Swansea 3 Arsenal 2

It was a clash of two footballing sides, and when Robin Van Persie scored after only five minutes at the Liberty Stadium, it seemed that Arsenal were on track for a vital away win. Playing with composure and their own passing game, and with more than a hint of luck however, the home side levelled through a controversial Scott Sinclair penalty. Swansea then took the lead after the break through Nathan Dyer, and although Theo Walcott drew Arsenal level on 69 minutes, a sloppy and immature lack of concentration allowed Danny Graham to get the Swans an immediate response with a third. Thierry Henry came on after 63 minutes, and the Gunners had enough chances to at least level again, but surprisingly were unable to fire again when it was needed most.

Weakness

Worryingly, Arsenal now slump to their eight Premiership loss in a very challenging season, and once again, the lack of cover in key defensive areas has come to cost the Gunners. Ignasi Miquel and Johan Djourou have filled in admirably at the back, but you cannot continue to mask over your weaknesses that the rest of the Premiership already know. Swansea are a footballing side, but the Gunners should have had enough about them to have come away with something from South Wales.

Dyer stamp

An early goal after Alex Song found Andrey Arshavin, and his slide rule pass put in Van Persie. On his right foot, the Holland striker took his time to hit past Michel Vorm. Not overawed, Swansea settled, and when Dyer went down in the area with Aaron Ramsey close, referee Michael Oliver pointed straight to the penalty spot. Replays clearly showed that Dyer actually stamped on Ramsey and Arsenal should have had a free kick. Sinclair struck home the spot kick.

Evaded

Arsenal started strongly after the break. Walcott hit over when put in by Van Persie, and Miquel was unfortunate his strong left sided run and cross evaded every forward Arsenal player. then Walcott found Van Persie and his pull back fell invitingly to Arshavin, who could only hit over the bar. Dyer rammed in Swansea’s second after Ramsey was robbed in midfield, with Song switching off to the striker’s danger.

It was to be another poor afternoon from Arshavin, and he made way for Henry, with the equally ineffectual Yossi Benayoun being replaced by Thomas Rosicky. The Czech Republic midfielder started brightly and saw a shot fizz past Vorm’s post.

Inexcusable

Arsenal levelled on 69 minutes, after Djourou found Walcott, and for once his shot selection was spot on, dinking over the advancing Vorm, for his first Premiership strike since last October. What happened next was inexcusable. A matter of seconds had elapsed, when Henry’s lose pass was advanced forward by the Swans. Graham hit past Wojciech Szczesny who for reasons known better than himself came racing out.

Acrobatic

Once again, Arsene Wenger elected to finish with four strikers, with Alex Oxlade- Chamberlain coming on for the still struggling Per Mertersacker. Late Arsenal pressure should have brought another leveller. Ramsey saw his point blank header from Walcott’s cross saved, Rosicky hit just over the bar again. He saw Vorm react well to keep out a late drive that was also to keep out Laurent Koscielny’s acrobatic late effort.

Avowed

No Henry fairytale at the Liberty Stadium, and for Wenger, – who has refused to add to his squad so far in this transfer window, the injured Thomas Vermaelen, Bacaray Sagna and Jack Wilshere especially cannot come back soon enough. Wenger has always prioritised at least a fourth place Premiership finish and thus far has always been able to deliver. On the evidence of play against Swansea, and unless something changes in the dressing room, the Gunners do not look capable of achieving that avowed Wenger goal.