Olivier Giroud heads the Gunners in front at the Liberty Stadium
Olivier Giroud heads the Gunners in front at the Liberty Stadium

Arsenal maintained their Premier League title challenge with a 3-0 win over Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium this afternoon.

It was a fifth successive Premier League victory for Arsenal.

The result keeps the Gunners level on points with Manchester City in the Premier League table.

Manchester City retain top spot in the Premier League table on goal difference following their 2-1 over Norwich City at the Etihad Stadium this afternoon.

The first half was a tight cagey affair with the teams largely cancelling each out.

Joel Campbell given his first start in the Premier League this season was Arsenal’s biggest threat early on.  Set up by Nacho Monreal’s break down the left he shot over the bar after the ball had ricocheted into his path off Ashley Williams’ shin.

Arsenal were grateful for the speed of Hector Bellerin in keeping the match goalless in the first half.

He sped back to make a last-ditch tackle on Bafetimbi Gomis, diverting the ball behind for a corner, after the Swansea striker had been sent clean through on goal by a pass from Jonjo Shelvey.

The chance encouraged Swansea to push forward, with Jefferson Montero going past Bellerinin to cross to the far post where Gomis headed straight at Cech.

Giroud had wasted Arsenal’s best chance of the half when, unmarked 18 yards out, he fired over the crossbar.

Swansea also had a shot for a penalty after 32 minutes. Gylfi Sigurdsson’s free-kick was blocked by Per Mertesacker’s hand but referee Friend turned away the Swansea appeals.

Shelvey then headed over the bar, with Joel Campbell testing Fabianski with a shot on the turn at the other end..

Arsenal took full advantage of Bellerin’s crucial intervention early in the second half.

Olivier Giroud headed Arsenal in the 49th minute from Mesu Ozil’s corner.

The goal was the 2,000th goal of Arsene Wenger’s 19-year reign as Arsenal manger.

It was also a fitting way for Giroud to mark his 150th Arsenal appearance.

Arsenal doubled their lead in controversial circumstances on 68 minutes.

Former Gunners keeper Lukasz Fabianski dropped the ball under pressure from Laurent Koscielny and Giroud. Koscielny passed the ball into the net.

Again referee Kevin Friend felt no offence had been committed and waved away protests from the Swansea players for a foul on Fabianski.

Joel Campbell wrapped up victory five minutes later with a clinical finish for his first Gunners goal as Arsenal eased to another three points.

But referee Kevin Friend felt no offence had been committed and Koscielny finished amid protests from Swansea players.

Joel Campbell completed the scoring five minutes later with a neat finish after being set up by Mesut Ozil.

After the match Arsene Wenger said

“Swansea took six points off us last year and that shows we’ve moved forward. The second half we were a different team.

“After we scored the first goal, it was all us and there was only one winner on the pitch. Joel Campbell took his goal really well and he is still a young player who had to wait for his chance.

“He’s adapted to Europe, been in a few leagues and come back and I like his team spirit and work rate.”

Swansea manager Garry Monk said. “There were a lot of positives in our play and we were exceptional in the first half. We should have taken the lead when we were on top.

“We gifted them two goals and you can’t do that against any team, let alone Arsenal. I’m disappointed to lose, but I think the scoreline flatters Arsenal.”

Cech 7, Bellerin 7, Mertesacker 6, Koscielny 7, Monreal 7; Coquelin 7, Cazorla 7, Ozil 8 (Iwobi 90), Campbell 7 (Gibbs 84), Sanchez 6, Giroud 7 (Chambers 84).