Before this Arsenal away game at Swansea City, Arsene Wenger spoke about how our recent poor results against Garry Monk’s team have been caused in the latter stages of the game, so he urged his players to keep focused and working hard right until the end of the match.
Maybe that is why the Arsenal players were a little more cautious than we have been used to seeing. Perhaps they had to be like that because the home team was playing well, enjoying plenty of the ball and creating some good chances down both flanks.
Bellerin was struggling to cope with their flying winger Montero, even though Joel Campbell was working hard to track back and help him. Monreal had some dicey moments on the other side as well and Gomis was causing Mertesacker and Koscielny big problems with his pace and power.
The Swansea striker really should have scored in the 22nd minute after a mistake by Mertesacker let him through on goal, but Cech stood up well to delay his shot and Bellerin raced back to clear the ball off his toe. At the other end, Campbell had fired just wide after a decent knock down from Giroud, but the Frenchman had an even better chance from an Ozil set up and his miss was a bad one.
Arsenal were just looking a little ragged before the break and I’m sure that Wenger was glad to get them into the dressing room. Giroud had suffered a worrying knock before halftime so it was a relief to see our centre forward come back out for the restart.
That relief turned to joy a few minutes later when some good work on the left by Ozil and Cazorla found Koscielny in the box and then Ozil got a chance to place a peach of a bvall into the box. Giroud lost his marker and powered a header past Fabianski to give Arsenal the lead.
Swansea responded well though and Cech was forced to make three saves in the space of a minute or so. We would have to stay solid and also try to hit them again on the counter and in the 59th minute we were denied a great chance to do just that when Shelvey slipped, Alexis picked up the ball and set off only for the referee to give an awful free kick decision.
Kevin Friend had also been very lenient on Swansea for persistent and professional fouls, so he must have been taking advice from Mike Dean. The Gunners were sitting back too much for my liking and allowing the home side to build up a head of steam. Alexis had a good chance from an Ozil corner but could not keep his header down.
The Chilean then somehow managed to head another good chance away from the goal but it did not matter because a minute later Koscielny was on hand to tap in a second after a mistake by Fabianski. I thought the ref would blow for a fould but the Arsenal defender was just standing his ground.
We made the most of that bit of luck and punished an already more subdued Swansea with a third and it was the player on his first Premier League start, Joel Campbell, who slotted a cool finish with an assist from Ozil. THat capped a very good game for the young forward and is great news for Arsenal with our injury concerns.
From then on Arsenal were well in control so I do not see why Wenger did not take off the likes of Giroud, Ozil and Alexis until the final minutes. But the Gunners march on in the EPL race and only a last minute Toure penalty gave Man City the win to stay level with us.