Swansea 1 Arsenal 2: Three talking points as Gunners extend lead
Swansea 1 Arsenal 2: What lessons did we learn as the Gunners extended their lead at the top of the table to two points?
Gnabry sparkles again in Walcott’s absence
After making his Premier League debut against Stoke last weekend, it was another impressive display by young German Serge Gnabry as he continues to fill in for Theo Walcott, who has been ruled out until mid-October after undergoing abdominal surgery last week. The 18-year-old looked confident in possession and fired in a number of teasing crosses in the first half. He came close to carving an opener after he powered through Swansea’s midfield in first-half stoppage time and fed Olivier Giroud, who could only blast wide. He then capped a stellar display by giving Arsenal the lead in the 58th minute with a superb finish after being found by the in-form Aaron Ramsey. The Germany Under-19 international also did his defensive duties well, helping Bacary Sagna cope with the threat of Wayne Routledge. He departed the pitch to a standing ovation in the 77th minute. With Walcott, Lukas Podolski, Tomas Rosicky, Abou Diaby and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain all currently out injured, Wenger will be more than happy to have the youngster to call upon in the coming weeks.
Ramsey continues fine form
Ramsey’s rise over the last few months has been nothing short of remarkable. The Wales international’s inconsistent performances over the last couple of seasons had led sections of Gunners fans to question whether the 22-year-old would ever hit top form again following his horror leg-break at Stoke City back in February 2010. It’s still early in the season, but Ramsey has been one of the Premier League’s top performers so far this term and already has four top-flight strikes to his name. He is oozing confidence, constantly calls for the ball and refuses to be beaten one-on-one by the opposition. He was below-par in the first half – like most of his team-mates – but stood up when it counted after the break. After notching up another assist, he fired Arsenal’s second into the roof of the net in the 62nd minute after neat build-up play from Giroud and Jack Wilshere. Chants of “he scores when he wants” from the Arsenal away fans rang true after another man-of-the-match display from the Welshman. He has now scored eight goals in all competitions this season – a figure put into perspective by the fact he had only managed a total of five strikes over the last two seasons.
Poor first half forgotten after frenetic second
Disjointed. That was the only word to describe both sides’ performances in the first half at the Liberty Stadium. For two teams renowned for playing with an attacking flair, both struggled to find their rhythm as neither managed to conjure a single shot on target. There were only seven efforts in total before the break but the game sparked into life in the second half. Both of Arsenal’s goals involved the intricate, easy-on-the-eye build-up play we used to expect from the Gunners. And Swansea’s opener came after some neat work between Wilfried Bony and Ben Davies as both the Gunners and the Swans produced some of the football they’re known for. Michael Laudrup’s men dominated the possession stakes, claiming 58 per cent, which is no mean feat against a Gunners side used to having more of the ball.