Three points for the Gunners today as they fought through a tough Swansea side to finally find the back of the net twice.
0 - 1 Nacho Monreal 74'
0 - 2 Gervinho 91'
It wasn't always pretty, and for a good long time, it didn't look like it was going to happen, but in the end, Arsenal were able to make something happen against the gray backdrop of a rainy Liberty Stadium, Nacho Monreal's first goal for the club holding up a lead until Gervinho sealed all the points in injury time.
Arsenal started fairly well, combining to win a corner in the first five minutes. Swansea came rushing back, Laurent Koscielny rushing to block a Nathan Dyer shot at the last moment. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain cut inside on Arsenal's break and lofted a shot over Michel Vorm that glanced off the crossbar and out.
That was five minutes in; from then on, Swansea started to assert control with their possession. Arsenal were perhaps a little too content to sit back and invite pressure, the lack of pressing dulled a bit as long as the defenders sat back and were organized. However, when they tried to play a high line 14 minutes on, Angel Rangel skipped through too easily past Monreal, luckily scuffing his shot wide of Lukasz Fabianski's goal. Three minutes later, Michu picked up the ball with his back to goal, spun, and shot just wide himself after a bad giveaway from Carl Jenkinson (who was otherwise very good on the day).
Arsenal slowly regained the impetus, though, Santi Cazorla shooting on target from 20 yards. Theo Walcott's free kick from 20 yards was wasteful. Both teams sort of canceled each other out in the midfield for 20 minutes before the Ox nearly brought the match to life with an effort from 25 yards which beat Vorm but skipped off the crossbar again.
The second half brought no changes from either side, but Arsenal looked more composed in the attack. Vorm saved another Cazorla effort before Abou Diaby went on a storming 50-yard run, ran out of gas, and simply dribbled out for a goal kick, his last touch just too far. Although Arsenal were looking better, Swans were still Swans, and Arsenal were still giving the ball away in somewhat dangerous positions. When they did, though, they recovered well in most cases. It was all a little sloppy, and the substitutions started to come in. Wayne Routledge took the place of Ki, before Gervinho and Aaron Ramsey came on in place of the Ox and Diaby. The Ivorian almost made an immediate impact, dribbling away at pace from the Swansea right back until his final touch got away from him and Vorm collected.
Jenkinson fired in a cross which Olivier Giroud--mostly silent today--nearly got to on 73 minutes. Time was running out, but Arsenal were pushing now. 75 minutes in, it would finally happen.
Cazorla made a brilliant cutback from the left which Giroud took with his left, which initially looked to stifle the move as he wasn't set to shoot and there were two options waiting behind him to slam it home. However, he held off his marker and poked the ball back to Monreal, and the Spaniard sent a bouncing, difficult shot toward the far bottom corner, and Vorm couldn't get to it in time. He and Cazorla wheeled away in jubilation, and now Arsenal would have to hang on tight.
Jonathan de Guzman took a free kick on 83 minutes that went wide of the near post, although the way it hit the side netting was terrifying. Kieran Gibbs came on to replace Walcott on 85 minutes to shore things up, but substitute Luke Moore got very close to a chance late on all the same. As injury time loomed, Arsenal sprang a counter as Swans put everyone forward in search of a leveler. Aaron Ramsey broke up the right, Gervinho flying up the left. Ramsey's pass across wasn't perfect, Gervinho having to slow a bit, but he collected it, took a touch, and slotted it home past Vorm to seal the points.
Arsenal move back into fifth place with the victory, now two points behind Chelsea (who have a game in hand) and four back from Spurs (who do not).
In two weeks: Reading.