Writer: Tim Stillman
Date:Friday November 30 2012
1st December, 2012
Arsenal come off the back of a pair of lukewarm draws at Aston Villa and Everton, knowing that only home wins against Swansea and West Brom will put those results into a more positive context.
Meanwhile, Swansea City have put a September blip behind them and having moved Muchu into a centre forward position, they have moved up to 8th place in the Premiership, having comfortably dismantled West Brom on Wednesday evening.
Arsene Wenger was fulsome in his praise of Swansea's technical ability, 'Of course, Brendan Rodgers has made the basis of what the club is today and Michael Laudrup has added some players he knew from Spain who are very good additions.
'They have Michu, Pablo Hernandez, de Guzman. And by keeping Britton, Rangel and the players at the back they are a dangerous side throughout, and having a good season. They are a complete unit, very creative, very technical and very mobile."
Meanwhile, Michael Laudrup is fully aware of the dangers posed by Arsenal, 'Arsenal are a very good side, with great players who like to play on the ball. They also have a manager in Arsene Wenger that has been there for 16 years and done wonderful things for the club.
'But we go there with no pressure and can surprise people. We have picked up four points this week which has been a very good return for us.'
Bacary Sagna is a massive doubt for the Gunners with a foot injury picked up against Everton. Laurent Koscielny's thigh strain puts him out of the picture for 3 weeks. Lukas Podolski is expected to return from illness.
Abou Diaby (thigh), Andre Santos (stomach), Lukasz Fabianski (ankle) are out, Theo Walcott will have a late check on his ankle. Tomas Rosicky is back in the squad.
Arsenal (from): Szczesny, Mannone; Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Djourou, Vermaelen, Gibbs; Coquelin, Arteta, Ramsey, Wilshere, Rosicky, S.Cazorla, Chamberlain, Walcott, Gervinho, Arshavin, Podolski, Chamakh, Giroud.
The German international has settled in well in North London with six goals in home games already. Without him on Wednesday night, the temptation to simply hit Giroud with long balls became too apparent.
Podolski ensures a varied threat with his movement inside the box, in Angel Rangel he faces a right back that likes to attack too.
Pablo Hernandez misses the trip to London with a thigh injur, Jonathan de Guzman is back to full fitness and expected to take his place.
Danny Graham has recovered from illness but won't be risked. Chico Flores is expected to pass a late test on a shoulder problem.
Swansea City (from): Vorm, Cornell; Rangel, Bartley, Flores, Williams, Monk, Tiandeli, Situ, Taylor; Britton, Dyer, Routledge, de Guzman, Sung-Yeung, Michu, Moore.
Much has been made of the form of 7 goal Michu, correctly so. But Laudrup has tinkered with the system and played nominal winger Wayne Routledge just off of the Spanish frontman.
Routledge responded by scoring two goals against West Brom on Wednesday night from a free role.
Arsenal and Swansea have met six times in the league, with both sides having won three times each.
Swansea have lost 6 of their last 10 away games, winning two and drawing two as well in that period.
Michu has registered six headers on target this season. Four have been goals.
Kyle Bartley faces his former club.
This fixture has never been separated by more than two goals.
The referee will be Mark Clattenburg.
I'm going for 2-0 Arsenal. Goals from Giroud and Podolski.
Arsenal play away at Olympiacos on Tuesday night. Swansea's next game will be at home to norwich City next Saturday.
Date:Friday November 30 2012
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