Emirates Stadium, London
March 25, 2014; 19:45 BST
Arsenal FC host Swansea City at the Emirates stadium on Tuesday as they look to get back to winning ways following their shambolic performance against Chelsea at the weekend. A lot of questions were raised on this Arsenal side and their inability to deliver in big matches and they must now try and get back in form before the big game against Manchester City.
Swansea City are also coming into this match on the back of a defeat as they went down 3-2 against Everton. That loss means Swansea haven’t won a match in their last eight games in all competitions and they must turn around this form quickly in order to save themselves from dropping into the relegation zone.
Team news and tactics
After the hammering they received at Stamford Bridge, Arsene Wenger needs a response from his players against Swansea, but like every passing week the Frenchman’s task is only toughened by the ever growing injury list. Laurent Koscielny was the latest addition to this list as the Frenchman seemed to have picked up a calf problem in their last game against Chelsea. Wenger confirmed his absence for the match against Swansea and stated that the extent of his injury will be revealed after he undergoes a scan on Monday.
Arsenal are also hoping for a decision on the suspension of Kieran Gibbs, who was wrongly sent off against Chelsea as the referee wrongly showed him a red card after Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain cleared the ball off the line with his hands. The FA is expected to overturn the decision based on a case of “mistaken identity” and transfer the suspension to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – In which case the midfielder will be unavailable for selection against Swansea.
There are also concerns about the fitness of Tomas Rosicky ahead of this game and he is unlikely to start. Kim Kallstrom, who was on the bench against Chelsea, for the first time since joining the Gunners in January, is yet to gain full match fitness as well. Midfielder Aaron Ramsey is still another week away from returning to action, and how desperately must Wenger be praying for his quick recovery. Mesut Ozil, Jack Wilshere, Abou Diaby, and Theo Walcott are the other long term injury concerns at the moment.
Wenger is expected to make three changes to the side that he fielded against Chelsea at the weekend. Thomas Vermaelen will replace the injured Laurent Koscielny in the center of the defence and Arsene Wenger has confirmed that young defender Hector Bellerin will also be in the squad for this game.
In the midfielder Mathieu Flamini will replace Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who is expected to be unavailable for selection once the suspension is transferred from Kieran Gibbs. Serge Gnabry will also make a rare start in this game on the right as Tomas Rosicky drops down to the bench with fitness concerns.
Expected starting line-up (4-2-3-1): Szczesny (GK); Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs; Flamini, Arteta; Gnabry, Cazorla, Podolski; Giroud
Unlike Arsene Wenger, Gary Monk has a nearly fully fit squad to choose from ahead of their visit to the Emirates. There are some concerns about the fitness of Kyle Bartley and Alex Pozuelo, whose last appearance was in the Europa League clash against Napoli last month, and the duo will undergo late fitness test ahead of this game to confirm their availability.
The Swansea City manager is likely to make two changes to the side that lost 3-2 against Everton at the weekend. Jonjo Shelvey, whose last start was in the 4-3 defeat to Liverpool, will return to the starting line-up after making an appearance from the bench in the second half of their match against Everton at the weekend. He will start in the pivot alongside Leon Britton – replacing Jose Canas in the midfield.
There will be just one change in attack as Michu, who has made two appearances as a substitute since returning from his long injury lay off, will start behind Wilfried Bony. It will be the Spanish forward’s first start since the 1-1 draw against Norwich back in December. Gary Monk will hope that his return to the side will turn around their fortunes in the league and guide them to safety.
Swansea have had one of the worst defence in the league this season and they have kept just one clean sheet in their last eight matches in all competition. Although Arsenal didn’t threaten Chelsea’s goal in the last game, or created too many opportunities against Spurs, at home they are more than capable of scoring past their opponent. Gary Monk will be aware of this and will set up his side accordingly.
Swansea have dominated possession even against Arsenal in their last encounter, but their finishing in the final third has often let them down. But with Michu back in the squad the Welsh side will fancy their chances heading into this game.
Expected starting line-up (4-2-3-1): Vorm (GK); Rangel, Chico, Williams, Davies; Britton, Shelvey; Routledge, Michu, Dyer; Bony
- Swansea have won two of the four away games they have played against Arsenal in their history.
- The fixture itself is one that has never been goalless.
- Swansea gave Thierry Henry his only defeat in his second spell at Arsenal
- When the two teams met earlier in the season at the Liberty Stadium, Arsenal came out on top 2-1 thanks to an Aaron Ramsey winner.
Player to watch-out for
Michu (Swansea City)
Michu has been one of the most key players for Swansea since his arrival from Rayo Vallecano back in 2012. He was an important part of the Swansea squad which surpassed expectations and were one of the teams to watch out for in the Premier League. But the Spaniard has struggled with his fitness this season and has made just 12 starts in the league so far. His absence is one of the main reasons why Swansea have struggled so much this season. But now that he has returned to full fitness, Gary Monk will hope that he can inspire the side to safety in the Premier League.
Arsenal 2-1 Swansea City
Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal fans will be desperate for a response from their side after the embarrassing performance against Chelsea in the London derby. The team will be eager to show some spirit and hunger in this game and more importantly get back to form before the huge match against Manchester City at home. The Gunners will come out all guns blazing and expect them to take an early lead in the game. Swansea will fight back in the second half and even sneak in a goal, but Arsenal will do just enough to win it in the end.
Blast from the past