Swansea City v Arsenal preview: New signing Henrik Mkhitaryan set to make debut
PUBLISHED: 13:42 30 January 2018 | UPDATED: 13:57 30 January 2018
Arsenal legend Ian Wright has revealed new signing Henrik Mkhitaryan has set pulses racing in training – fuelling hopes the Armenian international could make his debut against Swansea City on Tuesday evening.
The 29-year-old creative midfielder who joined the club in a straight swap deal from Manchester United with Alexis Sanchez going the other way has set pulses races in training since he joined last week.
The former United player who former boss Jose Mourinho deemed surplus to requirements could play his first match for the North Londoners at the Liberty Stadium in the Premier League.
Wright admitted he had spoken to Steve Bould who was impressed by Mkhitaryan in training.
Resulting in the former Shakhtar Donetsk attacker to be in the frame to form part of an exciting attacking trident with Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette with the Armenian having missed the Carabao Cup semi final second-leg against Chelsea as he was cup tied.
Olivier Giroud has recovered from his hamstring problem and is in the provisional squad but he may not feature with plenty of speculation surrounding his future at the club.
Jack Wilshere sat out of the first-team training session on Friday although he could still be involved but, Danny Welbeck’s hip injury will see him miss out while Santi Cazorla remains a long-term absentee.
Basement side Swansea will be without Bayern Munich loanee Renato Sanches after the midfielder picked up a hamstring injury during the Swans 1-1 FA Cup draw with Notts County.
Argentine defender Federico Fernandez missed that game with a nose injury but is available to manager Carlos Carvalhal tonight.
Arsenal appear rejuvenated following the departure of Alexis Sanchez and two shock defeats to Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup and Bournemouth in the league.
The Gunners smashed four past Crystal Palace in the Premier League before putting in an impressive display to beat Chelsea 2-1 and reach the League Cup final.
Swansea meanwhile remain rooted to the foot of the table but have seen an upturn in form since Carvalhal arrived as manager in late December.
The 52-year-old has seen his new side lose just one of his seven games in charge –including a 1-0 win over Liverpool – as the Swans fight for top flight survival.
Arsenal’s form away from the Emirates this season has been poor, with the North Londoners winning just three of their 12 Premier League games on the road.
However, Swansea have an identical record at home and having won just one of their last five meeting with Arsene Wenger’s side, they could be in for a difficult evening.
Arsene Wenger is wary of the threat Swansea might pose following their win over Liverpool.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference, the Frenchman said: “When you don’t win you are criticised and I think Liverpool tried.
“What is a good warning for us is that Liverpool are an attacking team - you cannot criticise them for not attacking, they are very dangerous going forward and they didn’t manage to score against Swansea.
“That is a good warning for us that we have to produce absolute total offensive performance.”
The Gunners boss is also aware of the fight the Swans will put up as they look to avoid the drop.
“When you anticipate the league you think as well that you have to make your ground up before April because in April you have a few teams,” he said.
“What we noticed last year is that some of the teams who battled to be safe, once they were safe they lost many games and so it was more difficult to make ground up after April because some teams, once they’re safe, they gave up and were a bit less focused and lost easy games.
“You could see scores of 4-0 after 20 minutes for example and so that’s why this period is vital for us.”
Swansea boss Carlos Carvalhal was full of praise for Arsenal before tonight’s game but claims his side won’t sit back and play for a draw.
“They have a fantastic squad and coach. They are one of the best teams in England and the world,” he said.
“We will have to work very hard and expose their weak points.
“They have very few, but we will try to exploit it. We will fight to win - we don’t play to draw.”
Additional reporting by Dan Mountney