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Swansea ended their wait for an away win this season as goals from wingmen Nathan Dyer and Wayne Routledge secured all three points at Aston Villa. The league’ meanest home defence have drawn three of their last four at home, conceding just two goals in the process. Brendan Rodgers’ side have won just one of their 10 matches against top half opposition. Arsenal suffered their fifth away defeat of the season after squandering a one-goal lead in the closing minutes at Fulham in their last league outing. Gunners legend Thierry Henry sealed his return to the club with the winner in their FA Cup triumph over Leeds and should bolster the visitors’ attack which has scored more than one goal just once in their last six matches.
Brendan Rodgers has almost a full squad to select from ahead of the visit of Arsenal. The former Reading manager is set to make changes from the side that beat Barnsley in the FA Cup with the likes of Michel Vorm, Joe Allen, Steven Caulker and Scott Sinclair likely to return to the starting line-up, while Gylfi Sigurdsson could be handed a full debut in midfield, although this may come from the bench. Alan Tate, a long-term absentee, is on the comeback trail after featuring for the reserves in midweek, four months after suffering a broken leg, but is a few weeks away from a return to first-team action.
Arsenal captain Robin van Persie will return to the squad following an extended break. Thierry Henry, on loan from the New York Red Bulls, will again be in contention having come off the bench to score in the FA Cup win over Leeds, while the defender Johan Djourou is available after suspension. Midfield player Tomas Rosicky and centre-back Per Mertesacker are battling to overcome a virus. Strikers Marouane Chamakh and Gervinho are away at the African Nations Cup.
Possible starting XIs:
M Vorm • A Rangel, S Caulker, A Williams, N Taylor • M Gower (or K Agustien), L Britton, J Allen • N Dyer, D Graham, S Sinclair
W Szczesny • J Djourou, P Mertesacker, L Koscielny, I Miquel • A Song • T Walcott, A Ramsey, M Arteta, A Arshavin • R van Persie