Arsenal finally broke their Swansea City hoodoo and while it should have been a straightforward "oh, it's a cruise from minute one" Premier League match, it proved to be anything but. Twice Arsenal gave up a two-goal lead, but eventually, despite going down to ten men, the home team had enough to take all three points at the Emirates on Saturday.
Coming into this game on the back of three defeats and one draw to this opposition at the Emirates, Arsenal were under pressure to turn those results around. The fact that they were on a five-match winning streak in the Premier League helped, and when Theo Walcott put the Gunners 2-0 ahead, with two opportunistic strikes, it seemed like being a comfortable afternoon for the home side and their fans.
But, Arsenal have this penchant for making thins difficult, don't they. Grant Xhaka gave the ball away to Gylfi Sigurdsson inside his own half, with the Iceland international saying "thank you very much" before curling one with his left foot past Petr Cech.
At 2-1 at halftime, Bob Bradley, who became the first American manager in the Premier League, would have asked his team to hang in there and look for another opportunity, but the match looked over, again, when Mesut Ozil, on his 28th birthday, struck a sweet volley into the roof of the net.
However, Swansea pulled one back, yet again, through Borja Baston, before they were given a real lifeline when Xhaka was shown a straight red card for a cynical foul on Modou Barrow, who was Swansea's best player. It was the kind of tackle you always see punished by a yellow, even if it was cynical in the extreme, but Jon Moss had other ideas.
Swansea had opportunities with Arsenal a man down, but so did the home team, with Theo Walcott hitting the post and also missing a simple chance right at the end which would have seen him complete his hat-trick.
In the end, it was all three points for Arsenal and in a day when Manchester City and Tottenham dropped points, it was a really important victory. Arsenal are now level on points with Manchester City, who lead the table on goal difference, with Spurs a point behind. Liverpool can join the Gunners and City with a win at Anfield over Manchester United on Monday.
"Yes, what looked to become a comfortable afternoon finished in a very uncomfortable way," Arsene Wenger said. "But we just got over the line. I thought we played some fantastic football in patches but at 2-0 maybe we lost our focus a bit.
"After that, at 3-1, again. When we were down to 10 men at 3-2, we could have scored the fourth goal but we could have conceded as well. In the end we just got over the line. We played together, with spirit until the end. It was difficult at the end."