Can Gunners take liberties at the Liberty Stadium
Can Gunners take liberties at the Liberty Stadium

Arsenal travel to South Wales to take on Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium in the Premier League this afternoon..

The Gunners go into the match in 2nd place in the Premier League table on 22 points. They are  behind leaders Manchester City on goal difference.

Swansea City are currently 12th  in the Premier League table on 13 points.

The Swans did the double over Arsenal last season. Coming from a goal down to win 2-1 at the Liberty Stadium and winning 1-0 at the Emirates Stadium – with a little help from video goal line technology.

Swansea also came from behind to beat Aston Villa 2-1 at Villa Park last Saturday.

It ended a run of six-straight matches in all competitions without a win for the Welsh club.

Arsenal have only lost one of their last eleven away matches in the Premier League (2-0 defeat at Chelsea), winning nine and drawing the other.

Team News

Swansea

Swansea are at full strength after Federico Fernandez was cleared by the Football Association over a clash with Micah Richards in Swansea’s win over Aston Villa at Villa Park last Saturday. The FA ruled in midweek that neither player had committed an act of violent conduct.

Wayne Routledge has returned to training this week after a calf problem as Swansea seek to build on their first victory in six Premier League games.

Provisional squad: Fabianski, Naughton, Fernandez, Williams, Taylor, Cork, Shelvey, Montero, Ayew, Sigurdsson, Gomis, Nordfeldt, Rangel, Bartley, Amat, Tabanou, Ki, Britton, Routledge, Emnes, Barrow, Eder, Grimes.

Arsenal

Theo Walcott (calf) and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (hamstring) will be out until after the next international break in November.

Although neither impressed in the Capital One Cup defeat to Sheffield Wednesday, Joel Campbell or Alex Iwobi could get a start today on the right flank.

Alternatively Santi Cazorla could be moved from central midfield, with Mathieu Flamini or Kieran Gibbs getting  a start.

Provisional squad: Cech, Monreal, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Bellerin, Coquelin, Cazorla, Ozil, Sanchez, Campbell, Giroud, Macey, Gibbs, Debuchy, Chambers, Gabriel, Flamini, Iwobi.

Key Men

Bafetimbi Gomis scored the winning goal in both of Swansea’s meetings with Arsenal last season in the Premier League.

Oliver Giroud has the best minutes per goal rate of any player in the PL this season, scoring every 88.8 minutes on average (min. two goals).

The Managers

Garry Monk

“Arsenal have an excellent squad, the bigger squads can afford injuries like that.

“That’s the difference, it would hit us harder if we had those injuries but they have the strength and resources to cope.

“They look like title contenders, they’ve had a fantastic start to the season. A lot has been made of them from January onwards and the form they’ve been in, they are title contenders.

“The money they’ve spent on the squad and their form means they are title contenders.

“We’ve always had good games and we’ve had some good results against them. It will be a tough game but we will be in with a chance if we put our best foot forward on the pitch.

“It’s good to remind the players of our record against them. They should have confidence going into this game and that they can get a positive result.

“We always look forward to it in-front of our fans here.” 

Arsene Wenger

“I don’t know, honestly (if this is a good time or not to be playing Swansea City). We expect our opponents always to turn up with full commitment so we prepare ourselves to be at our best. I believe that’s the only way to prepare nowadays in the Premier League, not to expect any weakness in your opponent.

“He (Garry Monk) has surprisingly been questioned very quickly. I think he has done extremely well. Very quickly some rumours came up last week that he could be questioned. I was surprised because I think he’s done extremely well.”

Match officials
Referee:
Kevin Friend Assistants: E Smart, H Lennard Fourth Official: A Davies

Statistics provided by Opta

Swansea are unbeaten in their last three Premier League meetings with Arsenal (W2 D1), after losing three of the five before that (W2).

The Gunners have scored on each of their four PL visits to Liberty Stadium (W2 L2).

Swansea have picked up just one win from their last six top-flight games (D2 L3), although that victory did come last time out – 2-1 at Aston Villa.

Garry Monk’s side are without a win in three home league games (D2 L1); their worst run since last February (also three games). They’ve never gone four without a victory at home under their current boss.

Arsenal have scored 1999 goals in all competitions under Arsene Wenger.

Gylfi Sigurdsson has scored or assisted 30 goals in 60 Premier League apps for Swansea (16 goals, 14 assists) – only Wilfried Bony (31) has been involved in more for the club in the competition.

Mesut Ozil has the best games per assist rate in Premier League history – averaging an assist every 2.71 matches (min. 20 assists).

Prediction

Arsenal have not found the Liberty Stadium an easy place to win at. Swansea got back to winning ways with a come from behind victory over Aston Villa last Saturday, so the Gunners can expect another tough examination of their title credentials. Arsenal rested the majority of their first-team starters for the midweek Capital One Cup defeat at Sheffield Wednesday. That should help them to prevail in another hard-fought 2-1 win on the road to maintain their title push.