Europe.

Victory at Hull last Monday all but confirmed Champions League football will yet again grace Emirates Stadium next season.

Swansea City, meanwhile, are looking to gatecrash the European party themselves. Many games at this stage of the season are a dead rubber for at least one of the sides involved, but not here.

As far as we are concerned it’s important to keep the spirits high with another win and, hopefully, good performance. Our form has been written about often enough and it really would be huge to keep it going ahead of the cup final and, eventually, next season.

Next season is what the attention has started to turn to.

“We have a squad of top quality,” said Arsène Wenger on Friday.

“If we can strengthen the squad we will do it.”

Mounting a title challenge next year would rely on the defence staying as solid as they have in 2015 so far. It was a defeat at Swansea back in November that highlighted our issues even further. We managed to take the lead before relinquishing it and finally losing 2-1.

“Defensively we have been much stronger in the second half of the season but we still have room for improvement there.”

We certainly can improve, but we’re getting closer to the level we have to be at to challenge for the biggest honours.

Team News

As a Cardiff boy Aaron Ramsey never expects the warmest of receptions from Swansea fans. An excellent performance against Hull last week came at a small cost as the Welshman took a knock. He could play on Monday night but isn’t likely to be risked as long as we have other options.

Jack Wilshere replaced Ramsey on Monday and could be in line to start in his place this time around.

Mathieu Debuchy and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are still out but Danny Welbeck could return. The forward had an inflammation last week but should be ready to return against the Swans.

Possible XI: Ospina; Bellerín, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal; Coquelin, Cazorla; Wilshere, Özil, Alexis; Giroud.

The Opposition

Swansea are in good form and visit London having taken 13 points from their last six games. Away from home they are unpredictable, but have recently won at Burnley, Aston Villa, and Newcastle. Recent form has Swansea just four points behind Southampton (with a game in hand) and five behind Spurs as they look to hunt them down for a place in Europe.

Garry Monk’s side keep the ball a bit less than previous Swansea teams but have the same blend of pace out wide while using highly intelligent midfielders.

The loss of Wilfried Bony in January has been dealt with well. Bafetimbi Gomis is far from prolific but a similar strong build as Bony. A solid defence with smart midfielders chipping in with goals means the form hasn’t suffered since losing the Ivorian.

Jonjo Shelvey, Jack Cork, and Ki Sung-Yeung can all do a bit of everything in midfield. Ki in particular is enjoying an excellent season and has even chipped in with eight goals while Shelvey has shown moments of pure magic during his time at the club.

Former Gunner Lukasz Fabianski will start in goal and hope to keep an impressive 13th clean sheet of the season.

Possible XI: Fabianski; Rangel, Fernandez, Williams, Taylor; Sigurdsson, Ki, Cork, Shelvey, Montero; Gomis.

Final straight

Second place is still there for the taking and it’s in our own hands.

There isn’t too much more to say about the game but it’s clear that second place and consecutive FA Cup Finals is progress.

Three more games until Wembley. Let’s finish the season on a high.

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