New boy Kolasinac inspires Gunners to win against Swansea
Arsenal come from behind again as boss Arsene Wenger celebrates his 800th Premier League match with a victory
Saturday, 28th October 2017 — By Paul Cowling
ARSENAL 2 (Kolasinac, 51; Ramsey, 58)
SWANSEA CITY 1 (Clucas, 22)
ARSENE Wenger’s 800th Premier League match ended, like most have done before, with a win, as his Arsenal side recovered from going a goal down to comfortably defeat Swansea City.
Goals from Saed Kolasinac and Aaron Ramsey cancelled out the visitors’ first-half lead.
“At half-time, I was worried,” Wenger revealed after the match.
“We laboured and were too slow. We needed to be quicker, have better shape and put them under pressure.”
Wenger began with the same starting XI that thumped Everton the previous weekend. This meant the holy trinity of Alexis, Ozil and Lacazette were let loose on a Swansea side that had only conceded one away league goal so far this season.
But, aside from an Ozil assist for Arsenal’s equaliser, the trio did little to influence a drab match – though Arsenal had it firmly under control once they levelled the scores.
Perhaps not surprisingly, there was no place on the bench for Eddie Nketiah, despite his two-goal cup exploits on Tuesday.
Played in cool autumn sunshine, this was a poignant afternoon for two vastly differing reasons:
a Coldstream Guard sounded the Last Post as Arsenal “remembered”, while BBC commentator John Motson was at an Arsenal home match for the last time before his retirement. “Motty” provided commentary for the Gunners’ in-house match broadcast.
Swansea took a shock lead on 22 minutes. Hector Bellerin lost possession, Tammy Abraham grabbed the ball and fed a pass to Sam Clucas who calmly slid the ball under Petr Cech.
Arsenal’s best – and only – moment of the first half came on 41 minutes, when Sanchez picked up a back-heel from Kolasinac, before running on and taking aim at goal. Former Arsenal favourite Lukasz Fabianski was equal to the ball with a finger-tip save away from danger.
At the other end, Petr Cech came to Arsenal’s rescue when he got his body in the way of a goal-bound effort from Jordan Ayew, who had taken advantage of some defensive dithering from Per Mertesacker.
The half-time whistle was greeted by boos from the home crowd, but that turned to huge cheers when Kolasinac put Arsenal level in the 51st minute, taking full advantage of an assist from the in-form Ozil.
Kolasinac was goal scorer-turned provider, when he set up Aaron Ramsey, to put the Gunners 2-1 ahead on 58 minutes.
Suddenly from a potential heavy bruising, Arsenal seemed to be cruising to the win.
Only sloppiness would deprive 75% possession Arsenal of a deserved three points.
The Emirates responded with sustained and loud ‘Red Army’ chants.
Kolasinac is certainly settled in at the Emirates: In six home matches, the former Schalke hardman has notched up a combined total of 5 goals and assists.
Wenger enthused over his free summer signing.
“Kolasinac was decisive today. We had more space on the left and we wanted him to take advantage of that,” he said.
“He has convinced everybody that he is a good signing.”
The hulking frame of Kolasinac was everywhere as Arsenal held Swansea at easy arms length.
With the game nearing injury time, substitute Olivier Giroud made room for himself, but angled a left foot shot just wide of Fabianski’s goal.
There was none of the usual last minute anxiety that often courses through Arsenal fan veins, and referee Lee Mason blew the whistle on a poor game, where only the result and three points mattered to Gunners fans.
ARSENAL: Cech; Koscielny, Mertesacker (C) Montreal; Ramsey, Xhaka; Bellerin, Kolasinac (Holding 78); Ozil, Sanchez; Lacazette (Giroud 81)
Subs not used: Wilshere, Walcott, Iwobi, Coquelin, Macey
SWANSEA: Fabianski; Van dear Hoorn (Narsingh 81), Fernandez (C), Mawson; Naughton, Clucas; Ki; Carroll (McBurnie 84), Fer; Ayew (Dyer 81); Abraham
Subs not used: Nordfeldt, Routledge, Mesa, Rodon