Swansea v Arsenal:
the toughest of tests that will require full focus and deep desire to win!
This will be short and sweet. Seventeenho is on holiday and asked me to write the preview for the encounter with the Jacks, but he promised to write the midweek one. 🙂
The line-up is pretty straightforward, I reckon. Cech in goal; Bellerin, Koz, Gab, Nacho in defence; Le Coq and Santi in the DM pivot; Alexis, Ozil and Campbell behind Giroud. Wenger will have one eye on the Bayern game but a win against the Jacks will be his first priority. He was able to rest most of our players during the damp squib game midweek and the next midweek game is not till Wednesday, so plenty of time to get a focused team ready for the battle with Die Lederhosen in Munich. It is key to not lose momentum in the competitions that matter, and the PL matters more than anything else for us this season.
—————————- Cechmate ————————–
Bellerina — Mind the Gab – Koz we love you – The Cheese
—————– Coq Monster —- The Puffin —————-
————————– The Lighthouse ———————-
We lost twice against Swansea last season and unlike us they have a full squad available. They finally won a game again last weekend; and with the Arsenal coming to town and expectations not sky-high, they will be really looking forward to this game. This will be a very tough battle for us and we must enter it with the right tempo and motivation, so it is key to ban any thoughts about the Bayern game as to play with the right focus. Win today and our title charge with look really strong. A draw would not be too bad either, but a loss would hurt us quite a bit, especially with the key games against the Germans and the tiny tots coming our way. The loss against the Owls might help us in this respect: it brought us down to earth after three magic wins and it will not be hard for the manager to get his team refocused on the job in hand.
Swansea played Shelvey, Ayew, Sigurdsson, Montero and Gomis against Villa and that is a very decent quintet of footballing musicians on the pitch. With the crowd behind them, and they and the players knowing that we lost to them last season twice (and they have already beaten the Mancs this season), we are in for a stern, noisy, in-our-faces test: no doubt about it! From a footballing point of view, this is promising to be a very good game to watch (real shame it is not on TV at 3pm): both teams love to play good football and there are some fine players on the pitch to make it happen.
I have a feeling that Wenger will rest the BFG so he can mastermind another defensive masterpiece against his fellow countrymen on Wednesday. The Koz-Gab combo has plenty of bite and both were rested last Tuesday. The Vault of KoGa, as I like to call them, needs to be at their best against the strong, Giroudesque Gomis and wily, and fast on the ground, Ayew and Montero. Arsenal have scored 1999 goals in all competitions and I have a feeling one of the CBs will score his 2000th. They were so threatening in set pieces last weekend and Koz could have eaten an elephant in one go after he scored against the Toffees; that is how hungry he was. I reckon it is time for Gabriel to get on the scoresheet this time round.
Gomis, Ayew and Montero will be fed by the versatile Shelvey and, not to be underestimated, Sigurdsson, and the wall of CoCa will have to work really hard to avoid them dominating us in our own half. Without Theo we do not have the speed in the centre of the pitch to hurt the Jacks quickly on the break, so there will be a lot of pressure on Alexis to rediscover his top-form and counter us to victory. Giroud, however, will help us a lot with chasing and regaining the ball and set up other players to spring the counter; and I expect Ozil, Alexis and (hopefully) Campbell to benefit from this time and again. We will face a very motivated Fabianski in goal who has done very well since his switch to Wales, and I hope the away Gooners will pay him once again the respect he deserves… but let’s beat him this time round!!
As I said in one of the comments in the previous post, I have a feeling that Bellerin will play in the ‘Ramsey’ position against Bayern (with Debuchy behind him), and I can see Arsene giving Campbell another chance to show us what he has got. I reckon he will do well as he will play in our best team and therefore with less pressure on him to make the difference. This will ease him up and make him play better, and hopefully this will be his first fantastic game in a Gunner’s shirt.
I am looking forward to this one even though I am not counting on three points. We will have to work very, very hard and we have the quality to do it, but our mentality has to be at the highest level to end up victorious. Bring it on!
Come on you Rip-Roaring Gunners – Do us Proud!