Report - Swansea City 3-2 Arsenal
15th January 2012
A pulsating game at the Liberty Stadium this afternoon saw an impressive Swansea City beat Arsenal 3-2 to jump up to 10th in the Premier League table.
It was a game played between two excellent passing sides, but the Swans came out on top, with more goals and better use of possession in one of the most exciting games of the season, that saw plenty of goalscoring chances at both ends of the pitch.
Brendan Rodgers made four changes to the team that beat Barnsley in the FA Cup 3rd round last weekend. Goalkeeper Michel Vorm was back to replace Gerhard Tremmel, while in defence Spurs loanee Steven Caulker replaced Garry Monk.
In midfield, Andrea Orlandi made way for Joe Allen and Scott Sinclair returned to replace Wayne Routledge.
The Swans got off to the worse possible start, they were slow off the starting blocks and Arsenal and their top scorer Robin Van Persie took full advantage. Arshavin sent van Persie free down the right flank, and after delaying a shot the Dutch striker did well to finish beyond Michel Vorm from a close, tight angle.
It looked like it could have been a long afternoon for the Swans. Van Persie has shown he can win games himself, but thankfully the lead didn't last long, and after netting the equaliser from the penalty spot, the hosts grew in confidence which enabled them to control the remainder of the opening half.
Nathan Dyer tried to spin the ball, but he was caught by Aaron Ramsey and the referee showed no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Scott Sinclair placed the ball into his usual right corner, to put the sides level once again.
Both sides after chances in the half an hour that followed, but it was the Swans that were maintaining possession better, with 55% of the ball and showing everyone just why they've earned such a big reputation as being excellent passers.
Leon Britton and Joe Allen helped us to dominate the middle third with continuous accurate passing, while Kemy Agustien helped to give us a more physical presence.
The second half saw plenty more action at both ends of the pitch. Swansea City seemed to make another slow start to the half, but again they soon grew in confidence and settled again into their passing groove.
Arsenal weren't as slick as they'd like to be in possession, and Wenger watched on as his side, known too for their passing style, were being outplayed at times by their own game.
At the start of the second half, Rodgers made a change in midfield and replaced Kemy Agustien with new loan signing Gylfi Sigurdsson. The Icelandic looked impressive just moments after coming on. He showed his qualities in the second half, particularly his crossing and vision to pick out some excellent attacking passes through to the wingers and frontman Danny Graham.
Joe Allen and Nathan Dyer fired shots just past the post before they linked up to put the Swans in front. Allen picked out Dyer who was unmarked just outside the box, and the winger netted his third goal in as many games, shooting through a covering defender and goalkeeper to make it 2-1.
A flurry of goals from each side then occurred as Arsenal equalised 12 minutes later, and just 45 seconds before Swansea City restored their lead.
Both goals that followed Dyer's second for the Swans were easy, straightforward attacks that exposed the defences, showing how they can be compromised sometimes for a more attacking emphasis of play. The first from Arsenal, saw a long ball played wide and through to Theo Walcott, who slotted the ball past Vorm to put the scores at 2-2. The Gunners didn't have long to celebrate as Graham finished brilliantly to win us the game.
New loanee Sigurdsson played an excellent ball though to the former Watford striker, and he did brilliantly to finish past the goalkeeper from an acute, wide angle for his ninth goal of the campaign.
Swansea City held on for the remaining 20 minutes, but Arsenal went agonisingly close a few times to scoring another equaliser. Vorm had to make an excellent double save to keep us in front, but in the end we deserved the win for such an excellent display of quality passing and attacking football, including some excellent finishing in front of goal.
Swans: Michel Vorm, Angel Rangel, Steven Caulker, Ashley Williams (capt), Neil Taylor, Leon Britton, Joe Allen, Kemy Agustien (Gylfi Sigurdsson, ht), Nathan Dyer (Wayne Routledge, 82), Scott Sinclair, Danny Graham (Leroy Lita, 90).
Subs: Gerhard Tremmel, Jazz Richards, Garry Monk, Luke Moore.
Arsenal: Wojciech Szczesny, Per Mertesacker (Alex Oxalde-Chamberlain, 76), Laurent Koscielny, Robin Van Persie (capt), Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey, Alex Song, Johan Djourou, Andrey Arshavin (Tomas Rosicky, 63), Yossi Benayoun (Thierry Henry, 63), Ignasi Miquel.
Subs: Manuel Almunia, Ju-Young Park, Sebastien Squillaci, Nico Yennaris.
Referee: M. Oliver