The phrase "Arsenal are second in the league on goal difference" carries with it some expectations, chief of which is the most simple - that Arsenal are playing well. In the first half today, Arsenal tried really hard to destroy that expectation; they let Swansea kind of run them all over the pitch, they couldn't pass very well, and they made Jefferson Montero look like the most dangerous player in the league. I mean, he's a good player normally, sure, but Arsenal made him look like a worldbeater.
Swansea started the game like they had nothing to lose - they pressed Arsenal well, they passed with confidence, and they didn't let Arsenal see much of the ball in the first 15 minutes or so. Nacho Monreal had a good chance early that he shot just wide, but that and a Joel Campbell miss were about the extent of Arsenal's threat in that opening stretch.
Swansea, though, had a glorious chance in the 20th minute - Jonjo Shelvey slid a nice pass to Bafetimbi Gomis, who ran by Kos as if Kos were waiting for a bus. For a minute there, it looked like an easy goal, as all Gomis had to do was beat Petr Cech. But Cech put himself right in Gomis' path, and that made Gomis hesitate just enough to allow an onrushing Bellerin to slide in from behind and poke the ball out of danger.
The other great chance of the half was also Swansea's. Bellerin fouled Montero in a dangerous spot just outside the area, but the resulting free kick came to nothing. Just before half time, Olivier Giroud went down in what looked to be a lot of pain, holding his knee, but fortunately it appeared to be a minor thing and he continued playing.
The second half saw Arsenal play like they should have in the first - much more directly, much more urgently, and much quicker. And shortly after the break, that urgency paid off - from a corner in the 48th minute, Olivier Giroud grabbed Per's shirt and slingshotted (slingshat?) past him to basically have a free header, which he did not miss. 1-0 ToThe Arsenal. But they weren't done yet.
In the 68th minute, there was a big ol' scramble in the penalty area, and Koscielny basically said "fuck this I'm tired of this" and cleaned up the mess, by putting the ball in the net. Arsenal were playing with purpose and direction, which they'd been sorely missing in the first half, and it was starting to pay off.
And then. The thing we all wanted? It happened. In the 74th minute, Arsenal got a goal from the newly minted Joel Campbell, who it must be said up to that point had himself quite a good game. His reward was a well-taken goal, and the Joel Campbell Experience got off to the best possible start.
So, three more points in the bag, and Arsenal keep pace with City. The day didn't start well, but it ended fantastically.