It is clear to see why everyone is touting this match as an absolute must-win for Arsenal who must at all costs try to remain in touch with Chelsea and Tottenham who lie in fourth and third respectively. This match will be no walkover though and is likely to be an entertaining match. In head-to-heads this season, bragging rights remain even with each team experiencing a win, a draw and a loss.
Based on previous form, you would say that the Swans would have higher morale despite Arsenal’s impressive win over Bayern Munich in midweek. The Liberty Stadium has become somewhat of a fortress in recent weeks and the Welsh team must still be on a massive high after securing the League Cup at the end of February.
Despite their success, Arsenal certainly have the the tools at their disposal to come away with a win. Ultimately it will come down to whether they can replicate the performance they put in against Bayern Munich. We all know that Arsenal’s consistency this season has been woeful and they simply can’t afford to continue their inconsistencies at the business end of the season.
In terms of team news, the Gunners add Kieran Gibbs back to injury list with the young Englishman picking up a minor thigh injury in midweek. Monreal is a certainty to retain his role at left back in his absence. I am inclined to think the remainder of line-up will remain the same with the exception of Vermaelen, who will likely replace Koscielny at the back.
The other likely player to retain his position from the Champions League game in midweek is Lukasz Fabianski. The Pole has come under harsh criticism in his career, but stood up the pressure in midweek to produce a very solid performance in Germany. For now, he deserves to retain his spot one feels and even perhaps thereafter depending on his performances.
The Swans obviously pose a massive threat and Arsenal will need to be resolute in defence to keep Michu off the scoresheet. The Spaniard has been in red hot form all season and has scored three of Swansea’s four goals they have scored against Arsenal this season. If Arsenal can replicate their performance against Bayern however, they should bag the points.
on team news…
Sagna and Podolski will not be back. And Wilshere, as we know, is out as well. So the only one who will come back is Monreal because he was not qualified for the Champions League.
on Kieran Gibbs…
I think he will be out on Saturday. He had a little reaction on his thigh. He is not injured but we have to be cautious with it. He might be out.
on the squad’s fitness…
Apart from that everyone who played [at Bayern] should be OK. There are bumps and bruises after a game of that intensity but that should be it.
Jenkinson Mertesacker Vermaelen (c) Monreal
- This is the fourth competitive meeting between Arsenal and Swansea this season, so far the results are even with both sides having W1 D1 L1.
- Six of the seven goals scored in games between Arsenal and Swansea this season have come in the closing 10 minutes.
- Swansea’s top scorer and stand out performer Michu has scored three of the four goals against Arsenal this season.
- Swansea have conceded a higher proportion of goals from set pieces than any other team in the PL this season (50%), usually this is the Gunners record!
- Swansea are looking to win four Premier League home games in a row for the first time.
- Arsenal have the highest possesion average this season of 58.5%, Swansea are sixth with 55.6%.
Swansea 1 Arsenal 2