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Sunday 17 December 2017

Gunners are coming apart at the seams

Arsenal 1-2 Swansea

Alexis Sanchez Photo: GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images
Alexis Sanchez Photo: GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images

Arsenal suffered a potentially decisive blow in the Premier League title race as struggling Swansea came from behind to win at the Emirates Stadium.

The Gunners had a chance to close on leaders Leicester but lost at home to the Swans for the third time in four years to leave Arsene Wenger's men six points off top spot in third.

Joel Campbell opened the scoring for the hosts in a game they dominated, hitting the woodwork three times over the course of the night, but it was Swansea who were left smiling as Wayne Routledge and Ashley Williams scored the goals to seal a 2-1 win that moves them six clear of the bottom three.

The visitors went into the game with the disruption of not having head coach Francesco Guidolin on the bench as he was hospitalised with a chest infection.

And his side, managed on the night by Alan Curtis, survived a near-onslaught of their goal as further profligacy from Arsene Wenger's Arsenal cost them dear.

Olivier Giroud, now without a goal in 10, was one of the main culprits but it was Alexis Sanchez who thrashed against the post with the game's first clear chance.

Campbell's cross was flicked onto Sanchez by Mesut Ozil and after a fresh-air shot, the Chile forward hit the inside of the post - with the ball landing in the hands of former Arsenal goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski.

Costa Rica international Campbell was back in the side for his first league start in a month and it was he who opened the scoring, sliding in to covert Alexis' pass.

Soon after Arsenal, as they have done so often, were to succumb to the sucker punch as ex-Tottenham winger Routledge ran in behind to collect Jack Cork's pass and slide a shot past Petr Cech to level with Swansea's first shot on target.

Giroud was the next to hit the woodwork - hammering a volley against the crossbar from Per Mertesacker's head down. The second half began with the same pattern, Sanchez again coming close as Swansea continued to look to break on the counter.

Sanchez hit the frame of the goal for a second time as his free-kick beat Fabianski all ends up before shuddering the crossbar.

Then the body blow to Arsenal's title ambitions was delivered in scrappy style by defender Williams.

A Gylfi Sigurdsson's free-kick was missed by Cech, with the ball bundled home by the Swans skipper.

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