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Arsenal overcame their Swansea City hoodoo as they drubbed them 3-2 at Ashburton Grove on Saturday evening.
Despite going two goals up early in the game, they struggled to kill off the game as it looked as though the visitors might claw themselves back into the game until the final whistle.
The win marks Arsenal’s sixth consecutive victory in the Premier League and takes them to second in the standings, level on points with leaders Manchester City.
As discussed in Swansea game’s Burning Questions article, the Gunners have capitalised on the fellow-title contenders’ tough set of fixtures to climb up the table, and here are the five talking points from the very game.
Was Granit Xhaka a liability?
Swansea had three shots on target in the final 20 minutes despite managing just three prior to Granit Xhaka’s sending off on 70 minutes.
His absence was profound as the hosts lacked his Aaron Ramsey-esque late runs; his ‘bright red card’ resulted in Arsenal being subjected to mammoth pressure that in turn saw them let the visitors create numerous chances in the dying minutes.
The Swiss international has definitely been a shrewd addition as evidenced by his stunners, inch-perfect tackles, incredible passing range, and overall reading of the game; however, he should tone down his aggression greatly as Arsenal looked handicapped after he was given marching orders, especially on the break.
Why Theo Walcott should keep up the momentum
At the back of his brace at Emirates Stadium on Saturday evening, Theo Walcott became the British player with most league goals this season.
With seven goals and two assists nine starts, he is enjoying a purple patch of form, and his confidence on the ball showed his upturn in form is not a flash in the pan.
After inviting criticism when he jumped over Younes Kaboul in April to avoid a potential return to the injury table, the England international has now come as far as outmuscling a taller and heavier defender in Jordi Amat before hitting the net.
Whilst his positioning underlined his maturity, his composure on the ball for either goal highlighted his newfound confidence.
Can Swansea beat the drop?
Bob Bradley’s English football debut failed to produce the result Swansea head honchos wanted, but the Swans can still turn things around.
Swansea now sit 19th in the table, with only Sunderland rivaling their poor record in the league; however, they have already faced stronger oppositions such as Chelsea, Leicester City, Liverpool, and Manchester City, besides Arsenal.
With their next two games being against Watford and fellow-relegation battling Stoke City, they should claims maximum points at all costs as a tricky fixture against Manchester United follows those two games.
Bradley’s inexperience on the English football arena may cost them their chances of securing television deal monies, but they definitely boast the talent required to finish above the relegation places.
Why the Swansea win is hugely significant
In a game that saw Alexis Sanchez have no shot on target, Arsenal managed to beat their former goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski thrice.
The Chilean produced a rather subpar performance as his bad decisions often led to the club missing out on creating easy clear-cut chances.
Besides, last season’s hero Mesut Ozil, despite scoring the decisive goal, also produced a rather underwhelming display and was wasteful throughout the second half.
The three goals and the win underlines Arsenal’s minimal reliance on their alleged contract rebels.
In addition, the sixth consecutive win in the league should also boosts their mental strength, and the Arsenal manager himself acknowledged the importance of keeping up the momentum they had generated since the defeat to Liverpool on the opening day.
Was the Swansea game a walk in the park?
Arsenal dominated for the better part of the game, but Xhaka’s individual error that led to Gylfi Sigurdsson’s opening goal meant Swansea fancied their chances of replicating their success they have had at the Emirates in the recent past.
Arsenal have struggled greatly against any team that get physical, but Bradley’s men seldom pressed the men in red and white.
Consequently, the Gunners were at ease although the result screams a close –fought battle.
Written by Praveen Paramasivam
Follow Praveen on Twitter @49Praveen
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