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With the international break coming to a closure, Premier League action resumes today, and Arsenal welcome struggling Swansea City to Emirates Stadium on Saturday night.
Here are the five burning questions ahead of the game.
Can Arsenal beat the potentially rejuvenated Bob Bradley side?
In dubious circumstances, Swansea sacked Francesco Guidolin, who can hardly be blamed for the position they are in.
With their first few league games pitting them against Manchester City, Chelsea, Southampton, and Liverpool, it should surprise no one to see them hover over the relegation places.
Former United States coach Bob Bradley, who has taken over the reins, will overlook his first game in charge of the Swans, and his appointment should bother Arsenal fans as most teams, especially the relegation-threatened sides, overperform when a new manager arrives.
Can Arsenal maintain the momentum?
After succumbing to a 3-2 defeat to Liverpool on the opening day, Arsenal have remained undefeated in all competitions.
They are heading into the Swansea game at the back of five consecutive victories.
Arsene Wenger’s formerly questionable decisions – offering Theo Walcott a lifeline and making Alexis Sanchez the number nine, say – can be singled out for their upturn in form.
The manager stated in the pre-match press conference on Friday that the international break would never distort their path.
Whether he can guide them to another victory on Saturday may decide where they end up after matchday 38 as games against minnows such as Middlesbrough and Sunderland follow the Swansea game.
As Arsenal face Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United shortly afterward, claiming all nine points in the next three games is compulsory.
Will Swansea City repeat history?
Swansea have been a menace for Arsenal in the recent times as they have collected maximum points in the two recent visits to the N5 club.
Having emerged victors thrice in four meetings, they will approach the game with a different level of confidence, and their new American manager acknowledged the same whilst talking to the press on Friday morning.
Whom does Arsene Wenger put in midfield?
This is a recurring question – yet an intriguing one – in O-Posts’ Burning Questions series.
With Francis Coquelin deemed fit to start games again, the Arsenal manager now faces a tricky task as he could either choose his compatriot or Granit Xhaka, who has been in fine form, to partner Santi Cazorla in the midfield.
The Coquelin-Cazorla partnership, despite initially garnering doubts, has proved decisive to the new system.
However, Arsenal’s £30 million arrival from Basel has produced stellar performances that warrants him a place in the starting lineup.
How significant is the Swansea City game?
Gameweek 8 features some tasty fixtures, with Leicester City locking horns with Chelsea, Manchester City hosting Everton, and Manchester United travelling to Anfield.
As Wenger’s men are going up against a weaker opposition, they should win to not just stay above United, Chelsea, and Liverpool but also potentially leapfrog leaders City.
Topping the table after the Monday’s game between Liverpool and United is mathematically possible, so the Londoners should vanquish the Welsh side at all costs.
Written by Praveen Paramasivam
Follow Praveen on Twitter @49Praveen
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