Preview by Numbers: Arsenal v. Swansea City, FA Cup Third Round Replay

Emirates Stadium, London
Wednesday, January 16
2:30 p.m. EST, 17:30 GMT
  • Match Officials
    • Referee: Mark Clattenburg
    • Assistants: Simon Beck and John Flynn
    • 4th Official: Roger East
  • All-Time in All Competitions: 6 Arsenal wins, 5 Swansea wins, 2 draws
  • Arsenal's League Form: W-W-W-W-D-L
  • Swansea's League Form: L-D-D-W-D-D
  • Weather: Clear, 0 C / 32 F
Sad Jack is sad. And, probably cold...
Sunday was the weirdest Arsenal match I've ever experienced.

Going in, personally speaking, there was a feeling of moderate acceptance even before the match started. I had remarkably low expectations (and that's probably the biggest damnation of the state of Arsenal right now.) A win would have been amazing, even a point would have been great, but I went into that match mentally prepared for a loss. When Laurent Koscielny was sent off before double digit minutes had been played, the last lingering bits of hope for a point vanished. And I, along with many of the others who were at O'Hanlon's for this match, reached a turning point in our cynicism.

The mindset changed drastically. Now, it was more like, "Well, better make the best of a bad situation. Otherwise, it's just sad." For the remaining eighty minutes of the match, we celebrated our status as Gooners and friends. It was all we could do, lest it become like a funeral. And, I have to say, the chant of "We only drink when we're drinking" remains a highlight for me.

When it comes down to it, that's what I love about being a member of the NYC Arsenal Supporters and what I love about sports in general. Sometimes, it's not just about the results, but it's about the camaraderie and the people you meet and spend time with along the way. And while we all wish Arsenal would return to their glory days of the not-so-distant past, well, that's largely out of our control as fans. There is a lot of work that needs to be done for Arsenal to return to that glory and I certainly am not advocating just accepting what has become a dreadful status quo. The system is, quite honestly, broken. We all want success for this club. But, I cannot stand for all of the bickering and in-fighting among supporters.

We're all Arsenal 'til we die; let's make the best of it.

In the interest of brevity this week (and because these are becoming a bit of a chore to write with such fixture congestion,) you'll get bullet points instead of paragraphs until things become a bit lighter.

Arsenal Squad News
  • "Denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity" red cards carry a one match ban, not three. Laurent Koscielny will be available again on Sunday, to score more own goals against Chelsea.
  • Mikel Arteta could miss three weeks of Arsenal losses with a calf injury. Since Arsenal signed Arteta from Everton, the Gunners have won just one of the 11 league games he has missed. They're starting to say the strain is "minor" now, so perhaps it won't be as many as three weeks.
  • Andrei Arshavin takes Arteta's place in the 18-man squad and will likely be as mercurial as possible.
  • Why have we not seen Tomas Rosicky, since he has supposedly returned? Well, it's a calf injury for him, too. He'll miss out for Swansea, but could return to not making the bench on Sunday.
  • Lukasz Fabianski remains out. I think we've all long forgotten what he's even hurt. Shoulder? Ankle? Soul?
  • Somehow, Abou Diaby remains fit. Keep your fingers crossed he stays that way.
Swansea Squad News
  • The Swans have only one injury, as Neil Taylor is out for the season with a broken ankle.
  • So, really, I don't know what else to say in this section...
  • Here are some facts about Swansea:
    • In it's "industrial revolution heyday," Swansea was known for its copper industry, leading to the nickname "Copperopolis."
    • Wait, no, really? Copperopolis? That's absurd.
    • Ummm...
    • Catherine Zeta-Jones is from Swansea.
    • So was Dylan Thomas.
Current Form
  • Arsenal have not won a match in the 2013 calendar year, drawing two and losing one.
  • Arsenal have already lost four times at home this season. The last time they lost more than four times at home in a given season was 1996/97 (Arsene Wenger's first season with the club,) when they lost six home games.
  • Arsene Wenger has never been eliminated from the third round of the FA Cup. You have to go back to January 1996 (and a replay loss to Sheffield United) for the last time Arsenal did not escape the third round.
  • Swansea City have won one out of four matches in the 2013 calendar year, beating Chelsea in their first leg of the League Cup semifinal. They drew the other three.
  • Swansea have not lost since a 1-0 setback against Tottenham on December 16.
Match Facts
  • Swansea have a 4-3 lead in all-time league meetings between the two sides; Arsenal lead in overall cup ties, 3-1.
  • Nothing else has really changed since the last time I wrote this section a week and a half ago, aside from the one extra draw...
The Referee
  • The referee is Tyne & Wear-based Mark Clattenburg.
  • Clattenburg worked this very match-up when it occurred in the league on December 1, the 2-0 Swansea win. This cup replay and that December match mark the only two occasions so far this year in which Arsenal and Swansea have had Clattenburg.
  • Arsenal had won seven consecutive matches with Clattenburg as referee before the December loss.
  • Clattenburg's five red cards this season is joint highest among Select Group officials this year, even though he was removed from duty for a full month.
  • Swansea won both matches last season where they had Clattenburg in the middle.
Around England
  • Tonight, Premier League: Chelsea v. Southampton; Stamford Bridge, London
  • Tonight, Replay: Manchester United v. West Ham United; Old Trafford, Manchester
  • Third Round Replays from Yesterday:
    • Birmingham City 1 - 2 Leeds United
    • AFC Bournemouth 0 - 1 Wigan Athletic
    • Brentford 2 - 1 Southend United
    • Leyton Orient 1 - 2 Hull City
    • Milton Keynes Dons 2 - 0 Sheffield Wednesday
    • Stoke City 4 - 1 Crystal Palace
    • Sunderland 0 - 2 Bolton Wanderers
    • Blackpool 1 - 2 Fulham
    • West Bromwich Albion 0 - 1 Queens Park Rangers