Nacho Monreal and Gervinho struck late as Arsenal grabbed a crucial victory at Swansea on Saturday.
With 16 minutes left, the Spaniard divided a tight game with his first strike since joining the Club in January.
Then Gervinho secured all three points when he converted a pass from Aaron Ramsey in injury time.
Perhaps Arsène Wenger’s side were not quite at their fluent best this afternoon, but pre-match, the Frenchman had described this game as “win-at-all-costs”.
And his side certainly showed a dogged determination to match their manager’s words.
This victory take Arsenal back up fifth as Everton had sneaked ahead with their lunchtime win over Manchester City.
It also puts pressure on Chelsea and Tottenham, fourth and third respectively, ahead of their games on Sunday.
An early goal had been fundamental to Arsenal’s win at the Allianz Arena and they nearly found another this afternoon.
After five minutes, Diaby spread the ball wide to Oxlade-Chamberlain on the left. He bulldozed past Angel Rangel and tried to curl his shot into the far corner. Unfortunately for Arsenal the ball bounced back off the bar.
However, after that, Swansea nearly capitalised on a couple of defensive lapses.
On 13 minutes, Ki Sung-Yeung slipped Rangel through a static Arsenal defence. Under pressure, the Spaniard fired wide.
Shortly after that, Carl Jenkinson gave the ball away to Jonathan De Guzman just outside the area and Michu swiveled to send his shot trickling just past the post.
Although Cazorla’s dipping shot from distance troubled Vorm, Swansea were posing more problems than the visitors.
Fabianski made a fine near-post save after Michu broke clear. Neither knew the Spaniard has been flagged offside.
But, as the rain began to lash the Liberty Stadium, Arsenal gradually warmed to their task. Diaby began to find his range and Cazorla started to spark.
The latter set up Oxlade-Chamberlain to let fly from range. This time his effort brushed the bar.
Giroud and Diaby then fed Walcott and the Englishman would have another effort blocked.
As the whistle went, both sides would have been relatively happy as they might have been ahead but they could have been behind.
Arsenal had all the pressure at the start of the second half but could not create anything of note.
At the other end, Michu blasted over and Pablo Hernandez fired wide.
As we reached the three-quarters stage, Arsenal were starting to lose their focus so, with 20 minutes left, Wenger made changes – Ramsey and Gervinho for Oxlade-Chamberlain and Diaby.
It made an immediate impact. The Ivorian danced through on the left and nearly set up Cazorla.
Then, in the 74th minute, came the crucial goal.
Cazorla weaved through on the left and cut the ball back. Giroud nudged it to Monreal who bobbled a shot across goal and into the far corner.
The left-back had scored in his last game for Malaga before joining Arsenal. His first for his new side was simply massive.
Gervinho forced a fine save out of Vorm as Arsenal immediately looked to seal the points.
But Swansea would reply. The home fans thought they had equalised when De Guzman fired a free-kick into the sidenetting.
Still Arsenal were strong this afternoon and, in injury time, Gervinho slotted past Vorm after collecting Ramsey’s pass.
The substitutes had made a vital difference at the end as Arsenal ground out a victory of huge significance.
- Monreal Goal!
- Oxlade-Chamberlain 70
- Arteta Yellow Card
- Diaby 70
- Walcott 85
- Gervinho 70 Goal!
- Gibbs 85
- Ramsey 70
- Ki 66
- Dyer 76
- Guzman Yellow Card
- Routledge 66
- Moore 76