Another disastrous and another disastrous result, with the title slipping further and further out of our grasp. With Leicester City dropping points on Tuesday and Tottenham losing against West Ham on Wednesday, this was a chance for us to make up some ground. We choked yet again though, and things are now looking more and more bleak.
Things started brightly, and we were dominating right from the off – as you’d expect. There were early chances for several players, but as it has been so often recently, our finishing was phenomenally poor. Olivier Giroud found some space to get on the end of a Hector Bellerin cut-back, but the Frenchman wasn’t able to get any power on his shot with his right foot, and it ended up being a tame effort straight at Lukasz Fabianski.
Alexis Sanchez also had a great chance, but his volley found nothing but air, and when he did finally get the ball under control, he was unlucky to see his shot crash off the post and into the keeper’s arms.
It wasn’t long before we took the lead though, and after 15 minutes Joel Campbell’s superb run was picked out by Alexis Sanchez, with the Costa Rican lashing in on the half volley. 1-0.
We really needed to capitalise and push on to get another, but instead we let Swansea back into the game. The equaliser came in frustrating fashion, with the Swans’ first shot on target resulting in a goal. The fact that we should have had a foul during the build-up when Jordi Amat dragged down Mesut Özil made it all the more annoying, but we also shouldn’t have switched off the way we did. Wayne Routledge was able to break through our defence far too easily, and place a ball past Petr Cech and into the back of the net. 1-1.
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Giroud had a great chance to restore our lead after Per Mertesacker knocked the ball down in the box, but the striker’s vicious strike somehow ended up rattling the crossbar rather than finding the back of the net. We went into the break level, but after conceding we really looked like a team already defeated.
We had a few half chances early on in the second half, with Alexis and Özil both failing to make them count. Hector Bellerin also stayed on his feet under a clumsy challenge right on the edge of the box, perhaps unwisely. If he had have gone down we almost certainly would have had a free-kick in a dangerous area, and perhaps even a penalty if we were lucky.
This game epitomised just how poor Alexis’ poor form has been effecting us, as he was constantly missing chances he would have finished with ease last season. An Özil free kick found him a matter of yards out from goal, and any touch would have surely seen it fly past Fabianski. He completely missed it though, and the Pole was able to gather it up with ease.
Second half substitute Gylfi Sigurdsson had a good chance to put Swansea into the lead for the first time, rounding Petr Cech after some poor defending. The angle he created for himself was far too tight though, and he fired well off target.
Alexis was again unlucky when his free-kick took a slight deflection, with the deflection seeing it smash onto the bar and back into play. That miss – and the many others over the course of the game – would prove costly, and soon we were behind.
Gabriel Paulista gave away a needless free-kick in a dangerous area, and Sigurdsson whipped it in. Our entire defence was seemingly caught ball watching, and Ashley Williams was able to bundle the ball over the line. 2-1.
There was the odd chance for us after that, but we never really looked like scoring. It was deathly quiet around the ground, and you could see the fans had no faith in our ability to get the equaliser.
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Regardless of the mathematics of it all, right now this doesn’t look like a team capable of winning the title. If we do win the league then it will be due to the poor performances of our competition than any real quality on our end, and that’s a disappointing thought.