Arsenal 1-0 Swansea: Arshavin hits winner as Russian capitalises on Vorm’s howler
Russian profits from some suicidal play by the Dutch keeper as Arsenal pick up their first Premier League win of the season while Swansea are still in search of their first goal
By Joe Doyle
The goalkeeper effectively gifted Andrey Arshavin an open net with which to score after he rolled the ball at the ankles of defender Angel Rangel, only to see the ball rebound to the Russian who did well to curl in an effort from a narrow angle.
It was a bright opening to the match from both sides, with Swansea’s attacking brand of football that served them well in the Championship proving a good foil for Arsenal’s much-complimented pass-and-move play.
Real goal threats were disappointingly few and far between in the first half though there were early chances for both sides.
Arsenal fielded two debutants signed on a busy transfer deadline day for the club, with former Everton man Mikel Arteta moving straight into the midfield, while German giant Per Mertesacker filled in for the injured Thomas Vermaelen in defence.
And it was Arteta who created the first chance of the match, skipping past a challenge before threading Aaron Ramsey through on goal, only for the Welshman to waste the chance in the opening minute.
The Swans weren’t content to sit back though, with Nathan Dyer sending in a beautiful cross for record-signing Danny Graham who got ahead of Mertesacker at the near-post to flick the ball on, only for Wojciech Szczesny to make a stunning save.
Ten minutes later Arsenal almost took the lead again, as Theo Walcott raced away from Neil Taylor and placed a shot beyond Michel Vorm in the Swansea goal. However, he was to be denied his seond league goal of the season by a goal-line clearance from Steven Caulker.
As the first half progressed, Swansea grew into the game, but both goalkeepers were scarcely involved, until Vorm committed one of the contenders for one of the howlers of the year, despite the season being in its infancy.
The keeper collected a sliced Walcott shot along the side of the box, and wanting to get a counter attack started quickly, he attempted to roll it out to Angel Rangel, only to bounce it against the defender’s legs, who had no idea he was in possession of the ball.
New boy | Mikel Arteta made his Arsenal debut in victory over Swansea
To Vorm’s horror, it rebounded straight to Andrey Arshavin, who finished with aplomb from a tight angle right in front of the away fans.
It was a cruel way for Swansea to concede, and though Arsenal had been on top, the Welsh side could be forgiven for being upset not to be level going into the second half.
And 10 minutes into the second half they could have drawn level. Scott Sinclair was tripped just outside the box by Laurent Koscielny. The winger picked himself up to take the free-kick, which he rapped against the crossbar.
But Arsenal were not to be outdone, and barely a minute later Robin van Persie struck the outside of the post after surging across the boundary of the penalty area, shrugging off challenges from Rangel and Leon Britton along the way.
The second half was passing Swansea by, though with neither keeper really forced into a save, the Arsenal fans could be forgiven for being a little restless while the score remained at 1-0.
And though Arsenal weren’t putting the game beyond Swansea, they looked comfortable and were the team doing the lion’s share of attacking with the Welsh side struggling to get on the ball.
As the game edged towards the finish, however, Brendan Rogers’ men were pushing for an equaliser though Arsene Wenger’s defence were holding strong. That was until the 92nd minute, when Graham had a gilt-edged chance to level the scores, but blazed over from a corner after Szczesny had come for the corner and missed.
However, Arsenal had just enough to hold onto their first three points of the season, while a first Premier League goal for Swansea remains elusive.
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