Arsenal completed a demolition job over Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium, ending up 4-0 winners on Saturday.
The Gunners bounced back from a disappointing 3-3 draw at Bournemouth as they ended up comfortable winners against Swansea in the Premier League. Despite the Swans putting up a fight in the early exchanges, once Arsenal scored, the game slipped out of the hands of the hosts.
Were Swansea denied a penalty?
Swansea put up a dogged display in the first half hour of the game and rarely gave the Arsenal attackers any room in and around the eighteen-yard area. Olivier Giroud managed to break the deadlock in the 37th minute, but the hosts were almost handed a chance to claw their way back into the game shortly after.
With one minute to go before half-time, Swansea midfielder Ki Sung-yueng was tripped by Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny inside the penalty area and went down looking for a penalty. Referee Mike Jones went straight into his pocket and showed the yellow card to Ki.
The fans at the Liberty Stadium believed that Kosicelny clearly fouled the Korean and that Swansea should have had a penalty at the stroke of half-time. Video replay showed that the defender pulled off from the challenge at the last minute, but Ki manufactured the touch and deliberately fell to the floor.
In real time, it appeared to be a penalty, but it was actually a superb decision by Jones. With referees receiving a lot of stick this season, this was a top decision by him.
Giroud succeeds once again as Arsene Wenger’s trump card
The much maligned Olivier Giroud has slowly started to silence his critics – and with some swagger. After scoring one of the goals of the season against Crystal Palace followed by a last gasp equaliser at Bournemouth, the French forward has suddenly burst into the limelight.
Due to his wonderful cameo appearances, Wenger opted to start Giroud, and the striker repaid the manager’s faith by breaking through the stern Swansea defence. Disappointingly, moments before finding the back of the net, the 30-year-old clashed with keeper Lukasz Fabianski and looked set to be withdrawn as he appeared to be struggling.
However, Giroud played on till half-time and another 15 second half minutes, before he was eventually taken off for Alex Oxlade Chamberlian. Wenger isn’t quite sure about the seriousness of the injury, but has confirmed that the player has a minor problem with his left ankle.
Alex Iwobi puts in his performance of the season
Arsenal’s wide men have all, in a way, contributed to the team’s current league position. At the start of the season, it was Theo Walcott finding the back of the net on a regular basis, before Alex Oxlade Chamberlian started to wing in impressive performances of his own down Arsenal’s right flank.
Iwobi, despite the number of starts handed to him, did not quite live up to the expectations of the Arsenal fans who wanted to see the Nigerian contribute more in front of goal. The game against Swansea came at the right time for him, and in the absence of Walcott, Iwobi played a key role in two of his side’s goals.
In the 54th minute, Iwobi put great power behind a shot that took a steep deflection off midfielder Jack Cork to end up inside the Swansea set. Fabianski dived a tad early and was a mere spectator as the ball flew into the back of the net.
His second goalmouth contribution also resulted in a Swansea defender firing the ball into his own net, but it was all credit to the Nigerian’s industry and tenacity that left a hapless Kyle Naughton with no option but to get his foot on the ball.
The Swans need to improve defensively
Swansea have conceded a league-high 49 goals this season after just playing 21 games. They have been shambles defensively all season long, and no manager is seemingly managing to shape up the side on the defensive end.
Much like his predecessor Francesco Guidolin, Bob Bradley too, had a torrid time in charge of the Welsh side. Swansea’s American owners decided to turn to Paul Clement, and it seems that the former Bayern Munich assistant manager has a meteoric task on his hands if he is to keep the side in the Premier League.
With the January transfer window open, Clement should sign two full international and quality defenders that can add guile and experience to a downbeat Swansea side.
Alexis Sanchez’s behaviour after being subbed off
Alexis Sanchez was the other goal scorer for Arsenal on the day, and took his tally to 14 goals in the Premier League this season. No other player in the league has scored more than him, with Diego Costa sitting alongside him in the race for the Golden Boot.
While it was a celebratory occasion for Arsenal and the Chilean, Sanchez looked like a disgruntled figure when he was withdrawn late in the second half. The attacker gave a stoic expression to the manager and quietly tucked his head onto his lap in the dugout.
After the game, Wenger said that he was not worried by the player’s reaction and stated that it was a response to being brought off. According to the Frenchman, Sanchez is not injured, but was only being given a breather as the title race is getting more and more intense with every passing week.