Starting XI: Cech, Gabriel, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal, Xhaka, Ramsey, Ozil, Iwobi, Alexis, Giroud
Subs: Ospina, Maitland-Niles, Holding, The Jeff, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Welbeck, Lucas
Arsenal delivered a polished performance at the Liberty Stadium as they beat relegation-threatened Swansea 4-0 to climb up to third in the Premier League table.
Olivier Giroud continued his fine form by opening the scoring late in the first half. After the break, the Gunners upped the pace and own goals by Jack Cork and Kyle Naughton, both created by Alex Iwobi, gave the Gunners breathing space.
Alexis Sanchez’s neat volley completed the scoring with 17 minutes remaining.
As was the case at Bournemouth and Preston, the Gunners were sluggish in the opening stages at the Liberty Stadium. In contrast, the home side, buoyed by the arrival of new boss Paul Clement, were energetic in midfield and quick in possession in the final third.
In the 10th minute Kyle Naughton’s speculative effort on the angle forced Cech into a fine save at full stretch. Not long after, Gylfi Sigurdsson, always a danger in and around the box, fired just over.
It took until the 27th minute for the Gunners to threaten Lukasz Fabianski’s goal. Alexis, cutting in from the left, fired in a powerful effort that forced the Pole down to his right.
Ten minutes later Wenger’s men took the lead courtesy of a decisive finish by the in-form Olivier Giroud. The Frenchman might have scored earlier in the build-up only for Aaron Ramsey to overcook a cross at the end of a lightning break involving great passes by Alex Iwobi and Mesut Ozil. However, after Alexis Sanchez retrieved the situation, the Frenchman was on hand to convert first time from close range after a Mesut Ozil header was blocked. (1-0)
In scoring, Giroud became the first Arsenal player since Emmanuel Adebayor to score in five consecutive Premier League games. There was no celebration by the striker though, who appeared to be struggling with an ankle problem and signalled to the bench to sub him off. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain stripped off to come on only for the Frenchman to change his mind.
In the dying moments of the first half Swansea had a big shout for a penalty as Ki Sung-yueng hung out a leg and appeared to be tripped by Laurent Koscielny. Referee Mike Jones decided the South Korean had taken a dive and promptly flashed a yellow; replays justified the official’s decision.
Arsenal turned the screw after the break as they went in search of an important second goal. Twice Alexis Sanchez might have shot but dallied on the ball before Fabianski made a great stop to deny Ramsey after a great pass by the Chilean.
Eventually nine minutes of concerted pressure paid dividends as Alex Iwobi found space at the back post to drill a low shot that looped off Jack Cork and over Fabianski to fall just inside the post. (2-0)
Giroud’s troublesome left ankle forced him off just before the hour mark , Sanchez moved centrally with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain given the task of patrolling the left flank.
A Routledge snap shot, neatly stopped by Cech, and a chance for Federico Fernandez reminded Arsenal not to rest on their laurels. As Swansea pushed forward they left gaps at the back and the Gunners capitalised finding a third goal on 67 minutes to kill the game.
Alex Iwobi was involved again as his quick feet and cross bamboozled Naughton who deflected into his own net. (3-0)
Five minutes later the ever tricky Alexis Sanchez claimed his 14th goal of the season. Iwobi and Chamberlain combined down the left and the Chilean volleyed home after Routledge’s challenge on Ramsey flicked the ball his way. (4-0)
Danny Welbeck and Lucas Perez came on for the final 12 minutes. Ozil looked happy enough to make away, Alexis Sanchez less so. The latter had a coat put over him as he looked dejected on the bench and he promptly used it to hide for a bit.
Granit Xhaka came close to adding a fifth with a couple of efforts from range as the Gunners closed out the game with ease.