Two clubs experiencing a crisis of confidence meet at the Emirates Stadium, but whereas Arsenal’s recent setback means the Gunners may have merely relinquished their title hopes, Swans’ Premier League survival is on the line as they visit North London. With only league win since firing Michael Laudrup, last season’s League Cup winners are only four points above the drop ahead of today’s 3:45 p.m. ET kickoff, with coverage available via NBC Sports Live Extra.
Since its 3-0 win in Feb. 8’s South Wales Derby, Swansea has gone winless in five Premier League matches (eight overall), taking only two points while giving up 11 goals. That span has also seen them out of Europa League and the FA Cup, burdens they may be fortunate to have shed as relegation becomes an increasing concern. Having lost to West Brom two weeks ago, it’s unclear Swansea are that much better than the teams they’re trying to fend off – form they’ll try to improve on today at the Emirates.
Compared to Swans’ plight, Arsenal’s is a relative one, though the Gunners’ 6-0 loss Saturday at Chelsea has sparked another period of introspection. After seven months that hinted Arsenal may actually be title contenders, cross-town rivals proved the Gunners are most decidedly not. Exposed as the fourth of three with a shot at the title, Arsène Wenger’s team is left reconsidering its place among England’s top clubs.
For two hours today, matters become more practical. Arsenal has one of the league’s struggling teams at home, a game it will expect to win. Swansea, on the other hand, will hope to spark a climb back up the table by ending its winless run.
Arsenal: Szczesny; Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs; Flamini, Arteta; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Rosicky, Cazorla; Giroud
Subs: Fabianski, Jenkinson, Bellerin, Kallstrom, Sanogo, Gnabry, Podolski
Swansea City: Vorm; Rangel, Williams, Chicgo, Taylor; Britton, Shelvey; de Guzman, Michu, Routledge; Bony
Subs: Tremmel, Amat, Davis, Canas, Dyer, Hernández, Vazquez