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Arshavin gives Gunners victory


Andrey Arshavin (right)

Andrey Arshavin (right)

Andrey Arshavin (right)

Arsenal got their Barclays Premier League campaign up and running with a narrow 1-0 win over gallant Swansea at Emirates Stadium.

For long periods the Swans, coached by assistants Colin Pascoe and Alan Curtis as manager Brendan Rodgers missed the game following the death of his father, matched the Gunners, who had all five deadline signings in their squad.

However, a mistake by goalkeeper Michel Vorm just before half-time, when his roll-out had hit defender Angel Rangel, gifted a goal to Andrey Arshavin which proved enough for a first league win.

Arsenal had started brightly with former Cardiff youngster Aaron Ramsey blasting over as Mikel Arteta orchestrated midfield on his debut.

But it was Swansea who almost snatched a shock lead on seven minutes through Danny Graham who was denied by Wojciech Szczesny's acrobatic save.

A quick break saw Arshavin release Theo Walcott who slipped his shot under the advancing keeper, but Vorm had got just enough on the ball to slow it down and Steven Caulker, on loan from Tottenham, hacked clear from in front of his own net.

Arsenal went ahead five minutes from the break following a slice of good fortune. Vorm tried a quick roll out on the right of the area, only to hit the heels of defender Rangel which left Arshavin to gratefully stroke the loose ball into the empty net from a tight angle.

After 53 minutes, Laurent Koscielny was booked for scything down the lively Scott Sinclair, who took the free-kick himself and clipped the ball against the crossbar.

At the other end, Gunners captain Robin van Persie shrugged off two defenders before bursting into the Swansea area and was unfortunate to see his curling shot hit the outside of the post.

Marouane Chamakh replaced van Persie for the closing 10 minutes and the Morocco striker almost had an instant impact with a close-range header from Kieran Gibbs' left-wing cross.