Arsenal vs. Swansea City: 6 Things We Learned from Gunners' Undeserved Draw

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Arsenal vs. Swansea City: 6 Things We Learned from Gunners' Undeserved Draw
Matt Dunham/Associated Press

Arsenal's Premier League title challenge is over after Mathieu Flamini's last-minute own goal gifted Swansea City a 2-2 draw after the Welsh team had outplayed the Gunners for most of the match.

Swansea took the lead in their first real attack of the game after Wilfred Bony's stunning header nearly took the net off the posts. From there, the away side dictated the game and never looked in danger. Arsenal were insipid all night, but somehow conspired to score two goals in a minute through Lukas Podolski and the anonymous Olivier Giroud.

The Swans, not to be outdone, fought back ans scored a deserved equalizer, but it came in the most farcical of instances when the ball bounced around Arsenal's six-yard box before Flamini's final touch took it into the net.

The goal came in the last minute, but the game did not end there. Swansea pushed for a deserved winner and in added time Jonathan De Guzman broke into Arsenal's half unattended with the goal at his mercy.

Unfortunately for De Guzman, the referee, Lee Probert, chose then to blow the final whistle. To no surprise, Swansea's players then surrounded the ref to find out why he finished the game. Under the letter of the law, it is hard to argue with the ref, but he did choose a strange moment to finish the game.

Arsene Wenger had looked for his team to give a huge response following their humiliating 6-0 capitulation to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge last weekend. 

If anything, the pressure of having to respond seemed to weigh too heavily on some Arsenal shoulders. Bacary Sagna was not his normal self and seemed a disinterested party on the right while Santi Cazorla did not seem to want possession as much as he normally does.

The Gunners played as if they were meeting for the first time and seemed uncertain of what to do as Swansea allowed them to own possession.

The away-side, set up with a defensive-minded 4-4-1 formation, came to frustrate and to keep the crowd quiet. Despite Arsenal hogging possession and having plenty of opportunity to open up the Swans' defense, they offered the crowd no real reason to get behind their team. Their pedestrian style of play played straight into Swansea's hands.

Swansea counter-attacked with great speed and scored on their first real attack. Left-back Neil Taylor's deep cross was met by Bony, who headed powerfully past a stranded Wojciech Szczesny to give Swansea the lead.

The goal stunned Wenger, his team and the home crowd into complete silence. 

The game continued in the same pattern for the rest of the half. When Arsenal left the pitch at half-time, their fans expected to see a rejuvenated team reappear for the second period, after a presumed half-time rollicking by their legendary French manager.

Instead, they came out in the second 45 in exactly the same labored fashion.

Swansea, once again, set about dictating the flow of the game and frustrating their illustrious opponents.

Garry Monk's game plan appeared to be working perfectly up until 15 minutes from time when, quite out of the blue, Arsenal scored twice in the space of 66 seconds.

In truth, this was the only 66 seconds of real quality the Gunners produced all night.

The first came after a brilliant, surging run from Kieran Gibbs was poked home by Podolski. The German then turned provider for Giroud to slam home from close range to give Arsenal the lead.

The relief in the ground was obvious and all of a sudden, the ground came to life.

The relief, however, was short lived as Swansea immediately quieted the crowd with a number of Quickfire attacks.

As the game counted game, the Swans launched a lightning-quick counter attack that resulted in Arsenal scoring the sloppiest of own goals as the away side claimed a deserved equalizer.

Leon Britton, a hero in central midfield all night, broke through the heart of Arsenal's defense and moved in on goal. He was being tracked by Per Mertesacker and Flamini as Szczesny came racing out to close down his angles.

The lanky German, Mertesacker, hooked a long leg around Britton and nicked the ball away, only to see the blow bounce off Szczesny's leg before it rebounded off Flamini into the open goal.

The goal gave Swansea the goal they deserved and gives them real hope for the relegation battle.

Arsenal, in comparison and at the other end of the table, receives no such favors for their title challenge, which is now well and truly over.

Here, Bleacher Report offers six things we learned from Arsenal vs. Swansea...

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