Arsenal's Premier League title challenge is in tatters following a 2-2 draw at home to Swansea City on Tuesday evening at the Emirates Stadium in London.
Swansea led for most of the match through Wilfried Bony's 11th-minute header, but Arsenal turned around the scoreline with two goals within as many minutes from substitute Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud.
But with Arsenal heading for three vital points, the Gunners gave up a late equaliser through a Mathieu Flamini own goal.
Wenger: “We have to take this on the chin. After we got to 2-1, we were too focused on keeping the result and too conservative." #AFCvSCFC— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) March 25, 2014
The draw leaves Arsenal in fourth place with 63 points, six behind leaders Chelsea. The Gunners have won only one of their last four league matches, a run that has all but ended their once-promising title challenge.
Swansea are 15th with 30 points, five points above the relegation zone.
Coming so soon after that crushing 6-0 defeat at Chelsea over the weekend, Arsenal needed to produce a positive result against Swansea.
The Gunners could still have a say in the title race, with Manchester City visiting the Emirates Stadium on Saturday. And while the title is all but gone, Arsene Wenger's side still have to consolidate a top-four finish ahead of Tottenham and Everton.
As ESPN's Paul Carr points out, Arsenal's trip to Everton on April 6 could be decisive in the top-four fight.
SPI's updated PL top 4 odds. Arsenal still secure? Everton-Arsenal on April 6 is huge. pic.twitter.com/D2nTdAkbZJ— Paul Carr (@PCarrESPN) March 25, 2014
Meanwhile, the Gunners remain alive in the FA Cup, which probably now represents their best chance for silverware this season. If the Gunners can defeat holders Wigan in the semi-finals on April 12 at Wembley, they would be favoured against either Hull City or Sheffield United in the final in May.
Arsenal must have felt the same way about Swansea's visit, but after dominating possession for the first 10 minutes, the Gunners once again found themselves behind.
Swansea mounted their first attack in the 11th minute as Neil Taylor crossed from long distance on the left. The ball curled into the box for Bony, who beat his marker and placed a powerful header into the net for a 1-0 Swansea lead.
The hosts responded well, however, with Per Mertesacker heading a corner into the side-netting in the 19th minute. Moments later, Giroud saw his shot deflected off target.
Arsenal continued to toil throughout the first half, struggling to turn possession into chances. Santi Cazorla carved out some space for himself in the box in the 43rd minute, but Michel Vorm blocked the shot, allowing Swansea to take their 1-0 lead into half-time.
As Arsenal's frustration began to increase in the second half, Wenger introduced Podolski for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the 57th minute in an attempt to freshen up the Gunners' attack. It took some time, but the move worked as the German played an integral role in Arsenal's quick turnaround.
The equaliser finally came in the 73rd minute. Kieran Gibbs, the victim of mistaken identity this past weekend, dribbled past his marker on the left and cut back into the middle from the end line for Podolski. Unmarked, the German only had to redirect the ball into the net with a volley to pull Arsenal level.
At 1-1, Arsenal were suddenly full of life. Only one minute later, Podolski picked out Giroud with a low pass from the left, and Giroud tapped in to give the Gunners a scarcely believable 2-1 lead.
Swansea still had more than 15 minutes to peg Arsenal back, and Bony directed another header on target in the 85th minute as the visitors went in search of a late equaliser.
They found it in stoppage time after Leon Britton burst into the box with a fine run. Arsenal 'keeper Wojciech Szczesny came out to clear the danger, but the ball instead rebounded off Flamini and into the net to give Swansea a 2-2 draw.
"It's the least the boys deserved. This team goes to the end, I fully believe in the group" - Garry Monk on Swansea's last-minute equaliser— Premier League (@premierleague) March 25, 2014
|Lukas Podolski (for Chamberlain, 57')||N/A||8|
|Kim Kallstrom (for Rosicky, 79')||N/A||6|
|Yaya Sanogo (for Giroud, 89')||N/A||No rating|
Ratings by B/R UK
Arsenal host Manchester City in the Premier League on Saturday.
Swansea host Norwich City the same day.