After returning to winning ways at KC Stadium, Arsenal aim to continue the impressive run of results against Swansea and make another important step towards a second-place finish. Meanwhile, the Swans have been surprisingly given an opportunity to fight for Europa League positions and they arrive at the Emirates in confident mood, looking to do a double over the Gunners this term.
Arsenal are on the road to make this season a success seeing as they have reached the FA Cup final and are in a good position to finish second in the Premier League. However, the Gunners need to ensure their good run of form continues for another few weeks or else all the hard work will amount to nothing. And while the team had shown improvement even before they were eliminated from the Champions League, playing one game a week allowed Arsenal to keep their performances at a very high level, and the home loss to Monaco remains the only slip up in the last three months. The reality is the Gunners haven’t been too convincing of late, mostly recording narrow wins, although they did really well to score three first-half goals against Hull City before conceding one in the second period. But, with Swansea on top of their game at the moment and very motivated to get something from this match, Arsenal will need to work hard in order to get the result they want. Arsene Wenger has already suggested that the likes of Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott and Kieran Gibbs could play some part, but Aaron Ramsey may be allowed to rest after picking up a knock against Hull City. Danny Welbeck returns and Mathieu Debuchy and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain remain sidelined.
Swansea have largely impressed ever since they were promoted to the elite division in 2011, but this is proving to be their most successful season yet. Gary Monk’s side have already set a new points tally record, with their previous being 47, and they are almost certain to improve on their highest finishing position (9th). But, the most important thing is that the Swans now have a realistic chance of achieving European qualification, with top 7 teams in the Premier League expected to play European football next season, plus another one based on Fair Play points. Seeing as the team experienced major problems up front after Wilfried Bony had joined Manchester City, with the likes of Gomis, Routledge and Oliveira struggling through injury, their latest results are nothing short of amazing. Swansea took advantage of an easy fixture list to win four of their last six league matches, defeating Newcastle and Stoke in their last two appearances. And while they will have much bigger fish to fry at the Emirates, I wouldn’t be surprised if they prevent high-flying Arsenal from winning. The good news is that Bafetimni Gomis is ready to return, with the timing just perfect seeing as Nelson Oliveira has picked up an injury.
Arsenal have seen a slight dip in form of late and with Arsene Wenger set to rotate his squad, I believe we can virtually rule out a comfortable win for the Gunners. The Swans have already beaten their next opponents this season and they can be trusted to give a good account of themselves in the reverse fixture.
Verdict: Swansea + 1.5 AH
Best Odds: 1/1