Arsenal vs. Swansea: Gunners Must Utilise Match to Resurrect Title Hopes

Phil HaighContributor IMarch 25, 2014

Arsenal's manager Arsene Wenger watches his team play from the technical area during the English Premier League soccer match between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal at White Hart Lane stadium in London, Sunday, March 16, 2014. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Matt Dunham/Associated Press

Arsenal left Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon embarrassed and deflated after a 6-0 drubbing at the hands of Chelsea.

Their title hopes had been slim beforehand and appeared to evaporate completely with that result.

However, in reality they could be very much alive and can be reinvigorated with a win over Swansea on Tuesday night.

The Gunners are seven points behind leaders Chelsea with a game in hand, a game that comes round on Tuesday evening against the Swans. This is undoubtedly a contest that Arsene Wenger’s side should be winning, and they almost certainly will.

The Welsh team are without a win in their last five outings and have conceded 11 goals in that time. They have also failed to beat any of the current top seven in the Premier League home or away this season, picking up just one point against those teams, per Soccerway.

Out of form, leaking goals and with a poor record against the top sides Swansea look the perfect team against which Arsenal can get back on track.

Hindering Arsenal’s cause on Tuesday will be the lengthy injury list that has been keeping a number of key players out of action. The midfield is especially depleted with Mesut Ozil, Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere all still sidelined.

Salvatore Laporta/Associated Press

Things are much less worrying for Gary Monk on that front as Swansea have very few injury worries at all, only Kyle Bartley being out of contention. What the Swans do have to worry about, though, is the very real threat of relegation.

As mentioned, they are on a disconcerting winless streak and are now just four points away from the drop zone.

Their fate is very much in their own hands as they are still to play the likes of Norwich and Sunderland, but with confidence waning they could really do without another loss at the Emirates. A heavy defeat would make their forthcoming games all the more difficult.

If Wenger’s charges do pick up the three points on Tuesday, then can they be said to be out of the title race? They will be just four points off the pace with seven games to go; that surely constitutes a challenger for top spot.

The real battle for the Gunners will come on Saturday when they take on Manchester City. A defeat at the hands of Manuel Pellegrini’s side would finally nail down the lid on the coffin of their title hunt.

Imagine this scenario, however; Arsenal beat Swansea and pull off an unlikely but plucky victory over City, they are four points behind with six games to go and full of confidence.

Matt Dunham/Associated Press

Not only would their morale be at a peak, but the fixture list would then fall in their favour. Barring a trip to Everton, the Gunners have a pretty straightforward run-in, certainly compared to Chelsea who must still go to Liverpool and have the remainder of a Champions League campaign to contend with.

There are an awful lot of "ifs and buts," but it does not seem nearly as unlikely as some bookmakers are suggesting with Arsenal now 50/1 in places to win the title, according to

Wenger knows himself that a late burst could still bring his side glory, however unlikely it seemed as he left the dugout in West London on Saturday. The Frenchman issued a statement through Arsenal’s media department on Tuesday morning, saying:

“The season is always decided by how well you finish, so at the most important moment of the season it's vital that we stick together. The crowd knows that Swansea is a very important game and I'm confident that they will be behind us.”

Even if the title is out of their reach, then accepting that will do Arsenal no favours whatsoever. If there is an element of throwing in the towel after the Chelsea debacle, then not only is the title out of the question, fourth place could be in jeopardy as well.

Spurs and Everton may be at arm's length at the moment, but six points can become none in a very short space of time at this stage of the season. The Gunners must continue to battle as if they can win the title, even if few outside the club believe that they can.