By Lloyd Webb at Landore Training Ground
Jack Wilshere and Tomas Rosicky continued their comebacks but Arsenal’s hopes of earning automatic promotion to Division One were dented by a 3-1 defeat at Swansea.
Adam King gave the hosts the lead with a powerful header and Kenji Gorre doubled their advantage with a curled finish in the first half.
Serge Gnabry gave the Gunners a glimmer of hope when he pulled one back with 10 minutes to go, but substitute Alex Bray struck to confirm Arsenal's defeat.
Setting the scene
Steve Gatting made five changes to his side following their 2-1 win at Derby County three days earlier.
Senior players Wilshere, Rosicky and Gnabry started in midfield while Kaylen Hinds was handed the central striker role after his goal at the iPro Stadium.
Tafari Moore was named in defence instead of Chiori Johnson and Stefan O’Connor was included on the bench for the first time since his loan spell at York City.
On a sunny day in south Wales, Arsenal made a similarly bright start and former Gunner Josh Vickers was called into action twice to claw away attempts from Hinds.
Despite the visitors' encouraging opening, Swansea took the lead when King lost his marker and headed Adnan Maric’s cross into the bottom corner.
Rosicky then went down in the box after some clever play, but the midfielder’s appeals for a penalty were waved away by the referee.
Macey was called into action shortly after, showing fine reflexes to prevent Krystian Bielik’s deflection from rolling into the net at the near post.
Gorre doubled the hosts’ advantage before the break, opening up his body to curl the ball past Macey into the bottom corner.
The Swans remained on the front foot after the restart, and could have found a third in the 48th minute had it not been for a good save from Macey.
Gatting’s side were indebted to the goalkeeper again minutes later when the 21-year-old produced a fine stop to deny Bray after he capitalised on a defensive error.
Gnabry then pulled one back for the visitors when he raced onto Wilshere's threaded pass and lashed the ball into the top corner with just over 10 minutes to go.
The Gunners' joy was short lived, as substitute Bray reacted first in the box and drilled a strike past Macey to secure the win.
Copyright 2023 The Arsenal Football Club Limited. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source.