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CLUCAS BEATS THE CLUELESS; SWANSEA 3 ARSENAL 1 Clucas 34, 86 Jordan Ayew 61 Monreal 33 PREMIER LEAGUE LIBERTY STADIUM; Super Swans take the Mkhi out of Arsenal as two-goal Sam piles on the woe for Wenger.

Byline: JOHN CROSS Chief Football Writer

CARLOS CARVALHAL claimed Liverpool were like a Formula One car stuck in traffic when his Swansea side beat them last week.

Arsenal looked more like a clapped-out old banger which had run out of petrol on a miserable night at the Liberty Stadium.

Arsene Wenger's men were quite simply awful as they produced yet another lacklustre, abject display which has largely been the story of their season.

They were shocking in defence, woeful in midfield and Swansea had far more heart and passion, showing the sort of never-say-die spirit required to stay up.

Arsenal keeper Petr Cech dropped a clanger for Swansea's all-important second goal when he missed his kick and put the ball on a plate for striker Jordan Ayew.

But that should not disguise Arsenal's other failings, perhaps best highlighted by Wenger's act of sheer desperation as he had to throw on Olivier Giroud in the closing stages - even though the France striker is expected to join Chelsea today.

That rather sums it up as Arsenal looked a team drifting, while Swansea boss Carvalhal's men dug in, were fearless despite the miserable conditions and looked much hungrier.

The Gunners lived up to every stereotype of not fancying it on a cold, wet Tuesday night, although this was Swansea rather than Stoke.

You could tell straight from the start that Swansea were up for it as they put Arsenal on the back foot and Wenger's men could not match them as Ayew went close and only Aaron Ramsey's last-ditch tackle stopped Sam Clucas from scoring.

But totally against the run of play Arsenal went ahead in the 33rd minute after Mesut Ozil provided a brilliant cross, leftback Nacho Monreal crept in at the back post and provided a brilliant first-time finish.

Monreal has been superb going forward, scoring twice in his last three games, but Arsenal were awful at the back and sure enough, could barely hold on to their lead for a minute after some typically shambolic defending.

Swansea left-back Martin Olson muscled Ozil off the ball, Alfie Mawson's through ball put Clucas away and his clever touch took him from Laurent Koscielny, but Granit Xhaka completely failed to track his runner.

You expected Arsenal to improve after the break and Wenger brought on Henrikh Mkhitaryan on the hour for his debut after deeming he was not sharp enough to start.

Mind you, that was no excuse for the rest of them.

Arsenal's night went from bad to worse after 61 minutes. Monreal got a rollicking from Wenger for letting the ball go out of play, the throw-in then put Arsenal under pressure as Shkodran Mustafi passed back to Cech.

The keeper then made a terrible mess of it, his mis-kick presenting the ball to Ayew, who smashed home Swansea's second.

Then more abject Arsenal defending allowed Clucas to squeeze home a third at the near post in the 86th minute.

REF: Lee Mason ATT: 20,819 match stats 26% POSSESSION 74% 4 SHOTS ON TARGET 4 5 SHOTS OFF TARGET 5 4 CORNERS 3 0 OFFSIDE 3 4 FOULS 8 0 0 CARDS 3 0 ARSENAL CECH 5 Terrible slip and miskick gifted Swansea their second goal BELLERIN Booked 5 Knocked off ball easily and needs to get back to rampaging best MUSTAFI 6 Lack of pace was exposed early on and he struggled, but battled KOSCIELNY 6 Suspect at the back, partly weak defensively and lack of protection MONREAL 6 Scored, but exposed at the back. Wenger gave him a rollicking ELNENY Booked 6 Battled and tackled hard, hooked early as he was on a yellow card XHAKA 4 Wretched, does not track runners and offered little going forward RAMSEY 5 Back in the starting line-up and was rusty. Good goal-saving tackle OZIL Booked 6 Nice cross for the goal, but knocked off the ball too easily IWOBI 4 Poor. Lacks quality and you do wonder if he is an Arsenal player LACAZETTE 4 Should have been busting a lung with Aubameyang arriving. Didn't! SUBS: Mkhitaryan (Elneny 60) 6 Giroud (Iwobi 76) 5 SWANSEA FABIANSKI 7 Excellent early save from Iwobi, always does well against old club NAUGHTON 7 Comfortable on the ball, good going forward. Solid game VAN DER HOORN 7 Has helped Swansea look strong playing five at the back FERNANDEZ 7 Solid defensive display. Reads the game well, shut out Lacazette MAWSON 8 Terrific leader, inspiration and strong at the back, drives forward OLSSON 7 Dangerous attacking display from the left-back CLUCAS 8 Great bursts forward from midfield and fired in two vital goals KI 7 Works hard, shielded the defence and covered plenty of ground FER 7 Did well, ran hard and linked the midfield and attack DYER 7 Pace caused Arsenal's sluggish defenders all sorts of problems AYEW 8 Gave Gunners headaches and was rewarded with second goal SUBS: Carroll (Dyer 83) Bony (Jordan Ayew 88) Routledge (Clucas 90)

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SWAN IN A MILLION Sam Clucas scores his first for Swansea and not even Mkhitaryan could inspire Arsenal
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 31, 2018
Words:844
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