Sunday, November 9, 2014 8:46 pm
Arsenal missed the chance to go fourth in the English Premier League after Swansea came from behind to beat the Gunners 2-1 with two late goals at the Liberty Stadium on Sunday.
Victory saw south Wales club Swansea leapfrog Arsenal into fifth place as Arsene Wenger’s side suffered only their second league defeat of the season following their loss to leaders Chelsea.
Arsenal were on course for victory when Alexis Sanchez scored his sixth goal in four games in all competitions when he swept in Danny Welbeck’s cross to set the seal on a flowing counter-attack in the 63rd minute.
But Swansea equalised 15 minutes from time when, from fully 25 yards out, Gylfi Sigurdsson curled in a brilliant free-kick which kept going past the right hand of helpless Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny and into the top corner.
Barely three minutes later, Swansea were in front.
Substitute Bafetimbi Gomis, who’d only just been sent on by manager Garry Monk, rose high above the Arsenal defence to head in his first Premier League goal after a fine run and cross by Jefferson Montero.
It was the second time in a week that Arsenal had squandered a lead, having been 3-0 up before being held to a 3-3 draw at home to Anderlecht in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Arsenal centre-back Per Mertesacker accused his side of not playing “serious football”.
“The game was completely in our hands,” Mertesacker told Sky Sports. “But then we have to play serious football and not make mistakes.
“Anderlecht came back at 3-0 and Swansea came back today from one goal. We have potential, but unless we play that serious football any team will punish us.”
Defeat left Arsenal 12 points behind Chelsea and veteran French manager Wenger said: “You have to win the games you can win and today was one.
“If you want to challenge for the Premier League you have to be a bit more realistic.”
Meanwhile a delighted Monk praised Swansea’s spirit.
“We talked about belief before the game, about how good we have been and how good we can be. We showed our character,” he said.
Earlier, Newcastle United’s impressive revival continued with a 2-0 victory away to West Bromwich Albion that took them into the top half.
Goals from Ayoze Perez and Fabricio Coloccini at The Hawthorns saw Newcastle, who struggled at the start of the season, extend their unbeaten league run to five straight games — a sequence that now includes four successive victories.
Perez put Newcastle ahead on the stroke of half-time when, from 12 yards out, he backheeled in Daryl Janmaat’s cross.
Janmaat was again the provider as Newcastle doubled their lead in the 62nd minute when Magpies captain Coloccini headed in his cross.
“It’s amazing, I think the lads showed real quality today,” Newcastle goalkeeper Tim Krul told Sky Sports, with the Magpies ending the day in eighth place.
– Stoke step up –
One meagre consolation for Arsenal was that bitter north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur also lost on Sunday, with Stoke’s 2-1 win at White Hart Lane seeing them move up into ninth spot.