Arsenal vs. Swansea City
English Premier League
Monday, May 11, 2015
12PM PT/3PM ET/8PM BT
Emirates Stadium, London
Form: ARS Nigel Tufnel in the midst of a 10-minute guitar solo | SWA Derek Smalls, who stays in the middle, like luke-warm water
US TV: NBC Sports Network | Worldwide TV info livesoccer.tv
What's at stake here: For Arsenal, they hold their own second-place destiny, and a win on Monday places them three points closer to besting the Manchesters. (As of today's writing, Arsenal and City are tied on points, but Arsenal have a game against Sunderland in hand.) For Swansea, they're providing one of the few dimming points of drama left in the '14-'15 Premier League season -- can they rise from their seemingly-customary eighth place spot to challenge a floundering Southampton and Spurs for a Europa League spot?
Yesterday, the Guardian posted a hilarious and scathing item about our friends in North London:
With matches against Stoke, Hull and Everton remaining this season, Tottenham Hotspur are up against it in the race to avoid qualifying for next season’s Europa League. As if the prospect of facing two teams with nothing to play for isn’t bad enough, their fate is no longer in their own hands: even three consecutive defeats will not be enough to save them and they will still be relying on favours from the teams beneath them to extricate themselves from their current pickle.
Southampton (Leicester away, Aston Villa at home, Man City away) and Swansea (Arsenal away, Man City away and Crystal Palace at home) have tougher run-ins and it seems unlikely both will win enough points to save Spurs, who could end up counting on an Aston Villa FA Cup final win to keep them out of Europe’s second tier competition and improve their chances of breaking into the top four next season. Never mind the relegation battle, these are stressful times at White Hart Lane, where with three games of the season remaining there is everything to not play for.
However, Spurs' loss at Stoke and Southampton's loss to Arsenal-hot Leicester today provides this mildly-intriguing scenario -- if Swansea beats Arsenal on Monday, they're at 56 points to Spurs' 57 and Soton's 58 with two matches left.
Who to Watch: Swansea's most notable to Arsenal fans for being the landing place of last year's FA Cup run hero, goalie Lukasz Fabianski. Now that former top-goal scorer Wilfried Bony has become part of the Manchester City bench brigade, the Swans rely on the likes of
Dr. Evil Jonjo Shelvey, Bafitembi Gomis, and Glyfi Siggurdson for goals. For Arsenal, it's a healthy squad overall, except for that troubling Aaron Ramsey news, and I don't know about you, but after Mesut Ozil's "dat Ozil flick" last week, I'm looking for some more awesomeness from him.
What Degenerate Gamblers Think: Arsenal are 1/3 favorites to win the match, and Swansea's got long odds as 11/1 winners. A draw, and general grumbling among both fan bases, come in at 5/1.