Preview by Numbers: Arsenal v. Swansea City

Emirates Stadium, London
Tuesday, March 25
3:45 p.m. EDT, 19:45 GMT
  • Match Officials
    • Referee: Lee Probert
    • Assistants: Ron Ganfield and Ian Hussin
    • 4th Official: Roger East
  • Reverse Fixture: Swansea 1 - 2 Arsenal
  • This Match, Last Year: Arsenal 0 - 2 Swansea
  • All-Time in All Competitions: 9 Arsenal wins, 5 Swansea wins, 2 draws
  • Arsenal's League Form: L-D-W-L-W-L
  • Swansea's League Form: W-D-L-D-L-L
  • Weather: Light Rain Clearing, 7 C / 44 F
There is not much to say about Saturday that has not already been said on the Internet. In fact, in my opinion, far too much has been said on the Internet about that match. Horrible losses have a way of helping the lunatics come out of the woodwork while even the sane ones run the risk of jumping off the deep end.

I was going to go into a diatribe about how saddening the vitriol has been on the Internet, but I feel like those words would be wasted at this point. I think what frustrated me most was people who were angry about how the players were talking about moving on, as if they would be better off wallowing in their depression. I know that, as fans, we want the players to acknowledge how bad Saturday was, but it's best for the football club if it's forgotten.

Arsenal need to move on quickly, put Saturday behind them, and get three points tonight. On the pitch against Swansea is not the time or place to be thinking about the team's psyche.

Arsenal Squad News

Out: Koscielny (calf,) Ozil (hamstring,) Wilshere (foot,) Ramsey (thigh,) Walcott (knee,) Ryo (ankle,) Diaby (knee)

From what little information we have been able to glean considering Arsenal's media lockdown, Laurent Koscielny is out with a calf injury; he was removed from Saturday's debacle at halftime. Considering how prominently featured Thomas Vermaelen was in the official Web site's training photos yesterday, it would appear that the club's nominal captain will start in the Frenchman's place. Hector Bellerin has been called up to the first team to make up numbers on the back line.

Speaking of youngsters, Chuba Akpom has been recalled from his loan to Coventry, though I suspect a lot of that is related to the fact that Coventry was upset that Arsenal continued to recall him for youth matches. Akpom played 90 minutes yesterday against West Ham (and had a hat trick) so I don't suspect he'll make an appearance, on the bench or otherwise, tonight.

Arsenal got two bits of good news from the FA yesterday: Kieran Gibbs's red card was correctly transferred to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (how could it not be?) but then, more importantly, the appeal was accepted and the red card was overturned (the logic being that handling a shot that is going wide is not denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity, intent or not.) Both are available tonight. Even so, I'd like to see Serge Gnabry get a start.

Predicted XI: Szczesny, Sagna, Vermaelen, Mertesacker, Gibbs, Arteta, Flamini, Cazorla, Podolski, Gnabry, Giroud.

Swansea Squad News

Doubts: Bartley (hamstring)

Swansea City have had a rough season in terms of injuries, but have a relatively clean bill of health now (because of course they would by the time Arsenal got around to playing them.) Michu and Jonjo Shelvey are both returning from injuries and both came in off the bench as Swansea lost to Everton at the weekend. Both are expected to be available to start tonight.

As for their injuries, ex-Arsenal center back Kyle Bartley is a doubt as he returns from a hamstring problem. That's it. They have no fresh injury concerns.

Predicted XI: Vorm, Rangel, Chico Flores, Williams, Davies, Shelvey, Britton, Routledge, Dyer, Michu, Bony.

Current Form

Form is flat out impossible to discuss after a result like Saturday's; it no longer really matters that Arsenal had been playing well against the likes of Everton, Bayern, and Spurs. The only proper place to bounce back from a 6-0 hiding is on the pitch and a string of results at the Emirates will do a lot to calm down the pitchfork-holding masses.

As for Swansea, they are four points clear of relegation, sitting in 15th place with 29 points. They have only won once against a side above them in the table this season, 3-0 over Newcastle in early December. They have not won against any side in the top ten on the road (though, they did win at Old Trafford in the FA Cup, which was awesome.) In addition, Swansea have not won since February 8; they have lost five and drawn three in the process while simultaneously crashing out of the FA Cup and the Europa League. Playing in Europe has taken its toll on the Swans; thanks to qualifiers, Swansea ended up playing 12 Europa League matches before bowing out to Napoli in the Round of 32 last week.

Match Facts

Arsenal won the reverse of this fixture 2-1 in late September at the Liberty Stadium; Serge Gnabry's first career first team goal opened the scoring in the 58th minute and Aaron Ramsey doubled Arsenal's lead just four minutes later. It looked to be a comfortable three points from there, but Ben Davies pinged one back for the hosts in the 81st minute to make the ending a bit interesting. In this fixture last year, Michu scored twice late to turn a 0-0 draw into a 2-0 Swansea victory. Arsenal also beat Swansea 1-0 at the Emirates in an FA Cup replay last January, via a late Jack Wilshere goal.

Arsenal and Swansea have met nine times in league fixtures with Arsenal winning five and Swansea winning four; it was an even split between the two teams entering this season. Swansea won both meetings in 1981/82, Arsenal won both meetings in 1982/83, each side won at home in 2011/12, and each side won on the road last year.

The Referee

The referee is Wiltshire-based Lee Probert. Arsenal have had poor luck with Probert in the past, but it's three wins from three for the Gunners with him this season: 4-1 over Norwich in October, 1-0 at Newcastle at the end of December, and 2-0 over Fulham in mid-January. Prior to this season, Arsenal had been winless in their last five with Probert holding the whistle.

Probert has not worked a Swansea match yet this season. The Swans had three wins and one draw with Probert in the middle last year. They defeated QPR 5-0 on the season's opening day while also collecting League Cup wins over Liverpool and Middlesbrough. The loss came 1-0 to West Ham in February 2013.

Around the League
  • Tuesday: Manchester United v. Manchester City; Old Trafford, Manchester
  • Tuesday: Newcastle United v. Everton; St. James' Park, Newcastle upon Tyne
  • Wednesday: West Ham United v. Hull City; Boleyn Ground, London
  • Wednesday: Liverpool v. Sunderland; Anfield, Liverpool