Arsenal 3 Swansea City 2
Walcott, 27, 33, Özil 57,Sigurdsson 38, Borja Baston 66

They seem to be all too familiar affairs when Swansea arrive at the Emirates stadium. Based on recent matches and recent results, the Swans need no assistance when facing Arsenal, so Granit Xhaka’s 70th minute red card was an unlikely gift that almost came back to cost his side. By then, the Gunners were 3-2 in the ascendency and based on their earlier clinically and technically superior play, should have been out of sight even prior to being reduced to ten men. Theo Walcott had given Arsenal a 2-0 lead after just 27 minutes. Gylfi Sigurdsson halved the deficit, with Mesut Ozil’s superb volley after the break restoring the Gunners two goal lead. Substitute Gonzalez Borja Baston reduced the deficit again shortly after coming on, and suddenly the complexion of the game had changed. Xhaka’s red card emboldened the Swans who threatened primarily through Modou Barrow’s crosses from the right. Ten man Arsenal however soaked up the pressure, and in fact should have gone further ahead late on, but Walcott was unable to complete a deserved hat trick, twice clipping the woodwork from substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s pacy crosses.

Arsene Wenger named an unchanged team to the one which won at Turf Moor prior to the international break, and they were soon looking to carry on from where they left off. After just four minutes, Mesut Özil couldn’t get a clean shot away after neat build up, the move deserved better. Laurent Kosciely has quickly formed a clever understanding with Shkodran Mustafi and here they would be tested and especially from the pace of Barrow. Early on however Koscielny saw out the Swans’ speedster at the expense of a corner, and Mustafi nearly headed in the opener from Ozil’s corner. Lukasz Fabianski was beaten, but not the bar.

Swansea won this fixture last season and Leroy Fer showed attacking intent but curled over the bar with the visitors first foray on Petr Cech’s goal. Playing his 50th Gunners game Cech would however be denied a clean sheet.

Midway through the first half, and another sweeping move. Ozil’s cross fell for Xhaka, and the man who has leathered goals at Hull and at Nottingham Forest in the EFL Cup, chose to place his shot, which was blocked. A minute later and Neil Taylor was alert to Walcott’s danger, timing his tackle to retrieve the ball as the Gunners threatened again.

However, with their next move, Arsenal took a deserved lead through Walcott. Their incisive positive football had been a deep cause for concern to the Swans and the Gunners capitalised on it through their man of the moment.

Alexis switched the ball to Hector Bellerin on the right. Walcott nipped in ahead of Jordi Amat from Bellerin’s looped header and was strong to hold off the Swansea defender to finish from after 26 minutes.

Three minutes later and Xhaka’s searching pass was latched onto by Alexis who lobbed just over Fabianksi’s bar. Another Arsenal move and this time the play just failed to get its just deserts. Alexis broke at pace and found Walcott. His first time release fell to Ozil to the right, and the German crossed for Bellerin. The Spain defender got to the ball to apply his deft shot, but out came Fabianski to produce the save and send the ball past his upright.

It was all positive inventive stuff and soon Arsenal doubled their lead.

Santi Cazorla’s corner wung over and although under pressure Xhaka got an inadvertent touch to the ball which fell kindly for Walcott. The England man had time to turn and finish to double his and his side’s tally after 33 minutes. Arsenal were cruising but were then perhaps guilty of taking their foot off the pedal.

There would be more goals, but Arsenal hadn’t counted on one being gifted to the visitors five minutes later. Xhaka inexplicably got caught trying to play out from deep in his own half. Sigurdsson stole possession and beat Cech with a left foot finish for a 2-1 scoreline after 38 minutes. Five minutes before the break and this time Cech’s poor clear out almost costs the Gunners as Swansea threatened again.

As Arsenal sought to restore their two goal advantage, Walcott raced onto Özil’s long pass. Racing inbetween Taylor and Amat, Walcott appeared to be caught by the latter, but play was waved on. Cech had to be alert to Amat’s header just before the break as the visitors reminded the Gunners that despite their lack of possession, they were still in the game.

Two minutes after the restart and Taylor was fortunate to escape with yellow for shocker of a tackle which sent Özil airborne. At the other end, Koscielny’s last gasp tackle denied Barrow a one on one with Cech. Mustafi tidied up for a corner.

Alex Iwobi’s trickery from the left almost lead to a Walcott third, but soon after, Arsenal did in fact fire in a third, and what a superb strike it was!

Out on the right, Alexis took Walcott’s short in field pass, and sent in a deep cross. Eyes firmly fixed on the trajectory and flight of the ball, Özil took aim to spectacularly volley home, Marco van Basten like for a 3-1 lead and what a way for the German to celebrate his 28th birthday!

Özil was then harshly called offside, a very marginal call as he appeared level with the last defender. The chance denied what would have been a simple tap in for Walcott. It would start a series of marginal and controversial off side calls by the officials. Swans new manager Bob Bradley, brought of Borja Baston. Barrow eased past Monreal, to cross for the now unmarked Borja Baston to tap in for a 3-2 scoreline after 66 minutes later.

Two minutes later and it could’ve been worse, but Fer blasted high from from a corner. Monreal was being easily bypassed by Barrow, and Wenger decided to shore up defensively, taking off Iwobi for Francis Coquelin.

With 20 minutes still to play, referee Jon Moss harshly sent off Xhaka, who although clipped Barrow’s heels, the offence was on the half way line, with enough red shirted defenders between the Swans player and Cech for it have been deemed to have denied Swansea a goal scoring opportunity. Wenger later agreed it was harsh, a ” dark yellow,” as opposed to a straight red he joked.

Walcott was again ruled off side from a pass from Alexis, again this was harsh. Barrow could have then drawn his side level, but only found Cech with a clear headed chance. With ten minutes on the clock and again Barrow eased passed Monreal to cross for Sigurdsson. The Icelander however struck high over Cech’s bar. Ten man Arsenal were being asked a series of serious questions. Wenger’ s solution was to bring on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for Alexis and Kieran Gibbs for Özil.

The pace of Oxlade-Chamberlain presented a new attacking dimension and should have seen Arsenal go further ahead on 85 minutes. Oxlade-Chamberlain broke at pace and found Walcott. The England man struck a shot which beat Fabianski, but hit the post before squirming along his line and to safety for the visitors.

Cech then held from Fer and Fabianski denied a late Bellerin charge as both sides finished with attacking instincts. With the last notable attack Oxlade-Chamberlain raced away. Play was waved on when the Arsenal man was being fouled, and he managed to square for Walcott. His effort was the gilt edge chance for a hat trick, but the Arsenal winger shot to clipp the woodwork as the game finished 3-2 to the Arsenal.

Anyone present at the Emirates or watching on television will have been royally entertained. The Gunners are now six Premier League games unbeaten and currently sit joint top with Manchester City on 19 points.