Liberty Stadium, Swansea
September 28, 2013; 17:30 BST
Swansea City will be hosting Arsenal today at the Liberty Stadium. The last match between these two sides ended in a 2-0 victory for the Gunners as Gervinho and Monreal scored for the Gunners side. Arsenal have had the upper hand against Swansea, losing just twice in the last six matches against them. Swansea’s last victory against Wenger’s side was in 2012, when Arsenal target Michu scored a brace.
Arsenal lost in their Premier League campaign opening against Aston Villa at the Emirates. Since that loss Gunners have won eight matches on the bounce and currently lead the league table. They are coming into this game after a victory over West Brom in the League Cup, where the match was forced to go to the penalties.
Swansea on the other hand made a poor start to their campaign with back to back defeats against Manchester United and Tottenham in the opening two rounds. Michael Laudrup’s men has turned things around since then and they are currently ninth on the league table. But Swansea City are coming into this game on the back of humiliating League Cup defeat against Birmingham City. Swansea conceded three goals in the second half against the Championship side and will look to put out a better performance against the Gunners.
Arsenal are still suffering from their long list of injuries with the like of Theo Walcott, Santi Cazorla, Abou Diaby, Yaya Sanogo, Lukas Podolski, Alex Oxlade Chamberlain and Tomas Rosicky are all out with injuries. But Rosicky is close to returning to full fitness and could be fit for the match against Napoli.
Gnabry will continue his time in the first team squad in the absence of Theo Walcott on the right, while Mesut Ozil and Jack Wilshere will provide the creativity in behind Olivier Giroud. Ozil has made an instant impact upon his arrival and is already leading the assist chart.
Flamini has been another significant signing for the Arsenal and he is providing the much needed steel in front of the defence. Something they have lacked for quite a long time in recent past. He and Ramsey could possibly keep Mikel Arteta out of this Arsenal side this season.
Arsenal [4-2-3-1]: Szczesny (GK); Sagna, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Gibbs; Ramsey, Flamini; Gnabry, Ozil, Wilshere; Giroud
Swansea on the other hand doesn’t have too many injury concerns at the moment, but there are doubts about the fitness of Pablo Hernandez and Ashley Williams.
Michael Laudrup’s side are likely to field the same team that won against Crystal Palace last weekend, which means Bony will continue his role in the bench as Alvaro is preferred ahead of him. Rangel, Chico, Williams and Davies will form the back four with Canas and Shelvey playing in the pivot ahead of them. Canas is the man who provides the defensive cover to the backline with Shelvey playing in a more advanced role.
Swansea are one of the few sides who look to take on Arsenal in their own game. They are brilliant in keeping possession and have provided a lot of worries for the Gunners in the past, although the score line hasn’t always reflected their effort. In this game, at home, it will be no different. They would look to retain the ball and push the Gunners back with patience build up. But they must also be careful about not providing too much space in behind the defence for the Arsenal attackers to exploit.
Swansea City [4-2-3-1]: Vorm (GK); Rangel, Chico, Williams, Davies; Canas, Shelvey; Dyer, Michu, Routledge; Alvaro
- Both Barclays Premier League games between Swansea and Arsenal last season ended as 2-0 away wins.
- Arsenal scored three goals from set-pieces in their last Premier League game, the first time they had scored this many in a single game since May 2010.
- Arsenal will equal their best run of Premier League away wins if they win this match (eight).
- Seven of the nine goals scored in the four games between Swansea and Arsenal last season came in the final 10 minutes of matches.
My Prediction Swansea City 1-3 Arsenal