Arsenal vs. Swansea City
Venue: Emirates stadium
Kick off: 3PM
Arsenal welcome bogey side Swansea City to the Emirates Stadium on Saturday afternoon, aiming to pick up back-to-back Premier League home wins in this fixture for the first time.
The Gunners have won three matches on the spin overall since going down to Watford and have momentum on their side once again, while the visitors are level with the bottom three following a disappointing run.
Watford captain Troy Deeney said what many were thinking a fortnight ago when proclaiming that Arsenal “lack cojones”, having played a key part in the Hornets’ 2-1 comeback win at Vicarage Road that led to yet more questions regarding the Gunners’ character.
Since then Arsene Wenger’s men have responded well, though, scoring late on at a hostile Rajko Mitic Stadium to overcome Red Star Belgrade, recovering from behind to beat Everton 5-2 and, most recently, earning a dramatic 2-1 win over Norwich City in the EFL Cup.
Arsenal had 18-year-old forward Eddie Nketiah to thank for the latest of those victories, coming off the bench with six minutes of normal time left to rescue his side – first netting a late leveller and then winning the fourth-round tie in extra time with a powerful header.
The Gunners’ second-string have certainly stepped up to the plate over the past two weeks, then, sealing progression in the EFL Cup and moving to the brink of a place in the bloated knockout stage of the Europa League, while the “first team” did well to pick up three points at Goodison Park last time out in the league.
Nine wins from their last 11 is not a bad record, with the only defeat in that time coming against Watford, but Arsenal always seem to be just one loss away from a full-blown crisis, as will be the case should they pick up anything less than three points against the struggling Swans this afternoon.
On the other hand, Swansea have lost four of their last five games in all competitions and have just four wins from 12 to their name all campaign, two of which have come against lower-league opposition in the EFL Cup.
The Welsh outfit have gained a tag as perennial strugglers in the top flight and, on the basis of their performances against Watford, West Ham United and Leicester City of late, fans have every right to be concerned.
Arsenal possible XI: Cech, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Monreal, Bellerin, Ramsey, Xhaka, Kolasinac, Ozil, Sanchez, Lacazette.
Swansea City possible XI: Fabianski, Rangel, Fernandez, Mawson, Naughton, Fer, Britton, Carroll, Narsingh, Abraham, Ayew.