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Currently lying in fourth in the Premier League table, Arsenal's three visits to the triad of higher-placed sides—Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City—resulted in incapacitating defeats and complete and utter onslaughts, with the Gunners' defense crumbling in the face of oppression and conceding 17 goals from those three games alone.
From their other 27 games, however, they have conceded that very same figure—17 goals. Taking away the first statistic, the second looks frankly quite magnificent and makes for some interesting inference.
First off, it suggests that at home, Arsenal are supremely comfortable in defense. It also suggests that against (nearly) any other team in the league, they are more than happy to deal with any raids on Wojciech Szczesny's goal.
Obviously there is more to it than these suggestions, and it is always worth taking statistics with a pinch of salt—after all, these statistics, despite the losses at the Etihad and at Anfield in the league, would not have predicted the shellacking the Gunners received this past weekend.
These speculations clearly point to the fact that aside from those three forgettable outings, Arsenal's finest strength this season has arguably been their defensive solidity. Many teams have tried and failed to break down Arsenal's back four, and while those three games have provided significant knocks to both Arsenal's confidence and their title challenge, there is still room for hope.
As the old adage goes, you can only beat the team that's put in front of you—and in Swansea City, Arsenal find themselves an opposition side who are without a win in their last eight outings in all competitions, per WhoScored.
Garry Monk's honeymoon period after his transition from player to manager for City is well and truly over, and the long-serving Swan has found himself in deep water in figuring out how to escape from struggle—four points from the drop zone is hardly a safe margin, even at this late juncture in the season.
Swansea haven't been short of goals in recent weeks, having managed to put three past Liverpool at Anfield, and they might fancy their chances against an Arsenal defense looking to recover from total mortification. The recent return of Michu from injury, as well as the decent form of Wilfried Bony, will do little to allay Gunners' fans' fears.
Therefore, it is absolutely crucial that Arsenal restore their defensive strength—under Vermaelen's command—to reinstate their confidence and redeem the atrocity of Saturday.
Tuesday night is all about redemption for Wenger and his side—and rediscovering the tenacity and vitality in the crux of Arsenal's defense is the crucial factor that holds the key to victory for the home side.
Think I've got it spot on? Or think I'm barking up the wrong tree? Have your say—leave me a comment below, or hit me up on Twitter—@callumlarr.