Five factors that will decide Swansea vs Arsenal

The top-of-the-table Gunners travel to the Liberty Stadium to face Michael Laudrup’s rejuvenated side on Saturday.

Arsenal will look to make it five Premier League wins out of six today when they travel to face Swansea at the Liberty Stadium. Both sides are capable of scintillating football and it should be an open and fast-paced game.

Swansea have beaten Arsenal twice in the league since their promotion to the Premier League and as such Arsene Wenger will know that his side will need to be at their best to get three points here.

Here are five factors that could decide the winner.

Possession football

Arguably two of the most exciting teams in the Premier League to watch, both Swansea and Arsenal’s brands of football are based around having the lion’s share of the ball. With the attacking talent on show on both sides, whoever has more possession could well faction the chances to win the game.

Tottenham starved Swansea’s talented midfield of possession at White Hart Lane earlier in the season, nullifying their attacking threat, and Arsenal must do likewise here. However, it will be made all the more difficult with the rejuvenated Swans on home turf.

Swansea’s defensive cover

The two deep-lying central midfielders in Swansea’s side will need to get through a power of work defensively if the hosts are to stop the creative flair of their opponents. Usually the first point of attack for the Swans, the likes of Jonjo Shelvey and Jose Canas should have their hands full here.

Mesut Ozil has started his time in England in impressive fashion and is only going to get better as he adjusts to the Premier League. Limiting the German’s space is critical if Swansea are to win.

Arsenal team selection

The Gunners’ injury list is full of international stars such as Tomas Rosicky, Santi Cazorla, Theo Walcott, Lukas Podolski and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. In these players’ absence, Arsene Wenger must get his attacking blend correct, with question marks over who will start on the right wing for the visitors.

Mikel Arteta played 90 minutes in the Capital One Cup in midweek and as such will challenge the likes of Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere and Mathieu Flamini for a place in the starting XI.

At the back, Thomas Vermaelen is now able to feature also, but it is likely that Wenger will persist with Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny.

Michu and how much of a role he will play

Undoubtedly Swansea’s main man and a player linked in the past with a switch to Arsenal, Michu’s influence in the encounter could well be telling. The Spaniard has the ability to play as the furthest man forward or in the number ten role, and Michael Laudrup’s attacking formation will be of interest.

If Michu can pick up the ball regularly between Arsenal’s midfield and defence, the former Rayo Vallecano man has the ability to create chances for himself and others.

Ashley Williams vs Olivier Giroud

Another reported Arsenal target, Ashley Williams will lead the Swansea defence alongside Chico Flores, and the pair can expect a busy 90 minutes - Olivier Giroud is in form and has been hitting the back of the net regularly this term.

The physical battle between Williams and Giroud could well decide the potency of the visitors’ attack and the Swansea captain will need to put in a talismanic performance if his side are to prevail.

image: © wonker

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