High-flying Arsenal will entertain Swansea City on Monday night as Arsene Wenger looks to maintain a strong finish to his campaign and finish as high as possible, in a bid to take the momentum and confidence into the next season. The Gunners are the most in-form team in the league and are on a ten match unbeaten run, winning nine of those, with a particularly impressive record at home having lost just once in this campaign at the Emirates.
Arsene Wenger acknowledged his team’s positive spin of results that has guaranteed them Champions League football and a possible second place finish, their best in ten years which should give them the much needed boost ahead of the start of next campaign. He said:
“It is difficult to know how strong every team will be next year but you gain as well your confidence from what you have achieved the year before and how you have moved forward. That is why it is very important that we continue to be consistent until the end of the season.”
Swansea City have done very well for themselves thus far after managing a record points tally already and can still finish as high as seventh which would get them back to Europa League football (should Arsenal beat Aston Villa in the final). They will go into this game on the back of a comfortable 2-0 win against Stoke City and a fairly good run of recent results (1 defeat in the last 6). The away side will also take confidence from the reverse fixture at the Liberty Stadium where Swansea City edged out Arsenal, when they make the trip to North London. Their top performer Gylfi Sigurdsson has been integral to Swansea City’s overall performance this season, but he chose to appreciate his teammates in the pre-match press conference where he said:
“This season I’ve had quality strikers in [Wilfried] Bony and Bafe [Gomis] in front of me, while we have the likes of Wayne [Routledge], Nathan [Dyer] and Jeff [Montero] out wide while Jonjo [Shelvey] and Ki [Sung-Yueng] have also been around me, so it’s easier to set goals up for players like them”
Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey is a major doubt for Monday’s Premier League visit of Swansea after a blow to the leg sustained at Hull. Danny Welbeck (knee) is almost certainly out but could return the following week against former club Manchester United. Mikel Arteta (ankle), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (groin) and Mathieu Debuchy (hamstring) remain absent, along with Abou Diaby (knee).
Gomis could return to the starting lineup and provide a major selection boost for Monk after missing the last 3 games with a hamstring problem while Spanish defender Jordi Amat (broken metatarsal) has joined Oliveira, Kyle Naughton, Tom Carroll and Wayne Routledge on the sidelines but full-backs Jazz Richards and Dwight Tiendalli are available following respective loan spells at Fulham and Middlesbrough.
- Danny Welbeck has scored three goals in four Barclays Premier League games against Swansea City.
- 21 of the last 22 goals in this fixture in all competitions have been scored in the second half of the match.
- The two sides have met seven times in the Premier League with three wins apiece and one draw. Swansea have had to come from behind to get seven of the 10 points they have earned against the Gunners.
- Arsenal have lost just one of their last 34 Premier League matches at Emirates Stadium (W24 D9 L1).
Santi Cazorla – Arsenal
Arguably, Santiago Cazorla has been Arsenal’s best player this season and on a personal level I feel he’s had his best campaign for Arsenal. With 7 goals and a remarkable 9 assists in this season, the diminutive Cazorla has created a staggering 71 chances in 33 appearances which is roughly 2.5 per game, by no means an ordinary statistic. He’s been played in various positions across the midfield by Wenger yet the Spaniard has managed to contribute as much as he has, orchestrating Arsenal’s typically free flowing attacking play. His defensive work this season has also been underrated as the 30-year old has made 64 interceptions and clearances combined which makes him that vital player for Arsenal to see them through this final few games of the season with a flourish.
Ki-Sung Yueng – Swansea City
The 26-year old midfielder has had a very good campaign by all accounts for Swansea City, getting on the score sheet 8 times, leading the goal-scorers’ charts in 32 appearances for the club. Blessed with the ability of popping up with vital goals in big games including the opening day goal at Old Trafford, Ki has also managed to 26 chances from open play. For a player that is always on the ball and required to keep things ticking he’s maintained a brilliant 90% pass accuracy which has been pivotal to Swansea City’s successful possession based football meaning he could play a key role to the visitors’ chances of doing a league double over Arsenal for the first time in their history.
Arsenal to come out on top at home, as per usual.
Arsenal 3-1 Swansea City