Swans stun Gunners at Emirates Stadium
Swansea City have all-but ended Arsenal’s title-challenge for another season after beating them 2-1 at the Emirates Stadium this evening.
The Gunners went into the game in poor form following a shock 3-2 defeat at the hands of Manchester United on Sunday, and with Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur both winning, they knew their title hopes were fading away.
As for Swansea, they needed points for a different reason. The Swans are fighting for survival at the other end of the table and were in dire need of some points.
Despite the need for points, Swansea named six changes in their starting XI, but it still didn’t stop them from picking up a shock victory.
The visitors did go 1-0 down however after just 15-minutes. Alexis Sanchez found Joel Campbell with a perfect over-the-top ball, and the Costa Rican perfectly half-volleyed home past Lukasz Fabianski.
This goal came after Alexis had hit the post a few minutes prior.
Although Arsenal were looking comfortable and in control, Wayne Routledge put the visitors level in the 32nd minute after going through one-on-one with Petr Cech.
Olivier Giroud then hit the bar with a thunderous shot following a Per Mertesacker knockdown, and the two sides went into the interval all square.
The second-half was a fairly quiet affair, with neither side creating clear-cut chances, but it was Arsenal that came close first as Alexis hit the bar from a free-kick.
However, it was Swansea who took the lead and stunned the Emirates as Ashley Williams bundled home a Gylfi Sigurdsson free-kick.
The result was met with boos at the full-time whistle as the defeat leaves Arsenal third and six points behind league-leaders Leicester. As for Swansea, they are now 16th in the table, but six points above safety.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger: “I believe we were really unlucky with our finishing and some decisions today. They had two shots on target and two goals.
“We stopped playing before the first goal because there was a foul on Mesut Ozil. There were hands around his neck and it should have been a free-kick for us.
“We need to bounce-back very quickly now.
“Petr Cech is injured. I think it will keep him out of the game against Tottenham at the weekend. But I have full-confidence in David Ospina.
“The performance was okay, but we were unlucky on the night. We were on top and hit the bar a number of times. We were unlucky on the first goal. There was a foul on Ozil; we stopped playing and they took advantage of that.
“I still don’t understand why it was not given a foul. We were really unlucky.
“What we want is to win the next game.”
On substituting Joel Campbell: “I knew that Joel had not played for a while and I knew that he would start to tire. I thought Welbeck would come on and fit in well.”
Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker: “We tried really hard. The effort was there tonight. We played quite well but always missed the last pass and hit the post a couple of times, but it’s not the end of the world.
“We wanted a better result than against Manchester United, but it was the small margins that cost us. We lost the game on one set piece and we needed to defend better. You could feel that we were nervous out there at the end of the game.
“We have to recover quickly before Saturday and that’s the only thing we are thinking of.”
Swansea first-team coach Alan Curtis: “That’s a very important win for us. We had our backs to the wall but I thought we played really well. We had a bad start, deservedly went behind, but in the second-half I thought we were excellent.
“It’s a great atmosphere in the dressing room and tonight was a great reminder of how it feels to win games at this level. Hopefully we can get a few more before the end of the season.”
Written by Alex Batt – @AlexBatt