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Arsenal 0-1 Swansea City: Bafetimbi Gomis Heads Late Winner

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LONDON – Arsenal missed the opportunity to move level on points with Manchester City in second place in the Premier League as Swansea snatched a dramatic late win thanks to Bafetimbi Gomis’s header.

The Swans’ disciplined six-man midfield frustrated the hosts in a goalless first half.

Former Arsenal goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski made a flurry of saves to deny Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey among others as the Gunners attacked relentlessly after the break.

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But with less than five minutes left, substitute Gomis nodded in – as goal-line technology showed Arsenal keeper David Ospina had failed to palm the ball away.

That gave Swansea a first league double against Arsenal since the 1981-82 season, after Gomis had also scored the winner when Garry Monk’s side beat the Gunners 2-1 in November.

The hosts remain three points behind Manchester City in the Premier League table, albeit with a game in hand.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger was able to name the same team for a fifth successive game for the first time since 1994, with Ramsey recovering from an injury suffered in the win against Hull.

It was the Wales midfielder who created the first chance of the match, his arcing fourth-minute cross headed over by striker Olivier Giroud.

That proved to be a rare opening in a tight first half, as Swansea stifled their opponents.

Arsenal named the same team in five successive league matches for the first time since January 1994.

Bafetimbi Gomis has now scored four goals in his last four Premier League appearances.

Swansea are only the third team in PL history to win home & away against Arsenal & Man Utd in the same season (after West Ham in 06-07 & Chelsea in 09-10).

Arsenal’s first shot on target came in the 59th minute but they mustered nine in total. Of their 22 shots, 17 came in the second half.

An injury to striker Nelson Oliveira meant Gylfi Sigurdsson started in an unfamiliar central attacking role, the Iceland midfielder regularly dropping deeper to aid the effort to frustrate Arsenal.

The hosts looked more dangerous after the break as Chile forward Alexis Sanchez skipped clear in the box and shot into the side-netting.

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However, Arsenal’s first shot on target did not come until the hour mark, though Giroud’s low effort was comfortably held by Fabianski.

He made an excellent save moments later to deny Cazorla from 12 yards, before blocking an attempt from Ramsey as the Gunners put Swansea under intense pressure.

A brilliant double save thwarted Sanchez and Theo Walcott and the Poland international’s efforts were then rewarded with a dramatic winner, as Jefferson Montero crossed for Gomis to head in at the back post.

At first glance, it seemed Ospina had saved from the France striker but, with the aid of goal-line technology, referee Kevin Friend awarded the goal to seal an improbable victory for Swansea.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger: “We were a bit unlucky with the goal. There are a lot of positives. This kind of game you play 20 times and win 19 times.

“In patches our domination was top quality. You have to learn from defeat and we take encouragement from a defeat like that.

“Swansea deserve credit for their defensive display but they probably had the fewest passes in our half of any team here this season.”

Swansea manager Garry Monk: “We worked all week on our plan. The players were magnificent and carried it out to the letter.
“I’ve tried to make the team adaptable. There’s no one way to play – as a team you have to be able to adapt and today was a perfect example of that.

“We didn’t have a fit striker to choose from the start, but I knew if it was tight in the last 20 minutes we could push for a winner.” – BBC Sport

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