Arsenal don’t have to play Swansea until Tuesday night and our first team should be very well rested, while the Swans have an FA Cup tie against Notts County tomorrow and will only have a three-day gap.
Swansea may be bottom of the League right now, but under their new manager Carlos Carvalhal they have improved drastically. They are unbeaten in their last 4 games and shocked Liverpool last week by beating them 1-0. Arsene Wenger admits that his team will have to be at their best after seeing the Swans stop Liverpool’s incredible strike force from getting even one goal…
“When you don’t win you are criticised and I think Liverpool tried and what is a good warning for us is that Liverpool are an attacking team – you cannot criticise them for not attacking, they are very dangerous going forward and they didn’t manage to score against Swansea. That is a good warning for us that we have to produce absolute total offensive performance.”
The Boss knows that we desperately need a win to keep up the pressure for a Top Four place, but also knows that there are no more easy games in this League. “Yes, it makes it more difficult and I agree completely with you. When you anticipate the league you think as well that you have to make your ground up before April because in April you have a few teams. What we noticed last year is that some of the teams who battled to be safe, once they were safe they lost many games and so it was more difficult to make ground up after April- because some teams, once they’re safe, they gave up and were a bit less focused and lost easy games. You could see scores of 4-0 after 20 minutes for example and so that’s why this period is vital for us.”
“It’s tougher because when you look at the results for what has changed compared to 10 years ago is that the teams are ready to fight for 90 minutes, they are ready to be organised for 90 minutes and there is no weak moments in their organisation. You see more and more teams with 30 per cent possession who win the game, it was not always the case like with Swansea against Liverpool and we see that more and more.”
Whether Swansea play well or not should not be Wenger’s biggest worry, it should be the fact that Arsenal are short of confidence away from the Emirates. We have only won twice in our last 10 games on the road, and they were only narrow late victories at Burnley and Crystal Palace so we need to step up our own performance….