Arsenal Vs Swansea City: Highlights and analysis from the comeback win

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 28: Aaron Ramsey of Arsenal celebrates scoring his sides second goal with Sead Kolasinac of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Swansea City at Emirates Stadium on October 28, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 28: Aaron Ramsey of Arsenal celebrates scoring his sides second goal with Sead Kolasinac of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Swansea City at Emirates Stadium on October 28, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images) /

Arsenal hosted Swansea City on Saturday afternoon in the Premier League. Here is the full recap, all the highlights, and analysis from the 2-1 win.

That was an important win for the Gunners. Arsenal struggled their way through the first half, sluggish in possession and lax in their defending. But entering the second period one goal down, they played with far greater vigour and energy, carving open Swansea time and time again, with Sead Kolasinac playing especially well down the left flank. There were nerves at 1-0, especially given the gravitas of the result after a slower start to the year and some lost ground. But Arsene Wenger’s team, the same one that started against Everton last weekend, replicated the attacking potency of the week previous to earn a very precious three points.

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The first half started in predictable fashion. Arsenal dominated play; Swansea sat deep and soaked up the pressure. It was nothing new. After 17 minutes, the Gunners had 75% of the possession. They also had little to show for it, just a loose Alexis Sanchez touch from a long, lobbed Granit Xhaka pass, and Per Mertesacker header planted straight down the throat of Lukasz Fabianski. It would be a costly error.

Swansea, on their first foray forward, opened the scoring. A lumped clearance was poorly cleared by Laurent Koscielny, who subsequently tripped, opening up the space that would later be exploited, and Tammy Abraham was able to bring the loose ball under his control and turn towards the Arsenal defence. Sam Clucas had surged in behind Hector Bellerin, who was somewhat sleeping. A slid through ball between Bellerin and Per Mertesacker was fed into the path of Clucas, who slipped the shot under the onrushing Petr Cech who may have been better served by staying on his line. It was far from what Arsenal deserved. But it’s what can happen when possession is not translated into goals.

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As the half progressed, the Arsenal pressure, slowly, built. Sead Kolasinac and Alexis Sanchez began to link up well, with a lovely backheel from the Bosnian setting up Sanchez for a whipped effort that was tipped away by Lukasz Fabianski, while Hector Bellerin attempted, incessantly, to get in behind the Swansea defence on the opposite flank. But chances were hard to come by. Mesut Ozil was quiet, Alexandre Lacazette was non-existent, and Aaron Ramsey was worryingly loose and lapse in possession.

The best chance to extend the scoring actually fell to Swansea, as Jordan Ayew nicked the ball off a dallying Per Mertesacker, only to see his shot deflected away by Petr Cech, who did well to quickly dive at the striker’s feet. At half-time, Arsenal had had 77% possession. They engineered just seven shots, and Fabianski was forced into only two saves. Penetration was needed. Perhaps Olivier Giroud was the man bring it.

Thankfully for the Gunners, that penetration that they craved came soon after the break. With Swansea slipping deeper and deeper, inviting more and more pressure onto them, some neat interplay between Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette, including a sumptuous backheel from the Frenchman, saw the ball squirm wide to Sead Kolasinac, who charged into the shot and leathered it into the far corner.

There was, though, an immediate warning sign for Arsenal. Tom Carroll furrowed down the left flank, played a square pass into Sam Clucas, whose shot wriggled through to Tammy Abraham before the striker planted the shot into the top corner from the edge of the six-yard box. It was a lovely finish, but Abraham was adjudged to be offside, which, upon replay, was the correct decision.

Thankfully for Arsenal, it was a warning they heeded as they kept their foot on the gas. An Alexis Sanchez free-kick was headed just wide by Laurent Koscielny, who should have scored with a simple chance, and they continued to show attacking intent, with Mesut Ozil growing especially prominent.

And the second goal came with what was a lovely move. Granit Xhaka picked the ball up in the middle of the park, sprayed a raking ball out to Sead Kolasinac, who took a touch, set himself, before laying a pass on a plate for Aaron Ramsey who slotted home, left-footed, with a confidently placed first-time finish.

It was at this point that Arsenal began to settle into their attacking play. Mesut Ozil set up Aaron Ramsey, whose shot was blocked, Hector Bellerin’s cross was inches away from Alexandre Lacazette’s head as he flung himself at the near post, while the Spaniard later hit the bar, with a stretched, contorted effort after a blistering Arsenal break involving Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey exposed an open and vulnerable Swansea defence.

The remainder of the game followed a simple pattern: Swansea seemingly resigned themselves to the loss, rarely pressing their hosts, and Arsenal, content to play a little conservatively and simply control the match, played the ball in and out of the midfield without too much attacking intention. Olivier Giroud did hook a Nacho Monreal cross just wide of the near post, after some neat interplay between Alexis Sanchez and Granit Xhaka, before flashing a long-range shot just past Lukasz Fabianski’s goal. But, for the most part, this was a game that Arsenal were able to see out fairly comfortably.

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With results around the league — wins for Liverpool and both Manchester clubs — the pressure was on. Arenal needed to keep pace in a game that they were expected to win. They did. Just. And, at the end of it all, on Wenger’s 800th Premier League game as manager, that is all that matters.