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Arsenal want to be world´s best – Emery

Unai Emery wants Arsenal to develop into the best club in the world, but the head coach asked for fans to be patient.

Arsenal are fighting for a top-four finish in the Premier League, sitting fifth ahead of Sunday’s trip to Leicester City.

They are also in the Europa League semi-finals, where one of Emery’s former clubs in Valencia await.

In his first season at the helm, Emery said he wanted to take Arsenal to great heights, but added he needed to be given time.

“We want to get with this club to the point where we are the best club in England and the world, but it is a long process. Sometimes, like today, we need to talk about patience,” he told UK newspapers, via The Telegraph.

“We want to play in the Champions League but also we know our process needs to be with patience because there are another five very strong teams with very good players and very big performances.”

With Liverpool and Manchester City clear at the top, Tottenham, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United are battling for the remaining two Champions League qualification places.

Emery said qualifying for Europe’s elite club competition was the most challenging in England.

“The Premier League is the most difficult championship in all the world. There is not another country with this difficulty to take the top four places and play in the Champions League,” he said.

“Maybe now in Spain, they have something similar – Valencia are struggling for the top four also, but here the biggest teams in the world play in one championship.”

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Emery challenges Ramsey to end Arsenal career in style

Arsenal head coach Unai Emery has challenged Aaron Ramsey to end his career with the club on a high.

The Gunners are in the thick of a four-way battle for two Champions League qualification spots in the Premier League and have one foot in the Europa League semi-finals after earning a 2-0 quarter-final first leg win over Napoli on Thursday.

Ramsey – who will leave the Emirates Stadium for Italian champions Juventus at the end of the season – scored the opener against Napoli and Emery wants him to continue his fine recent form in the closing weeks of the season.

“It’s not easy for him after he signed for Juventus but his focus is to help us and his attitude is a very amazing attitude towards each training session,” he told a media conference ahead of his side’s visit to Watford on Monday.

“I continued speaking with him about doing something very important in the last matches here in two competitions that are very important for us.

“He wants to do something important for the supporters and I want to do something important for him in his last matches here.”

Sixth-place Arsenal will climb back into the top four if they overcome the Hornets and Chelsea fail to pick up any points against Liverpool on Sunday, and Emery knows his side will have to be at their best against the FA Cup finalists.

“We are showing we are competitive and have a good mentality,” he added.

“At Watford, we need to be defensively hard and strong, like we are at home now, and in the attacking moments use the best opportunities to find chances to score.”

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Arsenal to extend PL unbeaten run

 

Arsenal host Huddersfield on Saturday as they aim to extend their Premier League unbeaten run to 14 games.

Unai Emery’s Gunners drew with Manchester United, 2-2, in midweek. Twice the Gunners let the lead slip through their hands, but they did look the much stronger side as the game ended.

Huddersfield have lost their last two matches following a three-game unbeaten run. The Terriers are outside the relegation zone, one point ahead of of the bottom three. Huddersfield have lost both of their last two games by 2-1 scorelines. Brighton and Bournemouth have both taken maximum points against Huddersfield and Saturday’s trip to the Emirates looks destined to be a third straight loss.

Huddersfield’s recent rise to the Premier League means the two clubs most recent matches came last term. Arsenal had little trouble winning both fixtures and outscored Huddersfield 6-0 over the course of 180 minutes. The last time Huddersfield played at the Emirates they were dispatched 5-0 by a rampant Arsenal. Making the Terriers’ attempt to win even more difficult is the fact that they have failed to win 17 of their last 19 away Premier League games.

Arsenal have been scoring goals galore this term. Twelve of their last 14 Premier League games have seen two or more goals. Much of that scoring has come from strikers Pierre-Emerick Aubemyang and Alexandre Lacazette. Although Emery was afraid to play the duo together at the start of the season, he has unlocked a dynamic forward line with the pair and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

The trio has accounted for 18 goals this term with Aubameyang scoring 10 of his own. Arsenal have tallied 34 goals, the second most in the Premier League behind league leaders Manchester City. The Gunners average 2.3 goals per game, but they have allowed 20 goals. Defence continues to be Arsenal’s Achille’s heel.

Emery does have injury issues to contend with. Defender Rob Holding suffered a serious knee injury in midweek and was taken off the pitch on a stretcher. Midfielder Aaron Ramsey also suffered an injury against Manchester United. Ramsey’s injury has been described as “small”, but he could be held out against Huddersfield with Arsenal’s game against Liverpool on the horizon.

Arsenal are heavy favourites against Huddersfield at home. The Gunners will take all three points and continue their renaissance under Emery. The game will have over 2.5 goals as the Gunners continue their dominance over Huddersfield. The win could put Arsenal in the top three depending on Chelsea and Tottenham’s results.

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Arsenal vs Tottenham – Match Preview

 

The battle lines have been drawn in North London as this Sunday sees the first of two clashes between Arsenal and Tottenham in the space of the next month.

Later in December, these arch rivals will square off in the Carabao Cup Quarter-finals, but this weekend the stakes are arguably much higher.

That is because it is Premier League points that are on offer with Unai Emery’s men looking to not only extend their unbeaten run which has been in place since August, but also they will look to leapfrog ahead of Tottenham in the table.

The Gunners go into this clash sitting three points behind Spurs, but safe in the knowledge that a win in front of their own fans would see them move ahead of Mauricio Pochettino’s men by virtue of goal difference.

That might be easier said than done though as Tottenham will come into this fixture with their tails up after making incredibly light work of crosstown rivals Chelsea last weekend, a win that sees them start the weekend lying third in the table.

And that is a position that they would like to solidify as they stay on the fringes of this season’s title race, and they cannot afford to cede any further ground to Manchester City and Liverpool if they want to be considered bona fide contenders.

Their hopes of success have been given a real shot in the arm after that win over Chelsea, it was a performance where Tottenham were on top from minute one. A point that was reinforced when Dele Alli opened the scoring early on.

The England international was only a substitute in England’s recent win over Croatia in the Nations League, but he showed any doubters why he should be in the starting eleven after a very impressive performance over Maurizio Sarri’s men.

Arsenal also ended up on top last weekend but admittedly their win was not as impressive. At the same time though that win over Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium is the kind of game that they would have struggled with last season under former manager Arsene Wenger.

Unai Emery’s men are of a different ilk and although they needed a large slice of fortune after Jefferson Lerma’s bizarre own goal gave them the lead, it is fair to say that they were good value for all three points in the end.

Arsenal were given a recent test at home to Liverpool recently, one that saw earn a creditable draw against the team that are currently second in the table and this weekend will provide a measure of just what the red half of North London can do this season.

Last year at this ground, Arsenal ran out 2-0 winners in a particularly one sided performance. However, in the grand scheme of things it counted for very little as the limped to a sixth place finish in the Premier League.

These two outfits are two of the Premier League form teams going into the clash, so something will have to give. At the same time, the form book does have a habit of going out the window in clashes such as this. If it ends in a draw then Tottenham will be the happier of the two sides come full time.

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Arsenal vs Liverpool – Match Previe

 

Arsenal’s winning streak was finally bought to an end last weekend as they were held by Crystal Palace, however it is still eight games unbeaten in the Premier League as they prepare for the visit of Liverpool on Saturday.

The Gunners cannot have too many complaints with the fact that they only earned a point last Sunday as Roy Hodgson’s Palace side were equal to just about everything the North London outfit threw at them.

At the same time though there was also an element of fortune in the goal that put Arsenal ahead in the second half. After taking the lead through Granit Xhaka’s sumptuous free kick, they then found themselves in the ascendency through Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang.

The Gabonese forward needed the help of not just goalline technology but also the flailing arm of strike partner Alexander Lacazette, his suspicious looking flick on certainly draw the ire of the Palace players but it was an infringement that was not spotted by referee Martin Atkinson.

The goal stood and looked it like Arsenal were going to make it 12 wins in a row in all competitions. However, they were foiled by Luka Milivojevic’s second penalty kick of the game late on, as an entertaining London derby ended all square.

Whether Arsenal look at that as two points dropped is something that can be argued, at the same time there were no such issues for Liverpool last weekend as they eventually made light work of Cardiff at Anfield.

Mohamed Salah was once again on the score sheet as he put Liverpool ahead before the break, before Sadio Mane scored the first of his two goals that day to double the advantage for Jurgen Klopp’s men.

There was a period where the game was in the balance as Cardiff halved the deficit with just under 15 minutes remaining, thankfully for the Reds though they found the necessary extra gears to make sure of all three points.

First Xhedran Shaqiri made it 3-1 as he scored his first goal for the club and then Mane put the icing on the cake with a sublime finish to earn his second of the day and the all important three points for Liverpool.

It was a win that temporarily put them top of the Premier League, an advantage that has since been eroded after Manchester City’s win over Tottenham on Monday night put the holders back on the summit.

The trip to the Emirates will not only be a measure of whether Liverpool can go all the way this season, but also whether Arsenal can be considered bona fide title contenders. A win for Gunners and people will have to start talking up their hopes of a first championship since 2004.

Last season saw these two sides play out a pre-xmas six goal thriller on this ground, there is every chance we could see something similar this weekend. Whether we will witness that many goals this time around we will have to wait and see. However, a draw looks like a very likely outcome.

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Arsenal vs West Ham – Match Preview

 

Another Premier League weekend and another London derby, this time the venue is the Emirates as hosts Arsenal welcome the visit of West Ham and it is fair to say that there is already a lot riding on this fixture.

Both teams come into this clash having failed to earn a single point after each suffering two defeats in as many league matches. Not only that, but with Arsenal and West Ham also appointing new managers over the course of the Summer the pressure is on them to get off the mark.

For Arsenal, the appointment of Unai Emery has meant that the former Sevilla and PSG manager is attempting to fill the shoes that legendary Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has left behind after finally calling time on his tenure in North London.

It has not got off to the best of starts for the new Arsenal manager, but at the same time that does come with the strong caveat that they have had two of if not the hardest fixtures to deal with so far this season.

An opening weekend home loss to Manchester City was failed to be added to last Saturday when they made the short trip to Stamford Bridge and eventually ended up losing to Chelsea in a frenetic five-goal thriller.

That said had there finishing been better in the first half then the game would have been out of sight and they would have been off the mark at the expense at a new look Blues side that is being led this season by former Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri.

For West Ham, there opening weekend defeat to Liverpool although comprehensive was not necessarily the game to judge all the new additions that have moved to East London over the course of the Summer.

The real acid test was always going to be their home fixture with Bournemouth last Saturday, one that saw them take the lead from the penalty spot through Marko Arnautovic only to then see Eddie Howe’s men turn the tables and eventually take all three points.

This has heaped a small amount of pressure on their new man in charge Manuel Pellegrini, not necessarily because of the lack of points so far but more perhaps because of their large expenditure during the transfer window.

The names that have been signed are ones that will have no doubt bought excitement to West Ham fans, but there is the underlying fact that a large amount of them do not actually have any previous Premier League experience.

This means the team is going to take time to mould into a cohesive unit, but the one thing you no longer get in the Premier League is time. Should the Hammers suffer a third straight defeat this weekend it will only crank up the pressure further.

Arsenal may have been second best in the last couple of weeks, but there have been some positives to take from defeat and it is those that they can build on come Saturday. So much so that they will open their season account with a much needed home win.

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Deadline Day round-up: Aubameyang, Giroud get their moves as Mahrez misses out

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s move to Arsenal was the biggest deal of a frantic deadline day on January 31.

The Gabon international completed his protracted switch to the Gunners from Borussia Dortmund for a club-record fee of £56million in a move that kick-started a series of deals.

Olivier Giroud promptly joined Chelsea and Michy Batshuayi replaced Aubameyang at Dortmund to conclude a merry-go-round of transfers that looked at one stage like falling apart.

Elsewhere, Tottenham secured the signing of Lucas Moura, Inter loaned out Yuto Nagatomo and there was some late, late business for Newcastle United, Leicester City and West Ham, while Riyad Mahrez and Ibrahim Amadou endured difficult days.

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Arsenal and Chelsea strike gold amid Premier League scramble

Arsenal waited a long time to get Aubameyang over the line but they did just that on Wednesday by smashing the record fee they paid for Alexandre Lacazette in the previous window.

Aubameyang’s arrival, coupled with the news of Mesut Ozil apparently close to signing a new contract, has lifted the mood around the Emirates Stadium after their 3-1 loss at Swansea City.

The deal also allowed Chelsea’s striker search to end with a cut-price deal for Giroud, who watched his new team lose 3-0 to Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge hours after completing his move across London.

The Premier League champions were therefore content to allow Batshuayi to join Dortmund on loan, while they also sent young Kasey Palmer to Derby County.

Spurs presented Lucas to the Wembley crowd at half-time of their win over Manchester United after finalising his arrival from Paris Saint-Germain, and Stoke City spent big to bring in Badou Ndiaye from Galatasaray.

West Ham invested heavily on deadline day, meanwhile, bringing back Andre Ayew from Swansea for a reported fee of £18m, while they got Jordan Hugill from Preston North End with seconds to spare.

Newcastle United sent Aleksandar Mitrovic to Fulham and also managed to strike a deal for Islam Slimani, who joins on loan from Leicester, while Mo Besic joined Middlesbrough at the last moment.

Rafa Benitez’s side also brought in goalkeeper Martin Dubravka on loan from Sparta Prague.

CONFIRMED: Newcastle United are pleased to announce the signing of Slovakian international goalkeeper Martin Dúbravka on loan from @ACSparta_EN until the end of the season!

Bad day for Mahrez and Amadou

Manchester City reportedly walked away from a deal to sign Mahrez when Leicester demanded a package deal of nearly £95m, meaning the Algerian will stay with the Foxes until the end of the season.

Mahrez is said to be deeply unhappy at failing to secure a transfer once more, but his miserable evening will be nothing compared to that of Lille’s Amadou.

The midfielder was pictured looking disconsolate in London, apparently making his way back to the station to return to France, after failing to conclude a move to Crystal Palace despite travelling over as the clock ticked down.

There was also bad news as far as a move for Javier Pastore is concerned, with the PSG midfielder’s move to Inter ultimately falling through.

Eliaquim Mangala, meanwhile, is expected to conclude a loan move to Everton, although there is yet to be any confirmation from the Toffees or City.

Roma land defensive cover, Liverpool trio loaned out

Roma lost Emerson Palmieri to Chelsea but they did manage last-minute deals to sign Hector Moreno from Real Sociedad and Jonathan Silva from Sporting, making for a positive end to a window in which they kept hold of Edin Dzeko.

Liverpool spent no more of their Philippe Coutinho funds but did loan out three players late on, with Lazar Markovic going to Anderlecht, Jon Flanagan to Bolton Wanderers and Harry Wilson to Hull City.

Andy King was another to move on a temporary deal, joining Swansea from Leicester until the end of the season, while Inter allowed Nagatomo to seek first-team football at Galatasaray.

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Arsenal 5 Huddersfield Town 0: Ozil makes the difference in flattering win

Mesut Ozil was the difference maker as Arsenal were made to work hard before securing a flattering 5-0 victory over Huddersfield Town at the Emirates on Wednesday.

Germany international Ozil made an emphatic return to the starting line-up after sitting out Sunday’s 1-0 win against Burnley due to illness, providing two assists and scoring another in the space of four second-half minutes to emphasise his importance amid ongoing uncertainty over his future.

Alexandre Lacazette gave the Gunners an early lead but they failed to kick on and afforded frequent chances to Huddersfield, who saw Steven Mounie’s deflected shot in the second period pushed against the crossbar by Petr Cech.

Olivier Giroud replaced Lacazette at half-time, leading to concerns the former Lyon man may be carrying an injury ahead of Saturday’s meeting with second-placed Manchester United, and turned home a pass from Ozil to relieve the rising anxiety in north London in the 68th minute.

The shackles came off for Arsenal and Alexis Sanchez slammed home a right-wing cross from the Germany international, who capped off a blistering spell by dinking Aaron Ramsey’s throughball over the onrushing Jonas Lossl for 4-0.

Giroud’s second gave the scoreline a deceptively one-sided appearance, but a 12th successive home Premier League win provides the ideal preparation for a clash with United.

Arsenal needed less than three minutes to get off the mark, Ramsey flicking a brilliant pass into the box for Lacazette to place the opener past Lossl.

The hosts dominated possession but did not engineer another opportunity until after the half-hour mark when Lacazette kept Granit Xhaka’s throughball alive at the byline, only to see his chip from an acute angle cleared off the line by Martin Cranie and Sead Kolasinac fail to convert the follow up.

Sloppiness crept in for Arsenal as half-time approached, offering Huddersfield hope on two occasions.

Shkodran Mustafi’s risky challenge on Mounie after some loose play by the hosts was not deemed a penalty by referee Graham Scott, before Collin Quaner failed to bring the ball under control in time to make the most of a counter-attack launched when a high press forced another error.

Giroud entered the fray in place of Lacazette and, after Quaner made the most of the space afforded to him by testing Cech, an important block from Cranie denied the substitute a quick impact.

Huddersfield were unperturbed and came close to an equaliser when Mounie’s shot looped up off Nacho Monreal and was pushed behind off the bar by Cech.

Giroud rounded Lossl before hitting the woodwork but he made no mistake after Ozil initiated a neat move down the left and set the Frenchman up for the goal Arsenal had desperately been searching for.

Just over a minute later Sanchez benefited from Ozil’s creativity as he slammed a thunderous effort from the midfielder’s delivery beyond Lossl.

Ozil took further advantage of the Terriers’ collapse, latching onto Ramsey’s pass and clipping a clever finish over the goalkeeper as he raced off his line.

Giroud added to a miserable half for Huddersfield when he lashed home from Kolasinac’s flicked pass four minutes from time, but, despite the commanding scoreline, there will be some concerns for Arsene Wenger ahead of United’s visit at the weekend.

Key Opta stats:

– Arsenal have now won their last 12 home league games in a row, their best run since between February and November 2005 at Highbury (13).
– Huddersfield have failed to score in seven consecutive away games in all competitions – their longest ever such run.
– Alexandre Lacazette scored his fifth home Premier League goal of the season – no other player has more on their own turf (level with Rooney, Sane, Salah, Lukaku and Jesus).
– There have been seven goals scored in the opening three minutes of Premier League games this season, with Lacazette scoring two of those (29%).
– With a goal and two assists, Mesut Ozil was directly involved in three goals in a Premier League game for the first time in his career.
– Mesut Ozil has assisted Olivier Giroud 14 times in the Premier League – only two players have assisted another more often for Arsenal in the competition (Robert Pires to Thierry Henry, 17 and Thierry Henry to Freddie Ljungberg, 15).

– Olivier Giroud has scored 16 goals as a substitute in the Premier League, the fourth highest tally in the competition (Jermain Defoe 23, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Kanu 17).

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Burnley 0 Arsenal 1: Sanchez penalty drives stoppage-time dagger through Clarets´ hearts

Alexis Sanchez converted a 92nd-minute penalty to give Arsenal a 1-0 win and a third successive stoppage-time victory over Burnley at Turf Moor on Sunday.

The Gunners won both matches last season by virtue of last-gasp goals – a Sanchez spot-kick also proving decisive at Emirates Stadium in January – and the Chile international repeated the feat after James Tarkowski was adjudged to have pushed Aaron Ramsey.

Having won just one of their previous six Premier League away trips, Arsenal appeared set to drop more points on the road after an uninspiring performance in attack.

Arsene Wenger’s side clearly missed the influence of Mesut Ozil, sidelined by illness, as they struggled to unlock a Burnley outfit which had previously conceded only twice in six home league matches this term.

But the last-gasp spot-kick proved all the visitors needed to leapfrog rivals Tottenham into fourth, with Sean Dyche’s side missing their own opportunity to do exactly that.

Instead, Dyche’s men were left to contend with yet another heartbreaking defeat to a team against which they have now lost 1-0 in each of the past three Turf Moor meetings.

Burnley began with typical vigour as Ashley Barnes, starting ahead of Chris Wood, looked an early danger in the air.

Their energetic start came close to earning the opener when the ball was worked right to Johann Berg Gudmundsson, who danced around Nacho Monreal and slammed his shot against the outside of the near post.

Ramsey should have broken the deadlock after Alexandre Lacazette escaped down the left and whipped in a teasing cross, but the midfielder skied his half-volley under little pressure.

An entertaining first half-hour continued with Petr Cech preventing Jeff Hendrick’s header from going back across goal, while Monreal drove a long-range effort marginally wide at the other end.

Cech remained the busier of the two goalkeepers late in the half as he pushed away Robbie Brady’s goal-bound free-kick to keep it scoreless at the interval.

Arsenal appeared to have more purpose immediately after the restart and saw Ben Mee block a good opening for Sead Kolasinac, before Lacazette forced Nick Pope into his first real save.

Gudmundsson did fire another warning shot at Cech but the visitors had wrestled the initiative by the hour and saw appeals for a penalty waved away after Brady slid in on Hector Bellerin.

The Republic of Ireland international then threatened to snatch the winner by firing over the bar with just over 15 minutes to play.

Burnley’s nerves were tested when Wilshere’s attempt at the other end deflected wide off Tarkowski, who cost his side a share of the points in the second minute of added time as Ramsey went down and Sanchez squeezed the ball beyond Pope’s fingertips into the bottom-left corner.

Key Opta stats:

– Arsenal extended their unbeaten run to 10 top-flight matches against Burnley (W7 D3).
– Arsenal will end the day inside the top four of the Premier League outside the month of August for the first time since March this year.

– Alexis Sanchez has scored four goals in his last five Premier League appearances against Burnley – he’s only scored more against Sunderland (6) and Hull (7).

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Arsenal 2 Swansea City 1: Landmark Ramsey goal earns comeback victory

Aaron Ramsey hit his 50th goal for Arsenal as Arsene Wenger’s side came from behind once again to see off Premier League strugglers Swansea City 2-1.

Swansea led at the interval courtesy of Sam Clucas’ 22nd-minute effort, but found themselves behind just prior to the hour when Ramsey tucked home expertly from Sead Kolasinac’s cross.

Ramsey’s milestone strike came just moments after an abysmal miss from Laurent Koscielny, the impressive Kolasinac having earlier restored parity with his maiden Premier League goal.

Having seen their first-half superiority go unrewarded, Arsenal stepped things up after the interval and only the woodwork prevented Hector Bellerin from putting his side further ahead.

Yet things could have been different had Jordan Ayew not squandered a gilt-edged chance to double Swansea’s lead before the interval.

Arsenal’s 13th successive victory at the Emirates Stadium lifts them into the top four, closing ground on north London rivals Tottenham, while Swansea linger just above the relegation zone.

Fresh from a thumping victory over Everton in their last league outing, Arsenal were quickly on the front foot. Mike van der Hoorn blocked Ramsey’s goalbound effort before Lukasz Fabianski denied Alexis Sanchez.

Swansea’s back five settled relatively well, although Alfie Mawson had to react sharply to prevent Alexandre Lacazette tucking home a Kolasinac cut-back.

Against the run of play, though, it was the visitors who took the lead with their first touch in Arsenal’s area as – having latched onto Tammy Abraham’s throughball – Clucas kept his composure to prod a fine first-time finish past the onrushing Petr Cech.

Clucas went close to doubling his tally on 40 minutes, Cech left stationary as the midfielder’s thumping long-range effort inched past the left-hand upright.

That effort sparked Arsenal into life, however, and former Gunner Fabianski was at his best to keep out Sanchez’s stinging strike.

Swansea could have snatched a second on the stroke of half-time when Ayew robbed Per Mertesacker of possession, but Cech was out quickly to smother the danger.

Arsenal were quick to make Swansea pay for that miss six minutes after the restart, Kolasinac hammering home a venomous strike that Fabianksi could only help into the net.

In a whirlwind start to the second half, Abraham thought he had restored Swansea’s lead immediately, only for the linesman’s offside flag to halt the visitors’ celebrations.

Arsenal’s turnaround should have been complete moments later, only for Koscielny to head wide of a gaping goal from Sanchez’s superb free-kick.

The error did not prove costly, though, as Kolasinac turned a neat pass inside for Ramsey, whose low finish crept in past Fabianksi. The goalkeeper may be disappointed not to have done better.

Wenger’s side suddenly looked rampant and Bellerin almost made it a goal apiece for Arsenal’s wing-backs when he volleyed Ramsey’s cross against the crossbar.

After losing Kolasinac to injury, Arsenal looked to finish with a flourish – substitute Olivier Giroud twice going close – but with Swansea devoid of ideas going forward, those misses mattered little as the Gunners cruised into the Champions League places.