Failure to turn possession into goals? CHECK. Glaring misses? CHECK. Lack of heart? CHECK. Poor defending leading to opposition goal? CHECK. Injury to key player? CHECK. Yes, Arsenal’s lily-livered 2-1 defeat at home to Swansea summed up all that is wrong about the north Londoners in recent years, and gave their title hopes another kick in the privates.
Joel Campbell had opened the scoring for the Gunners on 15 minutes, courtesy of a fine finish, after Alexis Sanchez had earlier hit the post. However, despite playing a weakened Swansea side and having the usual lion’s share of possession, the hosts once again failed to capitalise on their superiority.
Wayne Routledge levelled things just after the hour-mark. And despite the fact that Mesut Ozil was fouled in the build-up, the defending from Hector Bellerin and the re-called Per Mertesacker was abysmal.
Misfiring French hunk Olivier Giroud then missed a sitter, with his close-range effort coming back off the crossbar when it really should have been nestling in the back of the Swansea net…
— Seçkin Uğur Demirci (@Seckin_sud) March 2, 2016
In the second-half, the Gunners showed none of the battling qualities or nous needed to win a Premier League title, with Arsene Wenger deciding to haul off one of the Gunners’ best performers on the night, Campbell, much to the annoyance of the Emirates fans.
Then, on 74 minutes, the inevitable happened, with Swansea taking the lead after Peter Cech failed to deal with Gylfi Sigurdsson’s superbly struck free-kick centre, with Ashley Williams bundling the ball home.
There was still time for Sanchez to hit the frame of the goal again, this time courtesy of a free-kick, but ultimately the Swans looked relatively comfortable and saw out a precious victory.
Oh, and Cech did his calf muscle in after coming up for a late corner, so he misses the upcoming north London derby (as does Laurent Koscielny). Classic Arsenal indeed and a performance which sees them stay six points behind leaders Leicester, as their title title once again suffers a Springtime crumble.
As for the Swans, who were without their ill manager Franco Guidolin, they go a significant six points clear of the drop-zone.