Arsenal 0 - 2 Swansea City: match report

Richard Heathcote

Arsenal got outpressed by a good Swansea team, and the pressure finally told in the final five minutes, as Swansea found the gaps they needed and scored two late goals.

0 - 1 Michu 88'
0 - 2 Michu 92'

Aresnal have fallen to tenth place in the table today after losing 2-0 to Swansea at home in what can only charitably be described as a "good effort". Swansea's press and Arsenal's lack thereof saw the Swans boss the first half entirely, and although Arsenal started out a little more lively in the second half, they couldn't find a way through, and late errors gave Swansea the opening they needed, although in truth, they should've scored much earlier but for the efforts of Wojciech Szczesny.

Arsenal would start with Gervinho up top in place of the Frenchman Olivier Giroud; Carl Jenkinson filled in for the ailing Bacary Sagna at right back.

Jack Wilshere misplaced a pass on five minutes, and Thomas Vermaelen had to make a good last-ditch tackle to stop the attack. Nine minutes on, Carl Jenkinson cut inside and had a shot with his weaker left foot. It ended about how one would imagine it would.

The first ten minutes had been pretty dull; neither team was able to do much at all in the final third. Gervinho had an opportunity for a cutback but won the corner only, which came to naught, on the 12th minute. Swansea found a little action as Ki Sung-Yeung evaded everyone, got the ball to the right to Angel Rangel, who was saved twice in a row by Wojciech Szczesny.

Arsenal were not looking good at all.

Swansea were doing an excellent job of pressing in the midfield and cutting off passing options, which is what Arsenal used to do. It was working, too, as Arsenal could do nothing when in possession. They had a pretty good attack on 25 minutes, Jenkinson's cross nearly finding Gervinho. Arsenal were finding a little rhythm now that Gervinho had moved out to the left and Lukas Podolski had moved up top, and some sustained pressure saw a couple of half-chances as Podolski had a shot blocked and Cazorla headed safely into the keeper's arms from a Jenkinson cross.

Still, Swansea had a chance on the counter, as Michu beat Per Mertesacker for a flick to Nathan Dyer. Dyer was nearly free, but Vermaelen got back just in time to alter the Englishman's shot, and Swansea only had a corner.

Swansea won a free kick on 37 minutes 20 yards out as Mikel Arteta fouled Michu. Jonathan de Guzman put the kick just over the bar, however. Arsenal were a little better, but not much; nonetheless, Kieran Gibbs swung in a great cross to a wide open Gervinho, whose forehead somehow only hit the ball sideways and not even towards the net from six yards.

Halftime arrived. 0-0. The sadness.

There were no changes at halftime. Jack Wilshere drifted into the box on 48 minutes and found Cazorla, but the Spaniard's shot was right at Gerhard Tremmel. Arsenal were looking much better; they were pressing, dribbling past markers, passing better (although still not terrifically, as Theo Walcott demonstrated.) Arsenal put together much more fluid moves, Santi Cazorla diving on 58 minutes after his first touch got away from him in the box.

Rangel made a great little dribble on 63 minutes, but his shot was saved into the side netting by Szczesny.

67 minutes in, it was Wenger Substitute Hour. Gervinho came off for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Lukas Podolski came off for Olivier Giroud. Swans took off Itay Shechter for Luke Moore. Arsenal looked good after the subs, winning a couple of corners on the 71st minute, coming finally to another saved shot from Cazorla. The match was opening up now.

Swansea brought on Dwight Tiendalli for de Guzman, Dutchman for Dutchman, full back for full back. Arsenal would bring on Tomas Rosicky on 80 minutes for...Jack Wilshere? And not Cazorla, apparently.

Tiendalli nearly made his debut a memorable one 84 minutes in, leaving Gibbs in his dust and swerving into the box before shooting. Szczesny, though, made another great save, smothering the shot. Arsenal had another chance on 87 minutes, Vermaelen meeting a deflected cross with his head, but Tremmel saved it again. Both keepers were doing good work.

But the moment would come, and it was probably deserved. Vermaelen made a mistake pushing upfield, there was no cover behind him, and Michu found the space. Luke Moore found the Michu, and there was no mistake.

0 - 1 Swansea. 88 minutes.

Two minutes later, it would happen again. Jenkinson dawdled on the ball, and under pressure, coughed it up. Michu ran onto it, dribbled upfield, and made no mistake again.

0 - 2. Swansea. 92 minutes. It was all over.

Much improvement is needed, and quickly, or the season is going to be a very long one indeed.

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