Belfast Telegraph

Swansea flying high after silencing Arsenal again

Arsenal 0-1 Swansea

By Jim van Wijk

Goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski returned to haunt his former club as a late goal from substitute Bafetimbi Gomis gave Swansea a 1-0 win over in-form Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.

The Gunners were looking to keep up the pressure on Manchester City in the battle for second place in the Barclays Premier League, and created enough chances to win the match comfortably.

However, Fabianski - who left north London last summer in search of regular first-team football - produced a string of fine saves before Gomis completed a smash-and-grab raid with a late header at the far post, which was given by the goal decision system after David Ospina had tried to claw the ball out.

Swansea boss Garry Monk said: "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."

Arsenal finished the first half in positive mood, as Aaron Ramsey was just unable to get on the end of a long pass from Alexis Sanchez, which bounced away and through to the Swansea keeper.

The Gunners, who had won nine of their last 10 league matches, started the second half with some purpose, as Olivier Giroud almost converted a low cross at the near post from right-back Hector Bellerin before Sanchez lashed an angled drive into the side-netting.

With 24 minutes left, Jack Wilshere came on, replacing defensive midfielder Francis Coquelin, to make his 150th Arsenal appearance before Giroud made way for Theo Walcott.

Arsenal had finally found a second gear.

Fabianski, who helped Arsenal win the FA Cup last season, came to Swansea's rescue again when he blocked a point-blank shot from Nacho Monreal after the right-back got into the area on the overlap. The Poland stopper was having one of those nights as he beat away Sanchez's snap-shot and then scrambled across to save Walcott's follow-up, which really should have been buried from 10 yards out. There was then late drama as Swansea snatched a winner with just four minutes left. Following a counter-attack, Jefferson Montero floated the ball over from the left, which was nodded down towards the opposite corner by Gomis. Arsenal goalkeeper Ospina looked to have scooped the ball out, but the GDS signalled to the referee correctly that it was over the line.

Arsenal must now regroup for Sunday's trip to Manchester United.

Substitute Jonathan Obika eventually sent Swindon to Wembley as they edged Sheffield United 7-6 on aggregate after a thrilling 5-5 draw in their League One play-off semi-final second leg.

The Swindon forward stepped off the bench to grab goal eight of 10 but it proved to be crucial as Town held on despite late strikes from Matt Done and Che Evans to book a tie with Preston at the national stadium.

Mark Cooper's side were 3-0 up inside 20 minutes with Ben Gladwin scoring twice before Michael Smith's third. But an own-goal from Nathan Thompson and Chris Basham's header put the visitors back in the tie only for Smith to grab his second of the night from the spot. Steven Davies made things interesting again before Obika struck and then, despite two late strikes, Town eventually crept over the line to spark a pitch invasion.

Belfast Telegraph


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