Arsenal were struck another blow to their Premier League title chances as Swansea City came from behind to beat the Gunners 2-1 at the Emirates. An early half-volley was hit sweetly by the returning Joel Campbell to give home side the lead in the all-important encounter for Arsenal. But Swansea City made a stunning comeback with goals from Wayne Routledge and Ashley Williams enough to give them a lead which never looked in any danger.
Arsene Wenger’s men started the game brightly, but ended the game with lazy football which might have cost them the title. Arsenal still occupy the 3rd spot with 51 points. Leicester top the table with a tally of 57 points, and Tottenham, who also lost at West Ham United, are second with 54 points.
We look at how the players from both sides fared:
Petr Cech – 6
There was nothing the experienced goalie could do to stop both the goals. But the first goal was a counter-attacking goal and Cech could have come off his line a bit early. He has been having bad outings recently, having conceding goals regularly.
Hector Bellerin – 7
The young Spanish right-back was the most impressive and eager player on the pitch for Arsenal along with Joel Campbell. He was seen getting forward on multiple occasions throughout the game. His defending against the likes of Routledge and Ayew was up to the mark. But he could not produce the crosses for Giroud upfront.
Per Mertesacker – 4
The German was the worst player on the pitch for the Gunners. He lacked the speed and desire to pass the ball with intent. He was at fault for the first goal that Arsenal conceded, as he was sleeping while Routledge made a darting run behind him to level the scores. Even late in the game when quick passing was required, Mertesacker failed to pass the ball quickly enough to his teammates and when he did, he put his teammates under pressure.
Gabriel Paulista – 6
The Brazillian did not do much wrong throughout the game except for giving the foul away from which Sigurdsson took the free-kick for the second Swansea goal. Gabriel filled the boots of Koscielny perfectly by making some crunching tackles and key interceptions, but his defending was not enough for his side.
Nacho Monreal – 5
The Spanish left back is always seen giving his 100% to the team, he did the same against Swansea. But it was not enough for his team and their fans. Monreal defended well throughout the game and did not let any attacks develop from the left side. But when he went forward, he could never produce a single cross for Giroud to take advantage of.
Aaron Ramsey – 6
The Welsh midfielder started the game brightly for his side. He was seen making marauding runs into the opposition’s half during the early stages of the game. He seemed to have given his critics an answer, but as the game progressed, he seemed tired and did not create much for his side. He was careless during the second half and gave away possession as well.
Francis Coquelin – 7
The Frenchman was the anchor in midfield for the Gunners throughout the game. He won possession back for his side quickly when the likes of Sanchez and Mertesacker gave it away too easily. He acted as a shield in front of the back four but there was not much he could do to stop the two goals.
Mesut Ozil – 6
The World Cup winner started the game brightly, just like other Arsenal outfield players. But as the game progressed, his grip on the game slipped away. He saw more of the ball during the latter stages of the game, but he was well marked by Swansea. He drove forward at every opportunity in the first half and looked lively. But another loss would dampen his confidence.
Joel Campbell – 8
He was probably the best player for Arsenal on the pitch. He scored with a beautiful half-volley from an Alexis Sanchez pass in the 15th minute to give Arsenal the lead. His fresh game brought the fans to their feets and his slick passing and exchange with Mesut Ozil was impressive. The Costa Rican looked confident and eager, unlike his teammates. But Wenger was watching another game, and substituted him at the 64th minute, bringing Welbeck on, to which the crowd responded with jeers.
Alexis Sanchez – 7
One of the outings that the Chilean would like to forget. He started the game on the front foot but could not convert the opportunities. He struck the post once and the crossbar once with his free kick. He can be called unlucky, but since the turn of the new year, he has not been himself and has struggled to find form. He did assist Joel Campbell for the goal with a chipped pass over the Swansea defence but he also gave away possession.
Olivier Giroud – 5
The French striker went missing for the most part of the game. He had a quiet display as he was not provided with any real crosses of sheer quality. He did strike the crossbar with a thunderous shot from close range after Per Mertesacker had knocked the ball into his path.
Danny Welbeck – 5
The former Manchester United player could not produce anything magical after coming on in place of Joel Campbell.
Theo Walcott – 4
He barely got to touch the ball after coming on in place of Alexis.