Arsenal held out for a 3-2 win over Swansea on Saturday, as Granit Xhaka’s sending off forced them to play with 10 men for the last 20 minutes of the match.
Arsenal looked to be cruising to a nice and comfortable victory, as two goals from Theo Walcott in the 26th and 33rd minute put the Gunners up 2-0. Swansea pulled one back through Icelandic international Gylfi Sigurdsson in the 38th minute.
Mesut Ozil made it 3-1 in the 57th minute before Borja Baston scored his first Premier League goal for Swansea to make it 3-2. Xhaka was sent off in the 70th minute after bringing down Modou Barrow from behind as the Gambian international was flying down the sideline. The away side pushed on for an equalizer but Arsenal managed to hang on for the win and move into second place in the standings, level on points with leaders Manchester City.
“Yes, what looked to become a comfortable afternoon finished in a very uncomfortable way,” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said after the game. “But we just got over the line. I thought we played some fantastic football in patches but at 2-0 maybe we lost our focus a bit. After that, at 3-1, [it happened] again. When we were down to 10 men at 3-2, we could have scored the fourth goal but we could have conceded as well. In the end we just got over the line. We played together, with spirit until the end. It was difficult at the end.”
The Frenchman wasn’t totally convinced that Xhaka’s challenge on Barrow deserved a red card.
“It looked harsh to me,” Wenger said. “But it was a deliberate foul. It looked a dark yellow – and the referee went for a bright red.”