Jan 14, 2017 at 3pm UK at ​Liberty Stadium
Attendance: 20,875
SwanseaSwansea City

Sung-Yueng (43'), Fer (78')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Giroud (37'), Cork (54' og.), Naughton (67' og.), Sanchez (73')

Preview: Swansea City vs. Arsenal

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Premier League clash between Swansea City and Arsenal from the Liberty Stadium.

Arsenal will attempt to get their Premier League title challenge back on track when they travel to struggling Swansea City on Saturday afternoon.

A 3-3 draw with Bournemouth on January 3 has left the Gunners down in fifth position in the table, but they will be confident of recording all the points against a Swansea side that sit 19th on just 15 points.


Paul Clement manager of Derby County looks on prior to the Sky Bet Championship match between Nottingham Forest and Derby County at City Ground on November 6, 2015© Getty Images

There is no getting away from the fact that it has been a very difficult campaign for the Swans. Indeed, a record of just four wins, three draws and 13 defeats has left the club down in 19th position in the table on just 15 points. They are only two points off the foot of the division, but also just one point behind the safety of 17th position, where Sam Allardyce's Crystal Palace currently sit.

Bob Bradley's spell at the Liberty Stadium was over before it had really started and now Paul Clement is the man tasked with leading Swansea away from the bottom three. It did not quite happen for Clement at Derby County, but the Englishman has a wealth of coaching experience at some top, top clubs and has already got things moving since his arrival.

Claude Makelele has also been introduced to the coaching set-up at the club and the Frenchman will be in the dug-out for this weekend's clash with Arsenal, who will not be in the mood to hand out any favours. The omens are not exactly great for Swansea either, with the Welsh side losing three of their last four home matches against the Gunners in the Premier League.

Swansea were victorious in their last league fixture, however, as they recorded a 2-1 win at Crystal Palace on January 3 in a match that Clement watched from the stands. That success ended a run of four straight defeats, but they were knocked out of the FA Cup at the weekend by the Premier League's basement side Hull City.

In terms of what is ahead for Swansea, they will travel to Liverpool in their next league fixture on January 21, before ending the month with a home game against Southampton. It has been a poor campaign to date, but they are still very much in touch with the teams just above them.

Conceding goals has been a real problem this season, however, with the Welsh side shipping 45 in their 20 Premier League matches, which is comfortably the worst record in the division. One thing is for certain - a leaky defence will again be tested when Alexis Sanchez & Co. make the trip to Wales.

Recent form: WLLLLW
Recent form (all competitions): LLLLWL


Arsene Wenger reacts during the Champions League game between Arsenal and PSG on November 23, 2016© SilverHub

While Swansea are desperately trying to hold on to their spot in the Premier League, Arsenal's hopes of landing the title have taken a hit in recent weeks. With 20 matches on the board, the Gunners sit down in fifth position in the table – eight points behind leaders Chelsea.

Arsene Wenger's side lost 4-3 at home to Liverpool on the opening weekend of the Premier League season, but they then went on a 14-game unbeaten run in the league, which saw the Gunners rise to the top of the table. At that point, they did look to be the strongest challenges to Chelsea, who were just starting to put together what proved to be a 13-match winning run in England's top flight.

Arsenal suffered a 2-1 defeat at Everton on December 13, however, before losing by the same scoreline at Manchester City on December 18 as they suffered a serious setback. They did respond with back-to-back wins over West Bromwich Albion and Crystal Palace, but dropped more points against Bournemouth in an incredible game last time out.

Indeed, the Gunners found themselves 3-0 down at Bournemouth early in the second period, but a late comeback saw Wenger's side snatch a share of the spoils in a 3-3 draw. They sit down in fifth position as things stand, but are only one point off fourth-placed Man City and just three points behind second-placed Liverpool in what is a very congested top six.

Arsenal have actually now conceded in each of their last six Premier League away matches, which is their longest run without a clean sheet since May 2011. Two of their three league defeats this season have come away from home and this is potentially another banana skin for the title hopefuls against a Swansea side that will be keen to impress their new boss.

After this one, the Gunners will welcome Burnley to the Emirates in the league on January 22, before facing either Southampton or Norwich City in the fourth round of the FA Cup on January 28. The month will then end with a home game against Watford in what looks a favourable run of league fixtures for the club.

Recent form: WLLWWD
Recent form (all competitions): LLWWDW

Team News

Mesut Ozil in action during the Premier League game between Manchester City and Arsenal on December 18, 2016© SilverHub

Jefferson Montero is still on the sidelines for Swansea, while Neil Taylor will miss out with a cheekbone fracture, but Clement otherwise has a fully-fit squad to choose from. That includes experienced striker Fernando Llorente, who continues to be linked with a move away from the Liberty Stadium.

Wayne Routledge and Gylfi Sigurdsson should both return following the FA Cup clash with Hull, while Jordi Amat and Jay Fulton are also pushing for starts, but new signing Luciano Narsingh, who has joined on a two-and-a-half-year contract from PSV Eindhoven, has a calf problem and will not feature.

As for Arsenal, Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla remain on the treatment table, but Danny Welbeck is now back in the fold after making his return off the bench against Preston last weekend. A starting role for Welbeck though is not currently a consideration.

Right-back Hector Bellerin, who arguably had his poorest game for Arsenal against Bournemouth, is also expected to feature after recovering from a kick in training, while Mesut Ozil has overcome illness to make himself available.

Theo Walcott will once again miss out with a calf problem, however, meaning that Alex Iwobi should keep his spot in a wide position, with Aaron Ramsey starting alongside Granit Xhaka in central midfield.

Swansea possible starting lineup:
Fabianki; Naughton, Fernandez, Amat, Mawson; Cork, Ki, Fulton; Routledge, Llorente, Sigurdsson

Arsenal possible starting lineup:
Cech; Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal; Xhaka, Ramsey; Iwobi, Ozil, Sanchez; Giroud

Head To Head

In total, these two clubs have met on 22 occasions in all competitions and it is Arsenal that lead the head-to-head 11 wins to Swansea's eight, while the remaining three fixtures have finished with the spoils being shared.

Swansea have actually won three of the last five Premier League meetings between the two teams – including a 2-1 victory at the Emirates last term. They suffered a 3-2 loss when they travelled to London earlier this season, however, and also lost 3-0 at home to the Gunners during the 2015-16 campaign.

Arsenal have also never failed to score in five previous Premier League games at the Liberty Stadium.

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We say: Swansea 1-2 Arsenal

Swansea should be full of energy and commitment as they look for a strong performance in Clement's first home game in charge, but it is difficult to look past the Gunners. Olivier Giroud, who was one of three players to sign new Arsenal deals on Thursday, is in good form at the moment and the Frenchman could net the winner in a 2-1 success.

Who will win Saturday's Premier League clash at the Liberty Stadium?

Olivier Giroud celebrates during the Champions League game between Arsenal and PSG on November 23, 2016
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