Saturday, 28 October 2017

Arsenal v Swansea City Preview

After their fairly comprehensive victory at Everton last week Arsenal have the chance to make up some ground on at least one of the teams above then when they play at hone to Swansea City this afternoon. Arsenal have a 100% record at home in all competitions this season with seven wins out of seven including the extra time victory over Norwich on Tuesday night. While that might have been a team of reserves and fringe players it at least gave those who beat Everton some time to recover and make sure they are in tip top shape for today.

The draw for thr next round has been made and Arsenal will play at home to West Ham in the quarter finals. All of the big teams left have avoided each other in that draw and there's a possibility of a semi final line up of Arsenal, Chelsea and the two Manchester clubs. If Arsenal make it that far I wonder if the manager will be tempted to play a stronger team with a Wembley final only one round away.

Back to today though and how important it is for Arsenal's chances of keeping pace with the top four. With United playing at home to Spurs we will close the gap to the losers of that game to one point if we win or to two points to both of them if we draw. It's been a pretty bad start to the season in the league for Arsenal, but a win today would put us within touching distance of some of the teams we're attempting to catch.

Of course we have to go City next week and our chances of getting something from that game are slim to say the least. At the moment it looks like it's City's League to lose and the rest are playing for runners up. That can change of course with 29 games still to play, but I think we need to concentrate on catching United, Spurs and Chelsea if we can.

As good as our home record has been we haven't been overly convincing in our four league wins. We left it late to come from behind to beat Leicester and the win against West Brom was far from standard, but we have scored 11 goals in our four home games and only conceded the three that Leicester put past us in that first game. The way our away form has been up until last week we need that home form to hold for us.

Swansea are struggling at the wrong end of the table and they only just managed to avoid the drop last season. They sold their two most important players in the the summer and it could be a tough season for them as they struggle to stay up again. They have benefited from the loan of Tammy Abraham from Chelsea and if they are going to beat the drop his goals will probably be what saves them.

As bad as Swansea might have been so far this season they have performed quite well away from home. They have only lost one of their four away games and they have only conceded one goal in those games. They might not have scored too many goals, but they did manage a scoreless draw at Spurs and they will look to frustrate us today.

The attacking display we saw from Arsenal last week was as good as we could hope for and the only disappointment from an attacking point of view was that we only scored five goals. It was the first time we played the trio of Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette and it showed us just how good it can be. If we can attack Swansea like that today I will be very surprised if that continue their impressive goals against column away from home.

The disappointing aspect of the game with Everton last week was the goals we gave away. The first one was yet another error from Granit Xhaka in midfield and he just cannot seem to stop himself giving chances away too easily game after game. Their second goal was down to a loss of concentration from both Nacho Monreal and Petr Cech and is more forgivable as the game was already won at that stage.

There is a train of thought that Xhaka should be replaced by Jack Wilshere, but they're not exactly set up to play the same role. Our midfield just isn't strong enough for me and the options we have aren't going to improve it too much no matter who we play there. It's something which should have been addressed when the transfer window was open, but we will just have to make do with what we have.

Swansea aren't going to be as easy as Everton were to break down and I have no doubt that Lucasz Fabianski will have another great game against us as he always seems to do since he left. They will sit deep and try to hit us on the break or from a set piece and it's a tried and trusted tactic against Arsenal. If we can reach the attacking levels of last week I think we will break them down and get the three points we need.

That's it for today.

See you tomorrow.

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