Premier League – Swans v Arsenal at 15:00 on Saturday, 31st October 2015
Referee: Kevin Friend
Assistants: E Smart, H Lennard
Fourth Official: A Davies
With the Swans having got back to winnning ways last time out against Aston Villa, it’ll will be interesting to see how much confidence has been restored when they face an Arsenal side with only one defeat in their last eleven Premier League away games.
Despite the welcome victory last weekend, the concern will be whether or not Garry Monk’s men can return to the high performance levels that we have come to expect of them, as shown on during last season and the early part of this season.
One thing is for certain, they will need to show a lot more sharpness and urgency across the park than they have in recent weeks, against an Arsenal side who seem to be finally showing some Premier League title challenging credentials.
Garry Monk will relish looking horns with Wenger once more, as the Swans gaffer is so far unbeaten against his French rival in the previous three meetings. If the Swans defence could hold strong against a creative, pacy Arsenal frontline, then I think the boys in black and white (with a dash of copper) can cause enough problems for Arsenal’s achilles heel – their defence – to at least get a share of the spoils.
With Wayne Routeledge having now recovered from his calf injury, Garry Monk is able to choose from a full strength squad. No doubt Arsene Wenger wishes that he could say the same, especially in light of Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Tomas Rosicky, Danny Welbeck and Mikel Arteta, all being on the Arsenal treatment table!
Such is the strength of the Gunners squad they can still call upon the likes of Cazorla, Ozil, Giroud and Sanchez to fill in for the absentees.
Recent meetings between the sides gives the Swans the edge over the Gunners, with last season’s double the most notable, thanks to Bafetimbi Gomis winners in both games.
But given the contrast in performance levels and consistency over recent weeks between the sides, a draw seems the most likely result this time out and to be honest, we’d be happy with a point at home against the team currently occupying 2nd place in the Premier League and of the stature of Arsenal, wouldn’t we?
What the Pundits Think
Mark Lawrenson (BBC) – Swans 1 Arsenal 1
I am going to go for a draw in Wales – Arsene Wenger is already without Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, so he will have to keep something back in attack for the trip to Germany. The Gunners have lost twice at the Liberty Stadium in recent seasons, so this is a tricky game in itself and I think they will be happy to leave with a draw.”
Steve Wilson (BBC Match of the Day Commentator)
But Swansea are dangerous and will be keen to show once again that they’re not just Arsenal-lite.”
Paul Merson (Sky Sports) – Swans 1 Arsenal 3
Trips to the Liberty Stadium are hard for Arsenal, but Swansea aren’t setting things alight and I don’t know how they’re going to live with the movement of Sanchez and Ozil. In the league, Arsenal are flying and they’ll continue that form on Saturday.”
Last meeting at the Liberty Stadium
9 November 2014: Swans 2 Arsenal 1
Current League Form (Last 6)
Predicted Swans Starting XI:
Fabianski, Naughton, Fernandez, Williams (Capt), Taylor, Ki, Shelvey, Ayew, Sigurdsson, Montero, Gomis.
Swans 1 Arsenal 1
At the Bookies
Those of you who fancy a flutter might want to check out the odds being offered on the game at the moment.
If you agree with our score prediction above and you think the game will end all square, then you may fancy odds of 50/1 on a 3-3 draw!
If you’ve not got a Sky Bet account, they are currently offering a FREE £20 when you bet just £5.