Arsene Wenger’s 1000th game in-charge for Arsenal turned out to be a game which the Frenchman would certainly want to quickly forget, after seeing his side capitulate to a 6-0 defeat at the hands of Chelsea. The embarrassing loss not only marred Wenger’s landmark day but also handed the Gunners a big blow in their hopes of winning the Premier League title.
Now, the Arsenal players certainly owe it to their fans as well as their manager, to come up with a response when Swansea City pay a visit to the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday night. However, it will be easier said than done against a Swansea side who are fighting for their lives near the bottom of the Premier League.
Wojciech Szczesny arguably endured his worst performance of the season in the defeat against Chelsea. Having picked the ball out of the back of the net on six occasions, Szczesny was certainly at fault for a couple of the goals that Arsenal conceded and as a result, there were talks that the Pole could be dropped.
However, Szczesny has enjoyed a fine season bar his horrendous performance in the weekend and Wenger will most likely hand the young custodian a chance to redeem himself against Swansea.
Confusion reigned supreme on the weekend when referee Andre Marriner sensationally sent off Kieran Gibbs for the offence committed by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain after the midfielder blatantly handled the ball on the line.
As a result of the referee’s blunder, Arsenal appealed Gibbs’ wrongful dismissal due to mistaken identity and the FA have come to a decision not to suspend either player for the match against Swansea, which will serve as a big boost for Wenger.
However, Laurent Koscielny has been ruled out of the clash due to a calf problem which means that Thomas Vermaelen will most probably be handed a rare start alongside Per Mertesacker at center back, with Bacary Sagna and Gibbs completing the back four.
Despite their capitulation against Chelsea, Wenger does not have the luxury to make wholesale changes to his side with the likes of Mesut Ozil, Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere, Abou Diaby and Aaron Ramsey still unavailable due to injuries.
Wenger does have the option of refreshing his midfield by including the likes of Serge Gnabry and Gedion Zelalem in the starting lineup but with the duo being very inexperienced in the Premier League, the Frenchman may once again stick with the same midfield that started against Chelsea.
Lukas Podolski and Tomas Rosicky look set to be deployed on the wings while the trio of Santi Cazorla, Mikel Arteta and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will most probably starting at the middle of the park. Wenger may be tempted to hand Kim Kallstorm his first start as well, in place of either Arteta or Chamberlain.
Olivier Giroud was hardly afforded kick during the game against Chelsea but much of it was down to the fact that the Gunners were reduced to ten men early on in the game. The Frenchman will most likely retain his place as the lone striker for the Gunners against Swansea and will surely have more of an opportunity to make an impact.
Szczesny; Gibbs, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Sagna; Podolski, Arteta, Rosicky, Cazorla, Kallstorm; Giroud