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Football
New boys Swansea show rivals how it is done
Superb Swansea come from behind against Arsenal while new boss Mark Hughes gets his first taste of defeat with QPR.
Last Modified: 15 Jan 2012 21:05
Swansea have taken to the Premier League like ducks, or should that be swans, to water [GALLO/GETTY] 

Arsenal are known for playing beautiful football but they may have just found a rival in newly promoted Swansea City.

Arguably it is a Welsh team who are playing the best football in the English Premier League at the moment.

Swansea continue to strengthen under boss Brendan Rodgers who strongly believes his side can beat the best playing attractive and free-flowing football.

Rodgers was proved right on Sunday as his side came from behind to record an unexpected 3-2 victory over Arsenal.

Many had thought the Premier League new boys would be battling it out at the bottom of the table but they are in a comfortable 10th position, nine points clear of the relegation zone, and continue to play fast and exciting football.

Thierry Henry couldn't supply the winner this time as Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was left frustrated by another disappointing performance.

"I still don't understand where the referee found the penalty for Swansea, but then defensively we made some mistakes that we should not have done," Wenger said.

"When it was back at 2-2 we knew we could score a third but in the last games we have made mistakes that are difficult to explain. It is unbelievable, it happened at Fulham and again here."

Robin van Persie gave the Gunners an early lead only for a Scott Sinclair penalty and a Nathan Dyer strike to swing the contest in Swansea's favour.

Theo Walcott levelled for Arsene Wenger's side in the 69th minute, soon after Henry's introduction as a substitute for his 255th English top-flight appearance, yet the visitors were left stunned a minute later when Danny Graham fired in the winner.

Arsenal could have few complaints with the outcome, though, after a sub-standard display which means they remain four points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea in fifth position.

Swaggering Swansea will be celebrating their best victory of the season - but their attractive football suggests there might be even better results to come.

Not Best start

Mark Hughes' debut as QPR manager ended in disappointment as Leon Best gave Newcastle a 1-0 victory at St James' Park.

Hughes was appointed by the struggling Premier League side on Tuesday following Neil Warnock's sacking, but the arrival of the former Man City boss failed to galvanise his new team, who remain third bottom of the table.

Best, deputising for Demba Ba who is currently away on African Nations Cup duty with Senegal, ensured the in-form striker wouldn't be missed with a fine winner in the 37th minute to lift Newcastle into sixth place - four points off
the Champions League spots.

"It's a hard place to come, we understand that, it was never going to be easy so that's why I'm encouraged by what I saw"

QPR boss Mark Hughes

"I was pleased with the players' application, they gave me everything they had, obviously we've been done with a little bit of individual skill in our own box," Hughes said.

"It would have been ideal obviously if we could have got something out of the game because overall I felt we deserved something.

"It's a hard place to come, we understand that, it was never going to be easy so that's why I'm encouraged by what I saw."

A miserable run of two points from their last eight matches had left QPR in a fight to avoid the drop and results on Saturday meant Hughes took charge of his first match with the team in the relegation zone.

Hughes - who made six changes to QPR's starting line-up - must have been encouraged when Shaun Wright-Phillips and Jay Bothroyd hit the woodwork early on, while Newcastle lost influential midfielder Yohan Cabaye to injury in the 25th minute.

But Alan Pardew's team took the points thanks to a clinical effort from Best, who cleverly tricked his way past Luke Young before slotting home his first goal since September.

Source:
Agencies
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