Arsenal 3 Swansea 2: Insurgent Theo, Bob the Builder and other talking points from a Gunners win

Arsenal eked out a narrow 3-2 win over Swansea thanks to a double from Theo Walcott and sturdy defending after Granit Xhaka saw red

Arsenal managed to keep their hot streak going, as they overcome Swansea by a narrow margin of 3 goals to 2. The Gunners were fired to a 2-0 lead by England international Theo Walcott, before they saw their lead cut down by Gylfi Sigurdsson.

Mesut Ozil scored before the hour mark to restore Arsenal’s two-goal advantage but Swansea showed grit and determination as they crawled their way back into the game thanks to a goal from substitute Borja Baston. The match was made interesting as Granit Xhaka was shown red for a challenge from behind but Arsenal held on to register another win that now gets them level on points with table toppers Manchester City as The Hard Tackle takes a look at a few significant conclusions from the game.

1. Insurgent Theo back in starter role

Theo Walcott, a promising pacey winger, who went into oblivion due to a string of injuries and was even tipped to leave Emirates at one point of time. What a turn of events it has been for the 27-year-old, from first-team obscurity back to being a regular starter.

Theo, just like his namesake in the Divergent trilogy, has shown signs of revolt, albeit against the doubters of his talent rather than the government or otherwise. And just like him, he seems to be doing it with some aplomb. There is just one difference though between the two.

While the Trilogy namesake is also known as Four, Walcott has already surpassed that with 5 goals already to his name and he doesn’t look like stopping anytime soon.

The double against Swansea may just be a sign that Walcott’s form is more a waltz rather than a sprint, and will have Wenger and the Gooners excited as Arsenal chase that elusive Premier League title.

2. From Boom to Bust for Granit Xhaka

Granit Xhaka had captured the imagination of the Arsenal faithful after a couple of pile-drivers from long range, but the new arrival must show more consistency if he is to make the holding midfield spot his own in the near future. The Swiss is known for his fiery nature on the pitch, something which probably needs addressing after his latest episode.

Not only was he at fault for the first goal conceded by Arsenal, his irresponsible behaviour on the pitch came close to costing Arsenal two crucial points. In a tackle that may be debatable as to if it was a red card-worthy offence, the challenge made by Xhaka was cynical and there was no attempt to play the ball.

The 24-year-old has spoken of his love for Arsenal and it looks like he is seeing yellow and red everywhere including on the pitch, literally. The midfielder must find a way to add composure to his game or else face the prospect of being restricted to just a squad role at the Emirates.

3. Arsenal on course to build massive momentum ahead of a crucial November

After a nervy start to the season, Arsenal have now notched up six wins on the trot in all competitions and judging by their upcoming fixtures, the Gunners seem capable of extending it for a considerable amount of time.

Arsenal have a massive November lined up, with the Gunners set to play the derby against Tottenham, another rival in Manchester United and a European giant in Paris Saint-Germain with these being 3 of the 4 games scheduled in the particular month.

Momentum could be the key for Arsene Wenger’s side going into November and momentum is something the Frenchman would be looking to build further with how the fixtures are lined up. In the lead-up to the trio of matches, Arsenal face Ludogoretz twice in the Champions League, Reading in the EFL Cup, while the likes of Middlesbrough and Sunderland await the Gunners in the Premier League.

All of the aforementioned fixtures, even though not easy, but considering their given form, Arsenal are likely to go in as the favourites in each one of them with a high probability of a win.

4. Signs of life for Swansea City

Even though the form guide suggests otherwise, a little glance at the results would tell you that Swansea City are not in a crisis, as the experts so say. The Swans, rather, lack that little something extra to help them go over the edge. They have not lost by a margin of greater than a goal except in 2 of the 10 matches played thus far in all competitions this season.

They have shown that they are capable of matching up to the best of teams in the Premier League and one could say they have been unlucky to have faced teams who are in their best form. The defeats bearing a margin of more than a single goal came to an in-form Hull who came into the game on the back of a triumphant showing against defending champions Leicester City, and a Manchester City that looked unstoppable until their recent defeat to Tottenham.

In fact, they have scored in all but 2 of the 10 fixtures, something which cannot be much associated with a team in crisis. The Swans came close to halting Arsenal’s winning streak but just could not find the finishing touch despite going toe-to-toe with the Gunners, who are at the absolute opposite end of the Premier League table and the form table.

5. Bob the Builder

Bob Bradley came into his first game in-charge of Swansea City on the back of a not-so-glittering CV and a lot of talk of self-appreciation. The former United States manager had a considerable time to prepare for his managerial debut in the Premier League and judging by the performance of his men, the signs look encouraging.

Even though Arsenal have recently seen a shift from their possession game to counter-attacking, the Welsh club managed to record greater possession and more passes on the day, something which deserves some recognition. They had almost the same number of shots and chances created and on another day, the scoreline could have been different as after Xhaka received his marching orders, Swansea looked to dominate the game, without much of an end product.

Bob Bradley, in his first game, has shown he is not scared to chase the game and snatch possession duties from the opposition, regardless of their stature, and the American could just be the builder to re-construct Swansea’s damaged wall.

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