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Arsenal 3-2 Swansea City

By Luke ReddyBBC Sport
Arsenal score
Theo Walcott has five goals in eight league appearances this season

Theo Walcott scored twice as 10-man Arsenal won their sixth Premier League game in a row, despite a spirited Swansea City display in Bob Bradley's first match as manager.

Gunners and England forward Walcott now has five goals in eight games, taking advantage of a heavy Jordi Amat touch for his first and a poor Jack Cork header for his second.

The Swans looked dejected after the quick-fire double, though Gylfi Sigurdsson pounced on a Granit Xhaka error to curl in and give them hope before the break.

Mesut Ozil volleyed an Alexis Sanchez cross into the top corner to restore a two-goal lead for the hosts, but substitute Borja tapped in from the impressive Modou Barrow's cross to set up a tense finale.

Arsenal saw Xhaka sent off for a petulant trip with 20 minutes left and dug in to earn a win which moves them level on points with league leaders Manchester City.

Walcott's purple patch

Defeat leaves Swansea in the bottom three, winless since the opening day and they have now equalled their worst start to a league season. But it would be wrong to be overly negative about this display.

They were competitive early on but two defensive lapses left them facing a deficit they almost clawed back.

Walcott was on hand from close range to punish them and he has now scored as many goals in eight outings as he did in all 28 of his Premier League appearances last season.

The 27-year-old has only ever reached double figures once in a league season, scoring 14 times in the 2012-13 campaign.

But he seemed hungry in front of goal, with six shots - a game high - and showed instinct to sense Amat would have difficulty dealing with a bouncing ball, allowing him to prod the opener.

Walcott's approach play was also sharp - completing 92% of his passes - and he worked hard too, with only Santi Cazorla and Hector Bellerin covering more ground for Arsene Wenger's side.

Late on he missed two one-on-one chances for his hat-trick, the first of which saw him strike the post and watch as the ball rolled agonisingly back across the goalline.

Bradley gives Swansea bite

Bob Bradley
Bob Bradley dressed in all black as he stood on the touchline as Swansea boss for the first time

Walcott's late misses were among 16 Arsenal shots - but Swansea managed 13 themselves.

In their previous away fixture against Southampton in September, they managed just six, so there was an undoubted intent on show in Bradley's first game.

The Premier League's first American manager has talked of a "fresh start" for everyone at the club.

Barrow, who has been out on loan twice since joining in 2014, clearly sought to impress as he constantly outwitted Nacho Monreal to deliver crosses, most notably when picking out Borja who finished from 10 yards.

His energy and drive perhaps summed up Swansea's spirit. Yes, they look at risk in the bottom three - but in acting early in the campaign, the club's hierarchy have given Bradley plenty of time to right things.

He may not have been able to match former Swans managers Michael Laudrup, Garry Monk and Francesco Guidolin in winning at Emirates Stadium, but the visiting supporters should leave with optimism.

Read: 'We can be a really good team' - Bradley

Xhaka madness, Wenger optimism...

Xhaka is sent off
Since the start of last season, Granit Xhaka has been shown more red cards than any other player in the top five European leagues

Xhaka was Arsenal's main negative during what was at times a thrilling encounter. His error for Sigurdsson's excellent finish gave Swansea a footing, his late kick on Barrow almost put his side under more pressure than they could take.

Wenger said he would not appeal the dismissal but admitted it "made it difficult for us" after watching his goalkeeper Petr Cech save headers from Leroy Fer and Federico Fernandez late on.

The erratic display by his £35m signing may prompt concern, but Wenger should be pleased to see what he called "good solidarity" to hold on for the win.

The recent international break marked 20 years at the club for the Frenchman. With his contract up in the summer, how many more chances will he have to guide Arsenal to their first title since 2004?

His side have trailed for just 52 minutes in the league this season. They have been solid and when questioned by Swansea they found the grit which will undoubtedly be needed if they are to end their title wait.

Man of the match - Theo Walcott

Theo Walcott
Walcott delivered on a day when Alexis Sanchez perhaps showed the effects of over 15,000 miles of travel during the international break. He could have scored four but looks to be very much in the mood when wearing club colours this season.

What they said...

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger: "I have some mixed feelings because it looked at some points comfortable and then it never was.

"We have the same number of points as Manchester City so it's down to us to continue.

"If you look at the game the potential is very interesting but we have to be intelligent enough to improve."

Arsenal 3-2 Swansea: Arsene Wenger on 'uncomfortable' win

Swansea manager Bob Bradley: "That game had many different parts. We started poorly.

"Defensively the first two goals were not handled well, but we gave ourselves a real chance.

"We are confident we can turn this around. After the week of training we have just had and the mentality of the team, for me we are going to become a good team."

Arsenal 3-2: Bradley takes positives despite debut defeat

The stats you need to know...

  • The Gunners are the only Premier League side to have won (30) more games than they've lost (26) when they've had a player sent off.
  • Swansea lost their first Premier League match at the Emirates since their first ever visit to the stadium in September 2011.
  • The Swans have lost four consecutive Premier League games in a single season for the first time since April 2012.

Up next...

Arsenal face Bulgarian side Ludogrets in the Champions League on Wednesday (19:45 BST kick-off) before hosting Middlesbrough at 15:00 next Saturday. Swansea will look to end their run of seven league games without a win when they host Watford next Saturday (15:00).



Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 33Cech
  • 24Bellerín
  • 20Mustafi
  • 6Koscielny
  • 18Monreal
  • 19Cazorla
  • 29XhakaBooked at 70mins
  • 14Walcott
  • 11ÖzilSubstituted forGibbsat 83'minutes
  • 17IwobiSubstituted forCoquelinat 68'minutes
  • 7SánchezSubstituted forOxlade-Chamberlainat 82'minutes


  • 3Gibbs
  • 5Gabriel
  • 9Pérez
  • 13Ospina
  • 15Oxlade-Chamberlain
  • 34Coquelin
  • 35Elneny


Formation 4-4-1-1

  • 1Fabianski
  • 26Naughton
  • 33Fernandez
  • 2Amat
  • 3TaylorBooked at 48mins
  • 17BarrowSubstituted forRangelat 83'minutes
  • 7BrittonSubstituted forBastónat 60'minutes
  • 24CorkSubstituted forKi Sung-yuengat 71'minutes
  • 15Routledge
  • 8Fer
  • 23G Sigurdsson


  • 4Ki Sung-yueng
  • 5van der Hoorn
  • 10Bastón
  • 13Nordfeldt
  • 22Rangel
  • 35Kingsley
  • 56Fulton
Jonathan Moss

Match Stats

Home TeamArsenalAway TeamSwansea
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Arsenal 3, Swansea City 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Arsenal 3, Swansea City 2.

  3. Post update

    Theo Walcott (Arsenal) hits the bar with a right footed shot from the centre of the box. Assisted by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain following a fast break.

  4. Post update

    Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  5. Post update

    Foul by Leroy Fer (Swansea City).

  6. Post update

    Offside, Arsenal. Kieran Gibbs tries a through ball, but Theo Walcott is caught offside.

  7. Post update

    Attempt saved. Héctor Bellerín (Arsenal) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Theo Walcott.

  8. Post update

    Attempt saved. Federico Fernández (Swansea City) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Angel Rangel with a cross.

  9. Post update

    Corner, Swansea City. Conceded by Héctor Bellerín.

  10. Post update

    Foul by Theo Walcott (Arsenal).

  11. Post update

    Jordi Amat (Swansea City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  12. Post update

    Attempt saved. Leroy Fer (Swansea City) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Kyle Naughton with a cross.

  13. Post update

    Héctor Bellerín (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  14. Post update

    Dangerous play by Wayne Routledge (Swansea City).

  15. Post update

    Theo Walcott (Arsenal) hits the right post with a right footed shot from the centre of the box. Assisted by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain following a fast break.

  16. Post update

    Corner, Swansea City. Conceded by Laurent Koscielny.

  17. Substitution

    Substitution, Swansea City. Angel Rangel replaces Modou Barrow because of an injury.

  18. Substitution

    Substitution, Arsenal. Kieran Gibbs replaces Mesut Özil.

  19. Substitution

    Substitution, Arsenal. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain replaces Alexis Sánchez.

  20. Post update

    Offside, Arsenal. Mesut Özil tries a through ball, but Alexis Sánchez is caught offside.


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