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Premier League preview: Swansea v Arsenal
Mar 15, 2013 1:00 PM GMT
Arsenal's quest for Champions League football next season faces a stern test on Saturday when they visit Michael Laudrup's Swansea.
The Gunners were gallant in Munich on Wednesday, winning 2-0 against a star-studded Bayern side, but were eliminated from UEFA's premier club competition on the away goals rule after the round-of-16 tie finished 3-3 on aggregate.
Trailing fourth-placed Chelsea by five points with 10 matches remaining in the Premier League, Arsene Wenger's men need to make every post a winner if they are to qualify for the Champions League for a 16th consecutive time.
There task has not been made any easier by the news that star midfielder Jack Wilshere will miss the next three weeks with an ankle injury.
Swansea, meanwhile, have been one of the surprise packets of season 2012/13, sitting in ninth place on the table. Last month they also lifted the first major trophy in their 100-year history with a win over Bradford at Wembley in the League Cup.
Arsenal and Swansea have already met three times this season, with Swansea drawing first blood thanks to a 2-0 win at Emirates Stadium in December league action, while a 2-2 FA Cup draw at Liberty Stadium in January was followed by a 1-0 win to Arsenal in the replay.
Laudrup is sweating on the fitness of midfielder Leon Britton and forward Luke Moore, with both in a race against time to be ready for the clash.
Britton is battling a hip complaint, while Moore is bothered by a calf problem.
Spanish centre-back Chico Flores is likely to sit out again for Swansea with ankle ligament damage, as is Kemy Augustien who has a thigh injury.
Wenger also has fitness concerns, and as well as Wilshere he could also be without Bacary Sagna (knee) and Lukas Podolski (ankle).