By Bulldog Drummond
The early team news
Coquelin and Bellerin are still about a week away from returning, Theo is maybe two weeks from returning. Gibbs and Mert are also out as well, obviously, as are Santi Cazorla and Mohamed Elneny.
But coming back (and I would have thought absolutely certain to play) are Mesut Ozil, Petr Cech, Laurent Koscielny and Alexis Sanchez. The only question is whether Giroud is kept in reserve for a big finish – in which case we could see Alexis start at centre forward and then go to the wing for the last 20 as Giroud forces Swansea into a total rethink.
Here’s the physioroom injury table
|2||Hull City||10||A McGregor|
|4||Crystal Palace||8||W Hennessey|
|8||West Ham United||6||M Antonio|
|10||Stoke City||5||B Krkic|
|10||Manchester City||5||K de Bruyne|
|13||Swansea City||4||L Narsingh|
And the list of Arsenal players with estimated return dates
|H Bellerin||Ankle Injury||January 22, 2017|
|F Coquelin||Hamstring Injury||January 22, 2017|
|K Gibbs||Knee Injury||January 22, 2017|
|T Walcott||Calf Strain||January 31, 2017|
|M Debuchy||Hamstring Injury||January 31, 2017|
|P Mertesacker||Knee Injury||January 31, 2017|
|S Cazorla||Plantaris Injury||March 18, 2017|
Looking forward to the game, this is one of those occasions where the away team has a far stronger record than the home team.
Here are the home and away tables
This is where it starts to look particularly positive in terms of Arsenal…
Swansea’s recent form is two wins, in between which were four defeats. Arsenal’s is three wins, one draw and two defeats. But perhaps more to the point Arsenal’s away form (five wins, three draws and two defeats) is far better than Swansea’s home form (two wins, two draws, six defeats). The goal difference is quite solidly in Arsenal’s favour as well: +11 for Arsenal away, -9 for Swansea at home.
Swansea’s recent poor run in the league came to an end in the last match with a victory over Fat Sam and Co, but prior to that things were not so good with four straight defeats. Points and position are shown for after the result.
In the analysis charts, Arsenal away from home are the top scorers of goals from open play (19) while Swansea at home are second in the list of teams scoring from set pieces with seven. Only West Brom beat them with eight set piece goals this season at home.
Swansea seem to have two particular weaknesses according to the stats – defending counter attacks and defending against through balls. With Ozil back in the team, this is Arsenal’s master tactic and so certainly should see us travelling in the right direction.
Across the years, from Swansea’s point of view…
Across the Premier League years Swansea’s record against Arsenal is three wins and four defeats
|16 Mar 2013||Swansea City v Arsenal||L||0-2||Premier League|
|28 Sep 2013||Swansea City v Arsenal||L||1-2||Premier League|
|25 Mar 2014||Arsenal v Swansea City||D||2-2||Premier League|
|09 Nov 2014||Swansea City v Arsenal||W||2-1||Premier League|
|11 May 2015||Arsenal v Swansea City||W||0-1||Premier League|
|31 Oct 2015||Swansea City v Arsenal||L||0-3||Premier League|
|02 Mar 2016||Arsenal v Swansea City||W||1-2||Premier League|
|15 Oct 2016||Arsenal v Swansea City||L||3-2||Premier League|
That’s about as good as it gets for Swansea, especially when we move onto…
Swansea’s recent form
|16||14.12.2016||West Bromwich Albion||away||L1-3||18||12|
|18||26.12.2016||West Ham United||home||L1-4||19||12|
Arsenal’s last five games haven’t been the highlight of the season either, but three unbeaten puts us back on form after the two away defeats before Christmas.
|18||26.12.2016||West Bromwich Albion||home||W1-0||4||37|
In the next piece we’ll look at the teams.
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