Arsenal vs Swansea
Barclays Premier League
Kick off: May 11th, 2015 20:00 BST
We disappointingly crashed to defeat against Swansea this past Monday evening, and we were hit with a bit of deja vu as Bafetimbi Gomis rose above the defence to head home the winner.
Much to everyone’s surprise, Arsene Wenger named an unchanged side for the fifth game in a row. Aaron Ramsey continued on the right, despite being a doubt before the game following his injury against Hull City (via The Independent).
We dominated possession right from the off, with Swansea clearly content to sit back and let us have the ball in our own half.
Chances were few and far between, and our best early opportunity came from an awkward Olivier Giroud header. The ball was slightly behind him, and Lukasz Fabianski – making his first return to the Emirates since leaving the club – watched it sail just over the bar.
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It was an incredibly dull first half, and we were restricted badly – despite having almost all of the ball.
Our attacking players were forced to come deep to collect the ball, and then struggled to break down a solid Swansea defence.
Alexis Sanchez wanted a penalty after he was tugged down in the box by Neil Taylor, but the referee was having none of it. It was probably a foul, but it’s the kind of thing you see happening 50 times every single game.
Giroud was starved of service, and was clearly getting frustrated. He took a long ranged pot shot just before half time, but saw it sail narrowly wide of the top corner.
Things were slightly more open in the second half, and we instantly looked more threatening. Mesut Özil played the ball into Giroud, who neatly found Alexis Sanchez. The Chilean could have played it across goal to find Aaron Ramsey, but instead opted to go alone. His strike was deflected wide, although the referee somehow awarded them a goal kick.
Ramsey returned the favour (or lack thereof) shortly after, shooting into the side netting when there were bodies in the box he probably should have looked to pick out.
In between these chances Giroud possibly should have done better with a strike from the edge of the area, but his snap-shot was straight down the throat of Fabianski.
Santi Cazorla had a rare foray into the opposition box, but his shot was – again – straight at Fabianski.
Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott came on just before the 70 minute mark, with Francis Coquelin and Olivier Giroud making way. The French forward had struggled to make much of an impact, and his compatriot in midfield had hardly been called upon at all.
Nacho Monreal hadn’t offered much in the way of an attacking threat, but his superb run was picked out by Alexis Sanchez. The Spaniard was through on goal, but saw his shot saved by Swansea’s Pole in goal.
We should have taken the lead when the ball fell fortuitously to Alexis Sanchez in the box, but he once again shot straight at Fabianski – despite it looking easier to score. The keeper parried it straight to Walcott, and it looked like our luck was in. The England international is clearly rusty though, and for the umpteenth time in the match we saw a shot hit straight at the keeper.
It clearly wasn’t our day, and it looked like we were going to have to settle for the draw. Things soon took a turn for the worse though, and we were once again punished by Gomis.
Monreal was fooled by a simple one-two down our left side, and Swansea were allowed to put the cross in. It sailed all the way through to Jefferson Montero, who got the better of Hector Bellerin and picked out Gomis. Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker were nowhere to be seen, and – just like earlier in the season – Gomis rose above a helpless Monreal to head goalwards.
It looked as though David Ospina may have kept it out, and the Colombian looked genuinely shocked when the referee gave the goal. Goalline technology doesn’t lie though, and replays showed it was over the line. 1-0.
It was a tame header, and Ospina really should have done better. His starting position was poor, and he insisted on trying to get two hands on the ball when one probably would have done it.
We were visibly panicking after the goal, and were trying to force one of our own. Swansea remained strong, and we crashed to a disappointing 1-0 defeat.
Our game can be summed up by this video of Arsene Wenger, the boss visibly frustrated by our performance and our inability to break down the defence.
The loss has potentially put second place out of reach, and we now have to be careful not to give up third spot to Manchester United.