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Scouting Report: Arsenal v Swansea City

We return to Premier League action against Swansea City on Saturday, and ahead of the game tactical expert Michael Cox examines them in detail below:

THE MANAGER

Arsenal won’t entirely know what to expect, as Bob Bradley takes charge of Swansea City for the first time, having replaced Francesco Guidolin after their slightly unfortunate 2-1 defeat to Liverpool a fortnight ago. 

Bradley, the first American coach in the Premier League, had the international break to familiarise himself with the club, but with plenty of his players away during that period, won’t have been able to drill his philosophy into the entire squad just yet. 

FORMATION 

Swansea have generally stuck to a 4-2-3-1 system this season, and it would be surprising if Bradley abandoned that - although he became renowned for his 4-2-2-2 formation when in charge of the United States.

At his unveiling, Bradley spoke positively about Swansea’s philosophy of passing football, but he isn’t particularly known as a manager who preaches the importance of possession football, and is more likely to concentrate upon creating a solid defence and getting his team to play quick, direct passes into attack.

STRENGTHS

Swansea boast great passing quality in the central midfield zone. Ki Sung-Yeung is a commanding defensive midfielder who can also prove effective in attack when handed that freedom, while Leon Britton remains one of the most reliable passers in the Premier League, and epitomises the club’s philosophy. 

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Arsenal's best... goals against Swansea


There’s also Jack Cork, another player in that mould, plus Gylfi Sigurdsson, well-known for his long-range strikes and dead-ball expertise. 

DANGERMAN

Dynamic box-to-box midfielder Leroy Fer has suffered relegation with both Norwich and QPR, which doesn’t do justice to his all-round ability. The Dutchman has scored four of Swansea’s six league goals this season, and will charge forward dangerously from midfield.

AREAS TO TARGET

Swansea’s problem so far has been the defence, with former coach Guidolin seemingly unsure of his best options at the back. Bradley’s decisions in this respect will be interesting, with a choice between old-school Swansea players familiar with their philosophy, like full-backs Angel Rangel and Neil Taylor, and newer, more dynamic players like Kyle Naughton and Ben Kingsley. That might act as the litmus test for Bradley’s philosophy.

 

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