Crumbling Arsenal lose third game in a row as Swansea triumph again at Emirates
PUBLISHED: 21:42 02 March 2016 | UPDATED: 09:09 03 March 2016
Arsenal 1 Swansea City 2
Struggling Swansea delivered another crushing blow to Arsenal’s title aspirations as they triumphed at Emirates Stadium for the second year running.
The Gunners were beaten for the third time in a row – despite taking an early lead through Joel Campbell – and remain six points adrift of leaders Leicester.
Former Tottenham winger Wayne Routledge levelled just after the half-hour mark and the home side fell apart in the second period, with Swans skipper Ashley Williams netting the winner.
Arsenal took the game to their opponents from the start and Olivier Giroud had two attempts charged down by Williams inside the first few minutes.
Alexis Sanchez was unlucky not to put his side in front soon afterwards, meeting Giroud’s flick-on with an air shot but recovering the ball to slam a shot against the far post and back into the gloves of a startled Lukasz Fabianski.
However, the Gunners deservedly snatched the lead on 15 minutes when Sanchez floated a shrewd pass into the box and Campbell met it as it came over his shoulder with a sweet half-volley into the far corner.
Campbell and Hector Bellerin both tested Fabianski in the aftermath, while the Swans’ only sniff of goal came when Leroy Fer’s effort was deflected onto the roof of the net.
But the visitors were level 13 minutes before the break as Arsenal waited in vain for the referee to signal either a foul on Mesut Ozil or an offside against Bafetimbi Gomis – and meanwhile Jack Cork played Routledge in to fire past Petr Cech.
Giroud should have restored the Gunners’ advantage at the interval when Per Mertesacker’s header sat up on the volley – but the striker smacked it against the crossbar from 10 yards out.
And the pattern continued after the restart, with frustration intensifying among the home support as their side struggled to reassert control or, for that matter, retain possession.
Substitute Gylfi Sigurdsson almost gave Swansea the lead, breaching the shaky Gunners rearguard and then evading Cech, only to thump his finish across goal and behind.
The visitors were rescued by the woodwork for the third time midway through the second half when a Sanchez free-kick clipped the top of the wall and bounced off the bar.
And the Swans capitalised on their good fortune five minutes later when Sigurdsson whipped in a free-kick that Cech failed to gather, allowing Williams to bundle the ball over the line.
There were chances for Arsenal to respond as Giroud, Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck went close with headers – but Arsene Wenger’s side now go into Saturday’s crucial north London derby with their season rapidly spiralling out of control.
Arsenal: Cech; Bellerin, Mertesacker, Gabriel, Monreal; Ramsey, Coquelin; Campbell (Welbeck 64), Ozil, Sanchez (Walcott 75); Giroud.