English Premiership

Arsenal go clear at the top

2013-09-28 21:12
Aaron Ramsey (Getty Images)

Swansea - Aaron Ramsey has scored for the fourth game in a row as Arsenal went two points clear at the top of the Premier League following a 2-1 win away to Swansea on Saturday.

WRAP: English Premiership

Second-half goals from teenage midfielder Serge Gnabry and Ramsey put the Gunners on top at the Liberty Stadium before Swansea's Ben Davies pulled one back eight minutes from time.

But Arsene Wenger's table-toppers held on to secure their fifth straight league win since an opening day defeat by Aston Villa.

Arsenal started the day on top of the table but only ahead of north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur on goal difference alone.

However, with Spurs held to a 1-1 draw by Chelsea earlier in the day, Arsenal kicked-off in south Wales knowing victory would give them a clear lead at the head of English football's top-flight.

Ramsey, who previously played for Swansea's bitter Welsh rivals Cardiff, was at the heart of most of Arsenal's early work but it took the Gunners a while to trouble a Swans' back four led by Chico Flores.

Gunners centre-half Per Mertesacker did have an opportunity to break the deadlock but his header from a Mesut Ozil cross was wide of goalkeeper Michel Vorm's far post.

Ozil was a delight to watch, albeit in the middle third where he could cause only minimal damage, with his trickery on the ball and movement off it leaving Swansea mesmerised at times. If only the Gunners could have replicated that quality in the final third where Olivier Giroud ploughed a lone furrow.

Ramsey almost opened the scoring in the 15th minute when he struck a smart shot from 25 yards which shaved the outside of Vorm's right-hand upright.

Swansea began to show greater urgency than the visitors as the half wore on with Davies a constant threat down the left and Jonjo Shelvey continually probing through the centre.

But there was nothing calculated or planned about the moment that nearly led to the first goal.

Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny's heavy touch from a Ramsey back-pass led to Michu pinching possession inside the penalty area and when the ball broke to Wayne Routledge, the winger was inches wide with his shot from the angle.

Swansea continued to play at a familiar tempo whereas Arsenal were strangely subdued until, in first-half stoppage time, a neat through ball from Gnabry set up Giroud for the best chance of the first 45 minutes.

With only Vorm to beat, the Frenchman pulled the trigger but saw his tame strike spin harmlessly wide of the target.

However, the game was transformed by two Arsenal goals in the space of four second-half minutes.

The visitors opened the scoring in the 58th minute when Jack Wilshere and Giroud combined with Ramsey who, in turn, set up Gnabry. Having been quiet for much of the previous 57 minutes, the 18-year-old German beat Vorm at his far post.

Ozil, Arsenal's record-signing, should have made it 2-0 minutes later but was denied by a top class save from Dutchman Vorm.

However, in a match marking Wenger's 17th anniversary as Arsenal manager, it did not take long for the Gunners to double their lead.

Ramsey's flick on half way and Wilshere's determination in beating Jonathan de Guzman, helped Giroud to send in Ramsey on the return for a goal of genuine quality.

Dyer forced Szczesny into a fine save 20 minutes from time but Arsenal, by now, were playing with a real swagger and, despite Davies's well-taken consolation goal, held on as they equalled a club record with an eighth consecutive away league win.


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