It’s felt like a long time coming, but Arsenal are finally back in Premier League action on Saturday afternoon, with a tricky trip to Swansea in mind.
If the last few fixtures have taught these players anything, it’s that there’s no such thing as an easy game and the way you start the match is fundamental to the result.
Swansea boast a new manager in Paul Clement, who will be eager to push on from his sides impressive fight to pick up three points against relegation rivals Crystal Palace.
With the Liberty Stadium crowd behind them, it should feel like a fresh start for the home side and given their history against Arsenal in recent years, won’t sit back lightly.
Wenger needs a side full of ability and options on the bench, and as he welcomes back a well rested bunch of players, there’s confidence amongst the camp.
Arsenal Team News
Mesut Ozil, Petr Cech and Laurent Koscielny will return to the starting line-up for this one, a much needed boost to ensure Swansea don’t work us out early on.
That means Iwobi could switch to the wing, giving Wenger a headache as to who should start up front following Olivier Giroud’s stunning form.
Francis Coquelin joined in light training at Colney on Friday, meaning he and Hector Bellerin will both return to contention for next week’s home tie vs. Burnley.
Kieran Gibbs and Theo Walcott are still uncertain to return before February, meaning Lucas Perez could be give another Premier League start.
Arsenal Absentees: T. Walcott, K. Gibbs, H. Bellerin, P. Mertesacker, M. Debuchy, F. Coquelin, S. Cazorla
Predicted Line-Up: Cech, Gabriel, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal, Ramsey, Xhaka, Lucas, Ozil, Alexis, Giroud
Swansea Team News
If Swansea are to put any of their poor form down to excuses, then injuries certainly can’t be a justified one seeing as Clement has just three absentees.
Despite getting their hands on new signing Luciano Narsingh, he’s ruled out with a calf problem, meaning it’ll be a similar side to what we’ve seen recently.
Clement may well stick with the 4-3-3 formation that did so well against Palace, but this being Arsenal he’ll be tempted to sit a little deeper and catch them on the break.
Saying that, an attacking trio of Fernando Llorente, Wayne Routledge and Gylffi Sigurdsson pose plenty of problems for the Gunners back four.
Their mix of pace, power and strength in the air means shots will be coming from all angles, so it all comes down to how Wenger’s side dominate the ball.
Swansea Absentees: J. Montero (hamstring), N. Taylor (facial injury) L. Narsingh (calf)
Predicted Line-Up: Fabianski, Naughton, Fernandez, Mawson, Kingsley, Cork, Ki Sung-Yeung, Fer, Routledge, Llorente, Sigurdsson
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