Swansea have made a good start to the season and will be hopeful of obtaining a positive result when they host Arsenal at the Liberty Stadium on Sunday (16:00 GMT, live on Sky Sports).
The Swans briefly became embroiled in the relegation battle last season, before recovering to finish 12th. They have begun the new campaign in much better form and are sixth in the Premier League, with 15 points from four wins, three draws and three defeats.
Garry Monk’s side secured a credible 0-0 draw away to Everton last weekend. Their hosts dominated possession and the shot count but only managed one effort on target from inside the penalty area. Swansea threatened on the counter-attack on occasion and were very unfortunate not to be awarded a penalty for a clear handball by Antolin Alcaraz.
Best Match Betting Odds
6/5 Arsenal (BetVictor, Betfred, Boylesports)
5/2 Draw (Bet365, Betfred, Ladbrokes, Betfair Sportsbook)
13/5 Swansea (Bet365, BetVictor, Ladbrokes, Stan James, Betfair Sportsbook)
It was not the first decision that Swansea feel has unfairly gone against them this season, but despite such issues they have still made a very good start to the campaign. Monk has worked hard to improve his side’s defensive solidity, whilst maintaining the short passing style, enlivened by fast dribblers in wide positions, that has become the club’s trademark.
Wilfried Bony (pictured) continues to impress in his second season in the Premier League, with his eye for goal and strong holdup play making him the ideal focal point for the Swansea attack. Just behind him, Gylfi Sigurdsson has flourished since his summer move from Tottenham Hotspur, scoring once and providing a league second-high seven assists to date.
Monk will be without the injured Jazz Richards (knee), Leon Britton (knee) and Rory Donnelly (ankle), while Dwight Tiendalli (groin) and Jordi Amat (knee) are doubtful. Jonjo Shelvey is suspended following his red card against Everton.
Arsenal travel to the Liberty Stadium after giving up a three-goal lead in their midweek Champions League draw at home to Anderlecht. They are fourth in the Premier League table, with 17 points from four wins, five draws and one defeat.
The two lost points are likely to prove inconsequential in the final reckoning, with Arsenal still well placed to follow Borussia Dortmund in the last 16, but Arsene Wenger was nevertheless highly disappointed with the manner in which his side surrendered such a clear advantage. He questioned his side’s attitude and criticised their overall defensive performance.
One man who did escape Wenger’s disapproval was Alexis Sanchez. After an uncertain start to his Arsenal career, the former Barcelona forward has really started to put his stamp on the team in recent weeks. Quick, tricky, deceptively strong and always a willing worker, he is proving himself more than worthy of the £35 million Arsenal paid for him this summer.
With Theo Walcott back from injury, Danny Welbeck settling in well and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain looking sharp, the Gunners appear pretty well set in attack. It is the defence that is proving troublesome for Wenger, with his decision not to sign a dedicated defensive midfielder or further centre-back cover ahead of the season now looking very shortsighted.
Wenger is without the injured Abou Diaby (calf), David Ospina (thigh), Laurent Koscielny (achilles), Mathieu Debuchy (ankle), Mesut Ozil (knee), Mikel Arteta (hamstring) and Olivier Giroud (ankle) for the trip to Wales, while Serge Gnabry (knee) is doubtful.
Swansea vs Arsenal Betting Tips
Arsenal were 2-1 victors in last season’s equivalent fixture, while the reverse at the Emirates ended in an entertaining 2-2 draw, with Swansea scoring a last-minute equaliser. Arsenal have won three of the six league matches between the sides since Swansea’s return to the top flight in 2011. The Swans have won twice, including a 3-2 home win in January 2012.
Swansea are in good form and have sufficient offensive weaponry to suggest they can cause Arsenal some problems. Bony and Sigurdsson have both been firing on all cylinders so far this season, while the team’s pace in wide areas will provide a further threat for their visitors to deal with. Swansea have won three of their five home matches to date.
Arsenal have struggled for consistency in the early part of the season, but they travel to Wales after securing their first back-to-back league wins of the campaign. Wenger’s attack seems to be coming together, but a combination of injuries and individual mistakes have provided him with less reason for optimism at the other end of the pitch.
Swansea are capable of taking at least a point from what should be an entertaining match.
- Back Swansea +0.5 on an Asian Handicap @ best odds of 4/5 with BetVictor.
- 54.5% of the goals in Swansea’s home matches have been scored before half-time, as have 69.2% of the goals in Arsenal’s away matches. Swansea always look to start quickly at the Liberty Stadium, having opened the scoring before the 35th minute in four of their five home matches to date. Back the first half to be the highest scoring half @ 21/20 with Bet365, Paddy Power or Betfair Sportsbook.