Swansea city go on the road for the second time this season, and once again it is to a Champions league club with a new look after transfer dealings. However whereas Manchester City had just brought in Ageuro who was to make a huge impact in the game, Arsenal have lost their talismanic captain Cesc Fabregas and possibly the most creative midfielder in Europe in Samir Nasri.
Arsene Wenger’s protestations that the side is now stronger with the addition of Arteta, Benayoun and Mertesacker have fallen on deaf ears and premier league eyes will be on the Emirates this afternoon to see how the north London team react after the 8 – 2 humilation they received at the hands of Manchester United two weeks ago.
Swansea themselves have had a mixed start to the season with a four nil defeat at the hands of Manchester City which whilst undeserved was not unexpected, this has been followed by two nil all draws at home to Wigan and Sunderland. In all three of these games Swansea have passed the ball well and ended the games with the possession stats in the their favour averaging 61% over the three games. The Welsh club have also completed the most passes in the Premier league this season with 1443 accurate passes compared to Arsenal’s 1247.
What does this tell us about today’s game then. Firstly I wouldn’t think that the fact the Per Mertesacker is 6 foot 6 inches is going to have much bearing on the game, given that both sides love to knock it around on the deck and Swansea are always reluctant to hit from back to front. Secondly Mikeal Arteta is going to spend a lot of time chasing Leon Britton. The diminutive centre midfielder has had an outstanding start to the season and has completed 92% of passes, he is a tireless runner and will try to break through the Arsenal midfield and run at the Arsenal back four to create space for Swansea’s attacking three of Graham, Dyer and Sinclair. We also may get the comedic vision of the 5 foot 5 Britton running at the new giant German centre half.
This will not be one of those days when Arsene Wenger is all over Sky Sports news complaining about the tactics of a side not as talented as his own, who have battled their way to point. Swansea will try to beat Arsenal at their own game, and will hope to at least get parity in the possession statistics. Incidently Swansea are currently top of the fair play league with no cards received at all yet this season, conversely Arsenal are rock bottom with 8 yellow cards and 3 players sent to the stands.
Once again though I fear that come 5pm Arsenal will have been too strong for Swansea and the three points will be staying in the capital, however I feel Swansea have enough in the side to give Arsenal a good game and if they can muster that first goal of the premier league campaign, and Taylor, Caulker, Williams, & Rangel can keep Walcott and Van Persie quiet, they might have a chance of coming away with more points and staying above the gunners in the league !