Swansea City 0 Arsenal 2

Nacho Monreal netted his first Arsenal goal since his £8.5 million January switch from Malaga to set the Gunners up for a deserved win at the Liberty stadium. Gervinho doubled the Arsenal lead late on in a game that Arsene Wenger insisted his side had to win. In a week which saw the Gunners win at Bayern Munich but exit the Champions League, the three Premiership points will be very welcome for a side that appears to be facing to many up go challenges both off and on the pitch.

Wojciech Szczesny we learned was not in the best mental state to travel to Germany, and Thomas Vermaelen was mysteriously among the substitutes bench. The Gunners’ captain was again on the substitutes bench at Swansea with Sczesny among those named, which would suggest that the Poland ‘keeper could be on the mend sooner rather than later. In his absence, Lukasz Fabianski was given his first Premiership start in two years, and having kept a clean sheet against Bayern, he was to repeat that fete here too.

It would be no easy ask for the Gunners, who succumbed at the Liberty stadium last season and the corresponding fixture at the Emirates. On the back of their Carling Cup mauling of Bradford City, Michael Laudrup has won silverware in his first season in the Premiership, and a trophy that Wenger has never won in his 17 years in England’s top tier. There was genuine warmth and respect between the two managers in the pre-match hand shake, not surprising given the respective shared philosophies onhow they think the game should be played.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain rattled Michel Vorm’s crossbar having given Angel Rangel the early runaround, with Michu firing just wide of of Fabianski’s upright as the home side responded . Carl Jenkinson was as relieved as the Arsenal fans, as it was his error that almost cost his side. Earlier Rangel had scuffed a shot with only Fabianski to beat, and Oxlade-Chamberlain saw another shot clip the crossbar just before the break.

Santi Cazorla continues his influence in the Gunners’ midfield in his first season in England, and let’s not forget the contributions from Mikel Arteta tasked with a more defensive role than that which he enjoyed on Merseyside. The first goal would always prove to be crucial and thankfully it came from the Gunners.

Cazorla raced way, and cut in from the left. Olivier Giroud helped the ball into the path of Monreal who hit his low shot beyond Vorm with the aid of a deflection after 74 minutes. Jonathan De Guzman responded with shot that hit the side netting, as the home side went in search of a leveller. It wasn’t to be however, as the Gunners doubeld their advantage. Gervinho had earlier tested Vorm, and in time added on, substitute Aaron Ramsey slipped in Gervinho to finish a move for his fourth Premieship goal of the season.

For Wenger’s side the enormity of Champions League qualification and a fourth placed finish remains their solitary goal.
” I came out many times and said I’m a great admirer of the attitude of this team. I think to win a big game on Wednesday night transformed the belief of the team a little bit. We’ve struggled during the season to find that and I think you could see today again that you cannot question the attitude of these players. The solidarity they showed are qualities that will be needed until the last day of the season,” noted Wenger.