Welcome to Talking Heads.
Before and after every first-team fixture, our co-commentator and an Arsenal blogger will have their say on the game.
Arsenal take on Swansea City in the FA Cup on Wednesday, and our Talking Heads for this game are former Gunner Nigel Winterburn and Tim Bostelle of 7amKickOff.
NIGEL WINTERBURN, CO-COMMENTATOR
Arsenal haven’t won a trophy for a long time now, and the supporters really want that to change. I think most people would agree that Arsenal will be considered an outsider in the Champions League, so the FA Cup becomes more important.
Winning a trophy gives you the belief that, when you’re in a position to win something again, you can do it. When the vast majority of a squad hasn’t won anything, they might not be sure they can do it, despite the manager and players believing that they are good enough. When you’ve done it once, you know that you can do it so you just have to get yourself in a good position to do it again.
I think it’s a massive game for Arsenal. They will be keen to get some consistent home performances. I think Arsène Wenger will take the game very seriously and pick a strong team to win the match.
For me, Arsenal’s best performances come when they play with a high tempo and disrupt the backline of the opposition early. I always worry when Arsenal have a lot of possession but it’s across the back and into midfield. If they start with a high intensity, they have to try and be positive. When Arsenal start at a high tempo, they usually produce strong performances for 90 minutes.
I think it’s a massive game for Arsenal. They will be keen to get some consistent home performancesNigel Winterburn
Swansea have brought in a manager who likes to play football. He’s changed their style of football slightly. They’re still a good team on the ball but aren’t afraid to hit diagonal passes to the front man in order to expose the opposition’s defence. They’ve got a great belief and they’ve started the season well. They’ve been very consistent on the whole. They’ve got some good players who understand the system the manager wants to play and it looks like they’re all pulling in the same direction.
I think this is Swansea’s third away game on the trot and home advantage will seal it for Arsenal - a 2-1 home win.
TIM BOSTELLE, 7AMKICKOFF
Realistically the FA Cup is Arsenal's best chance at a trophy this season and, despite the fact that they played a tough 10 v 11 on Sunday against the champions, I'm expecting Arsenal to put on a highly-charged display at home against the high-flying Swans.
Michael Laudrup's men are known for possession football but they have switched gears in the last three games. Including the 2-2 draw in the first meeting between Arsenal and Swansea, the Welshmen have given up on dominating possession and only managed eight shots on goal while conceding 20. Thanks to the duo of Michu and Graham (two goals each) they have scored four goals to the good and only conceded two, both to the Arsenal.
The Swans are riding their luck with a 50 per cent conversion rate offensively and a stingy 10 per cent conversion rate defensively but why would Laudrup change tack now? Expect the Swans to sit back and take heavy fire from Arsenal in hopes that the magic of Michu or Graham can sneak a goal.
This is a bespoke game for Olivier Giroud to start at centre forward. His aerial presence and physical style will give the Swansea back line plenty of trouble. And his knockdowns and flick-ons for Arsenal's all-action midfielders, like Jack Wilshere, could prove decisive. I'm betting that the Swans get one but that some late heroics put Arsenal through for a date on the Brighton shore. Two-one to the Arsenal.
* The views expressed in Talking Heads do not necessarily reflect those of Arsenal Football Club or Arsenal Broadband Ltd
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