Aaron Ramsey starred for Arsenal yet again as he set up Serge Gnabry’s first senior goal and then scored himself at Swansea. Ben Davies replied for the hosts at the Liberty Stadium, but could not deny their opponents a return to the Premier League summit.
Swans manager Michael Laudrup made three changes to his starting line-up from the away win at Crystal Palace. Long-serving duo Angel Rangel and Ashley Williams missed out through injury.
Alvaro Vazquez also made way as the hosts handed starts to Jordi Amat, Jonathan de Guzman and Dwight Tiendalli. There had been wholesale changes for both sides in midweek where they experienced different fortunes in the League Cup.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger named the same XI that beat Stoke City last weekend as he chased an eighth straight win in the league and Europe. Youngster Gnabry continued to play in the absence of Theo Walcott.
Right from the start the selfsame style and system used by both teams resulted in stalemate. Jonjo Shelvey lashed over for hosts Swansea whilst Arsenal midfielder Ramsey smashed a 25-yarder wide.
They were the only chances before young Gnabry broke through the centre deep in first half stoppage time and slipped in Olivier Giroud, but he dragged off target. It fell to the teenager to get the Gunners going after the break.
A hideously narrow Arsenal went ahead before the hour as Gnabry showed composure by finishing a move involving Jack Wilshere, Giroud and Ramsey. Michel Vorm in the home goal then had to thwart Mesut Ozil as Wenger’s side again broke down the middle.
Ramsey made it two goals in four minutes for the Gunners when he completed another counter. The Welshman, in the form of his life, fired into the roof of Vorm’s net. It was a bitter pill for Swans fans to swallow seeing former Cardiff star Ramsey double the deficit.
Signs of a response from Laudrup’s lads were faint at first. Nathan Dyer worked Wojciech Szczesny with a swerving strike across goal. A defensive error from Arsenal then slipped in sub Wilfried Bony, but he could only shoot into the keeper’s chest from a tight angle.
Defender Davies set up a grandstand finish when he pulled one back for Swansea nine minutes from time. He dared to come in from the left flank, played a one-two with Bony over the top and touched past the onrushing Szczesny with his knee.
Late pressure was absorbed by the Gunners defence, however, and their reward was the lofty perch of top spot clear of Spurs. Defeats at home for Swans supporters meanwhile are becoming a regular occurrence.
- Swansea: 1 Michel Vorm (c), 19 Dwight Tiendalli, 4 Chico Flores, 2 Jordi Amat, 33 Ben Davies, 21 Jose Canas, 20 Jonathan de Guzman, 12 Nathan Dyer, 8 Jonjo Shevley (10 Wilfried Bony 61’), 15 Wayne Routledge (24 Alejandro Pozuelo 64’), 9 Michu 4-2-3-1
- Goals: Ben Davies 81’
- Arsenal: 1 Wojciech Szczesny, 3 Bacary Sagna, 4 Per Mertesacker (c), 6 Laurent Koscielny, 28 Kieran Gibbs, 16 Aaron Ramsey, 20 Mathieu Flamini, 10 Jack Wilshere (25 Carl Jenkinson 90’+2), 44 Serge Gnabry (8 Mikel Arteta 78’), 11 Mesut Ozil (17 Nacho Monreal 88’), 12 Olivier Giroud 4-3-2-1
- Goals: Serge Gnabry 58’, Aaron Ramsey 62’