This’ll be Arsenals third consecutive away game as they travel to the Liberty Stadium to face a side who have it all to do if they are to stay up this season.
Following their FA Cup exploits, attentions return to the league where relegation-threatened Swansea, face an Arsenal side raring to keep up with league leaders Chelsea, although it seems impossible at this point.
Bob Bradleys Paul Clements men are four points from safety, and a win will take them out of the relegation zone unless Crystal Palace beat Everton.
As for Arsenal, currently in fifth, a win for them will see them go level with Liverpool, but with Manchester United breathing down their necks, any sort of win is vital.
Last time out (in the league) Swansea beat Sam Allardyce’s sides 2-1, whilst Arsenal battled from 3-0 down, to claim a “valuable” draw (cue an Olivier Giroud scorpion celebration). I hope he doesn’t do that again…
The last time the sides met, Arsenal beat the Welsh side 3-2 with two goals coming from Theo Walcott, plus one from Mesut Ozil.
When Swansea City first played in the Premier League (2011-12 season), they were like Arsenals bogey team.
The record between the sides when Arsenal have played away is Arsenal have won three, and lost two of their away games.
Side-tracking from the game a little bit, I’m pleased to know that Giroud, Laurent Koscielny, and Francis Coquelin have all signed extension contracts. Koscielny has said he’s staying until 2020, whilst it isn’t yet known how long Giroud and Coquelin are staying for.
Back to the game itself, this’ll be pastures new for Clement as a manager in the Premier League, but he has overseen the main job at Derby County, and has worked under Carlo Ancelotti at Chelsea, Real Madrid, and Bayern Munich. (If you want to see that as Clement having the upper hand in this match, then you can).
Also, Mesut Ozil is in line to return following sitting out of the last three games through illness. The good news for Arsenal is that Petr Cech, “new signing” Koscielny, and Alexis Sanchez are all expected to be recalled after being rested for the FA Cup tie at Preston. The not so good news is that Mohamed Elneny is with his Egypt side at the African Cup of Nations, and Theo Walcott, Santi Cazorla, Kieran Gibbs, and Per Mertesacker all remain injured.
For Clements side, there is no good news to report on the injury front as Neil Taylor has been ruled out after fracturing his cheekbone in training, and Luciano Narsingh (who has signed from Dutch outfit PSV Eindhoven) will have to wait to make his debut after suffering a calf injury.
My thoughts ahead of the game…
I hope Arsenal win this, but Swansea have the potential to make life difficult. Am I confident of an away win? I am, but I’m also cautious. Having already dropped points at Bournemouth since the turn of 2017, Arsenal cannot afford to drop many more points if they’re to stay within a chance of title glory.
So, now its over to you. Which side do you think will win? What’ll be the score? Who’ll score first?