Swansea ended Arsenal’s title hopes, our revenge must come today
Match Preview: Arsenal vs Swansea – Premier League – 15.10.2016
When the fixture list is released the first thing Gooners look for is the North London Derby. What you look for next depends on your priority. Some will look for Manchester United or Liverpool for the historic significance of those matches, others will scan for Chelsea or City, and there are those who will search for matches they can travel to. I looked for this match.
There was an uneasy confidence around the Emirates last season; far too many of us complacently believed that the title was ours to win, that Leicester were bound to slip up and we could always trust Sp*rs to choke. Only two of those things were true. Travelling back from Old Trafford I couldn’t remember a time I had felt so much anger and despair at an Arsenal result.
Were it not for my travelling companion – Jokman – sharing my love of hip hop and Final Fantasy (two seemingly mutually exclusive interests) and us laughing our heads off for about 30 minutes at crap impressions of Derka Jerbs from South Park I think my despondency may have topped even that of 2006, 2008 and 2010. I think were used escapism that day as an emotional crutch, naively believing that Arsenal would turn it around against Swansea and go on to win the league…
Cue an evening match against Swansea. The chill that emanated around the ground that evening was nothing to do with it being a dark Wednesday night in early March and all to do with the carbon copy shower of shite that unfolded on the pitch. The atmosphere was tense before kick-off and it exploded with apoplectic rage within 10 minutes. It was the worst I think I have ever seen Arsenal play and I left the ground feeling the worst about Arsenal I ever had. The title was over, ended by a rather poor Swansea.
When the fixture list was released I looked for this match because I need to see Arsenal beat them. It’s not Swansea’s fault Arsenal were much poorer than they were but I need revenge – it’ll be cathartic for me.
We’re in a good place right now, unbeaten since the start of the season and getting results in whatever fashion we can. This will be a good litmus test for Arsenal’s title credentials. We’re fresh off an international week with no injuries to report and Francis Coquelin fit enough to be in contention and Swansea have been struggling.
I’m wary of what happened in March but feel confident of a narrow win here.
Cech; Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal; Cazorla, Xhaka; Özil; Alexis, Iwobi, Walcott
I expect to see substitute appearances from Elneny and Ox.
“I believe our fans are behind us. It is strange because in 2016 how many games have we lost away from home? One at Man United. When you listen to people you’d never believe it.” – Arsène Wenger
Last 3 Meetings
- Arsenal 1-2 Swansea (02.03.2016)
- Swansea 0-3 Arsenal (31.10.2015)
- Arsenal 0-1 Swansea (11.05.2015)
Swansea are in bad shape, there’s no two ways about it. However, they have a new manager in experienced American coach Bob Bradley and you must always be wary of the initial impact a new manager can have. There’s a strange phenomenon with new managerial appointments that sees dejected teams put in the sort of performance the ex-manager will look at and think ‘if they had played like that I’d still have a job.’
Swansea has a good record against Arsenal and form can go out of the window when you face a bogey team.
- Arsenal have won one of their last five league games against Swansea, losing three.
- Bob Bradley is the first US manager to oversee a Premier League game.
- Arsene Wenger has won six of his eight games against managers in charge of their first Premier League match.
- The Swans are chasing a third consecutive win at the Emirates, and are unbeaten in their last four league games there (W3, D1).
- Arsenal are one short of registering 1,000 Premier League points at home. Only Manchester United (1,103) have a better record.
- In the last 4 games at the Emirates Swansea have scored decisive goals in the 74th minute or later.
- Swansea’s tally of four points is their lowest after seven matches of a top-flight season.
- Arsenal have averaged 0.8 points per game at home to Swansea in the Premier League, their worst return on home soil against any side.
- Another defeat would equal Swansea’s worst start to a league season in any division.
- Victory would be the Gunners’ sixth consecutive Premier League win – their best run since an eight-match streak between February and April 2015.
- The Swans are winless in their last six league games, losing five times.
- Arsenal have been behind for just 52 minutes in the top flight this season, fewer than any other side.
- The Gunners have kept four consecutive clean sheets in all competitions.
- Leroy Fer has scored four goals in his seven Premier League appearances this season, as many as in his previous 26 in the competition.
- Mesut Özil has provided just one assist in his last 16 Premier League games, after registering 11 in his previous 16 appearances in the division.
1-0 to Arsenal. Walcott to score.
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