Arsenal face Swansea in a FA Cup replay at The Emirates tonight after a 2-2 draw at the Liberty Stadium in the original meeting between the two. Swansea beat Arsenal 2-0 in London in the Premier League fixture earlier this season so will go into the game full of hope. In terms of Arsenals squad they will be without Laurent Koscielny who is suspended after his sending off against Manchester City while Mikel Arteta and Tomas Rosicky are both absent with calf complaints. Gervinho will also not be available for selection due to his involvement in the African Nations.
Arsene Wenger has also signalled his intention to play Jack Wilshere in the tie as he pursues silverware in the competition. The England international has not been given as much rest as the French boss would have liked since his return from a long-term injury but as the FA Cup remains the clubs best chance of ending their trophy barren spell Wenger is expected to field a full strength team. He did acknowledge that Wilshere would have to be rested in the League as a consequence.
While Swansea essentially have a fully-fit squad Michael Laudrup is expected to reshuffle his team ahead of the FA Cup Replay tonight while there most recent signing will not be eligible to play. Roland Lamah was not registered with the Swans at the time of the first fixture so can therefore not be used in the replay. It is believed players such as De Guzman and Routledge may be rested due to a busy schedule this month.
West Ham have revealed that despite consistent rumours to the contrary Arsenal have not yet made a bid for midfield dynamo Momo Diame. The Senegalese midfielder has a release clause believed to be in the region of £3.5 million which has attracted the interest of several teams with Arsenal believed to be the front-runners in any potential transfer battle. West Ham are currently in discussions to have that release clause removed and as yet have received no firm offers for his services.
Meanwhile Arsenal transfer target Luke Shaw has revealed his favourite team is … Chelsea. In a Q&A session he announced his loyalties to the Blue side of London when asked if he was a Chelsea fan. He recently signed a new contract at St Marys but is still considered a transfer target for both Arsenal and Chelsea and it would appear that The Blues would now have an advantage in his signing.
What are your thoughts on everything Arsenal ahead of the FA Cup Replay with Swansea?
image: © Ronnie Macdonald