Arsenal knock off Swansea without hitting top gear as Paul Clement realises the magnitude of his task

Swansea 0-4 Arsenal: The Gunners weren't at their best but didn't need to be as their class shone through in Wales

Graham Clutton
Liberty Stadium
Saturday 14 January 2017 17:56
Olivier Giroud scores Arsenal's first goal against Swansea and sets them on their way
Olivier Giroud scores Arsenal's first goal against Swansea and sets them on their way

Arsenal cruised to a comfortable Premier League victory at the Liberty Stadium as Swansea manager Paul Clement suffered his first league defeat since taking over in charge.

Olivier Giroud gave the visitors a first half lead before own goals from Jack Cork and Kyle Naughton and a fourth from Alexis Sanchez completed the job.

It was as comfortable a victory as the visitors could have hoped for against a Swansea side who are now rooted to the foot of the Premier League table after this, their 14th league defeat of the season.

Although Clement has only been in the building for a matter of 12 days, the early signs were positive. As a collective, his side displayed a far better shape. Individually, the bite and desire that had gone missing under Bob Bradley, was back.

The new manager applauded every tackle and interception as did the home crowd. Cork dictated the pace of the game, from the central area, with Fernando Llorente providing a decent target.

In fact, the hosts were almost in front in the 10th minute when Petr Cech was called upon to push aside a firm strike from Naughton.

Three minutes later, Gylfi Sigurdsson was inches over with a shot from 20 yards after Wayne Routledge had opened up the Arsenal defence.

It took Arsenal 27 minutes to muster any kind of chance. Even then, it was a shot from distance from Sanchez that Lukasz Fabianski saved comfortably at the foot of his near post.

Paul Clement saw his side soundly beaten 

The visitors were disappointing. Despite plenty of possession around half way, they rarely threatened in the final third where Giroud was a virtual spectator.

Swansea, who responded well to the continual prompting of Clement, got numbers around the ball and made life increasingly difficult for the visitors. There were certainly no shirkers and the crowd loved it.

But then, just as Arsenal appeared to be heading towards an interval dressing down, they struck through Giroud, in the 37th minute. The most sublime of moves involving Mesut Ozil, Giroud and Aaron Ramsey created the platform and when Ozil was denied with a tame header, from a Sanchez cross, Giroud pounced to convert from four yards.

Two minutes before the break, Swansea thought they had earned themselves a penalty when Ki appeared to be tripped by Laurent Koscielny after Fernando Llorente's delightful touch had opened up the Arsenal defence.

Referee Mike Jones marched up to Ki, booked the South Korean for what he felt was a dive and duly awarded Arsenal a free kick.

Arsenal began the second half at a decent pace and both Sanchez and Alex Iwobi had opportunities to score before Ramsey was denied by a desperate save, with his feet, by Fabianski.

The goal did come, however, when Iwobi's goal-bound shot looped off Cork and into the back of Fabianski's net. Game over.

Without any genuine threat at the opposite end, Swansea were never likely to find a way back into the game. As hard as they tried, they were sent back from where they came. Routledge did have a shot saved by Cech, on the hour, but there was precious little else over which to enthuse as Arsenal duly strolled forward to victory.

Wenger had a sufficient cushion to take off Alexis Sanchez today

A third followed 13 minutes later. Once again it was an own goal – this time Kyle Naughton turn in Iwobi's cross from the left. Then it was four. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain nipped in behind, in the 74th minute, and though Routledge got his foot on the winger's cross, the ball popped up to Sanchez who scored from eight yards.

Clement retreated to the dug out and Swansea tried desperately not to concede any more. They did have one or two counter attacks of note, but other than that, it was a similar story to so many that have passed before.

Clement has a huge job on his hands, whilst for Arsenal and Arsene Wenger, it's onwards and upwards after this consummate victory on Welsh soil.

Swansea City (4-2-3-1): Fabianski; Naughton, Amat, Mawson; Cork (McBurnie 70), Ki; Dyer (Fer 54), Sigurdsson, Routledge; Llorente (Borja 70)

Subs not used: Nordfeldt, van der Hoorn, Rangel, Fulton

Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Cech; Gabriel, Mustaphi, Koscielny, Monreal; Ramsey, Xhaka; Iwobi, Ozil (Perez 79), Sanchez (Welbeck 79); Giroud (Oxlade-Chamberlain 59)

Subs not used: Ospina,, Holding, Reine-Adelaide, Maitland-Niles

Referee: M Jones

Attendance: 20,875

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