Swansea vs. Arsenal – Premier League Match Preview

Posted by: Amir Houshangi

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After fielding a young, untested side against West Brom in the League Cup, Arsenal will have their first team squad selections available for our trip to face Swansea City. Our match against WBA featured a staggering 8 players that had not started a game yet, leaving Carl Jenkinson, Serge Gnabry and Per Mertesacker as the only players featured in a starting lineup this season. However, our young talent, some finely taken penalties, and a little luck saw Arsenal advance to the next stage, where we face Chel$ea. More on the Chavs another time.

Unlike our prior matches against Stoke and Sunderland, Swansea presents a more robust challenge. Swansea currently leads the Premier League in passing rate, and have imported more Spanish talent to their attack this season. They have a defense that remains unchanged since week 1, boast a new record signing through Wilfried Bony, and have a major threat at striker with Michu.

Thankfully, we have not picked up any further injuries at the time of this post. Aaron Ramsey and Mathieu Flamini had some minor issues during training that do not seem to be a major concern. Theo Walcott is still out, unfortunately, which likely means that Serge Gnabry will be taking his place once again on the right wing. Gnabry struggled at times against WBA on Wednesday, but he will be surrounded by stronger players tomorrow.

Giroud will seek to continue his fine form as well, and will no doubt be given some fine opportunities with Mesut Özil situated in the midfield. Deeper in the midfield, Arteta played a little over a full 90 minutes, so it is fully expected to see Flamini line up next to Jack Wilshere. As for our defense, the one constant I expect are Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny at center, likely flanked by Bacary Sagna on the right and Kieran Gibbs on the left. I remember there was a time I was worried about our depth at defense, but I am currently very pleased at our rotation. Fabianski put in a good performance midweek, but Wojciech Szczesny still remains our number one keeper, it has to be said.

Having Cazorla, Rosicky and Podolski available tomorrow would have been very nice, but they are on track to return hopefully soon, with Cazorla expected after the international break and Rosicky available soon. Walcott looks on track to return very soon as well, and I can say for the first time that I am looking forward to the international break so our squad returns stronger. Giroud has backup as well, after samurai striker Nicklas Bendtner made his first start for Arsenal in ages. The ridicule and apathy our fans directed toward TGSTEL quickly evaporated after playing all 120 minutes of the League Cup match, slipping in a great pass for Thomas Eisfeld’s goal and converting our first penalty kick comfortably. Welcome back Bendtner!

This is another massive game, and a chance for Arsenal to remain top of the league. The match kicks off at 9:30am PDT, which is a great reason to take in the match at The Olde Ship Santa Ana. For out-of-towners, the match is also broadcast on NBC over-the-air (no cable needed!) and on the radio for free via Arsenal Player.

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