Arsenal at their lowest ebb after Michu double fires Swansea to famous win

17:05 01 December 2012

Swansea City's Miguel Michu scores his side's first goal in the 88th minute at the Emirates. Photo: Stephen Pond/EMPICS Sport

Swansea City's Miguel Michu scores his side's first goal in the 88th minute at the Emirates. Photo: Stephen Pond/EMPICS Sport


Premier League: Arsenal 0 Swansea City 2

Arsene Wenger faced the wrath of Arsenal supporters again after Michu’s late double gave Swansea a stunning victory at the Emirates.

The Spanish striker scored twice in the final five minutes to condemn the Gunners to a fourth league defeat of the season, and pile the pressure on beleaguered manager Wenger.

The Frenchman had seen his side fail to inspire during 88 largely anodyne minutes, and then succumb to a pair of well-taken goals from the Spaniard, who increased his league tally to 10 for the season.

Swansea had certainly held their own and were worthy of a point, but the way they took all three added further fuel to the fire of disgruntled Arsenal fans who had demonstrated against the board before the game.

They have plenty more to complain about now on the pitch too, as the Gunners dropped to 10th place in the table, five points off the pace of rivals Spurs in fourth place. At the moment Wenger’s record of always finishing in the top four in his 16 years in charge looks to be seriously in doubt.

After successive away draws at Aston Villa and Everton, Wenger had predicted that his side’s home form could now come to the fore and, with four games at the Emirates in December, propel them back into the top four.

Given that West Ham’s lunchtime victory over Chelsea had sent them above both the Gunners and Swansea before kick-off, the need for three points was urgent, but winning football matches is seldom straightforward for Arsenal these days, it seems.

Arsenal had been forced into a number of changes in defence, with Bacary Sagna and Laurent Koscielny ruled out after picking up injuries at Everton meaning a return for Carl Jenkinson at right-back. Thomas Vermaelen moved back into the centre and Kieran Gibbs started at left-back.

Further up the field Lukas Podolski returned on the left flank with Aaron Ramsey dropping to the bench and Gervinho led the line in the place of Olivier Giroud.

Given that the last time these sides had met at the Liberty Stadium at the start of the year Arsenal had been completely outplayed in losing 3-2, the feeling of complacency around the Emirates was surely misplaced.

Swansea arrived on the back of a comprehensive win over West Brom and were not afraid to make the early running. The Welshmen should have taken the lead after 14 minutes when Michu found space in behind Gibbs, but Wojciech Szczesny blocked both his first attempt and his follow-up.

On the half-hour mark the visitors had another glorious chance, Michu’s header releasing Nathan Dyer, but the little winger took too long to pull the trigger and Vermaelen came back to save the day with a superb sliding challenge.

Arsenal had offered little. Podolski had a sight of goal but tried to manoeuvre the ball on to his favoured left foot and the chance was gone, while Gervinho was a whisker away from converting a Jenkinson cross from close range.

But the Gunners were struggling to dominate as they are used to at home. Swansea’s excellent Leon Britton and Ki Sung-Yeung were proving a considerable barrier in central midfield where Arsenal’s creative hub of Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla failed to get a grip on the game in the first half.

After the break one presumed Arsenal would turn the screw but after one hopeful penalty appeal by Gervinho and then another when Cazorla burst into the box, it seemed the Gunners were already getting desperate.

And Swansea were always a threat. Just past the hour mark Angel Rangel came forward on a surging run from right-back, twisted into the area and let fly with a shot that was deflected into the side-netting.

The Emirates crowd were getting frustrated and Wenger reacted by bringing on two players who many felt should have been playing in the first place, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Giroud, to replace the ineffective Gervinho and Podolski.

With 20 minutes to go and news filtering through of Spurs winning at Fulham, it was time for Arsenal to raise the tempo a notch, and a rasping shot from Cazorla was saved by Gerhard Tremmel moments after Giroud had tumbled theatrically in the box and, once again, referee Mark Clattenburg had waved away penalty appeals.

Both teams had played on Wednesday night and tired going into the last 20 minutes, but Arsenal’s need to find a winner was tempered by the fact that the Welshmen were on the same mission. With just five minutes remaining, Swansea’s two substitutes, Luke Moore and Dwight Tiendalli, exchanged passes and the latter was denied by an excellent save from Szczesny.

That was a warning for Arsenal and it was one they did not heed. Two minutes later Michu was bearing down on the Arsenal goal and the Spaniard made no mistake, curling a left-footed shot beyond Szczesny to send the visiting Swansea supporters wild.

Arsenal did not have long to find an equaliser, but instead they handed Swansea a second when Jenkinson was robbed on the right and Michu was calmness personified as he again ran clear and buried the ball beyond Szczesny.

The Polish goalkeeper was furious, as were the home supporters who streamed out of the stadium firing off angry words at Wenger and the board. A tally of 21 points from 15 games and mid-table – it is not good enough for Arsenal and everybody knows it, most of all Wenger.

Arsenal: Szczesny, Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Cazorla, Arteta, Wilshere (Rosicky, 79), Walcott, Gervinho (Oxlade-Chamberlain, 66), Podolski (Giroud, 66).

Subs not used: Mannone, Rosicky, Ramsey, Squillaci, Coquelin.

Booked: Vermaelen.

Swansea: Tremmel, Rangel, Chico, Williams, Davies, Dyer, Britton, Ki, De Guzman (Tiendalli, 74), Shechter (Moore, 66), Michu.

Subs not used: Cornell, Monk, Agustien, Richards, Donnelly.

Goals: Michu 88, 90

Referee: Mark Clattenburg

Attendance: 60,098

Related articles


Latest Hampstead & Highgate Sports News

Yesterday, 12:00

Ryan Sellers feels his return to Wingate & Finchley increases his long-term prospects of a Football League comeback – because he is enjoying the game again.

Yesterday, 11:00

In the latest of a series of features casting the spotlight on local football fans, Hendon chairman Simon Lawrence reveals his favourite players, his most memorable matches, his funniest moment with the Greens and the biggest challenge facing the club.

Yesterday, 10:00

The newly-formed Camden & Islington Girls League kicked off on Friday as six teams got the competition up and running at Market Road.

Yesterday, 09:00

Captain Cian Hynes believes Hendon can adjust their initial target for the season and now aim for a place in the top three or four after Saturday’s victory over Wasps.

Yesterday, 08:00

Hampstead head coach Peter Breen says Pete Wood’s impressive return to the first team underlines the club’s strength in depth after the winger scored twice in Saturday’s victory over London Nigerian.

Yesterday, 07:30

Casey Maclaren hopes he has many more happy years ahead at Hendon, stating he will be with the Greens for as long as they want him, after making his 300th appearance for the club.

Wed, 17:15

Joyce Esser struck a hat-trick as Hampstead & Westminster Ladies secured their fourth victory in a row in the Women’s Conference East, beating Harleston Magpies 4-1 and leapfrogging their visitors into the top three places.

Wed, 16:20

Highgate Harriers’ quartet of runners held off heavyweight opposition to clinch a surprise victory in the Southern Senior Relay Championships at Wormwood Scrubs.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Most read Hampstead & Highgate sport


Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot


Cosmetics, toiletries, vitamins and more. Boots is the number one choice when it comes to purchasing daily essentials.

If you’re obsessed with Apple or just love a good gadget, this is a prize that will blow you away! An incredible £3,333 to spend on Apple goodies! How would you like to be the proud new owner of the Apple Watch?

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now