Arsenal have been the comeback kids of late. What with the Bournemouth game with shades of Banterlecht in reverse, and then Preston showing us that the first half of games are not a myth, we have seen the Gunners show they do exist, but only in forty five minute bursts.
We will need far more against Swansea City who have beaten us three times in the last five games.
The Swans can also call upon that mystifying and unquantifiable boost that teams receive when bedding in a new manager – the honeymoon period. People may scoff, but it has scorned many unwitting teams who do not believe it exists.
The Swans manager Paul Clement can implement the wisdom he has shared with Carlo Ancelotti at Real Madrid and more recently Bayern Munich, but he must do it quickly. The south Wales side are second from bottom and are shipping goals at an alarming rate. Clement has also called in a surprising Assistant Manager in Claude Makalele, but the two worked together at PSG under Ancelotti and he comes highly recommended, though it is early days for the team. This transfer window may well yield much business at the Liberty City stadium, but none have come in quick enough so Clement’s squad will be boosted for the visit of Arsenal. New striker Luciano Narsingh has a calf injury so is out, and Neil Taylor missses out with a broken cheekbone. It is unclear whether Fernando Llorente will feature amid much interest from Chelsea.
They may have a great record against Wenger’s team, but it certainly wasnt garnered in Wales. Arsenal have won three of their last four trips to Swansea and they must go there and hope for the same thing again if they are to make any headway in the league table.
Arsenal will be without Francis Coquelin and Mohamed Elneny – Coquelin is injured and Elneny on AFCON duty – so Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey will make up the centre of the Gunners midfield. Long term prospects Santi Cazorla and Per Mertesacker are still a way from being incorporated into plans, but Danny Welbeck made his long awaited return in the Cup win against Preston and his pace and guile will be very useful in games to come. Will he play? Perhaps a spot on the bench. Koscielny will also return to the team after missing out last week.
Another who returns is playmaker supreme Mesut Ozil. After a bout of flu, the German is back and should slot straight back into the team. Olivier Giroud will most likely retain his place up front as his form is too good to bench. Alexis will stay on the left, but the right spot is up for grabs. With Theo Walcott still out, it means Alex Iwobi, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Lucas Perez will duke it out for the chance. Lucas Perez has really made the most of his sporadic chances thus far, so it would be great to see the Spaniard start the game.
Arsenal have not won any of their last three away games, and this game must herald the end of that awful run. Swansea will fight tooth and nail for the points, but what is imperative is we MUST turn up in the first half. If we do, it could turn the tide. Swansea have only avoided defeat twice in fourteen games when conceding first.
Three points would be great, and the icing on the cake would be to be able to watch the game without the tension of a terrible first half and a gargantuan effort to come back into the game.
Predicted Lineup – Cech, Bellerin, Koscielny, Mustafi, Monreal, Xhaka, Ramsey, Iwobi, Ozil, Sanchez, Giroud.
Predicted Scoreline – 2-1 to The Arsenal. Giroud to score…..again!