With 3 points on Saturday, Arsenal are proving themselves worthy Premier League title contenders this season. The club’s manager, Arsene Wenger, watched his men secure all 3 points from 3 brilliant goals scored by 3 different players in the second half against Swansea at the Liberty Stadium, while goalkeeper Petr Cech helped himself to yet another clean sheet. Those were certainly highlights of the game, except when Hector Bellerin slid in at one point to clear the ball off the line and crashed into the goalpost, despite the linesman having waved the Swansea player for being offside. Poor Bellerin. His ribs must have hurt a lot after that.
Chances were created in the first half but none were converted. Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain, Aaron Ramsey and Theo Walcott were out with injuries, but with Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud at the helm, one wondered what went wrong. Both came close to scoring but no results were captured. It was only a few minutes into the second half did we start seeing some magic. Giroud broke the deadlock at the Liberty Stadium with a header. Giroud looked to have pulled at his teammate, Per Mertesacker’s jersey, and used the tall defender to hoist himself up high enough to head the ball into the back of the net. That goal was also the club’s 2,000th goal under Arsene Wenger.
Not long after that, defender Laurent Koscielny scored a controversial goal which the referee allowed to go through. Whether it was a goal or not depends on whose side you’re on. Koscielny and Giroud were in close range to former Arsenal goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski, and Giroud looked like he was preventing Fabianski from defending his post. But after the replays and a discussion between some of the Premier League’s finest football pundits, the truth was in Fabianski’s poor defense that led to the inevitable goal. Koscielny stopped just for a split second to see if the referee would disallow the goal. Having seen none of that, the team reeled away with joy and celebrated with their fans.
By then was 2-0. Arsenal’s third goal of the match by Joel Campbell was his first for the club and a roaring pleasure for the visiting fans. Mesut Ozil’s pass missed the many boots of both the Arsenal and Swansea players, and landed at the foot of Campbell, who calmly sent the ball into the far right corner from a tight angle, and beyond Fabianski’s outstretched arms. The victory was vital to keep up with the league leaders, and the Arsenal fans went wild at seeing their club securing second spot and tied on points with Manchester City. At least Arsenal were able to spare their fans the scare on Halloween night. Full match report at Arsenal.com. Other teams, however, were not so lucky.
Elsewhere in the Premier League:
Chelsea was given a spooky reminder by Liverpool that if the club didn’t start winning, they were in danger of going lower down the table. Jurgen Klopp’s first victory as new Liverpool manager saw his side bounce back from a 1-0 deficit to beat the Blues 3-1, courtesy of goals by Philippe Coutinho and Christian Benteke. Jose Mourinho’s happiness for Ramires’ match opener vanished when Coutinho scored a brace — one into the top right corner of the goal, and another into the top left corner! It was a sore sight for Mourinho and disbelief for the team. Benteke wrapped things up when he pounced on a loose ball, and sliced the ball low and far beyond the reach of Chelsea’s goalkeeper.
Manchester United were held to a goalless draw by Crystal Palace, allowing them to only move up by a point, which left them in fourth place after Leicester City’s 3-2 victory over West Bromwich Albion lifted them into third place above the Red Devils. Other notable mentions include Manchester City’s 2-1 victory over Norwich City that further cemented City’s grasp on first place and Everton’s heaping six-goal-haul over Sunderland (final score: 6-2), with a hat-trick from Arouna Kone and an own goal by Sunderland’s Sebastian Coates. Get your match highlights at www.goalsarena.org.