Can the Gunners clip the Swans’ wings at the Liberty Stadium

Swansea City host Arsenal in the Premier League at the Liberty Stadium this afternoon (3.00pm kick-off UK time).

The Swans’ won their first Premier League game after the appointment of new manager Paul Clement away at Crystal Palace.

The result though still leaves Swansea in the precarious position of 19th in the Premier League table as they battle to avoid relegation.

Clement is tasked with immediately overseeing an up-turn in the Welsh club’s fortunes after the short and disastrous reign of Bob Bradley.

Bradley lost his first match in charge at Arsenal. That set the tone for the American’s short tenure.

Swansea are vying to earn back-to-back league wins for the first time this season.

The Swans’ tally of 15 points from 20 games is their lowest at this stage of a Premier League season.

They have lost 12 of the 14 Premier League matches this season in which they conceded the first goal (W1, D1).

After a run of 12 away games without a defeat, the Gunners have won just one point from their last three Premier League away games.

That point required a late three goal comeback to earn a 3-3 draw against Bournemouth in their last Premier League outing, but the result dropped the Gunners to fifth place in the table.

Chelsea are still eight points ahead of Arsenal going into this weekend’s round of fixtures, despite a 2-0 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane last time out in the Premier League.

Arsenal have conceded in each of their last six Premier League away games, their worst run since a seven-match streak in 2011.

Head-t0-Head

Swansea have won three of their last five games against Arsenal.

However, the Swans have lost three of their last four home matches against the Gunners.

Arsenal could complete a league double against Swansea for only the second time. They also won both games in the 1982-83 season.

Arsenal have scored in all five previous Premier League matches at Swansea City, netting on 10 occasions in total

Key Men

Leroy Fer has scored six Premier League goals this season from midfield.

Gylfi Sigurdsson has six assists in the Premier League this season and is a threat from set-pieces.

Olivier Giroud has 12 goals from his last 17 shots on target in all competitions and has scored in each of his last eight starts for Arsenal.

The last time Giroud failed to score in a game he started for Arsenal was in a 1-0 win against Norwich last April.

Alexis Sanchez has scored or assisted 30 goals in his last 31 Premier League appearances (20 goals, 10 assists).

The Managers

Paul Clement will be taking charge of his first home since replacing Bob Bradley as manager. Clement won 13 of 30 league games with Derby (D12, L5), departing in February 2016 with the Rams fifth in the table and five points off top spot.

Paul Clement

“I am really looking forward to my first home game. It’s been a big ambition of mine to manage in this league and this game is going to be a special moment for me.  Clearly it’s going to be a difficult game, but I have been pleased with the players this week.

We are just trying to get the key ideas across to try to produce a performance this weekend.  I think if the players execute what they have been doing in training and concentrate on the things I have talked to them about, we will have a chance in any game. We want to play a certain way. We want to defend a certain way and attack a certain way and that’s what I have been drilling into the players”

Arsene Wenger

Laurent Koscielny, Olivier Giroud and Francis Coquelin signed new contracts earlier in the week, but the will they won’t they speculation on whether Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez will do likewise rumbles on.

On whether the French trio committing their futures will encourage others to follow suit, Wenger said.

“Generally I would say yes [it encourages more players to sign], because the squad has a great spirit and I believe as well that the players will want to stay together.

It’s important that we have a stability in our squad and they are part of that. We are of course in the process of negotiating with other players, as you know well. We want to keep a good stability and that is what is needed at the end of every season.”

Team News

Swansea City

Neil Taylor is set for a spell on the sidelines after fracturing his cheekbone in training this week. Stephen Kingsley or Angel Rangel will deputise for Taylor,

New signing Luciano Narsingh, who has joined from PSV Eindhoven, is not available for his debut because of a calf injury.

Lukasz Fabianski, Alfie Mawson, Wayne Routledge and Fernando Llorente should return after being rested for the FA Cup defeat at Hull last weekend.

Provisional squad: Fabianski, Naughton, Fernandez, Mawson, Kingsley, Britton, Fulton, Ki, Cork, Fer, Routledge, Sigurdsson, Llorente, Nordfeldt, Rangel, Amat, Van der Hoorn, Barrow, Dyer, Borja, McBurnie.

Arsenal

Mesut Ozil is available after illness ruled him out of the past three games.

Petr Cech, Laurent Koscielny and Alexis Sanchez are set to be recalled after being rested for last week’s FA Cup tie at Preston.

Hector Bellerin and Francis Coquelin are still out, but may return against Burnley on Sunday week.

Theo Walcott hasn’t recovered from a calf problem and is likely to be out for at least two more weeks. Walcott last played in the 2-1 defeat at Manchester City on 18 December 2016.

Mohamed Elneny is away representing Egypt at the Africa Cup of Nations and is unavailable.

Santi Cazorla (Achilles),  Per Mertesacker and Kieran Gibbs (both knee) are all out.

Provisional squad: Cech, Ospina, Martinez, Bellerin, Jenkinson, Holding, Gabriel, Koscielny, Mustafi, Monreal, Maitland-Niles, Xhaka, Ramsey, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ozil, Reine-Adelaide, Iwobi, Sanchez, Akpom, Perez, Giroud.

Match Officials

Referee: Mike Jones
Assistants: R West, M Scholes
Fourth official: O Langford

Jones has officiated 15 games this season in the Premier League, Championship, League Two, FA Cup and EFL Cup, showing 54 bookings and three red cards.

Prediction

Arsenal to get a 3-1 victory in South Wales.

 

 

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