Five consecutive Premier League wins may seem like a good way to enter this game, but if history is anything to go by then Arsenal can’t afford to sit pretty at the Emirates.
Despite having their troubles in recent seasons, Swansea have managed an impressive record when visiting the Gunners and that’ll be welcome news for their latest addition.
Bob Bradley took over the Swans last week and is faced with the immediate challenge of picking up points on the road, with his new side sitting one place above the relegation zone.
It’ll be a tale of two ends of the table on Saturday afternoon, Swansea have failed to get going whilst Arsenal are in fifth gear thanks to a resilient defensive partnership of Koscielny and Mustafi.
After celebrating his 20th year in charge of the club, Arsene Wenger will want to keep the mood sweet around the home crowd as they begin the first of four home games in a row.
It’s much of the same from Wenger’s mid-week update, and despite the concerns over players on international duty it looks as if we’ll have a similar squad to the Burnley game.
Aaron Ramsey returned to full training in the week and is now working on building his fitness back up to match level, he’s now targeting a place in the team when Arsenal host Middlesbrough.
Olivier Giroud will also miss the Swansea clash but Wenger insisted he is doing well with his recovery from a recurring toe injury, he is also working on fitness.
Rumours suggested Mesut Ozil was carrying a knock following Germany’s game with Northern Ireland but the playmaker has told the boss he’s fit and ready for action.
Whilst on the theme of good news, both Francis Coquelin and Lucas Perez will be available for selection after shaking off minor injuries.
Arsenal Absentees: P. Mertesacker (knee), D. Welbeck (knee), A. Ramsey (match fitness), O. Giroud (match fitness)
Whilst the injuries are minimal for Bob Bradley to deal with, his options in attack have been shortened by Fernando Llorente’s failure to take part in full training.
Bradley will be forced to leave both him and Jefferson Montero out of the starting XI, leaving another chance for Borja Gonzalez to feature in the lone striker role.
The only long-term injury is Nathan Dyer who will undergo surgery on a nasty ankle injury, which leaves men in the final third pretty hard to come by for a side that need goals.
The loss of former captain Ashley Williams has been obvious this season, and if Swansea are going to show us they’re still a Premier League side then pulling off something at the Emirates is the way to do it.
Swansea Absentees: N. Dyer (ankle), F. Llorente (match fitness), J. Montero (match fitness)
One’s To Watch
Arsenal – Santi Cazorla
Talk has covered the newspapers all week suggesting this could be Santi’s last year at the club, and at 31 he’s supposedly been approached by Juventus.
People are quick to state that Cazorla doesn’t have the ability to keep up with Arsenal’s engine, but I completely disagree and I hope everyone is watching this guy on Saturday.
He plays just as an important role in the midfield as Ozil does, and his we’re lucky to have someone with that much experience still playing week after week.
He’s already proved that you can partner him with anyone and he’ll deliver, I’m expecting to see Xhaka retain his place this weekend and they compliment each other so well.
Swansea – Gylfi Sigurdsson
We should all know what this guy can do by now and I believe he will be essential to the Swans getting any sort of a sniff of Petr Cech’s gloves.
This is a side that are lacking confidence going forward so they will no doubt jump at the chance to make the most of a set piece, and that’s where this guy’s right foot comes in.
Arsenal haven’t been troubled too much by free-kicks up until now, but I’d easily put Sigurdsson in the top five in the Premier League, and that’s where I’ll be sitting tense.
As well as his ability to challenge the keeper, this is a man who doesn’t shy away from a one-to-one battle and he won’t be fazed by Xhaka and Mustafi’s confidence whilst defending.
Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Cech, Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal, Xhaka, Cazorla, Walcott, Ozil, Iwobi, Alexis
Swansea (4-2-3-1): Fabianski, Naughton, Fernandez, Amat, Taylor, Cork, Fer, Barrow, Sigurdsson, Routledge, Baston
Prediction: Arsenal 2-0 Swansea
Arsenal struggled against Burnley before the international break but here they should have a little bit extra from the crowd to help get them over the line.
If Wenger sticks with the same XI he has done for the last few weeks then it could be his best decision ever because we can’t afford any slip ups against a side that always find a way to pick up points in North London.
He has the chance to rotate a little more during the Champions League game against Ludogrets, but in my eyes I really don’t see anything threatening in that Swansea line-up.
Their job will be to sit and let Arsenal play their football, Bradley has experience in playing with average sides and he’ll know exactly how to set up his squad to cope with Arsenal’s dominance.