By Walter Broeckx
No changes to the starting line up compared to the team that won at Burnley. Mesut Özil celebrating his birthday today so let’s hope he can make a very happy day of it. Also Cech celebrating his 50th appearance for Arsenal.
On the bench a few changes. Coquelin back on the bench and also Spanish striker Lucas was amongst the substitutes. Both missed the Burnley match because of injury.
The team that started was: Cech, Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal, Cazorla, Xhaka, Walcott, Ozil, Iwobi, Alexis.
On the beach: Ospina, Gabriel, Gibbs, Coquelin, Elneny, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lucas.
A first chance but too many Swansea defenders so Arsenal couldn’t come to a shot. Arsenal attacking from the first minute against Swansea. Özil with a corner and Mustafi heads against the crossbar. Arsenal break almost again but Alexis couldn’t finish the move as a defender got in the way. A bit later a free kick is cleard and Iwobi has a shot but that went well wide. No score in the first fifteen minutes.
Swansea trying to defend and hit Arsenal on a counter. Fer had a chance to shoot from the edge of the penalty area but it went well over. At the other end both Alexis and Cazorla just couldn’t come to a shot and Swansea defenders could clear. An attempt from Xhaka is also blocked by a defender after a quick Arsenal attack. Cazorla being tackled from behind but Moss lets it go. Xhaka to Walcott who plays it to Alexis in the middle. Alexis immediately plays it to Bellerin on the overlap who heads it to the middle of the goal. A Swansea defender tries to control the ball and Walcott sneaks in in between and puts it over the goal line! GOAL!!! 1-0 to The Arsenal after 26 minutes.
Xhaka with a lovely ball over the top to Alexis who tries to lob Fabianski but it goes wide and the flag went up anyway. But what a lovely ball. Another lovely attack from Arsenal ends with Özil bringin Bellerin but a great save from Fabianski only gives Arsenal a corner. Corner is swung in by Santi and the ball bounces between two Swansea defenders and falls in front of the feet of Walcott who just has to turn and shoot from 5 meters out. GOAL!!!! 2-0 to The Arsenal after 32 minutes. Another goal from Theo!
Moss then gives Swansea a goal kick when Özil won another corner. Moss then warns a Swansea player for haning around the neck of Santi for a long time when he gave an advantage.
Cech showing he was awake on a rare long ball from Swansea. But then Xhaka lost the ball just outside the penalty area and Sigurdson finished it in the top corner. 2-1 after 38 minutes. Cech then with a poor clearance on a back pass but this time Koscielny can stop Swansea from becoming dangerous. Sigurdson again in a dangerous position but this time shoots wide. Walcott being pulled back when he chases a long ball but Moss again seeing nothing. The Swansea player clearly using his hand and poking in the eye of Walcott who even needs treatment. Swansea get a free kick at the last seconds of extra time but Cech can stop the header. 2-1 after the first half.
Walcott going down after an elbow in the back but again Moss saw nothing. Özil being brought down by Taylor and if Walcott hadn’t been offfside Moss might have let it go. But then he came back to the foul and even gave a yellow card against the Swansea defender.
Some technical problems then for a few minutes but finally was back on line with the score still 2-1. Iwobi with an amazing dribble the cross was cut out, put back in front of goal by Özil to Walcott whose shot was stop by Fabianski. But Arsenal kept on pushing forward. A cross from Alexis to the second post to birthday boy Özil who finishes it off with a smashing volley. GOAL!!! 3-1 to The Arsenal after 57 minutes. Alexis and Iwobi with a misunderstanding when the first stopped and the other expected a run and Fabianski could pick up the ball. Seconds later Özil with a shot from distance but the ball went wide.
Arsenal then again being careless at the back but lucky the Swansea striker was offside this time. Let’s not play around at the back too much will we. Moss does know when it is a foul when a defender jumps in the back of a striker. Maybe the fact it was an Arsenal defender helped. Barron escapes on the flank and brings a low cross in front of goal and Swansea score. 3-2 after 66 minutes.
Iwobi goes off and Coquelin comes on after 67 minutes. Xhaka takes a card for a nasty tackle on Barron. And Moss gives a red card! Well you know it wouldn’t have been given if it would have been a Swansea player. Arsenal have to play with 10 man for the last 20 minutes. No chance of playing the ball so the ref was right but the way he let things go on Arsenal players raises questions again.
Alexis with a chance to start counter but completely misses his pass. Walcott called back for offside as he was going on goal. Moss then calls play back when Arsenal played a free kick quickly and Özil was on his way to goal. It was not taken from the correct place but would it have been called the other way? And refs should give advantage when they can to the fouled team.
Swansea going forward but the header is saved by Cech. Sigurdson with a shot that went over from a promising position. Alexis goes off after 81 minutes and Oxlade-Chamberlain comes on. Also Özil goes off and Gibbs comes on.
More problems with my stream make me miss a few minutes. Fer with a header but Cech can save. Arsenal hanging on now as can be expected. 4 minutes of extra time. Another header but again Cech with good save. Bellerin with a great run but Fabianski can stop his shot. Already in extra time. Theo almost at the end of a long ball. The Ox with a great run to Theo who misses in front of an empty goal.
A shaky end to a match we should have won more comfortably. In the end a deserved 3-2 win based on good play and great character. With other results going our way a bit Arsenal now level on points with league leader Manchester City.