“No, nobody needs to explain to us how important tomorrow’s match is! A look at the table is enough!”
The above statement from Mesut Özil comes with a breath of fresh air for Arsenal fans and followers. Arsenal’s competitive title fight seems to be slowly sinking, however the spirit that Özil shows us not to give up. Winning the title was never going to be easy, but Arsenal certainly like to give us fans a rocky ride. Swansea make the trip east of the Welsh border tonight to face The Gunners, in a game which we can not afford to lose due to the slip up at Old Trafford. And even more so, with a game against our ever so fierce North London rivals coming up on Saturday, and possibly one of the biggest to date, confidence in the side will need to be reinstalled, and quickly.
What may appear as a relatively easy game compared to latest fixtures, one thing that is for certain is the undeniable competitiveness in this matchup. Swansea will be hoping to secure a win over Arsenal in reply to the 3-0 loss at the Liberty earlier on in the season, and past records would not put it past the Swans. Swansea successfully achieved the double over Arsenal last year, the only team to do so since Chelsea 4 seasons ago, showing the sides ability to conquer this fixture. Arsenal have also failed to win in 3 now, and have only won twice in five games in February, so they will be looking to sharply turn the corner to the title straight this March.
The Arsenal team will provide some real headaches for Arsene Wenger. With Theo Walcott being as much use as a blind lifeguard and Alexis Sanchez severely misfiring, competition for places has never been higher. Joel Campbell will be hoping he can earn a starting spot in the starting 11 at the expense of Theo Walcott and Giroud also. Olivier Giroud failed to find the back of the net the whole of last month and is now 9 games without a goal, so he will be looking to change his ways. Danny Welbeck will also be fighting to prove his worth to the side as they chase leaders Leicester. A triumphant team effort is required if Arsenal are going to put up a real title fight this season. We can’t afford to lose it now.
Swansea have their full squad at disposal tonight at the Emirates, which is a boost to relatively new manager Francesco Guidolin. The Italian manager has only tasted victory twice, coming in his first two games in charge of the Welsh outfit, but was unable to secure a win in February making them winless in 4 games. The Swans surprisingly are only 3 points clear of relegation too, an unnatural habitat for the Swans in recent years, which fans will be hoping for the side to spur on because of this. Both sides have took just 8 points from their last 6 games, which is far from good enough for Arsenal to win the league.
A win tonight would have Arsenal within 3 points with 10 games still to go.
“We are playing to fight for the title. That’s why we have to put criticism in the right place. After 20 years I’m used to it.”
“What you want from your fans is to fight together until the last game of the season. What we have learnt from the league is that it is very tight, that everybody can drop points, and the teams – and the fans – who can show togetherness and solidarity until the end, might come out of it in a positive way.”
“We have a target. It’s about how we can maintain that focus on this target and how we can recover from disappointments and how we can maintain our solidarity and our desire to play as a team.”
In the last nine league games between these sides, each have won 4 each, with Swansea twice winning at the Emirates.
Just one of the last 26 goals in this fixture has been scored in the first half.
Arsenal have lost only one out of twelve of their last home games this season.
The Gunners haven’t lost three games in a row since April 2010.
This Swansea’s worst season points tally in the premier league.