Barclays Premier League: Swansea City v Arsenal
31st October 2015
The Swans were left to rue missed opportunities as a ruthless second-half performance from Arsenal saw the league leaders secure all three points at the Liberty Stadium.
Garry Monk's side had the better of a goalless first half and should have gone ahead when Bafe Gomis wasted a one-on-one opportunity, while the Frenchman also had a header saved by Petr Cech.
But Arsenal stepped up a gear in the second period and after Olivier Giroud headed them in front just four minutes into the second period, further goals from Laurent Koscielny and Joel Campbell sealed a fifth straight league win for the Gunners.
Garry Monk kept faith with the same team that won 2-1 at Aston Villa.
Wayne Routledge was not considered for a return to action despite the winger taking part in training.
Arsenal had been hit by a spate of injuries with Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain joining Aaron Ramsey, Mikel Arteta, David Ospina, Jack Wilshere, Danny Welbeck and Tomas Rosicky on the sidelines.
SWANS: Lukasz Fabianski, Kyle Naughton, Federico Fernandez, Ashley Williams (capt), Neil Taylor, Ki Sung-Yueng (Leon Britton, 86), Jonjo Shelvey, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Jefferson Montero (Modou Barrow, 77), Andre Ayew, Bafetimbi Gomis (Eder, 86)
SUBS: Kristoffer Nordfeldt, Angel Rangel, Kyle Bartley, Jack Cork.
ARSENAL: Petr Cech, Per Mertesacker (capt), Laurent Koscielny, Mesut Ozil (Alex Iwobi, 90), Olivier Giroud (Calum Chambers, 84), Alexis Sanchez, Nacho Monreal, Santi Cazorla, Hector Bellerin, Joel Campbell (Kieran Gibbs, 84), Francis Coquelin.
SUBS: Matt Macey, Mathieu Flamini, Gabriel, Mathieu Flamini.
Arsenal came into this fixture on the back of four straight league wins - a run that had taken them joint top of the Premier League - while Swansea earned a first win in five at Aston Villa the previous week.
And it was easy to see why both sides had grown in confidence in the early exchanges at the Liberty, the ball rarely leaving the ground as direct play was exchanged for intricate, crisp passing at either end of the pitch.
After Nacho Monreal - who scored in Arsenal's victory in SA1 back in March 2013 - saw a shot fly well wide after eight minutes, the Gunners came close shortly after as Joel Campbell's curling effort from 25 yards drop a fraction wide of the upright.
But it was the hosts who should have been taken the lead as Jonjo Shelvey broke up an Arsenal attack in midfield and sent Bafe Gomis clear on goal, but the striker delayed his opportunity as he tried to take the ball round Petr Cech and the ball was cleared away.
Gomis was involved again on 27 minutes as his header was saved by Cech, while Olivier Giroud came close at the other end as Alexis Sanchez played the unmarked striker in on goal and he shot over the bar from 18 yards out.
The game was quickly turning into a fascinating contest as Shelvey's header drifted over the crossbar and Campbell's low strike was well held by Lukasz Fabianski - but it remained goalless at the break.
Half-time: Swans 0-0 Arsenal
Neither side made any changes at the break, but it was Arsenal who broke the deadlock just four minutes into the second period.
From Mesut Ozil's corner on the left, Olivier Giroud was left unmarked and the Frenchman planted a firm header into the bottom left hand corner.
But the Swans came close to drawing level within two minutes as Gylfi Sigurdsson found space just outside the box and his left-foot strike was parried away by Petr Cech.
However, it was Arsenal who doubled their lead in controversial circumstances with 69 minutes on the clock.
After a cross from the right took a huge deflection, Lukasz Fabianski came to claim the looping ball under pressure from two Arsenal players and as the ball dropped Laurent Koscielny tapped it into an empty net with referee Kevin Friend insisting that there had been no infringement on the goalkeeper.
And it got worse for the Swans just five minutes later as Ozil broke clear down the left and crossed for Joel Campbell, who had too much time to control and rifle past Fabianski.
Captain Ashley Williams then drove forward to see a low strike well saved by Cech, while Modou Barrow replaced Jefferson Montero for the final 13 minutes.
Arsenal then made a double change as Calum Chambers and Kieran Gibbs replaced Olivier Giroud and Joel Campbell, while Leon Britton and Eder entered the action in place of Ki Sung-Yueng and Bafe Gomis.
The Gunners almost added a fourth in stoppage time as Fabianski did superbly to twice save from Alexis Sanchez inside the box.