Goals from the somewhat unlikely sources of Nacho Monreal and Gervinho gave Arsenal an important 2-0 win over Swansea City that keeps their challenge for a top-four finish on track.
After Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain hit the woodwork twice in the first half, Arsenal had to wait until the 74th minute for their first goal, Monreal slotting the ball past Michel Vorm after Olivier Giroud touched the ball off to the Spanish left-back.
Swansea looked short of energy and offered little in the way of a goal threat as Arsenal added a second in injury time, substitute Gervinho converting after the visitors broke quickly at the Liberty Stadium.
The win takes Arsenal to within four points of third-placed Tottenham Hotspur and two of Chelsea, though the West Londoners have played a game fewer.
Captain Thomas Vermaelen and first-choice keeper Wojciech Szczesny remained on the Arsenal bench after being dropped for the 2-0 win away at Bayern Munich and the visitors brought in Oxlade-Chamberlain in one of three changes. In need of a good performance after an indifferent season, the winger struck the woodwork after only five minutes as he skipped inside Angel Rangel and curled the ball off the top of the bar from 12 yards out.
Swansea, though, were the better side in the opening 20 minutes and should have gone in front when Rangel was guilty of missing a big chance. Ki Sung-yueng played him in with a fine through-ball but the right-back lacked composure after getting in behind Monreal and poked the ball wide under pressure from two defenders.
Michu - playing as the lone striker rather than the No. 10 - was a sporadic threat, the Spaniard failing to properly execute one acrobatic volley before then dragging a shot wide after Jonathan De Guzman had intercepted a reckless pass from Carl Jenkinson just outside the box to play his team-mate in. Later in the half he pounced on a through-ball from Pablo Hernandez but saw his firm effort saved well by Lukasz Fabianski as it headed for the bottom corner.
Arsenal improved as the half wore on and Santi Cazorla, playing behind lone striker Giroud, began to dictate proceedings. The Spaniard forced Vorm into action with a lovely dipping volley from 20 yards and was then instrumental in a fantastic passing move that ended in disappointment when Theo Walcott failed to get a clean shot away from 10 yards.
It was Cazorla, too, who teed up Oxlade-Chamberlain for the second of his shots that struck the woodwork. The Spaniard cut in from the left wing on 42 minutes and slipped a pass square for the midfielder. With a swing of his left boot Oxlade-Chamberlain produced a swerving effort that clipped the top of the bar.
Cazorla was sprightly after the break as well and on 52 minutes passed up a good chance to put Arsenal in front. He nicked the ball away from Ashley Williams to find space on the edge of the box but his rifled effort bounced too close to Vorm, who smothered the shot.
After all Cazorla's prompting it was another recruit from Malaga who gave Arsenal the lead after 74 minutes. Cazorla took the ball on a run before sliding a pass in for Giroud and the striker slipped the ball back for Monreal, who rather scuffed his effort but saw it sneak past Vorm in any case.
Swansea's post-Capital One Cup final efforts have been somewhat underwhelming and they wilted in the final stages against Arsenal, with Gervinho coming to the fore after his arrival as a second-half substitute.
The Ivorian forward first set up Cazorla for a firm drive that deflected just wide of the post with Vorm stationary, and in injury time grabbed a goal as Arsenal exposed Swansea on the break and Aaron Ramsey found him unmarked with a square pass.
Gervinho tucked the ball past the Swansea keeper for his first strike since October, securing an important three points for his side in the process.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Santi Cazorla (Arsenal): He probably should have scored but the Spaniard was at the heart of everything Arsenal created and took control of the game with his precise and purposeful passing.
SWANSEA: Vorm 6, Rangel 6, Monk 6, Williams 6, Davies 7, Britton 6, Ki 6, Dyer 5, De Guzman 5, Pablo 6, Michu 5. Subs: Routledge 5, Moore 5.
ARSENAL: Fabianski 7, Jenkinson 6, Mertesacker 8, Koscielny 7, Monreal 8, Diaby 5, Arteta 6, Walcott 5, Cazorla 8, Oxlade-Chamberlain 7, Giroud 6. Subs: Ramsey 6, Gervinho 8, Gibbs N/A.