Report: Arsenal 1-0 Swansea
A fortuitous first-half goal from Andrey Arshavin enabled Arsenal to pick up their first victory of the season.
Swansea keeper Michel Vorm’s roll out hit the heels of defender Angel Rangel and landed at the feet of Arshavin.
The Russian, who has been criticised for his form recently, gratefully accepted by squeezing the ball into the open net from a tight angle.
The Welsh side’s best chance came from a free-kick, as Scott Sinclair rattled the bar from the edge of the area.
Arsene Wenger gave debuts to new signings Per Mertesacker and Mikel Arteta – but it still took a dreadful blunder by Swansea goalkeeper Michel Vorm to gift the Gunners the points.
Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers was absent from the game after the death of his father, and while the newly promoted side competed well, they are still searching for their first goal in the top flight.
And that meant they paid the price when Vorm threw his clearance against Angel Rangel, who was facing the other way, and into the path of the grateful Arshavin just before the interval, allowing the Russian to slot his finish into an unguarded net.
Swansea’s best chances fell to record signing Danny Graham, who was frustrated by Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny’s stunning first-half stop but was guilty of a bad miss when he shot over the top from close range in injury time.
Wenger will be grateful for the slice of good fortune he feels has eluded his side this season and a win which helps them start the recovery from the humiliating 8-2 defeat at Manchester United.
Arteta faded after a bright start, while Mertesacker settled in quietly despite being troubled on occasions by Graham.
For Swansea, the concern was that they once again looked well-organised and prepared to play a passing game – but failed to break their scoring duck this season.
Arteta made an instant impression with a surging run and inviting pass to Aaron Ramsey inside the first two minutes, but he rushed his finish from an angle and shot high over the bar.
Mertesacker was also involved in the early exchanges when he was caught on his heels as Kemy Agustien’s cross found Graham, only for Szczesny to produce a brilliant low reaction save to stop what looked a certain Swansea goal.
Steven Caulker then rescued Swansea with a brave goal-line clearance from Theo Walcott after he was played in by Arshavin. The defender took a knock and ripped the net in the process, but his intervention kept his side level.
Swansea looked to have survived until the interval, and in relative comfort, until Arsenal were gifted that goal by keeper Vorm. He raced to prevent the ball going out for a corner, only to then inexplicably hurl the ball against Rangel, allowing Arshavin to finish into an empty net from a tight angle.
The visitors had not been short of attacking ambition on the occasions when Arsenal gave them the opportunity and they were unlucky just after the break when Scott Sinclair’s free-kick beat the flying Laurent Koscielny but glanced off the bar.
Arsenal responded after 56 minutes when Robin van Persie cut inside only to see his curling effort strike the outside of the post and bounce away to safety.
Swansea enjoyed plenty of possession without a cutting edge, and it was Arsenal who almost added a second late on when substitute Marouane Chamakh, on for Van Persie, rose to meet Kieran Gibbs’ cross but Vorm made a fine save.
Graham then had that injury-time chance, but hooked the ball over the top when it looked like he might earn a point for Swansea in the closing seconds.