Swansea edge 5 goal thriller against Arsenal, Leon Best secures 3 points for Newcastle
NEWCASTLE 1 – 0 QUEENS PARK RANGERS
Leon Best’s magnificent first half goal earned Newcastle all three points and ensured Rangers left St James’ Park with nothing.
Rangers started the game on the front foot, harassing the Newcastle midfield, biting into tackles and not giving Johan Cabaye time on the ball to set the tempo for the home side.
The visitors twice hit the frame of Tim Krul’s goal in the first half through a drilled half-volley from Shaun Wright-Phillips and, on the half hour mark Jay Bothroyd grazed the far post from the edge of the box after a great piece of individual skill on the left.
Just after the half hour mark Johan Cabaye was on the receiving end of a poorly timed lunge from Shaun Derry, Cabaye was unable to continue and was replaced by Hatem Ben-Arfa. Derry collected a caution.
The home side started to dominate and eight minutes before the break got the goal they deserved. Danny Guthrie’s 10 yard ball found Leon Best, who produced a magnificent ‘chop turn’ to bamboozle Luke Young, then composed himself to slide the ball beyond the Rangers’ keeper.
Rangers started the second half well and Bothroyd twice had good opportunities to level the score line. His first effort on his weaker fight foot was sliced wildly over the crossbar and his second chance was comfortably saved by Krul.
Rangers failed to create any chances in the closing stages of the game and Newcastle were able to chalk up their third win in four league games.
SWANSEA 3 – 2 ARSENAL
In a fabulously entertaining game at The Liberty stadium, Swansea grabbed all three points with a stylish display of passing football.
Arsenal took the lead inside five minutes with a neat finish from Robin van Persie, but Swansea bounced back and outclassed the visitors. Scott Sinclair scored a penalty and the impressive Nathan Dyer gave Swansea the lead just before the hour mark. Theo Walcott made it two a piece but less than a minute later Danny Graham capitalised on poor judgement from Wojciech Szczesny to score the winner.
In the 5th minute, Andrey Arshavin produced an inch perfect ball for van Persie, who waited for Michel Vorm to commit to his position before firing the ball inside the near post.
The Gunners, as usual, did not have the lead for long. The impressive Nathan Dyer twisted in the area and caught Ramsey above the shin pad, but bizarrely it was the Welshman who was penalised. Scott Sinclair converted the penalty and Brendan Rodgers’ side got the equalizer they deserved.
Arsenal looked shaky at the back, Ignasi Miguel in particular struggling at left back, and it was no surprise when The Swans took the lead just before the hour mark.
The talented Joe Allen nicked the ball off Ramsey 40 yards from goal, a great decoy run from Danny Graham allowed Allen to find Dyer in acres of room in the Arsenal box; the winger smashed the ball home from 14 yards.
After the introduction of Thierry Henry, Arsenal got their second goal. A surging run from Johan Djourou allowed him to slide in Walcott for the equaliser.
We all know that football managers scream the same thing to their teams immediately after scoring –
“Stay tight, do not concede, focus focus focus, do not switch off”
Did Wenger? Probably not.
The game restarted and the Swans scored within a minute.
Substitute Gylfi Sigurdsson slotted the ball through to Graham, who comfortably beat the sluggish Per Mertesacker for pace before dispatching the ball firmly into the corner of Szczesny’s net.
Laurent Koscielny almost rescued a point for Arsenal with a late volley, but it was Swansea who ran out as the deserving victors.