After more disappointment at the weekend, Arsenal have a must-win game against relegation battlers Swansea City as they attempt to regain their composure in the title race.
Few seemed willing to look beyond Arsenal as clear favourites for their visit to Manchester United, who were severely depleted by injuries a forced to field a number of youngsters. However, they did not get going throughout and ended up on the end of a deserved defeat which has led to a great number of doubts being raised over their mentality. For all of the quality they had out on the pitch at Old Trafford, they were lacking ideas in open play right the way through.
Danny Welbeck was preferred to Olivier Giroud in attack and the man just back from injury repaid the faith shown by manager Arsene Wenger with another headed goal from a set-piece, but it is the form of a couple of his teammates which will surely have aroused concern.
Theo Walcott had a woefully ineffective afternoon, while Alexis Sanchez never found any of his usual spark and is struggling for goals at present. Such key players must raise their game here, as the Gunners are under immense pressure to perform.
Swansea were getting beaten in North London as recently as Sunday, where they could not hold on to a precious one-goal advantage at nearby Tottenham. That was despite the heroics of goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski, who made save after save to keep his team in it and he will surely be called upon again here as he looks to keep out his former club, where it may be another case of boss Francesco Guidolin having to set up the barricades in order to emerge with a positive result.
The month of March is set to be a potentially defining one for the Welsh club, who face three of their fellow strugglers over the coming weeks. Currently just three points ahead of the drop zone, anything they pick up here will be a bonus, but this match will be made slightly easier by the fact that all the pressure will be on the hosts and the crowd are likely to be anxious, so striker Alberto Paloschi will be ready to pounce on any mistakes.
There are no new injury problems for Arsenal, who are still without Santi Cazorla, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Tomas Rosicky and Jack Wilshere.
Guidolin still has a fully-fit squad to choose from at Swansea, but is likely to be unchanged from the side that took to the field at Tottenham.
Last Meeting: The visitors completed a famous league double over Arsenal as Bafetimbi Gomis’ late goal rewarded a resolute defensive performance back in May 2015. The striker headed just over the line before goalkeeper David Ospina parried the ball away to punish the hosts for their profligacy as Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey among others were denied.
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