Friday, 30 October 2015

Arsenal's Trip To Swansea Previewed Plus Win Prizes !

Arsenal travel to Swansea tomorrow on the back of a great run in the Premier League which has seen them win six of their last seven games. The less said about the Capital One Cup defeat to Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday night the better and I like to think it's back to the important football tomorrow. I wasn't too worried about that defeat even if the performance was disappointing, but the loss of both Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott to injury on the night was far more worrying.

It means Arsenal have an injury list to match the best of them with Chamberlain and Walcott added to the names of Aaron Ramsey, Mikel Arteta, David Ospina, Danny Welbeck, Jack Wilshere and Tomas Rosicky. With a few of the contenders to possibly replace any of those players in the strongest team already out on loan it means Arsene Wenger's options are severely limited. The team against Swansea should still be at almost full strength, but those players will have to play against Bayern Munich on Wednesday night and against Spurs next Sunday too. 

Olivier Giroud will have to lead the line in all three games with the pace of Walcott not an option in games where it could have been a deciding factor. Bayern will most certainly attack Arsenal with everything they have and pace is the most potent weapon against them. I can see both Swansea and Spurs leaving space behind their defences too particularly as they know Giroud doesn't have the pace to exploit them. 

The big decision for the boss against Swansea and in the other two games will be who plays on the right hand side of the attacking trio. It's the position which has been most affected by all of the injuries and he needs to find a solution to the problem. For me there are five or six options and he could possibly go with any of them.

If Mathieu Debuchey was to come in at right back Hector Bellerin could push forward and his pace would certainly be a welcome asset. He's still only finding his way in the team though and it might be an awful lot to ask of him, but it could be tried against Swansea to start. My biggest worry with Bellerin's inclusion would be how Debuchey would fare at right back up against Jefferson Montero even with some help from Bellerin.

There's also the option of Kieran Gibbs playing wide on the left with Alexis Sanchez moving to the right and that could be the one to make a lot of sense. Gibbs has done alright in that role previously and Alexis would have no problem on the right as he's right footed anyway. He's at his best cutting in from the left though and he would lose that playing on the right.

Santi Cazorla could definitely play there too or he could switch to the left if Alexis played on the right. Switching Santi would mean the inclusion of Mathieu Flamini alongside Coquelin in midfield and I'm not sure if that would benefit the team. Santi has such a huge influence from a central role that it could adversely affect the way the team plays if he switched to a wide role and I'm not at all convinced by Flamini.

The other main option is the inclusion of Joel Campbell from the start and it probably looks like the sensible one on paper. I'm not at all convinced by him though despite his excellent work rate and commitment and I have been wholly unimpressed by him every time I have seen him play for Arsenal. I don't think he's up to the task and a player has to offer more than just hard work to earn a place in the team.

Alex Iwobi made his full debut on Wednesday night and showed some promise at times, but the boss said afterwards that the game was a level too high for all the debutants. If any of them were to get a second chance against Swansea I think Iwobi would be the best option. 

The final candidate is Dan Crowley who has come back early from his loan spell at Barnsley. Depending on what you want to believe he was either allowed to leave as Barnsley were unimpressed or Arsenal have recalled him with a view to using him. I don't which is the right rumour, but I would be surprised to see him play from the start.

I have a feeling Gibbs will get the nod with Alexis switching sides and it certainly wouldn't be the worst choice for the team. Whoever plays though Arsenal need to approach this game as they would any other game and treat the opposition with all the respect they deserve. The team looked tired towards the end of last Saturday's game against Everton and the midweek break will have done them some good at least. 

Swansea came from behind to win away to Villa last week to put an end to a poor run of results for them and their performances suffered as that run wore on. They have done well against Arsenal since their promotion to the Premier League four years ago and have won four of their eight games. They did the double over Arsenal last season and Arsenal know that they cannot allow Swansea to get into their groove. They play good football and are capable of beating any team in the Premier League as they showed when they beat United a few weeks ago. 

Despite beating Villa last week I'm not convinced Swansea are at their best and I think a strong performance from Arsenal will give them some real trouble. If Arsenal give them some hope by not showing up from the start it could just be what Swansea need on the day. A Swansea team playing with confidence can be very hard to handle and Arsenal cannot allow them to build up a head of steam.

The Arsenal bench will be very interesting and I expect it will have quite a defensive look to it. With so few attacking options available outside those on the pitch it's not easy to know who will be there to call on if Arsenal need to change things up front. Whatever happens to Arsenal they simply cannot afford another attacking injury and we need to cross our fingers and anything else we have to ensure it doesn't happen. 

With City playing at home to Norwich it's essential that Arsenal take the three points to keep up the pressure on them at the top of the table. It's also essential that they continue to perform at their best with two huge games coming up after this one. The players need to deal with this game first though and they cannot get ahead of themselves or they could find themselves on the end of another famous Swansea win. 

I think they will continue in the recent vein though and I would be surprised if they don't win. I don't think there will be too much in it, but a one goal win would do very nicely considering the recent record against Swansea and the games coming up in the next week. I don't usually look forward to international breaks but Arsenal need to get through to the next one and hope a few of those injured players will be ready to play when the real football kicks off again in three weeks.

It's time for the competition now with thanks to the people in Paddy Power. All you have to do to enter is to be one of the first six UK residents to comment on the blog and you will then be assigned a square from the goal in the graphic below. You can see below what the prizes are and the better Arsenal do the more potential for the prize to become better.

The prizes are as follows:

If a goal lands in your square you will receive;
A £10 Amazon Voucher

Land two goals in your square and win:
Football Manager 2016 on Pre Order! Release date November

Land three goals or more in your square and win:
An Arsenal Football Shirt (they can choose Home/Away/Third)

Competition sponsored by

·        Each player is only allowed one square, no multiples
·         Entries will not be accepted from blog owner, contributor or employees of Paddy Power
·        Squares will be allocated to the first 6 people to comment on available squares
·       The BBC’s definition of which square the ball went into is final, this can be found on BBC Football news
·        Prizes are subject to availability
·        Only one prize per square
·        Only the first 5 goals are counted      
·         UK entries only
·         If the match score is 0-0 the first to comment on the original post will win the booby prize, a Danny Dyer Football Foul-Ups DVD

That's it for today.

See you tomorrow.


  1. I think we should give Campbell a chance you never know could be the making of him if he actually got a run in the team and nicked a goal he could get his confidence back. I just hope that we don't pick up anymore injuries as it's becoming a mini crisis. I know Swansea be a tough game but if Sanchez and ozil continue with form been showing we should have enough and Giroud will have more chances with decent service this time around.

    1. Hi Ben, can you send me your contact details to or contact me on Twitter @JamrockRover to claim your prize.

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