In an effort that all but eliminated Arsenal from title contention, Swansea City beat the Gunners at the Emirates on Wednesday night.
Winger Wayne Routledge latched onto a great ball from Jack Cork to finish a first half equaliser, and then an Ashley Williams tap-in from a wicked Gylfi Sigurdsson free kick secured three points. The club are now six points above the drop zone and can breathe a little easier going into a big match at home to Norwich City.
This win came from a collective effort in attack, defense, and possession in the midfield. Even with some non-regulars getting playing time, including a debut at left back from Stephen Kingsley, the effort was spirited in the absence of manager Francesco Guidolin, who is spending time in the hospital for a chest infection. Caretaker Alan Curtis also made key substitutions that helped propel Swansea forward in the second half.
A mixture of luck and effort keep Arsenal out
Lukasz Fabianski - 7
The Polish goalkeeper was a critical part of the Swansea win, controlling the game from the back and making key saves in the late minutes. He only made three saves on the evening and was helped by the woodwork in some cases. Arsenal had three chances, including a potentially lethal free kick from Alexis Sanchez, hit the frame of goal; an unlucky break at home.
Kyle Naughton – 6
Right back has been a weak point for Swansea all season and Naughton put in only an average performance. He led the team in tackles with three, but wasn’t able to contain Alexis on the night. The right flank wasn’t useful in attack as the offensive power of Arsenal made Naughton stay back for the most part of the game.
Ashley Williams – 9
Captain Fantastic can do it all! The Swansea skipper deflected a precise Sigurdsson free-kick beyond the exposed Petr Cech to put the Swans ahead in the 74th minute. At the other end, the skipper made nine clearances and spent the evening having to body Oliver Giroud and Mesut Ozil. Legendary night for the Welshman as he led his team to victory.
Jordi Amat – 6
The Spanish centre-back was tough in the middle against Giroud, often having to body up the big French forward on corners and in Swansea's defensive third. He was involved in the first goal too as he beat Ozil to the ball and fed Cork, who passed the ball forward to Routledge for the answer to Joel Campbell’s opener.
Stephen Kingsley – 6
Considering the circumstances, Kingsley played well on a debut against a title contender in Arsenal. The left back was tough at the back and positioned himself well to cover his central defenders. When he got forward he threatened too, with the Scotland international's best moment seeing him drill a great cross into the box that no Swan could connect with. Filling in for the oh-so-consistent Neil Taylor, it was a performance he’ll never forget.
Mixed bag in midfield
Ki Sung-Yeung - 5
Ki has been an unfortunate issue for Swansea in recent weeks. The creative midfielder has appeared to have lost his touch on the attack, while still being weak at marking and at set pieces. His passing play in the middle was crucial for possession, but the lack of forward creativity was noticeable until he got taken off at half time.
Jack Cork – 7
The English midfielder made an assist for Routledge and kept the midfield organised for the Swans. Cork spent the majority of the match shadowing Aaron Ramsey and Francis Coquelin on Arsenal counter attacks and build ups He has become a vocal leader for Swansea and may look to enhance his role in the club after the season. Games like this showcase his talents and worth to the team.
Leroy Fer – 6
The January signing's first start was mostly uninteresting, with the exception of a great shot over the crossbar early in the second half. His play was largely in his own half, but he crept forward and made some good passes into the box before being subbed off in the 71st minute
Plenty of effort going forward - but Gomis remains the same
Andre Ayew – 7
Ayew proved useful around the right side of the pitch and in the box, but failed to get a goal. He was booked in 40th minute for a challenge on Nacho Monreal but, after being off-and-on in recent weeks, put in a positive effort to help secure a win.
Wayne Routledge – 8
The winger scored the first Swansea goal and pressed forward on the attack all afternoon. He made a great run to break through onto Cork's brilliant ball and put the chance away with real composure. Routledge has a nose for goal that often puts Swansea in an attacking mindset and, whilst his speed was matched by Hector Bellerin all evening, he had no problem blowing past Per Mertesacker before finishing his one opportunity.
Bafetimbi Gomis – 5
Despite bagging a brace in a friendly last week, the confidence levels of the French striker must be at an all-time low. His positioning and behind-the-ball play is strong, but he loses touch almost every time he tries to dribble past a defender.
Mertesacker and Gabriel kept him in check all night and were able to steal the ball back in crucial areas. Gomis is no longer a viable option up top, something the Swans will have to address in the off-season.
Gylfi Sigurdsson – 7
The midfielder’s free kicks have downed another team, as he assisted the eventual winner from a spot outside the right box. The super-sub came on at the break for Ki, looking to add some offensive flair to a slow Swansea attack and put his stamp on the contest.
He certainly did that and nearly had a goal after rounding Cech, but he couldn’t finish as his shot went across the face of goal. Sigurdsson has played tremendously since the January departure of Jonjo Shelvey.
Jay Fulton – 6
The Swansea youngster was put on for Fer in the 71st minute and held his own in a central defensive role. He was strong against Giroud and positioned himself well to break down some threatening Arsenal attacks. Fulton will continue getting time in the under-21s but may get called up again in the near future.
Angel Rangel - N/A
Rangel was brought on in the dying moments and so had little time to make an impact on the game.