15:05 27th September 2013
. . . Swans boss looks forward to home test with leaders
Swans boss Michael Laudrup admits he’s looking forward to another classic encounter with Barclays Premier League leaders Arsenal as Arsene Wenger’s side head to the Liberty on Saturday (5.30pm).
With the game being screened live, the focus from around the world will be on the teams as they do battle in SA1.
Last season, the Swans claimed a memorable 2-0 win at the Emirates Stadium while Arsenal claimed the reverse fixture in South West Wales along with progressing in the FA Cup following a replay in London.
They proved thrilling encounters, and Laudrup is eagerly anticipating the latest meeting as his side look to claim a third win in their last four league fixtures.
“We had some good games last season,” reflected the Swans boss. “From our point of view we always remember the league game in London which we won 2-0.
“But we also had good games here too - in the cup and in the league.
“I am looking forward to a very exciting game tomorrow.
“It’s great what they have done so far this season. They lost the first game and then people were saying they would find it tough this year.
“But they have gone on to win their next four league games and some tough European games, and now they are top of the league.
“For us, this is the third game at home in the league – we have faced the champions and then the leaders. Now we face another club that is top of the table.
“So it’s been tough but this is what the Premier League is about.”
With Arsenal breaking their transfer record to clinch the services of Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid this summer, the Gunners strengthened their midfield which already includes the likes of Santi Cazorla, Wales international Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere.
Ozil has already shown his quality following his move from the Bernabeu, and Laudrup was adamant his players will need to keep the German star and Co quiet if they are to pick up the points.
And the Great Dane also stressed the importance of his side taking their chances following their Capital One Cup exit at Birmingham in midweek.
“The strongest part of Arsenal’s team is midfield, especially with Cazorla and Wilshere. Now, with Ozil, they are a very strong side,” said Laudrup.
“Tomorrow it will be important for us to stop the balls between the lines because they are a very dangerous side with attacking players. That is a key area.
“But we also have to take our chances. When you create so many chances – and that is a major positive – against huge sides like Liverpool and Valencia, you need to score.
“We have an average of two goals a game (in all competitions), but I think we can do better.
“We need to take our chances more often - we saw that in the cup in midweek and we were made to pay for that.”
Laudrup is likely to be without Pablo Hernandez, who has missed the last few games with a hamstring injury, while there are doubts over captain Ashley Williams’ availability as he is struggling with an ankle problem.