Serge Gnabry’s first goal for Arsenal helped the Gunners beat Swansea City 2-1 at the Liberty Stadium and send them two points clear at the top of the Premier League.
After the other title contenders all dropped points earlier in the day, goals from Gnabry and Aaron Ramsey had Arsene Wenger’s side on their way to an important three points.
Ben Davies did pull a goal back for Swansea in the 82nd minute, but it wasn’t enough for the Swans who failed to make it much of a contest.
Arsenal started well and it was a former Cardiff City man in Ramsey who nearly opened the scoring after 15 minutes. The midfielder has been in top form since the start of the season and let fly from 25 yards, but the ball flew inches wide of Michel Vorm’s post. The only other chance of a lacklustre first half came within the injury time at the end of the half. Gnabry went on a great driving run and played a nice pass for Olivier Giroud, but the French international flashed his shot wide from a good position.
The second half proved to be a much better watch with Mesut Ozil involved in the play more. After six second half minutes, the German picked out Gnabry with a smart pass and the winger drove a left-footed shot at goal, but Vorm positioned himself well and made a comfortable save.
Unfortunately for the Dutch goalkeeper, Gnabry wouldn’t be denied his first ever professional goal as Arsenal took the lead in the 58th minute. Ramsey found the German youngster on the edge of the box and Gnabry took a touch before slamming past Vorm with a tidy finish, to the delight of the watching away fans.
Just a minute later, Vorm had to make a very good save to stop Swansea from falling further behind. Ramsey pulled the strings again as he played in Ozil with a through ball, but the former Real Madrid man saw his powerful shot well saved by the Swansea shot-stopper from the edge of the box.
Vorm was helpless in the 62nd minute as Arsenal wrapped up the win with a wonderful second goal. Ramsey collected Giroud’s pass and dropped his shoulder past Jose Canas before expertly rifling into the top corner from 20 yards. It was an emphatic finish from Ramsey and the Wales midfielder has now scored five goals in his last four games for the North London club.
From this point, Swansea rarely looked like getting back into the game but they did force Wojciech Szczesny into a good save with 21 minutes to go. Nathan Dyer found plenty of space from 25 yards and drove a thunderbolt towards goal, but Arsenal’s Polish goalkeeper made a smart save to tip the ball around the post.
With just eight minutes left in the game, Swansea did pull a goal back and it was just Davies’ third goal of his career. The left-back did really well to exchange passes with Wilfried Bony and strode into the penalty area before clipping past Szcesney from six yards. It was a well-taken goal, but Arsene Wenger will not be happy with his side’s inability to keep a clean sheet.
With the win, Arsenal return to the summit of the Premier League and take their momentum into a tricky-looking UEFA Champions League tie with Napoli on Tuesday. Swansea will be looking to bounce back with their European tie on Thursday as they host St. Gallen in the UEFA Europa League.
Match Report by Kyle Dixon (@kyledixon95)