Wenger seeks revenge, aims to gun down Swans

Arsenal's Mesut Ozil is in line to start against Swansea, despite appearing to pick up a slight injury while on international duty with Germany.
Arsenal's Mesut Ozil is in line to start against Swansea, despite appearing to pick up a slight injury while on international duty with Germany.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Arsene Wenger is out to banish the memory of a surprise defeat by Swansea which shattered Arsenal's hopes of winning the Premier League title last season.

A 1-2 loss at the Emirates Stadium in March effectively ended the Gunners' hopes of catching eventual champions Leicester City.

Today, as Arsenal face a Swansea side managed for the first time by American Bob Bradley, Wenger is keen for his side to prove just how far they have come since that painful evening.

"We have a good opportunity to show that we have learnt from that and that we are capable of dealing with these kinds of opponents," said Wenger on Thursday of Arsenal, who are on a run of just one league defeat in 17 matches since then.

"We have to show we can deal with the kind of fixtures where we are the favourites. We were not always capable of doing that last season.

"We were a little bit in a difficult period at that time and we were a bit unlucky as well on the day. But it could be a similar game."

Wenger will remain without Olivier Giroud (toe) and Aaron Ramsey (hamstring), but Francis Coquelin and Mesut Ozil have been declared fit.

The Frenchman is the most experienced manager in English football, having spent 20 years at Arsenal, but he insists his counterpart at Swansea is not a novice.

"Bob Bradley has a lot of experience," said Wenger. "He is equipped to deal with what is asked of him."

Bradley, who replaced the sacked Francesco Guidolin, has given an early indication of how he intends to make his mark at the Welsh club, who have collected just four points from their opening seven games and sit one place outside the relegation zone.

"At the beginning you don't start with an iron fist, but there's been some moments I get a bit louder and harder, but they'll live with that," he said. "I figure out in the moment, how to make points.

"When you've done this for a while, you tell your messages accordingly, you figure out the best way to connect with the guy. You try different things."

Bradley has promised a fresh start for those players who found themselves sidelined under Guidolin, including Neil Taylor, Jefferson Montero and Ki Sung Yueng.

However, Montero and striker Fernando Llorente are not yet back to full fitness.



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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 15, 2016, with the headline 'Wenger seeks revenge, aims to gun down Swans'. Print Edition | Subscribe