Arsenal play a soccer game against Swansea tomorrow. It's in Swansea. Hopefully they win!
At present, Swansea City are in 9th place in the Barclays Premier League (that's eight places behind the Arsenal) on seven points (that's five behind us). That's actually relatively impressive because they've had a tough start to the season, in terms of opponents faced. A 4-1 loss to Manchester United certainly did them no favors, but they were better in a 2-2 draw against Liverpool - they could have won, if Jonjo Shelvey hadn't kept forgetting which team he played for. Of course, they just crashed out of the Capital One Cup somewhat embarrassingly, losing 3-1 at Birmingham City.
Which Swansea will we get? If the past is any indication, the good one. Since their promotion to the Premier League before the 2011-12 season, Arsenal has split results with them both years. Last season Michu scored twice in the last two minutes at the Emirates to give the Welsh club a 2-0 win, while three months later Gervinho and Nacho Monreal (yes) reversed the scoreline in Wales. But I can't remember seeing a Swansea team that didn't scare me at least a little, so this is a foe to be reckoned with.
In terms of team news, there's really not a lot. Arsene Wenger says that there are no new injuries after the Capital One Cup win against West Brom, so the squad can be pretty much the same as it was against Stoke City last weekend. There are two questions, though. First, on the health of Aaron Ramsey and Mathieu Flamini. Welsh Lightning and The Corsican have minor knocks - Ramsey's on the thigh, Flamini on the shoulder - but Wenger doesn't think either is that bad, and is optimistic both will play.
I don't think so. I'm quite optimistic about them.
The second question is on the wings. Santi Cazorla is still not ready to return, and Theo Walcott's busted stomach just got surgeried, so the preferred starters are unavailable. Lukas Podolski is also not quite ready to play, and since both Serge Gnabry and Ryo Miyaichi played the full 120 minutes on Wednesday, they may not be ready to play again only three days later. So the Arsenal front line may get creative. Here's one way it could play:
Mikel Arteta played just over 90 minutes against West Brom and is just coming back from injury, so that's a concern. I could also see this setup, if Wenger is concerned about starting Arteta:
Gnabry could be more likely to start soon after a game, since he's a younger and pretty strong player. Either lineup could work, though, so there may be a mixture of the two to preserve fitness. But it would really be nice if some guys would start coming back from injury soon, so this kind of patchwork lineup doesn't have to come in.
At the back, expect Kieran Gibbs and Bacary Sagna at fullback and Wojciech Szczesny in goal. Laurent Koscielny will probably start alongside Per Mertesacker. Like others, Mertesacker played the full game at midweek, but since he's been fitter this year than Thomas Vermaelen and he pairs so well with the Frenchman, one expects the typical starting backline will remain intact.
Prediction: Michu will do something annoying like score a goal and then do an overly elaborate celebration (which I will secretly appreciate later), but Arsenal does that thing where they also score goals and win the game. The goals come from, oh I don't know, Gibbs and Arteta.
Swansea 1-2 Arsenal