Liberty Stadium, Swansea, Wales
Saturday, 31 October, 2015, 1500 GMT
Arsenal FC have had a mixed bag of fortune in the past few weeks, and their form seems to be as unpredictable as ever going into their away trip to the south of Wales on Saturday, where they face Garry Monk’s Swansea City.
On the one hand, they have produced some really good performances to go joint-top of the Premier League — second only to Manchester City by virtue of goal difference. They have also managed to notch up an incredible 2-0 win against FC Bayern Munich at the Emirates to resurrect their previously dismal Champions League campaign.
On the other hand however, they suffered a humiliating 3-0 loss at Sheffield Wednesday in the Capital One Cup earlier this week, which is sure to have dented their new-found confidence quite a bit.
Also, in Swansea City FC, the Gunners face a team that has traditionally done well against them, with the Welsh side winning at the Liberty Stadium last season as Jefferson Montero ran riot from the left wing.
Team News and Tactical Brief
Swansea City FC
Garry Monka s Swansea City FC have been on a poor run of form of late, but seem to have gotten their season back on track a bit with a win in their last Premier League match against bottom club Aston Villa.
However, they would be wary of the fact that Arsenal FC, who are at exactly the opposite end of the league table, are a completely different proposition. In spite of this though, Monk would be hopeful of a decent result against the Gunners, as his side have traditionally done well against Arsene Wengera s men.
Monk seems to be quite sorted on the injury front, as his only doubtful player Wayne Routledge has been cleared to play, and is expected to make a comeback in the match. He would be looking to the likes of Andre Ayew and Bafetimbi Gomis to grab the goalscoring opportunities created by the likes of Ki Sung-Yueng, Jonjo Shelvey, and Gylfi Sigurdsson.
Probable Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Fabianski; Taylor, Williams, Fernandez, Naughton; Shelvey, Ki; Montero, Sigurdsson, Ayew; Gomis.
The Gunners have a long list of walking wounded, and manager Arsene Wenger, it seems, is having to dip his hands into their youth squad in order to get more options for his starting XI.
Alex Iwobi and Joel Campbell, who were called up for the Capital One Cup tie against Championship side Sheffield Wednesday, have been retained after Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain both sustained injuries. Arsenal FC have been left extremely light on the right wing, and Wenger would be hoping that these two bright youngsters would be able to fill the void.
Wenger also said that Santi Cazorla can play on the right wing, but revealed that he is reluctant to play the Spaniard in that position as he is much more influential from the middle of the park.
Another position that would be a little light for Arsenal FC would be that of the striker, which has been shared by Walcott and Olivier Giroud thus far, both of whom have scored six goals this season. However, the fact that both Iwobi and Campbell can play on the wings and up front could help Wenger out with this issue.
Fatigue could also be a problem for Wengera s men, as they have two more crucial matches coming up after this weekend tie a FC Bayern Munich away and arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspur FC at home.
Probable Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Cech; Monreal, Koscielny, Gabriel, Bellerin; Cazorla, Coquelin; Sanchez, Ozil, Campbell; Giroud.
- Swansea City FC completed a Premier League double against Arsenal FC, last season, and would be looking to do something similar against the Gunners to get their season back on track.
- However, only three Swansea City FC players have been able to hit the back of the net in the league this season, with Ayew, Gomis and Sigurdsson being the only ones to score.
- Arsenal on the other hand, have been able to create a lot of chances for their forwards, with fullbacks Hector Bellerin and Nacho Monreal putting in 39 per cent of the teama s crosses in the Premier League.
- Mesut Oezil has also been brilliant this season, creating a clear-cut chance once in every 18 minutes.
Player to watch out for
Bafetimbi Gomis (Swansea City FC)
Gomis has been an absolute nightmare for the Arsenal FC defence in the past, and would be looking to dominate the aerial balls with his big frame. The Frenchman scored in both their Premier League matches against the Gunners last season, as the Swans completed a double over them. Gomis would be looking to do exactly that when he takes to the field at the Liberty Stadium.
Swansea City FC 2-3 Arsenal FC
Swansea City have done well against Arsenal FC over the years, but the Gunners seem to be far too good at the moment to lose this match. This is also accentuated by the fact that the Swans have only been able to win one out of their last six Premier League matches. However, we can very well expect them to give the Wenger’s men a good run for their money.