Arsene Wenger is keen to prove Arsenal have what it takes to win next year’s Premier League by maintaining a strong end to the current campaign at home to Swansea City on Monday.
Arsenal remain locked in a battle for second place with Manchester City, but any hopes of reeling in leaders Chelsea were ended last weekend when the Stamford Bridge outfit clinched the trophy.
Nevertheless, Wenger’s men are on a 10-match unbeaten run in the league – winning nine of those – and are keen to continue demonstrating their title credentials.
“We feel we have made progress in our consistency, our quality and our stability,” Wenger is quoted as saying by Arsenal.com. “That is what we want to continue and I believe it is important to finish as close as possible to Chelsea and come out of the season and think we are ready to challenge next season.
“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, meanwhile, are set to welcome back striker Bafetimbi Gomis following a month out with a hamstring problem, and the French striker will be looking to benefit from the supply of Gylfi Sigurdsson, who has chipped in with 10 Premier League assists this term.
“It’s always nice to get into double figures for any statistic, so for me to get 10 assists is very pleasing,” Sigurdsson told the club’s official website. “When I was younger I took more pride in scoring, but as I’ve got older I can appreciate setting up a goal far more. An assist means as much as a goal to me these days.
“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.
“They get into spaces and it’s all about finding them and hoping they finish the chances. If they don’t score then I don’t get the assist, so I’m thankful to them for finding the net.”
Sigurdsson and Gomis were on target as Swansea came from behind to beat Arsenal in the reverse fixture in November and the Welsh club have an excellent record at the Emirates – losing just once there in the league since winning promotion in 2011.
Last season’s trip to north London produced a 2-2 draw, with Mathieu Flamini netting an own goal in the final minute.
Gomis’ return is timely for Swansea, with stand-in Nelson Oliveira expected to miss the rest of the season with an ankle injury, while Arsenal are without Danny Welbeck (knee), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (groin) and Mathieu Debuchy (hamstring).
Aaron Ramsey, who started his career at Swansea’s fierce rivals Cardiff City, is rated as “50-50” due to a leg injury.
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