How Arsenal Will Line Up Against Swansea
Few could have imagined the start that Arsenal have had in the Premier League this year—they are undefeated in their last four games and currently sitting top of the table.
The Gunners might not have had the toughest schedule (at least not compared to other teams), but Arsene Wenger's men certainly still deserve to be occupying the No. 1 spot. They've been deliberate in defense and solid throughout midfield, and will look to continue that when they take on Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium this weekend.
Arsenal won 2-0 in this fixture last year, but the journey to Wales is certainly not an easy one to make, and the Gunners will no doubt name their strongest team.
However, after a grueling mid-week clash against West Bromwich Albion in the Capital One Cup, that might not necessarily be possible. Several players are going to need breaks, and it will be interesting to see what starting team Wenger chooses for this intriguing clash.
Let's take a look at how the Gunners could line up on Saturday.
It's hard to see Wojciech Szczesny not returning for Arsenal here.
The Polish international has played all five fixtures for the Gunners this year and will be fresh, after Lukasz Fabianski took his place against West Brom.
Arsenal's back four against the Baggies consisted of Nacho Monreal, Carl Jenkinson, Per Mertesacker and Thomas Vermaelen, and while Wenger would no doubt love to rest them all this weekend, it appears more than likely that at least one of them will back up against the Swans.
Monreal will most likely be rested for Kieran Gibbs and Jenkinson for Bacary Sagna—both of whom have played in all five Premier League games so far this year.
Laurent Koscielny will also likely make a return, and I think that will be at the expense of Mertesacker. The tall German has been superb this year and has formed a good combination with the Frenchman, but given the fact that Arsenal will most likely want him to start against Napoli next week, I'd expect the German international to be rested by Wenger this weekend.
Vermaelen—fresh from injury—will join his former central partner.
Injuries to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lukas Podolski and Theo Walcott leave the Gunners with few options in midfield. Wenger was able to rest most of his regular starters against the Baggies, though, and it seems that the vast majority of them will return in this one.
Aaron "Rambo" Ramsey is virtually undroppable at the moment, and with Mikel Arteta pulling up sore during the grueling 120-minute clash against West Brom, Ramsey will surely play the full 90 minutes here. However, I wouldn't be surprised to see him deployed in a wider role (as he has played in years gone by), allowing Jack Wilshere to partner Mathieu Flamini in the defensive-midfield double pivot.
That's not his strongest position (as this year has shown), but given the injury problems facing Arsenal at the moment, it's the best move that Wenger can make.
According to comments Wenger made via the club's official website, Tomas Rosicky is unlikely to be available for selection this week, so playing Nicklas Bendtner in a wider role seems like the only other option available to the club.
They could opt to play Serge Gnabry again, but the youngster is already coming off back-to-back fixtures, against Stoke City and West Brom.
Playing the Danish international appears to be the most likely move.
Fortunately for Arsenal, one thing they were able to do in the Capital One Cup clash was give striker Olivier Giroud a much-needed break from football. The Frenchman appears likely to play close to 50 games for Arsenal this year across all competitions and thus needs his rest where available.
With Yaya Sanogo still likely to miss this one with his back problem, expect Giroud to play the full 90 minutes and, hopefully, continue his fine start to the season.
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