Saturday, 28 September 2013

Arsenal's Premier League Trip To Swansea Previewed

After winning through to the fourth round of the Capital One Cup on Wednesday night it's back to Premier League action for Arsenal today with an evening kick off away to Swansea. Arsenal are top of the table after winning their last four games and only the opening day defeat to Villa has spoiled an otherwise perfect start to the season. The team bounced back from that defeat though and are in a rich vein of form at the moment.

Arsenal were able to rest some key players against West Brom on Wednesday night and hopefully those players will have recharged their batteries sufficiently for today. Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil, Jack Wilshere, Olivier Giroud, Kieran Gibbs, Bacary Sagna and Laurent Koscielny all got the chance to sit the game out and weren't even asked to appear on the bench. With two games a week since the start of the season and a wafer thin squad due to injuries in part it was vital for them to get that break.

The team for today doesn't require an awful lot of thought as the options available to the boss are few and far between. The defence should resort to the one which played against Stoke last week and it's now Arsenal's accepted first choice back four and keeper. I'm sure Swansea will put them under pressure at times today, but they are more than up to the task.

In midfield and attack there are few options and the team could well depend on what formation the boss decides to go with. Mikael Arteta came back from injury in midweek but he can hardly be expected to step in and take Mathieu Flamini's place in the team. There is always the possibility of both of them playing defensive roles but I'm not so sure it's one the boss will go for.

Wilshere, Ramsey, Ozil and Giroud are all sure to return and we could possibly see either Serge Gnabry or Ryo Myiachi in one of the wide roles. I have a feeling Flamini will play the defensive midfield role and Arteta might get a more attacking mandate. When he was signed he wasn't seen as a defensive midfielder and I think he still has a lot to offer in an attacking sense.

The Arsenal midfield and wide players all switch positions so much that their perceived roles aren't too important anyway. Ozil will pop up on either flank and in a role behind the striker during the game as he searches for the space he needs to create chances. Ramsey is already playing further forward than he has done before and both he and Arsenal are certainly reaping the rewards so far.

I have no doubt that Arsenal have more than enough drive and ability to go to Swansea and get the three points. Swansea have been a very difficult opponent since their promotion to the Premier League and have had their fair share of success against Arsenal. The games have always been pretty good ones with both teams intent on playing open attractive football.

I'm predicting a narrow win for Arsenal but I think it will be a very close game and could be decided by something very small. A lucky bounce or a dodgy refereeing decision could be what either team needs to gain an edge and hopefully Arsenal can take advantage of anything that comes their way. What might be to their advantage is Swansea's defensive record at home so far this season. 

Swansea have conceded six goals in their two home games so far and it could be because they are more attack minded at home. They had a very good defensive record away from home last season and have only conceded one goal in three away games so far. It might just be that they are more open at home and as a result other teams find it a little easier to score against them on their own ground. I'm pretty sure they had a similar defensive record at home and away last season too. 

With the form Arsenal are in at the moment they are more than capable of taking advantage of any team that gives them chances. The loss of Theo Walcott to injury is a big blow though as he has the ability to get in behind defences for Ozil to pick out. That's something which is usually easier to do away from home when teams are more likely to play further forward.

A win will see Arsenal back on the summit of the Premier League again and it's a good feeling to have them up there. There's still a long way to go though and some very tough games coming up after the next international break. The team's ability to cope at the right end of the table will probably be judged in those games, but until then the more points they put on the board the better. 

That's it for today.

See you tomorrow.

No comments:

Post a Comment