Arsenal take on Swansea in an all Premier League clash in the 3rd round of the FA Cup on Sunday afternoon. The Gunners will see the FA Cup as their best chance of winning silverware this season, having been knocked out of the League Cup in the quarter-finals by Bradford as well as being too far behind to challenge for the title. Whilst Arsenal do remain in the Champions League, they are more likely to lift the FA Cup than the Champions League in my opinion.
The FA Cup is Arsenal’s last trophy to date, when the Gunners won the 2005 Final on penalties against Manchester United. The closest Arsenal have come to lifting the FA Cup since their triumph in 2005 was in 2009 when they lost in the semi-finals to eventual winners Chelsea. Arsenal are the second most successful side in the competition’s history, lifting the trophy 10 times overall, 4 of which have come under Arsene Wenger (1998 vs Newcastle, 2002 vs Chelsea, 2003 vs Southampton and 2005 vs Manchester United).
Swansea’s only unavailable player for this tie is Neil Taylor, who is out for the rest of the season with a fractured ankle.
Arsenal have goalkeeper’s Lukasz Fabianski and Vito Mannone out but both Abou Diaby and Andre Santos have returned to training this week following lengthy injuries. Having been out of action for a long period of time, both will not feature this weekend. Emmanuel Frimpong has returned from his loan spell at Charlton but was sick earlier in the week.
Arsenal know all about the threat that Swansea pose this weekend. Since Swansea were promoted to the top flight in 2011, they have beaten the Gunners twice and lost once in the three games played between the two sides. The one game at the Liberty Stadium ended 3-2 to Swansea last January and Swansea beat Arsenal 2-0 as recently as last month, 2-0 at the Emirates.
Arsene Wenger appears to be taking the cup seriously this year, but whether they will be good enough to see off Swansea, we’ll have to wait and see. I can’t say I am going into this tie confident that Arsenal will get a result, but I am hoping so of course, as I love the FA Cup and would love to see us win it again.