Arsenal will travel to Wales to face Swansea City and gain a measure of revenge for the 0-2 Premier League defeat at the Emirates earlier this season; the fact victory will also mean progress to the fourth round of the FA Cup and a chance to end the seven-year trophy drought is an added incentive. The Swans have progressed to the semi final of the Capital One Cup and will be very confident of continuing their recent dominance over Arsene Wenger’s men.
Where to Watch Live
Kick-off is set for 1.30pm GMT. Live telecast will be on ESPN and ESPN HD and starts at 12.30pm GMT. Radio coverage is on BBC Radio 5 live.
A brace from Spanish striker Michu handed Swansea a first Premier League win at the Emirates last month and Michael Laudrup will be hoping for more of the same from his team on Sunday. The Welsh side are enjoying another excellent season in English top flight and are ninth, only five behind the Gunners.
The hosts come into this game on the back of a four game unbeaten run. However, three of those four were draws and the Swans have only won twice in the seven games since the win in north London. That is likely to boost Arsenal's confidence going into this game, as is the fact the Liberty Stadium club have struggled to keep clean sheets in recent matches; there have been only three such, at home, all season long for Laudrup.
The club's last game was a 2-2 Premier League draw against Aston Villa and it was a match the home side should really have won, particularly since Wayne Routledge gave them the lead inside the first ten minutes. However, it needed a 94th minute strike from Danny Graham to rescue a point after Andreas Weimann and Christian Benteke put the Villans on top.
Arsenal, meanwhile, continue to be frustratingly inconsistent and followed a majestic 7-3 dismissal of Newcastle United on 29 December with an undeserved 1-1 draw at St Mary's on New Year's Day. However, Arsene Wenger is likely to take heart from the fact the Gunners have not lost a domestic fixture since the defeat to Swansea; they did lose at Greek side Olympiakos in a Champions League group stage match and, of course, on penalties to Bradford City in the Capital One Cup.
The good news for Arsenal fans is the club appears to be in a rich vein of goal-scoring form; 16 strikes in the past five, with seven against Newcastle and five against Reading. Granted neither the Magpies nor the Royals are among the best defensive sides in England but it does boost confidence going into this match.
Arsenal are sixth in the league, two points adrift of qualification for European football next season but with a game in hand over Everton in fifth.
- Last Five (all competitions, most recent first): D W D D L
- Last Match: Swansea City 2 - 2 Aston Villa
- Last Five (all competitions, most recent first): D W W W D
- Last Match: Southampton 1 - 1 Arsenal
Laudrup has a nearly full squad to choose from for this match, with only Neil Taylor (ankle) absent for the Swans; the defender has been ruled out for the season. Swansea could opt to field the same side that started the midweek game against Villa and with Michu, Routledge and Graham all in good form, Arsenal's defenders will have to be on their guard for the full 90 minutes.
Probable Line-Up: Vorm; Rangel, Williams, Chico, Davies; Britton, De Guzman; Hernandez, Michu, Routledge; Graham
Arsenal will be boosted by the fact French international Abou Diaby is back training but the midfielder is still short of match fitness and is not likely to feature in this encounter. Polish goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski is still out injured. Czech playmaker Tomas Rosicky and young midfielder Francis Coquelin are both expected to start this match, with the Spanish duo of Santi Cazorla and Mikel Arteta starting from the bench. French striker Olivier Giroud is likely to start, with the in-form Theo Walcott a safe bet over England team mate Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Carl Jenkinson may replace France's Bacary Sagna at right back.
Probable Line-Up: Szczesny; Jenkinson, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Gibbs; Coquelin, Wilshere; Walcott, Rosicky, Podolski; Giroud