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A late goal from Bafetimbi Gomis ended Arsenal’s impressive unbeaten run and dented their chances of a top 2 finish, whilst Swansea now sit just 1 point off of 7th placed Southampton. The 1-0 victory saw Gary Monk’s side complete the double over the North London side for the first time since the 1981/82 season.
It was a frustrating evening for the hosts who dominated possession, but they failed to break down an organised Swansea side who employed a 6 man midfield which worked hard to contain Arsenal’s crop of talented attacking players. Their best chance of the half was created by Aaron Ramsey, who recovered from a leg injury sustained in the last game, after his lofted cross could only be headed over the bar by Olivier Giroud.
Arsenal remained patient and they were rewarded with a flurry of attempts in the 2nd half, but former Arsenal keeper Lukasz Fabianski was up to the task and kept his side in the game. The first shot on target did not come until an hour of play, when Giroud’s effort was well saved by Fabianski who got down quickly to deny the Frenchman. The keeper then made 2 more fine saves, firstly denying Santi Cazorla from 12 yards, before smartly blocking Ramsey’s attempt on goal.
Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott were introduced to the game to try and change Arsenal’s fortune, and this almost became the case but again Fabianski was once again the hero for the Swans. He firstly kept out Alexis Sanchez’s effort from close range, and then quickly got to his feet to deny Walcott’s effort on the rebound. It appeared it was not going to be Arsenal’s night, and with just 5 minutes remaining Swansea would deal them a huge blow by taking all 3 points despite only enjoying 32% possession.
In a rare attack, Jefferson Montero sent the ball into the box where Gomis rose to glance a header at the back post over the line. Ospina was able to claw the ball out, but goal-line technology determined that it had in fact crossed the line much to the protests of the keeper and Arsenal players.
It was a crushing defeat for the hosts who created a string of 2nd half attempts and were thwarted by an impressive performance from Fabianski. Gary Monk’s side meanwhile executed their game plan to perfection and demonstrated their versatility and ability to adapt to win games; this has been key in their impressive season which suddenly sees European football on the cards.
Sitting just 1 point off of a struggling Southampton side, if Swansea can leapfrog the Saints and Arsenal win the F.A cup, then Gary Monk’s side will qualify for next years Europa League. This could prove to be a challenge however, with Swansea hosting Man City next weekend before travelling to Crystal Palace for their last fixture.
It was Wenger’s first loss in 10 league games and they will feel it was a missed opportunity to go level on points with 2nd placed Man City. They will now also be peering over their shoulder at 4th placed Man United, who sit just 2 points behind and host Arsenal in a huge game at the weekend.
The Gunners must finish in the top 3 spots if this season is to be determined a success, and in addition to a trip to Old Trafford they face a relegation scrapping Sunderland side before hosting Tony Pulis’s disciplined West Brom on the final day of the season.