side when with our passive possession of the football. Pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, pass…give the ball away. Pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, pass…bad cross to nobody. Pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, pass…bad touch. Pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, pass…offside.
With four minutes remaining, Swansea snatched their third. Monreal cocked up a clearance on the left touchline, Ayew beat Mustafi for pace and strength and when the ball squirmed to Clucas he smashed it high into the roof of the net. (3-1)