Arsenal took all three points in a thoroughly entertaining match-up against Swansea City at the Emirates Stadium today.
We started the match brightly, dominating much of the match in the early exchanges, but the Swans starting to work their way into the game after 15 minutes.
Their confidence took a huge hit on MINUTE however, when Hector Bellerin knocked it on to Theo Walcott in front of the keeper to tuck away. The visitors should have done better in their attempts to clear the ball from danger, but who are we to complain of such a thing.
Less than 10 minutes later we doubled our lead, through the man of the moment Theo Walcott once again, and it was starting to look like damage limitation measures should be put in place by the Welsh side.
Oh how we were wrong…
Five minutes later, and Granit Xhaka gifts Gylfi Sigurdsson the ball, and the Iceland international manages to weave himself some space for a shot and buries it beyond Petr Cech and into the net. That was enough excitement for the first half, but there was still plenty more football to be played.
We began the second half much like the first, creating much of the best opportunities, but Nacho Monreal is not having the best time stopping Barrow from putting our defence under pressure, and the game remains open.
Just before the hour-mark, Mesut Ozil caps off some sublime build up play which started from the back, with Alexis finding the German inside the penalty box to fire into the roof of the net to reclaim our two-goal advantage.
In typical Arsenal fashion, we continue to push on and try to build on our lead, and pay the price for it. Once again the visitors attack us down our left flank, and Barrow gets to burst down the by-line and get the ball into the box for Borja Baston to put away.
There is still over 20 minutes for the Swans to get something from the match, and you can feel them growing in confidence, and two minutes after their goal, Xhaka once again piles the pressure on us by getting a red card for a deliberate tackle on the half-way line.
Great! Now we are really under it! I’m sure the remainder of the match was full of excitement and was a great watch for the neutrals, but not for me. I’m sat on the edge of my seat and I cannot sit still.
We keep getting caught out by the offside trap, just as we look to be through on goal to seal victory, while we continue to be peppered at the other end of the pitch.
Bob Bradley’s newly inherited side came at us with wave after wave of attack, but failed to really force Petr Cech into any major saves and we finally got out of the game with full points. Heart-ache over!
We may have got the three points, but we can hardly be happy with the defending at times, and Nacho Monreal will likely have nightmares over his performance.
The HUGE plus comes from our rivals Manchester City and Tottenham both failing to win their matches, and as predicted earlier in the day, these points could well prove pivotal in the title race, especially as we now sit joint-top of the table, behind City by only one goal.
As tough of a game as it was to much, we actually led the match for over an hour! Was any of you comfortable in that final 20 minutes? Just how important will these points be come the end of the season?