Arsenal and Swansea meet at the Emirates tonight to decide who will play Brighton away in the 4th round of the FA Cup. The two sides met 10 days ago in a what was a fantastic cup tie, but Danny Graham’s late equaliser set up this replay that in honesty, both sides could do without.
Arsenal will be without defender Laurent Koscielny who is suspended following his sending off against Man City on Sunday. Tomas Rosicky is out injured along with Mikel Arteta, who received positive news on his injury, which means he may be out for less than the 3 weeks Arsene Wenger originally predicted for him. Lukasz Fabianski is one week away from a return to full training according to Wenger. The Pole has been out since pre-season injured.
Swansea have a fully-fit squad, but with important games, particularly the League Cup semi-final coming up, you would expect a few fringe players to start. Michu was on the bench in the original game at the Liberty Stadium, will we see the same thing tonight?. He still came off the bench to score that day, so it wouldn’t surprise me if he started on the bench and came on, especially if it is a close game and with his goalscoring record of 3 goals in 2 games against the Gunners.
The visitors will be missing one player though. They signed Belgian international Roland Lamah on loan from Osasuna yesterday, but he wasn’t registered when the original tie took place so he cannot feature tonight.
This will be a close game. Swansea have shown Arsenal they are capable of beating them this season, winning 2-0 at the Emirates in December. The Gunners played well enough to win the original tie at the Liberty, but ultimately poor defending cost them that day. Swansea have also shown they are capable of beating another big club, winning 2-0 at Chelsea in the first leg of their League Cup semi-final. That may play to Arsenal’s advantage tonight, particularly if the tie goes into extra-time or penalties, Swansea will no doubt be tired after all these games in the past month.
Arsenal need silverware this season to relieve some of the growing pressure on the board and the manager. The FA Cup is definitely their best shot at that. Time will tell. Getting through tonight will be tricky enough as it is.
Remember that the game is kicking off at 7:30pm tonight instead of 7:45, I’d assume so that in the event that the tie does go to extra-time and/or penalties, fans will be able to stay longer. Arsenal have been struggling to sell tickets for this one as it is. The club classed this as a Category B fixture, which upset a lot of fans. Quite a lot appear tempted to stay home and watch it on the TV or online.