Arsenal are looking to keep up their 100% record at home as they welcome Swansea to the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.
It’s been Fortress Emirates this season, as Arsenal have won all of their home games in all competitions so far.
Granted, the standard of opposition hasn’t been the highest. Arsenal have yet to play any of the league’s top six at home, and have happened to beat sides struggling towards the bottom end of the table. That pattern could continue as Swansea, languishing down in 15th, come to visit and it’s no wonder that 888sport betting odds have Arsenal as overwhelming favourites.
When you realise that Paul Clement’s team have actually conceded fewer goals than Arsenal, it’s clear where their problem lies. Six goals from nine Premier League matches is a poor return and suggests they’re struggling to create enough chances to win games. Four of those goals have, at least, come in their last four matches.
Despite that, Arsenal have no reason to think this will be a walkover. Swansea have proven to be annoying visitors since their promotion to the Premier League in 2011. In six encounters, Arsenal have won three, drawn once and lost twice. Swansea have scored in four of those games, including two in a 3-2 defeat last season when they were suffering under the management of Bob Bradley. For some reason, the Swans consistently prove to be tough opponents.
That could be set to continue as Clement will likely count on his defence to prevent a sixth defeat of the season. Arsenal will need every bit of the creativity they displayed in the 5-2 win over Everton last Sunday.
Thankfully, the stars of that display were spared extra-time against Norwich on Tuesday and should be fresh for this one.
After playing 120 minutes on Tuesday, Rob Holding will continue to be left out for Per Mertesacker in the absence of Shkodran Mustafi. Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal will return either side of the German, with Hector Bellerin, Granit Xhaka, Aaron Ramsey and Sead Kolasinac forming the four in the middle. Jack Wilshere, Mohamed Elneny, Alex Iwobi, Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud, who all featured on Tuesday, should form the bench.
As for the visitors, on loan Bayern Munich midfielder Renato Sanches and Ivorian striker Wilfried Bony will miss the game. Former Arsenal defender Kyle Bartley has also been ruled out. Tammy Abraham, on loan from Chelsea for the season, will lead the line.
With Tottenham and Manchester United playing each other this weekend, a win for Arsenal would close the gap on at least one of them. It goes without saying that Arsenal must win this game, as Swansea are the last “easy” opponents before the double-header against Manchester City and Tottenham in November.