Goals from Oliver Giroud and Alexis Sanchez, plus two own goals from Jack Cork and Kyle Naughton saw Arsenal on their way to claiming maximum points, and with that, overtake Liverpool on goal difference.
The home side were frustrating Arsenal well up until Arsenal broke the deadlock with a goal from Giroud at close range. In putting the ball in though, he seemed to get himself into a bit of bother as shortly after, he signalled to the substitute bench but he was alright to carry on through the second half. That was his fifth goal in five consecutive matches for the Frenchman.
Arsenal’s advantage doubled in the second half when a strike from Alex Iwobi was deflected in off Jack Cork and Kyle Naughton did likewise via another Iwobi strike to treble the North London side’s lead. Sanchez struck to seal the win for his side but wasn’t too happy to leave the field of play soon after (I’ll come back to this one).
This match served as a reminder as to how big of a task it will be for Paul Clement to keep his side up. For Arsenal, on the other hand, their ruthlessness showed why they shouldn’t be counted out of the title race, even if their chances look slim.
Wenger’s side eased their away day wobbles by recording their first away win since beating West Ham at the start of last month. Having started slowly due to Clement’s side pressing strong, Arsenal soon got into the swing of the game via Giroud netting the opener.
From then on, the North London giants took control and that was when Arsenal started firing on all cylinders. You could say there was a hint of luck about the second and third goals, but I wouldn’t take luck for granted. However, Arsenal used their possession to their advantage as they dominated, especially around the penalty area.
Sanchez wasn’t shy to get in on the act as he volleyed home from close range which saw him score his 21st goal of the season, in 32 games. Speaking of the two-time Copa America winner, remember when I said I’ll get back to his reaction to being substituted? I’ll talk about that now. When I saw his reaction, my first thought went back to 2009 when Cristiano Ronaldo got substituted against Manchester City when he was at Manchester United. And more recently, last September against Las Palmas. I know he [Sanchez] wants to play every minute but sometimes, he has to do things for the team. What do I make of it? There is nothing wrong with showing frustration if done in the right manner (if it’s possible) I wouldn’t blow his reaction out of proportion.
I’m not going to make a meal out of Sanchez’ reaction. I understand he wants to play every minute.
— Ese Agboaye (@A96oaye) January 14, 2017
On the back of this result for Swansea City, the threat of relegation is drawing ever nearer as Clement’s tenure started in exactly the same way his predecessor’s, [Bob Bradley] (I hope you haven’t forgotten) tenure did – by losing to Arsenal.
One of his main goals was to improve his side’s leaky defence, especially as the Welsh outfit have one of the worst defensive records this season. They did show promising signs, however, but after falling behind, it seemed like they just gave up. Their marking was lacklustre and their reaction was woeful, something Sanchez took advantage of.
It doesn’t get any easier for them as they face Liverpool in the “Brendan Rodgers derby” next Saturday, then Manchester City in three of their next two matches.
As for Arsenal, they face Burnley in an early kick-off next Sunday.
Starting with the Swansea City manager, Clement said that his side looked solid defensively in the first half, even though they didn’t have a real impact offensively.
Wenger also commented on the first half, adding that the home side looked intense physically, and gave his side a test, but then his side took over.
To put in a nutshell, I’m happy that Arsenal didn’t “Arsenal it”, and I highly doubt Swansea have a real chance of staying up this season. I think they’ll bid farewell in April/May.
With that being said, what are your thoughts on the game? Are Arsenal back to challenging for the title? Can Swansea City stay up? Who was your Man of the Match? Let us know @OfficialTFF