Arsenal collected their sixth defeat away from home in the Premier League, losing 3-1 to Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium, this Wednesday.
In a game marked by Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s debut and Olivier Giroud’s probable final appearance for the club, the Gunners proved to be their own worst enemies with a series of defensive mistakes, despite taking the lead first on the night through Nacho Monreal.
A brace from Sam Clucas and a fortuitous finish from Jordan Ayew, courtesy of a Petr Čech clanger, converted the score into a 3-1 Swansea win, as Arsenal continue to distance themselves from the top four.
With Aaron Ramsey back in the team to replace the absent Jack Wilshere, Arsène Wenger left Mkhitaryan’s debut on ice when naming him on the bench, alongside Giroud, despite reports of a move away from the club.
The much-improved Swans welcomed the Gunners to South Wales by claiming the first chance of the game, as Nathan Dyer’s cross towards the back-post in the 7th minute required an alert Ramsey to deny Alfie Mawson a tap-in at goal from close range.
It was Swansea, through Mawson once more, who continued to have greater joy in the final third, as the English defender aimed to bend a strike at goal in the 28th minute before missing the target.
Arsenal’s response fell to Alex Iwobi’s feet a minute later, receiving Alexandre Lacazette’s quick lay-off inside the box before forcing a save out of Łukasz Fabianksi from the left.
The North Londoners would grow to break the deadlock by the 31st minute, as Mesut Özil picked Nacho Monreal out with a cross into the back-post prior to the Spaniard’s first-touch finish.
Swansea replied through Clucas, entering the area via the left-hand-side and squeezing an equaliser in at Čech’s near post, just two minutes after Arsenal had taken the lead.
With the 1-1 draw being maintained into the half-time break, there was little sign of the Gunners altering the score in the second period, prompting Mkhitaryan’s anticipated cameo in the 57th minute.
Calamity struck on the hour-mark when Mustafi aimed a pass back to Čech inside his area, with the veteran scuffing his clearance directly into Jordan Ayew’s path and gifting Swansea a 2-1 lead.
A third goal neared Swansea’s grasp, as Mustafi’s header into his own box was pounced upon by Dyer before the winger could flash a shot wide at Čech’s near-post, with 71 minutes on the clock.
Arsenal’s struggles continued, with Monreal miscalculating an acrobatic clearance and setting the hosts on their way for a quick counter, momentarily halted by Mustafi before Clucas could pick up the scraps and smash a third home in the 86th minute.
Offering nothing in return, even with Giroud on the pitch, Arsenal were consigned to a 3-1 defeat come full-time.
By Patrick Ribeiro
Petr Čech (3) – Héctor Bellerín (5), Laurent Koscielny (5), Shkodran Mustafi (5), Nacho Monreal (6) – Mohamed Elneny (6), Granit Xhaka (5), Aaron Ramsey (5) – Mesut Özil (6), Alex Iwobi (5) – Alexandre Lacazette (5)
Subs: Henrikh Mkhitaryan (6), Olivier Giroud (5)