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Swansea v Arsenal will reveal sides' standings, says Jamie Redknapp

Jamie Redknapp - Jamie Redknapp Posted 27th September 2013 view comments

Swansea host Arsenal on Saturday Night Football and I'm looking forward to this game as much as I've looked forward to a game in a long time.

Both teams are in good form, playing great football and the match will tell us a lot about where the Welsh side currently stand and whether Arsene Wenger's men will be able to mount a title challenge this season.

Michu: Spanish forward and Swansea have been in fine form this season

Michu: Spanish forward and Swansea have been in fine form this season

The visitors were on an incredible run of 10 away wins in a row in all competitions before seeing West Brom off on penalties on Wednesday night after drawing 1-1 in the League Cup, and will be full of belief heading to the Liberty Stadium.

It seems that since Mesut Ozil's arrival the whole team have had an injection of confidence, while Aaron Ramsey has been the star of the season so far, for me.

If Swansea want to go to the next level they have to start winning these big games and Arsenal will be a real test for them.

Jamie Redknapp
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Swansea v Arsenal
5pm, Sat, Sky Sports 1 HD

The Wales international had a lot of ability as a youngster and everyone was talking about him, but after being made Wales captain he suffered that horrific injury and struggled to regain his best form, even getting stick off his own fans.

We wondered, with the likes of Jack Wilshere and Mikel Arteta making their mark in the first team, whether he was going to be the one to miss out this year but he's taken on the challenge and been brilliant.

He's scored seven goals and his performances have been fantastic; he looks like he's full of confidence and feeling good about his game, which comes from his manager showing faith in him.

Arsenal also have an in-form Olivier Giroud leading the line.

Comparisons with the likes of Thierry Henry and Ian Wright have made it tough for the France international but Giroud is a good forward in his own right.

He's not Robin Van Persie but he's a good player and, like a lot of Arsenal players, has hit form at the start of the season.

The Gunners' lack of depth could be a problem if they get a spate of injuries but they can have a good season.

They may still be a player or two away from genuine title contenders but there's a lot for Arsenal fans to be excited about.


Swansea, meanwhile, have been outstanding in the last couple of weeks - their Capital One Cup defeat to Birmingham aside.

That loss was more down to resources than anything else - they haven't got the strength in depth to attack the League Cup as well as the Premier League and Europe.

But their performance against Valencia was fantastic; I know Valencia have been struggling and were down to 10 men but Swansea played them off the park.

Their football philosophy was established by Roberto Martinez a few years ago and has been taken to another level by subsequent managers. They've been getting better and better and have the potential to become a real force in the Premier League.

The one thing detracting from them this season, though, is the fact they've lost the two games they've had against top opposition, in Manchester United and Tottenham.

If you want to go to the next level you have to start winning these big games and Arsenal will be a real test for them.

It will be interesting to see how Michael Laudrup approaches the game - whether he goes with Michu behind Wilfried Bony, or just plays the Spaniard up front on his own - because this is a real chance for Swansea to put down a marker in terms of where they are and where they can go to this year.

For Arsenal, if they win this one, we'll be asking if they can push for the Premier League title; these are the sort of games you have to win to be considered title contenders.

However, given the strengths of both sides, I reckon this could be a tight, score draw. Either way, it should be a fantastic encounter.

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