Arsenal 0 West Ham 2

What the heck Wenger? Arsenal’s season started in defeat as West Ham won their first Premier League game under Slaven Bilic. Keeper Petr Cech misjudged Dimitri Payet’s free-kick to allow Cheikhou Kouyate to nod in the Hammers’ first. And after the break Mauro Zarate finished from 20 yards after being gifted the ball by the Gunners defence. Arsenal, who controlled possession but were worryingly blunt in the final third, came closest when Aaron Ramsey hit the crossbar in the first half. Gunners fans, who left the Emirates Stadium in large numbers before the final whistle, will feel like they have seen all this before, not just in the way their side performed, but also in the familiarity of their starting line-up.

Cech’s arrival from Chelsea has been Wenger’s only summer signing since last term’s third-place finish, and it was an uncharacteristic display from the experienced keeper. The 33-year-old was not only at fault for West Ham’s opener, but was wrong-footed by Zarate’s strike, although he received little help from his defence as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Francis Coquelin combined to give the ball away on the edge of their own area. Olivier Giroud frequently looked isolated up front, which will no doubt increase the hope among Arsenal supporters that a reported deal for Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema can be completed.

On this going, I wonder how long it will take for a new signing or two to come up in discussions. Plus, how much slack will Wenger be given before the “Wenger Out” brigade starts unfurling banners around the stadium? You know me, I strongly believe that Wenger should have left a season or two ago. His time should have been up but he is too stubborn to admit it or act accordingly. It’s painful to watch huge sections of the game with Arsenal in the opponents goal area, players passing back and forth with no end in sight.

Arsenal Transfer : The Rumour That Refuses To Go Away

Karim Benzema to Arsenal is one rumour that refuses to go away. In the end, I hope it doesn’t turn out like fellow Real Madrid player Samir Khedira and Morgan Schnederlin.

The Metro says the French striker will be making his move to London shortly. Italian football journalist Emanuele Giulianelli says Arsenal people are flying to Madrid to finalise a deal for Benzema. It’ll be £35m, cheers. And Benzema will be paid £120,000 per week. Graham Hunter, who knows his Spanish football cebollas, added more details in an interview with Talksport. He says Benzema to Arsenal is eminently possible, but the striker will have to state his desire to leave Madrid.

“Arsenal have the money and Real Madrid need the money – they’re €500m in debt,” Hunter said. “They’re trying to buy David de Gea and won’t go the extra mile to get him off Manchester United because of the cash so they need the money.
“It is a doable deal, but it won’t happen unless Benzema says to Real Madrid, ‘I want to go to Arsenal’.”

I don’t know what to believe because one report with say that Benzema has finally asked for a move to Arsenal and other will say that Wenger played down the speculation of the Gunners going for the French striker. Wait is see is all we, the fans, can say.

Arsenal Win 2015 Community Shield By Beating Chelsea

FA Cup holders Arsenal won the Community Shield for a second season in a row as they beat Premier League champions Chelsea at Wembley. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored the winner with a powerful drive into the top corner with his weaker left foot. Ramires headed wide unmarked from Loic Remy’s cross as Chelsea failed to hit the target before the break. Eden Hazard skied a chance over the bar before Oscar’s free-kick was parried wide by Arsenal debutant Peter Cech. It was the first time the former Chelsea goalkeeper had been called into action after 68 minutes and soon after he comfortably held on to Kurt Zouma’s header.

Arsenal went close late on through Santi Cazorla and Kieran Gibbs in a match where both sides looked rusty a week ahead of their Premier League opener. Arsenal 1-0 Chelsea: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain fires Gunners to Community Shield win at Wembley and ends Jose Mourinho’s hoodoo over Arsene Wenger on Petr Cech’s debut. Finally, after 14 attempts, Arsene Wenger has sussed this Chelsea side out. Jose Mourinho’s team is good, but they are not that good. The mental block, the psychological edge that Mourinho played upon during the numerous childish exchanges, asides and squabbles down the years has just been stripped away. What better place, what grander stage to do it than Wembley, a week ahead of the opening fixtures in the Barclays Premier League. Arsenal had to work for this, protecting a first-half lead given to them after a belting goal from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain by eventually chugging their way to victory against the champions.

This is not the Thierry Henry vintage of 2004 at Arsenal, the pomp of the Dennis Bergkamp team that won the domestic Double in 1998 and again in 2002. But it is coming together nicely. Chelsea were made to look ordinary and functional, a side that looks as though the improvisation and clever skills of their match-winning players has finally been coached out of them. They looked average. Wembley is Arsenal’s home now, winning successive FA Cup semi-finals, FA Cup finals and now Community Shields. They look the part. This was a triumph for their expansive first-half football, playing fast and loose in the final third of the field with the game full of runs from Theo Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain. Ozil, as ever, provided the intelligence to this team.

Walcott To Sign, Benzema & Reus Bid Rumours

Theo Walcott has agreed a new four-year deal to stay at Arsenal – becoming one of the club’s highest earning players in the process. Walcott has been in negotiations with Arsenal over a new deal since the final third of last season, with the England star’s current terms expiring at the end of the coming campaign. It’s claimed the contract makes the 26-year-old one of Arsenal’s best paid players, taking him into the £100,000-a-week bracket. Arsenal are said to be set to announce the news in the next two weeks.

Arsenal are ready to increase their offer for Karim Benzema to finally sign the striker, according to reports. The Gunners have apparently made Real Madrid ace Benzema their top target this summer, with a class frontman a priority for Arsene Wenger. And after reports suggested Arsenal had seen a £31million rejected for Benzema, claims in Spain suggest that will now be upped to £35.3m. The Frenchman’s agent has ruled out a move in recent days but Madrid are open to selling for the right price, and Arsenal now hope to meet that.

Arsenal are ready to sign Marco Reus from Borussia Dortmund after hijacking Liverpool’s deal for the player, according to reports. Reus has been tipped to leave Dortmund this summer and reports had suggested that Liverpool were in talks with the player over a deal. But now the Daily Star says Arsenal have hijacked the negotiations and are now looking to sign 26-year-old for themselves. The news comes amid talk that Arsenal have a £200million transfer budget – and they’ll need it, with Reus tipped to cost £47.8m to sign. Real Madrid have also been sniffing around the German in recent days.

Szcesny To Join Roma On Loan

The goalkeeper question at Arsenal seems to have been sorted out. With the transfer of top class goalie Petr Cech from Chelsea, Arsenal had 3 potential #1 goalkeepers, albeit if the other two were seen as lesser talents to Cech. Wojciech Szczesny, who lost his #1 position to David Ospina in the beginning of the year, has agreed to join Roma on a season-long loan from Arsenal. Goalkeeper Szczesny has also been given the green light by Arsenal to complete the switch and the 25-year-old will play in Italy next season. Roma had been interested in signing Szczesny permanently, but that did not suit the player or Arsenal at this stage.

Wojciech undoubtedly has the talent to become a world-class keeper, but he many now never realise at the Emirates Stadium. Szczesny still firmly believes he can return to Arsenal to challenge Petr Cech for the number one spot in the future. But the Pole also realises that his opportunities during the forthcoming season would be limited and he is keen to play regular football. It now remains to be seen whether David Ospina will settle for being second choice behind Cech or whether highly-rated Damian Martinez will be Wenger’s deputy.

Ospina had been expected to be the fall-guy following Cech’s move from Chelsea and the Colombian had hinted that he was interested in leaving the Emirates. New reports claim that the deal contains a £3.5million buyout option, and with Petr Cech and David Ospina looking likely to nail down Arsenal’s no.1 and 2 spots, Szczesny could be gone for good.

Lack Of Signings For Arsenal

Ugh, we are at it again. And the transfer window started off so well for us. While our rivals are busy buying new & top class players at an attempt to strengthen their squad, Arsenal seems to be stuck in the same old rut of “wait and watch” despite a lot of rumours floating around about players the club has contacted or bid for. Yes we brought in seasoned top class goalie Petr Cech from Chelsea and while he is a cut above the last few goalkeepers we have had in recent years, other signings have failed to materialize. Players we have been heavily linked with have either signed or in the process of signing with another club or are staying on in their current club.

Getting a striker, a steady prolific top class striker who can get us 20-15 goals on a regular basis, has been an agenda from the end of the last season. The north London outfit have been linked with moves for Karim Benzema, Alexandre Lacazette, Edin Dzeko and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Benzema seems to be the main target and new Real Madrid coach Rafa Benitez could still be willing to listen to offers. It is understood the Real manager is desperate to sign Marco Reus and he will let the Frenchaman go if it means securing his top summer transfer target. But 22 days into the summer transfer window and we have yet to see anything solid come up other than the transfer of Cech. And if you really look into it, Cech opted to come to Arsenal because he was no longer the #1 option in Chelsea and after staying loyal to the club for 11 years, Chelsea owner Roman Abrahimovich rewarded Cech with the option to move anywhere, even a rival. Arsenal seemed like the best fit for Cech as his family is settled in London and he didn’t want to uproot them.

Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Man City have been identifying and signing the players that they need which also includes players that Arsenal were linked with. Not that Arsenal has a weak side but we do need shoring up. I think other than the striker we also need a DM and, although we haven’t been linked with one yet, we need a strong CB as I am not too sure about Koz & Per over the long run.

Podolski Signs For Galatasaray

He was one player that a lot of fans wanted to see succeed as a Gunner but it just never worked out for him. Striker Lukas Podolski has joined Galatasaray from Arsenal on a three-year deal. The Germany international, 30, has signed for the Turkish champions for a reported fee of £2.8m. Podolski underwent a medical and then signed his contract with the Turkish side at their Turk Telecom Arena home.

Podolski moved to Arsenal from German side FC Koln in 2012 for a reported £11m and scored 31 goals in 82 appearances for the Gunners. He helped Arsenal win the FA Cup in 2013 but spent the second half of last season on loan at Inter Milan. His chances became limited as Gunners’ manager Arsene Wenger added the likes of Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and Danny Welbeck to his forward options. Wenger also has Theo Walcott, Olivier Giroud and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain at his disposal.

Galatasaray president Dursun Aydin Ozbek said he was delighted to have finally worked out a deal for the Germany international. “Podolski was a player we have been following for a long time,” he said at the announcement of the signing. “We have met the expectations of our fans. We think he will serve us for many years.” The 2014 World Cup winner, who was warned he needed regular football before Euro 2016, will now look to revive his career in Turkey after a disappointing loan spell at Inter Milan during the second half of last season.

Petr Cech Signs For Arsenal

Petr Cech has completed his £10m transfer across London to Arsenal, drawing a line under a glittering 11-year career at Chelsea with an admission that “life doesn’t always turn out the way you think it will”. The Czech international, who claimed 13 major trophies including the Champions League while at Stamford Bridge, conceded he had slipped behind Thibaut Courtois in the pecking order last season and, with little prospect of that situation changing, decided it was time for a new start. The 33-year-old spoke to Roman Abramovich and stressed his desire to remain in the Premier League despite interest from Paris Saint-Germain, with the owner duly sanctioning the move to a direct rival, albeit reluctantly, out of respect for Cech’s eye-catching contribution while at Chelsea.

The goalkeeper has signed a four-year contract worth a basic £100,000 a week and may confront his former team-mates in the Community Shield at Wembley on 2 August. Cech, who ended with 228 clean sheets from his 494 games, featured only seven times in the Premier League last season, with the champions winning all of them and the keeper conceding only twice, but Courtois’ position as the long-term No1 remained clear. Chelsea have seen a £6m bid for the Stoke goalkeeper Asmir Begovic rejected but are expected to return with an improved offer for a player who is entering the final year of his contract at the Britannia Stadium. Stoke may attempt to take a player on loan from Stamford Bridge as part of the deal but that is unlikely to be Victor Moses. Arsenal, who have dropped their interest in Juventus’ Arturo Vidal, may now sanction David Ospina’s move to Fenerbahce. Wojciech Szczesny, who will compete with Cech for a first-team place next season, welcomed the older man to the club on his Instagram account and is intent on remaining at the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal are no longer interested in Juventus superstar Arturo Vidal despite reports that a £21m deal had been struck. According to The Telegraph, boss Arsene Wenger believes he has enough quality in his attacking options and his funds could be spent more wisely. Vidal is seen as a similar box-to-box player as Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and is not really what the Gunners actually need. Reports in Chile last week claimed that Arsenal were close to landing Vidal in a big-money move but that seems over. And, Wenger has now turned his attention to Sporting Lisbon’s holding midfielder William Carvalho. According to the London Evening Standard, Portugal Under-21 star Carvalho is now top of his wanted list. The youngster’s fine form for club and country has seen interest mount in his services. Manchester United and Chelsea are also being linked with moves for the £20m-rated player but it is understood that Arsenal are most likely to land him.

Is This The End For Parma FC?

The city of Parma has a population of only 180,000 and a reputation throughout Italy as one of the most sophisticated cities in the country. Italy’s economic decline over the last decade has hit Parma particularly hard, due to the collapse of local dairy giant Parmalat 12 years ago. Before this, Italian newspaper polls regularly ranked the city as one of the finest in the country in which to live. talian club Parma have announced bankruptcy after the last remaining potential investor pulled out of buying the debt-stricken club only hours before a deadline to complete a deal with the club’s administrators. Parma were officially declared bankrupt earlier this year, although the Lega Serie A advanced a relegation parachute payment to enable them to reach the end of the season. Mike Piazza, a former baseball player, was Parma’s last hope of surviving, but he pulled out on Monday, just hours before the deadline to save the Italian club.

Parma finished bottom of Serie A last season with 19 points, having been docked seven for failing to pay wages. Even without that points’ deduction, they would have been relegated to Serie B. They were relegated to Serie B, but after Parma confirmed that no parties had come forward to buy the club and take on the debts, they will have to start out again from even lower down the footballing pyramid in Serie D. This season, for the second time in as many weeks, Parma announced that they would not play their scheduled game in Serie A. A week earlier, the team had cancelled their home match against Udinese because they didn’t have enough money to pay stewards to open the stadium to the public. This time, the team couldn’t cover travel expenses for the 100-mile trip west to Genoa. It was the first time in the modern history of the Italian league that a club had stopped playing mid-season because they were broke. In the week prior to the announcement, several cars belonging to the club had been repossessed; their medical staff ’s training equipment had been removed so it could be sold at auction; their laundry service had been cancelled.

The players and much of the staff hadn’t been paid since July. Twice in the last three months, the team had been sold for a figure in the single digits: one euro, to be precise. The price was low because the new owners assumed the roughly $100m debt that had been amassed by the man who had run the club for the last seven years. To top it all off, the current owner, Giampietro Manenti, who had bought the team three weeks earlier, had yet to prove to anyone that his bank account contained more than the single euro he had paid for the team, despite his daily assurances that the millions the players and staff were owed would be arriving “domani” (“tomorrow”).

Arsenal Transfer Rumours : 2 In, 1 On Way Out?

Arsenal are days away from completing the signing of Petr Cech after he agreed terms with the Gunners, according to reports. The Chelsea goalie has been given permission to leave Stamford Bridge, and despite the club’s desire to sell him abroad, he’s desperate to join Arsenal. No fee has been sorted yet, but Sky Sports say Cech has agreed terms on a £100,000-a-week contract, and other claims say the move will be completed shortly. Cech is Arsenal’s top transfer target and Arsene Wenger will be delighted to get this move wrapped up quickly.

Arsenal are set to complete the signing of Morgan Schneiderlin, according to journalist Charlie Wyett. Southampton enforcer Schneiderlin is expected to change clubs this summer and Arsenal have been linked. Some reports say terms have already been sorted on a deal, while more recent claims Manchester United are looking to win the race for his services. But the Sun’s Charlie Wyett, who has broken a number of Arsenal exclusives, told talkSPORT that Schneiderlin is moving to the Gunners. ‘I think Morgan Schneiderlin will be joining Arsenal,’ he explained. ‘He would be a good signing along with Petr Cech.’ Schneiderlin is likely to cost about £24m to sign.

On the other side of things Arsenal forward Joel Campbell is nearing his exit from the club. The striker is a target for Benfica while Real Sociedad have bid £6m for the 22-year-old, according to the Sun. Campbell recently admitted he is flattered to have been linked with a move to Real, saying: “It’s something that is not in my hands. But in the club to which I belong. “It’s always an honour when such an important club such as Real Sociedad values you.”

Podolski Transfer Looks Imminent

Arsenal forward Lukas Podolski has agreed personal terms with Turkish champions Galatasaray, according to sensational reports. Turkish publication Aksam claims Podolski will sign a three-year deal worth £41,000-per-week. Arsenal are reported to have accepted a poultry £1.4m transfer fee to part with their coveted German international. And will be relived to rid themselves of the 30-year-old’s £75,000-per-week wages. The 30-year-old, who has one year remaining on his contract, made just 13 appearances for the Gunners last term before spending the second half of the season on loan at Inter Milan.

However it remains unclear whether Everton will attempt a last-gasp effort to keep Podolski in England. The player has previously suggested he would consider a move to Turkey, he said: “If an offer comes from Turkey, I will sit down and talk about it with my family and girlfriend. “If I find the right club, the right coach, the right environment, I will evaluate it. “If these conditions are met, I think everything is possible.” Podolski told Kicker: ‘I can’t make any claims. ‘I am under contract at Arsenal. ‘I have not talked to Arsenal yet, but if I return I want to play. I won’t sit on the bench or in the stands.’

Podolski arrived at the Premier League club from German side FC Koln in 2012 and has made over 50 appearances for the Gunners.

Arsenal Win 12th FA Cup

Arsenal became the most successful club in FA Cup history as they outclassed Aston Villa at Wembley to earn Arsene Wenger a record-equalling sixth triumph. The Gunners retained the trophy they won against Hull City a year ago to put Wenger’s total of wins alongside George Ramsay – who previously stood alone with the record for his victories with Villa between 1887 and 1920. Arsenal’s 12th final victory was never in doubt as they dominated with a magnificent display, the only surprise being that it took until five minutes before half-time for their control to be rewarded with Theo Walcott’s goal.

Alexis Sanchez confirmed that superiority with one of the great FA Cup final goals shortly after the restart – a swerving, dipping 25-yard thunderbolt that flew high past startled Villa keeper Shay Given. Villa were a shadow of the side that performed so impressively to beat Liverpool at Wembley in the semi-final, their flaws exposed ruthlessly as Per Mertesacker took advantage of an embarrassing lack of marking to head the third. Substitute Olivier Giroud’s fourth in the final moments only completed what was a harrowing day for Tim Sherwood’s side, who had travelled to Wembley high on optimism and expectation after an impressive run to the final.

It was a day of triumph for Wenger, as he added another FA Cup to his three Premier League titles in a game that was a sharp contrast to the tension of last year’s final, when the Gunners had to recover from two goals down. And Wenger recorded a tactical victory over Villa counterpart Sherwood, with his decision to use the pace of Walcott to take on Villa’s defence rather than the power of Giroud reaping rich rewards. Arsenal’s season can now be judged as a success, with the trophy adding to a third-placed finish in the Premier League that assured Champions League football again. Goalkeeper Given showed great athleticism to save from Laurent Koscielny, and Kieran Richardson blocked crucially from Walcott as he looked certain to score.

Just as it looked as if Villa would somehow survive until half-time, Arsenal got the breakthrough they deserved, Walcott thumping a finish past Given at his near post after Sanchez headed down Nacho Monreal’s cross. Before Villa could regroup after half-time, Sanchez effectively settled the contest with a magical FA Cup final moment, sending a bullet finish high past Given with the keeper barely having time to react. Villa, pretty much as they had looked from the first whistle, were shell-shocked and Mertesacker was allowed by Christian Benteke to rise unmarked and head in the third. The formalities were completed with virtually the last kick of the game when Giroud turned in Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s cross in front of a rapidly-emptying Villa end, with their supporters having had little more than a couple of half-hearted penalty appeals to sustain them.

Arsenal 4 West Bromich Albion 1

Theo Walcott scored a first-half hat-trick as FA Cup finalists Arsenal made certain of a Champions League group stage place by demolishing West Brom. Theo, in his first Gunners start since 14 March, cemented the club’s 3rd place position in the League as well as ending West Brom’s five-game unbeaten run. Walcott, making his first club start for more than two months, fired an early shot into the top corner, before poking in a second from close range. Jack Wilshere thumped in a third from 20 yards, and Walcott tapped in a fourth before half-time. Gareth McAuley headed a second-half goal for Albion.

Walcott is starting to regain his best form after almost a year out with a knee injury, while Wilshere has only recently returned to action after being plagued by ankle problems. Both made a point, after scoring, of going over to the bench to celebrate with Arsenal physio Declan Lynch, who has done much to help them get back to fitness – but who is about to leave for a new role at Premiership rugby union side Bath. Manager Arsene Wenger will be pleased that both players look ready to play a part in next Saturday’s FA Cup final against Aston Villa. And he will also be happy that his side have found their goalscoring touch after three successive home games without finding the net. Walcott struck early, thumping an unstoppable shot across keeper Boaz Myhill. The forward then side-stepped Jonas Olsson to prod in a second from eight yards after Wilshere and Mesut Ozil combined to set him up.

His England colleague Wilshere struck a spectacular third with only 17 minutes gone, finding the top corner as Albion struggled to clear a set-piece. Walcott, though, made sure of headline status by completing his hat-trick, tapping in after Santi Cazorla rolled the ball across the goal. McAuley’s consolation goal, his first in the league since December 2013, was headed in from a corner, with Arsenal keeper David Ospina at fault. Arsenal eased off with victory secure, yet still could have had further goals, with substitute Aaron Ramsey striking the post before having a chip turned on to the bar by Myhill. But they showed enough to strengthen their position as favourites to win the FA Cup next Saturday. Arsenal finish the league with 75 points and 35 goal difference.

Arsenal 0 Sunderland 0

3 games played, 1 goal scored. 5 games played, only 1 win. This is a sign that we need to sign a proven prolific striker for next season. It’s also time to sell a few – Arteta, Flamini, Rosicky, Podolski. I’m not even sure that it’s worth it to keep Theo, Welbeck & The Ox. Who can we get a striker though – Cavani? Benzema? Dyabala? Alexandre Lacazette?

Arsenal stay third in Premier League table as Sunderland secured Premier League safety with a magnificent display of defensive determination and organisation to get the point they needed at Arsenal. Arsenal’s own point effectively means they will finish third behind champions Chelsea and Manchester City. Jack Wilshere did penetrate the blue wall of defiance but Mesut Ozil and Olivier Giroud were unable to take advantage, both unable to hit the target from presentable positions.

With just one more game for the season, Arsenal need to focus on the FA Cup final. And if we do win, Arsene Wenger – please do the right thing and step down. Thanks for the memories but you are not going to win the league again without changing your tactics and not having a plan B. And with this squad. Time to shake things up.

Manchester United 1 Arsenal 1

Arsenal maintained a grip on third place after they came back from behind to secure a draw at Old Trafford in last night’s match. Arsenal will secure third place in the Premier League if they beat Sunderland on Wednesday after Theo Walcott’s deflected cross gave them a late equaliser and a point at Manchester United. Ander Herrera’s first-half strike gave United a lead they deserved in a game low on intensity with both teams already assured of places in next season’s Champions League. Arsenal barely raised a gallop for the first hour but finally came to life in the closing stages and levelled when substitute Walcott’s cross was diverted past keeper Victor Valdes off Tyler Blackett.

Former Barcelona keeper Valdes was on for David De Gea, who went off with an injury on what may well be his final Old Trafford appearance as speculation mounts that he will make a summer move back to his native Spain with Real Madrid. One man who looked like he was definitely saying farewell to Old Trafford was on-loan striker Radamel Falcao, who struggled badly for an hour before being replaced by Robin van Persie, taking time to wave to United’s fans as he walked off. Arsenal will confirm a third-placed finish, and a Champions League group-stage spot, with victory against the Black Cats at Emirates Stadium, leaving United to contest the competition’s qualifiers. Such was the lame nature of Arsenal’s first-half performance that they failed to muster a single shot, the first time they have produced this miserable statistic since a 2-1 defeat at Liverpool in November 2004.

United were far more energetic and were rewarded with the lead after 30 minutes when Herrera arrived at the far post to meet Ashley Young’s cross after he had escaped from Hector Bellerin. Aaron Ramsey lofted the ball over the onrushing De Gea but Rojo recovered to clear the danger. De Gea then left the action prematurely as he went down injured and was replaced by Valdes. The debutant had barely had time to make any sort of contribution when Arsenal equalised, Walcott’s cross taking a big deflection off Blackett to wrong-foot the keeper. With 2 games to play Arsenal could get a maximum of 77 points if they win both and if Manchester City loses, which looks unlikely, they could finish second.

Arsenal 0 Swansea 1

Lazy, lackadaisical, unimpressive, toothless and uninspired – all describes last night’s performance by Arsenal as they missed the opportunity to move level on points with Manchester City in second place in the Premier League as Swansea snatched a dramatic late win thanks to Bafetimbi Gomis’s header. The Swans’ disciplined six-man midfield frustrated the hosts in a goalless first half. Former Arsenal goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski made a flurry of saves to deny Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey among others as the Gunners attacked relentlessly after the break.

But with less than five minutes left, substitute Gomis nodded in – as goal-line technology showed Arsenal keeper David Ospina had failed to palm the ball away. That gave Swansea a first league double against Arsenal since the 1981-82 season, after Gomis had also scored the winner when Garry Monk’s side beat the Gunners 2-1 in November. The hosts remain three points behind Manchester City in the Premier League table, albeit with a game in hand. The hosts looked more dangerous after the break as Chile forward Alexis Sanchez skipped clear in the box and shot into the side-netting. However, Arsenal’s first shot on target did not come until the hour mark, though Giroud’s low effort was comfortably held by Fabianski. He made an excellent save moments later to deny Cazorla from 12 yards, before blocking an attempt from Ramsey as the Gunners put Swansea under intense pressure.

A brilliant double save thwarted Sanchez and Theo Walcott and the Poland international’s efforts were then rewarded with a dramatic winner, as Jefferson Montero crossed for Gomis to head in at the back post. At first glance, it seemed Ospina had saved from the France striker but, with the aid of goal-line technology, referee Kevin Friend awarded the goal to seal an improbable victory for Swansea. Arsenal next face Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday and host Sunderland on Wednesday.

Hull City 1 Arsenal 3

Arsenal moved level on points with second-placed Manchester City and heightened Hull’s relegation worries with a superb display at KC Stadium on Monday night. The Gunners also have game in hand as Sanchez, who now has 24 goals this season, banged in 2 goals. Hull are left just one point above the bottom three. The Gunners were sensational in the first half and Alexis Sanchez opened the scoring with a deflected free-kick. Aaron Ramsey netted the second with another deflected strike before setting up Sanchez to beat keeper Steve Harper. Stephen Quinn’s header gave Hull hope, but the defeat sees the Tigers slip to fourth-bottom on goal difference. Hull drop below Leicester and to within a place of the Premier League’s relegation zone ahead of Saturday’s home game against bottom club Burnley, but they will be cheered by the resolve they showed in the second half.

They went into the game buoyed by victories against Crystal Palace and Liverpool, but they could do nothing to prevent a slick Arsenal side dominating the first half. The Gunners enjoyed 83% possession in the first 10 minutes but, for all their ball retention, they looked just as much of a threat on the break. With Santi Cazorla sliding cute passes through and Ramsey causing problems when driving inside from the right, it was no surprise when the visitors took the lead. Sanchez dusted himself down after being fouled on the edge of the box and bent in a free-kick via Michael Dawson’s head. There was also an element of fortune about the second Gunners goal, as Ramsey’s clipped effort looped over Harper after taking a deflection off Robbie Brady. Cazorla’s sublime pass set up the second, but Ramsey’s assist for the third was even better – the Welsh midfielder playing a reverse ball inside the Hull defence and Sanchez had the simple task of rounding Harper and putting the game beyond doubt.

The Gunners had plenty of chances in the second half – either side of Quinn’s header from Ahmed Elmohamady’s deep cross – but they could not take them as they stretched their excellent run of form to just one loss in the last 14. A further boost came in the form of Jack Wilshere, who came off the bench for his first appearance since November.
The England midfielder impressed with a trademark jinking run, and also saw a shot blocked after a late run into the box. The north London side, who have a game in hand on Manchester City, are in control of the race for the runners-up spot behind champions Chelsea and are all but assured of a top-four finish. They also have an FA Cup final against Aston Villa to look forward to on 30 May.