With home supporters taking part in a march before the game to take issue with the recent running of the club, a victory was vital after Arsenal’s worst start to a league season since Wenger took charge. Swansea, meanwhile, were amongst the form teams in the Premier League after a run of five games unbeaten and one defeat in nine.
Swansea started the brighter, controlling possession in midfield as Arsenal looked stagnant, and Ashley Williams had the first chance after six minutes when he almost completely missed his kick from six yards with a volley. Ten minutes later Angel Rangel twice had shots smartly saved by Wojciech Szczesny from inside the area as Swansea pushed for the opener.
It took 27 minutes for Arsenal to have their first meaningful shot, when Lukas Podolski saw his shot blocked before attempting to set up Gervinho a minute later with a backheel. Santi Cazorla had a header straight at Gerhard Tremmel a couple of minutes later as Arsenal enjoyed their only spell of dominance in the first half, but even this was cut short when Nathan Dyer almost gave the visitors the lead, the winger seeing his shot blocked after managing to get through on goal.
The boos rang out at the Emirates as the half-time whistle blew, but Arsenal did start the second half brighter, Cazorla forcing Tremmel to make a save after good work from Jack Wilshere. Arsenal were at last beginning to play like the home side, and Cazorla began to imprint his class on the game, driving at the defence on multiple occasions.
Cazorla fired a volley at Tremmel as Arsenal tried to step up the pressure, and they had a penalty appeal turned down by Mark Clattenburg. Replays showed it was a brilliant decision from the official.
With three minutes to go, Swansea took the lead, Michu interchanging passes with Luke Moore and then dinking the ball over Szczesny with a wonderfully composed finish. Arsenal tried to respond but were simply caught on the break, Dyer dispossessing Jenkinson and allowing Michu once again to smoothly finish past the Arsenal keeper.
This game marked the start of a run of seven league games for Arsenal in which positive results should be expected, and with games against West Brom (h), Reading (a), Wigan (a), West Ham (h) and Newcastle (h) before the New Year, the club do still have a chance to establish a top four place.
For Swansea the unbeaten run continues in unbelievable fashion, and Michael Laudrup knows that the foundations have already been laid for an improvement on last season’s performance. The final fact that matters most – Swansea City are now above Arsenal in the Premier League.