March 16, 2013
Swansea wait on Britton
Team Stat Comparison
|Goals for *||1.5||1.3|
|Goals against *||1.4||0.7|
|Last 5 home||L-D-D-L-L||W-D-D-W-W|
|Last 5 away||L-W-L-D-L||W-W-W-W-W|
|* Goals per match - home matches for home club and away matches for away club|
|Stats: Swansea City | Arsenal|
|3/15||H: West Bromwich Albion||3/16||A: Tottenham Hotspur|
|3/22||A: Everton||3/22||A: Chelsea|
|3/25||A: Arsenal||3/25||H: Swansea City|
|3/29||H: Norwich City||3/29||H: Manchester City|
|4/5||A: Hull City||4/6||A: Everton|
Swansea manager Michael Laudrup is hopeful of having midfielder Leon Britton available for Saturday's Premier League meeting with Arsenal.
Britton picked up a hip injury against West Brom last weekend but has made good progress in his recovery, while Luke Moore is set to shake off a calf problem.
Chico Flores (ankle) and Kemy Agustien (thigh) are again absent, but there is encouraging news for Neil Taylor after the left-back made his return from a broken and dislocated ankle for the Under-21s on Thursday.
Arsenal may be without Jack Wilshere this weekend, but Angel Rangel knows Swansea have no grounds for complacency as they look to continue their good recent record against the Gunners.
England midfielder Wilshere has been ruled out for three weeks with an ankle injury, and will also miss England's World Cup qualifiers against Montenegro and San Marino.
The 21-year-old has been in a rich vein of form, and his absence is a real blow for Arsene Wenger as his side look to try to make up the deficit to the top four and secure a Champions League place for next season.
But Arsenal were able to win 2-0 without Wilshere at Bayern Munich in midweek, and even though it was not enough to send them into the last eight of this season's Champions League, Rangel believes the result shows the depth of quality in their squad.
He said: "Arsenal are a team with a lot of very good players.
"Santi Cazorla has been a top player for them all season, and Theo Walcott has so much pace and he is scoring plenty of goals.
"Wilshere is out but they have other players doing well like Mikel Arteta.
"They are not just about one player, they are all very comfortable on the ball and it will be a game with a lot chances I think.
"I am sure it will be a great game for the fans but hopefully being at home can make the difference for us.''
Arsenal will rest left-back Kieran Gibbs, who has just returned from a thigh injur, ybut Nacho Monreal is available after being cup-tied in the Champions League.
Goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny and captain Thomas Vermaelen are in contention having sat out the 2-0 win in Bayern Munich.
However, England midfielder Jack Wilshere and striker Lukas Podolski (both ankle) are still out, as is full-back Bacary Sagna (knee).
Wenger has yet to make up his mind whether to recall Vermaelen and goalkeeper Szczesny - but said "nobody is guaranteed a place''.
Szczesny was left back in London when the rest of the squad travelled out to Munich on Tuesday afternoon, with Wenger revealing the Poland international had been "mentally affected'' by the number of games he played this season.
Despite not playing a first-team match in more than a year, Lukasz Fabianski went on to produce a solid display, making some smart saves in the 2-0 win over Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena and could well have done enough to retain his place for the trip to the Liberty Stadium.
Skipper Vermaelen, meanwhile, was left on the bench as Laurent Koscielny - whose late header provided Arsenal's second goal on Wednesday night as they went out on away goals - partnered Per Mertesacker.
However, Wenger said team selection would always come down to individual form.
"They (Vermaelen and Szczesny) are two outstanding players who are part of our squad. They have played so many games until now. Their position is very important in the squad,'' he said.
"But every position is up for grabs. You have to face it like that, the last game decides the next one.
"All the players are in the same position. Nobody is guaranteed places in the team.
"Everybody faces the same competition and the players who (have) come in have been on the bench for a long, long time.
"They all have the same problem, the job of being a top-level competitor is to deal with that.''
Wenger felt Vermaelen understood the decision to leave him out against Bayern.
"Thomas has a fantastic attitude. He's a guy who is absolutely outstanding with his attitude and motivation,'' said Wenger.
"He has played many games in many positions and is a very important player in our squad.
"They know there might be rotation with the three centre-backs - Vermaelen, Koscielny and Mertesacker.''
Arsenal head to Wales in search of the win needed to keep alive their hopes of gatecrashing the top four once again.
Wenger said: "For us, every game is a cup final now.
"Swansea is always a difficult place to go and we will need to repeat the game we had at Bayern Munich, it is as simple as that - solidarity, fighting spirit and win at all costs.''