After taking charge of his new charges in the F.A. Cup defeat to fellow struggling side Hull, Paul Clement now takes charge of Swansea in the Premier League for the first time and the task does not get much more difficult than the visit of Arsenal this Afternoon.
Two late goals were the undoing of The Swans last weekend but although the cup can bring a welcome distraction you could argue that now that Swansea can focus solely on trying to stay up then those distractions won’t get in the way in their bid for survival.
That game and also their dramatic win over Crystal Palace a week and a half ago would have given Clement plenty of time to look over his new squad and work out what his best side is going into this encounter with the North London side.
A squad that will definitely need some new faces if they are to beat the drop but right now the former Bayern Munich assistant is going to have to work with what he has got, will it be enough though to get anything from the visit of Arsene Wenger’s men.
For Arsenal it represents a third straight game on the road in all competitions, with the previous two being defined by late goals from Oliver Giroud. It was his late winner last Saturday which saw them just edge past Preston in the F.A. Cup and he was also on hand to rescue a point against Bournemouth almost two weeks ago.
It may have rescued a point but ultimately it was two points dropped as Arsenal now find themselves 5th in the table having been leapfrogged by both Tottenham and Manchester City. A position which undoubtedly puts some pressure on Arsene Wenger.
It’s too early for the ‘Wenger Out’ brigade to start up again but their league position will no doubt be cause for concern and when you add to the fact their other recent away fixtures have seen defeat to Everton and Manchester City then there’s no reason why Swansea will fancy their chances of causing an upset later Today.
With Giroud the hero of the hour as of late you do have to wonder if he has perhaps done enough to warrant inclusion from the start this Afternoon or will Wenger once again go with Alexis Sanchez spearheading Arsenal’s attack line.
In terms of contract talks nothing has changed in regards to the impasse of both Sanchez and Mesut Ozil but the longer this saga is drawn out then it can only have a negative effect on the club. Uncertainty is never something which is welcome at a football club and it certainly will not be welcome where these two are concerned.
But contract talks or not these two are still professional enough to get the job done and although Sanchez made no secret of showing his displeasure during that 3-3 draw with Bournemouth he will be ready to get Arsenal back in the Top 4 and that task starts today with a trip to South Wales.
Swansea will go into this game with a wave of perhaps more hope than expectations but unfortunately for them I don’t think it’s going to be the dream start for Paul Clement at The Liberty Stadium as Arsenal will have enough to move back into the Champions League places for 24 hours at least. An away win for me.