Arsenal’s season essentially starts now. Fresh faces have bolstered the squad after the lack of the incoming transfer activity threatened to destabilize the season so early on. After adding Per Mertesacker, Andre Santos, Mikel Arteta and Yossi Benayoun to the team on deadline day, and acquiring Chu Young Park just days before hand, Arsenal’s season is starting to look a lot more promising after a humiliating defeat against United two weeks ago. The international break couldn’t have come at a better time, with many of the Gunners first team squad departing for international duty, and many return full of confidence after successful personal and team performances. This is a fresh start for the Gunners who are currently sitting in 17th position with just 1 point from a possible 9 on offer.
The newcomers in Premier League are the first Welsh team since the birth of the Premier League, and they are yet to get on the scoresheet after two 0-0 draws and an opening 4-0 loss to Manchester City. Swansea recently were knocked out of the Carling Cup after a dreadful loss to Shrewsbury, they are a team with a lot to prove after an unsuccessful start to their Premier League campaign.
The Gunners should make easy work of Swansea City, but their form is poor to say the least, however the new signings should provide a fresh start.
Arsenal 3 v Swansea 0
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(Premier League in red)
On new signings:
“I feel it has given the team a lift because everybody knew we were a bit short number-wise with ones we lost at the beginning of the season. Other players have left us too and we were too short to compete on all fronts.
“The squad is stronger if you look at it now. If you imagine Wilshere and Diaby coming back, and the players like Vermaelen too, soon we will have a more mature squad. We have players with experience and a good attitude – that is important.”
On Arteta and Benayoun:
“I expect them to have an immediate impact,” he said. “They are players I admire for their technical qualities; they are mobile and technically gifted. That’s the game we want to play, so they should integrate very well.
“Their ages were not a priority for me – if Arteta and Benayoun were 24 as well I would have taken them. It is just a fact that they have more experience.”
On Swansea’s achievements:
“What they have achieved is absolutely magic,” Wenger said. “At this moment last season, no-one would have given them a chance, so what they have done is absolutely fantastic.
“Swansea are a team who look at the numbers who are one of the four or five best teams in terms of passing ability.”
“For us basically it is a new start, we start now and want to in a strong way. Swansea are a good side, but we want to win the game tomorrow.”
Arsenal – Robin Van Persie: After a successful international break, scoring 4 in the 11-nil rout against San Marino, the Gunners captain will return full of confidence and will be dangerous on Saturday.
Swansea – Scott Sinclair: The 22-year old forward was the leading scorer for the Welsh outfit last year in the English League Championship, recording an impressive 22 goals in 42 games. Although Swansea are yet to score in the Premier League, Sinclair will be the man to break the duck.
Sagna Koscielny Mertesacker Gibbs
Walcott Van Persie (c) Arshavin
After an intense end to the transfer window, newboys Mertesacker and Arteta should take the field against Swansea, whilst Benayoun may miss out on a starting birth but should enter the fray later on. Santos and Park will be on the bench as they are slightly short in terms of match fitness and preparation.
Rosicky and Ryo are unavailable as they have slight injuries, but Gibbs and Walcott are fit for selection.
Ill-discipline is hitting the Gunners hard this season, with three consecutive sending-offs this season (a PL record), plus Song’s suspension to pile on the misery, now Jenkinson will join Song and Gervinho on the suspension list, however all three will return next weekend.
1: Mikel Arteta – The Spaniard was always a regular point scorer while at Everton, now at the Gunners he should get a larger platform to shine on
2: Sagna – Arsenals most consistent defender last season is just as potent on attack as he is at defending, on his last outing against Udinese he recorded an assist and played exceptionally well, he is a fantasy must.
3: Robin Van Persie – The Dutchman is still in hot form, netting against United then recording a massive four goal haul while on international duty will make Van Persie a worthy investment.