Swansea City vs Arsenal Preview: Gunners looking to narrow the gap at the top of the Premier League

Swansea City vs Arsenal Preview: Gunners looking to narrow the gap at the top of the Premier League

Arsene Wenger's side can mount the pressure on fellow title challengers with a win at struggling Swansea City.

matt_sheppard
Matthew Sheppard

Arsenal travel to the Liberty Stadium to face struggling Swansea City this Saturday afternoon in desperate need of three points to keep their faint title hopes alive.

Paul Clement will be taking charge of his third game for the club, with Saturday's clash being his first in charge of the Swans at home.

His first Premier League game ended in a massive 2-1 victory away at Crystal Palace last time out. Though, more recently Swansea went crashing out of the FA Cup in a 2-0 defeat away at Hull City.

The Gunners impressive on their travels

Up until mid December, where they suffered back-to-back defeats away at Everton and Manchester City, Arsenal had the best away record and defensive record away from home in the league.

Though Arsene Wenger's side bounced back from those two defeats with consecutive home wins, the Gunners then drew 3-3 away at Bournemouth in their last Premier League clash.

Swansea, on the other hand, hold one of the worst home and defensive records in the league. Saturday's hosts have four wins to their name all season, scoring 23 goals and conceding 45 in the process, giving new manager Clement a real task to turn things around in South Wales.

A sign of hope for Swansea?

Swansea can take hope heading in to Saturday's game that their current record against Arsenal is pretty impressive, with the Swans being a real 'bogey side' for the Gunners in previous years.

Their most recent clash at the Emirates Stadium back in October, where Arsenal prevailed 3-2, was in fact the Gunners' first win at home to Swansea since September 2011.

Prior to that defeat, the Welsh side had won on their previous two visits to the Emirates, with the Gunners only winning three times at the Liberty also.

Gylfi Sigurdsson celebrating his goal in Swansea's 2-1 win at home to Arsenal back in 2014. (Image by Getty Images/Stu Forster)
Gylfi Sigurdsson celebrating his goal in Swansea's 2-1 win at home to Arsenal back in 2014. (Image by Getty Images/Stu Forster)

Team News

Both sides changed their team selections drastically when featuring in last weekend's third round of the FA Cup. Though many big names will return for both teams.

Arsenal will expect both Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez to return to the side when they travel to Wales this weekend.

Ozil missed the Gunners' last three games following illness, while Sanchez was rested as Arsenal won 2-1 at Preston in the FA Cup.

Ozil and Sanchez celebrating Arsenal's opening goal in their 5-1 win away at West Ham in December. (Image By Getty Images/David Price)
Ozil and Sanchez celebrating Arsenal's opening goal in their 5-1 win away at West Ham in December. (Image By Getty Images/David Price)

Laurent Koscielny will also return to captain the side after he was rested last weekend.

Though Arsenal will still be without Theo Walcott and Hector Bellerin for their trip to the Liberty.

As for the home side, they will be without full-back Neil Taylor who is missing after fracturing his cheekbone in training.

Unfortunately for the Swans new signing Luciano Narsingh, who joined from PSV Eindhoven, is not available for selection due to a calf injury.

Predicted Line-ups:

Swansea City: Fabianski; Naughton, Fernandez, Mawson, Rangel; Fer, Ki Sung-yueng, Cork; Routledge, Sigurdsson, Llorente.

Arsenal: Cech; Gabriel, Koscielny, Mustafi, Monreal; Xhaka, Ramsey; Ozil, Sanchez, Iwobi, Giroud.

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