Arsenal welcome Swansea City this evening for an FA Cup third-round replay which is arguably more crucial for the Gunners than the visitors in terms of the two clubs’ respective ambitions for this season.
Considering they are well off the Premier League pace and face Bayern Munich in the Champions League last 16, the famous old competition surely offers the best chance for Arsene Wenger’s men to end their eight-year trophy drought.
But for Swansea, next week’s Capital One Cup semi-final second leg against Chelsea will carry far more significance, especially after their impressive 2-0 victory at Stamford Bridge in the first match.
Danny Graham forced the replay with a late equaliser at the Liberty Stadium ten days ago after Arsenal, previously trailing to a Michu strike, appeared to be heading through with goals from Lukas Podolski and Kieran Gibbs.
With Arsenal installed as strong 1/2 favourites to get the job done at the Emirates inside 90 minutes and the Swans as long as 9/2 (the draw is 333/100), we take a look at five key stats which could influence punters betting on tonight’s clash.
3: The number of Swansea away games which have featured over 2.5 goals in the Premier League this term. No visiting team has been involved in fewer. Under 2.5 goals is available at 7/5.
4: The number of times Michu has scored the first goal of the game in the Premier League this season (seven times in all competitions). The Spaniard is a tempting 8/1 chance to open the scoring tonight.
7: Of Arsenal’s last 20 Premier League matches, seven have seen exactly two goals scored. A repeat inside 90 minutes tonight can be backed at 17/5.
12: The number of times both Arsenal and Swansea have been drawing at half-time in the Premier League so far this season – only QPR can claim a higher total (13). Another first-half stalemate (as was also the case in the Swans’ 2-0 win at the Emirates in December) is priced at 31/20.
35: Arsenal are currently on a 35-match unbeaten run at home in the FA Cup (25 wins, ten draws). In fact, they have lost just one FA Cup match at Highbury or the Emirates since Arsene Wenger took charge of the club in 1996 (a 1-0 defeat by Leeds in February 1997).