There was good news and bad news for Arsenal fans before kick-off. Aaron Ramsey, who gets loads of stick from Gooners, started on the left side of midfield. Angel Rangell, Michu and Ashley Williams were rested by Swansea. It was clear that Arsenal were placing more value on the game than their opponents.
This was clear from the start as Arsenal began with intent and were zipping the ball around well, and Giroud nearly got on the end of a good ball in after four minutes. Arsenal’s high pressing nearly cost them as Swansea broke after 10 minutes but Sagna was on hand to head clear.
Danny Graham the Swansea striker held off Mertesacker to latch on to a long ball and force a good save from Szczesny to give Arsenal something to think about. We could obviously not go all guns blazing, so the game became a bit scrappy, with Swansea working hard and giving us no space or time.
Walcott was coming into a more central area sometimes and causing some problems for Swansea, but he was not hgetting any balls in from the right for Giroud. With Ramsey on the left, that meant that we were quite narrow and easy to defend against, forcing us to try to be too intricate. If I was getting frustrated, imagine how Giroud felt.
When Arsenal did get wide with a link up between Giroud and Gibbs, the left back found Cazorla in the box and he should have scored. The former Arsenal man Bartley came closest with a header off the bar near the end of the first half, which Swansea finished strongly.
Arsenal tried to quicken the pace in the second half, and Giroud finally got a decent shot on goal. Then Ramsey should have got a penalty, nearly scored and Giroud got another chance which hit the keeper, all in a couple of minutes. Then Michu came on and we gifted him a goal within a minute. Unbelievable defending.
There was still 30 minutes to come back, but we had lost our composure. Ramsey got a great ball on to Giroud’s head but the Frenchman put it wide. Cazorla and Wilshere were trying to unlock the defence but it was not quite happening and we were running out of time. With less than 20 minutes left, Wenger made his first change, Podolski for Ramsey.
Walcott was inches away from an equalizer after a mistake by Swansea, and we were really knocking on the door. Cazorla hit a free kick straight at the wall, but it led to a corner which eventually fell to Podolski who swivelled and scored. There was still time for a winner and we wanted it.
I bet Gibbs has never scored a better goal. Giroud’s perfect flick found Gibbs who volleyed in a la Podolski. Another goal with poor defending from a corner pegged us back, though. Koscielny nearly won it in the last minute but Vorm saved.