Arsene Wenger will have been dismayed when the third round draw for the FA Cup was made, with Arsenal now facing a tricky trip to south Wales ahead of several Premier League encounters later in January.
Swansea have proved difficult recent opponents, with the Gunners losing 3-2 at the Liberty Stadium last season and they were also beaten at the Emirates by the Swans a few weeks ago thanks to Michu’s brace of late goals.
Wenger will be hoping that lightning doesn’t strike three times in this game although there will be several changes made to the team that drew 1-1 at St Mary’s on New Year’s Day, with Aaron Ramsey, Gervinho and Olivier Giroud among those in line for a recall.
Arsenal are a 5/4 chance (Blue Square) to reach the fourth round of the cup with a minimum of fuss and the north London side might well take this competition seriously considering they blew up in the League Cup at Bradford when it looked as though they would cruise through to the semi-finals of the competition.
Perhaps Theo Walcott will retain his place as centre forward despite the fact that the player could yet leave the Emirates this month and odds of 11/2 (bet365) are available about the England man scoring first at the Liberty Stadium.
Swansea are a fairly unpredictable side this season, with City sitting 9th in the table despite winning just three of their eleven games although victories such as the one at the Emirates highlight that they can be a real threat on the counter-attack.
The home side look a big price at 11/5 (William Hill) to dump Arsenal out of the Cup on Sunday, with Michael Laudrup likely to continue with Michu in an attacking position, even if the Spaniard’s favoured position is playing in the hole behind the centre forward.
The bargain of the season is a 13/2 chance to score the first goal of this encounter and we might see a few goals considering both teams will want to settle the original tie and avoid a replay later this month.
Another 3-2 win for the Swans is a 33/1 chance and let’s not forget that Arsenal were involved in an incredible 4-4 scoreline at Reading in the League Cup before eventually winning 7-5 in extra-time.
Bet365 offer a stand-out 8/13 that both teams score on Sunday and that could be the best value bet of them all, although the value is with the Welsh side making it a difficult afternoon for what could be an understrength Arsenal side.