Swansea City manager Garry Monk believes his side can approach their Premier League clash with an injury-hit Arsenal with confidence after ending bringing a dismal run of form to an end last weekend.
Monk’s men welcome second-placed Arsenal to the Liberty Stadium on Saturday having come from behind to beat Aston Villa 2-1 last time out.
Prior to that victory at Villa Park, Swansea had gone six-straight games in all competitions without a win, with Monk rumoured to be under pressure as a result of that streak.
But now the Welsh club have the chance to build on the defeat of Villa against an Arsenal team winless in their last three league meetings against Swansea.
Arsenal, who are level on points with leaders Manchester City, saw hopes of ending their disappointing run versus Swansea dented by injuries to Theo Walcott (calf) and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (hamstring) in Tuesday’s 3-0 League Cup loss to Sheffield Wednesday.
That duo will be out until after the next international break in November, according to manager Arsene Wenger, and they join a host of players on the sidelines.
Danny Welbeck (knee), Jack Wilshere (ankle), Aaron Ramsey (hamstring) and goalkeeper David Ospina (shoulder) are all out, along with Tomas Rosicky (knee), and Mikel Arteta (ankle).
Wenger is now left with limited options on the right flank, with the Frenchman left to choose between Joel Campbell and Alex Iwobi, although Santi Cazorla could be moved from central midfield.
But in his pre-match media conference, Monk – who has a fully fit squad to choose from – said: “Arsenal have an excellent squad, the bigger squads can afford injuries like that.
“That’s the difference, it would hit us harder if we had those injuries but they have the strength and resources to cope.
“They look like title contenders, they’ve had a fantastic start to the season. A lot has been made of them from January onwards and the form they’ve been in, they are title contenders.
“The money they’ve spent on the squad and their form means they are title contenders.
“We’ve always had good games and we’ve had some good results against them. It will be a tough game but we will be in with a chance if we put our best foot forward on the pitch.
“It’s good to remind the players of our record against them. They should have confidence going into this game and that they can get a positive result.
“We always look forward to it in-front of our fans here.”
Key Opta Stats:
– Swansea are unbeaten in their last three Premier League meetings with Arsenal (W2 D1), after losing three of the five before that (W2).
– Bafetimbi Gomis scored the winning goal in both of Swansea’s meetings with Arsenal last season in the Premier League.
– Arsenal have lost just one of their last 11 Premier League away games (0-2 v Chelsea), winning nine and drawing one.
– Garry Monk’s side are without a win in three home league games (D2 L1); their worst run since last February (also three games). They’ve never gone four without a victory at home under their current boss.
– Oliver Giroud has the best minutes per goal rate of any player in the PL this season, scoring every 88.8 minutes on average (min. two goals).