Swansea City VS Arsenal
Following our 2-1 success over Chelsea in the Carabao Cup Semi Finals up next for the Gunners are a struggling Swansea City team who are fighting relegation. We will be discussing Arsenal’s January transfer window and how it has affect team performances, how Arsenal overcame Chelsea ensuring they are undefeated against their London rivals this season, and finally we will be looking at the team news & the predicted starting XI for the midweek game against Swansea.
A disastrous couple of months for Arsenal have seen them drop to sixth in the Premier League, 23 points behind leaders Manchester City, whilst also losing to Championship side Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup. The vital victory over fierce rivals Chelsea keeps them on course to win their fourth trophy in five years – and with it claim the only domestic competition that Arsene Wenger has not won in his 21 years at the club.
We all know how disruptive the January window can be, but this year for Arsenal with the Alexis Sanchez saga the disruptiveness was at its all time high. Wenger confirms in his conference that the uncertainty of Alexis Transfer to Manchester United was disrupting the Arsenal squad, this has reflected in recent performances seeing Arsenal drawing three and losing one in the last 5 premier league games, with their only win out of 5 coming away at Crystal Palace, in which coincidently was after the departure of Alexis Sanchez.
“I felt that in January we paid a heavy price for uncertainty in our dressing-room,” said the 68-year-old. “Now we are back with more clarity. We know what we have to do. We can focus on our game.
“We lost a great player in Alexis Sanchez but when a team doesn’t know what’s going on in the dressing room there is less clarity and focus on performances. We know we have to deal with it now.”
There is no coincidence in the improvement of the team’s performance against Crystal Palace and Alexis Sanchez leaving. The Chilean forward was a world class talent for Arsenal but we all could tell he was becoming a problem for the players and staff towards the end of his Arsenal career. The game against Palace was a hugely improved team performance. The movement and play was for once diverse and moving in all angles rather than playing the ball all the time straight up to Alexis. There was more pressure on other players to perform and work well together which in the end paid off. The future for Arsenal football club seems bright without Alexis.
With Alexis’ Departure to Manchester United confirmed in a straight swap deal with Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Arsenal seem keen to carry on their transfer activity and bolster their attack with the signing of world class Dortmund striker Pierre Emerick Aubameyang. Talks between the two clubs are still on going as Arsenal hope to get the deal done before the Swansea City match. Arsenal are also said to be keen to bring ex Manchester united defender Johnny Evans this January.
Moving on to Wednesday’s Carabao cup Semi Final Second leg vs Chelsea.
Chelsea came into the match with a few of their starting 11 missing due to injuries just like Arsenal in the first leg of the Semi’s. Arsenal did well to keep Chelsea to a 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge which put them in a very good position when bringing them back to the Emirates. An early disallowed goal from Pedro caused a scare following by a Chelsea goal within 5 minutes from Eden Hazard. Arsenal did not start the game off well and there seems to be an issue with the teams focus at the beginning of matches. Arsenal dug deep to get back into the game with their hard work paying off as they received a bit of luck with a Nacho Monreal header taking two deflections of Chelsea players and then finding the back of the net. Arsenal did well to keep the game at 1-1 going into the second half which saw a massive improvement in the performance of the team. Arsenals second goal, and ultimately the winner came from Granit Xhaka who pounced onto a deflected Alexandre Lacazette pass to score the winner for Arsenal. The team again seem committed and together without the world class Alexis Sanchez. Arsenals have played Chelsea 6 times in total with Chelsea failing to win even 1 match against the Gunners.
Swansea VS Arsenal Predicted XI
Giroud has been granted fit to face the Swans, although Welbeck is still a bit short for the midweek fixture. I predict two changes to be made from the Arsenal first XI against Chelsea with the two changes being Aaron Ramsey and new signing HenrikhMkhitaryan.
Although Arsene Wenger has proffered a holding midfielder (Elneny/Xhaka) to sit in front of the back four and even sometimes joining the Centre backs to create a three at the back I believe Wenger will revert back to a 4-2-3-1 as it is against a struggling Swansea side who although beating Liverpool in a shock result are struggling for form this season.
My Prediction: 1-3 Arsenal. Our friends over at over 2.5 goals are also expecting lots of goals in this game.