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Lee Dixon: In-form Swansea can give Arsenal a Cup scare

Michael Laudrup has impressed in his first season as a manager in English football

"Arsenal better be ready to put up a fight or they're going out of the FA Cup at this earliest stage."

Back the draw @ 4.57/2 

Michael Laudrup's Swansea arrive at the Emirates in fine fettle and a shaky Arsenal side could well be taken the distance, says Lee Dixon...

Forget blaming the ref for last Sunday's defeat at the hands of Manchester City - Mike Dean had no choice but to send off Laurent Koscielny for wrestling Edin Dzeko to the ground.

It's never easy playing against the champions when you're down to 10 men but it was still a poor performance from the Gunners. They were beaten all over the pitch, hardly putting up a fight and never threatening until late on after Vincent Kompany got his marching orders. 

Swansea are a dangerous opponent for any team these days - as witnessed by last week's win at Stamford Bridge in the Capital One Cup - and Arsenal better be ready to put up a fight or they're going out of the FA Cup at this earliest stage. 

Michael Laudrup's men are unbeaten in seven matches since a 1-0 defeat at Spurs in mid-December, a run that includes the 2-2 draw at the Liberty to set up this replay. The Swans are often held but rarely beaten, and that's how I see this one ending after 90 minutes. 

And, happily enough, the draw is an attractive price at 4.57/2 and Swansea will surely have their backers at 7.06/1. Arsenal, for the record, are as short as 1.564/7 to win. 

But the home side are vulnerable without Mikel Arteta, who is out for the rest of the month, and there's no-one in the side who can replicate what the Spaniard does. Santi Carzola has hit a flat spot and wasn't in the game at all on Sunday afternoon. For me, Oxlade-Chamberlain would have made more of an impact if he had not been sacrificed after the sending off.

Swansea, confident after denying odds-on Everton a win in the league on Saturday, will be fired up for this and playing away from home will suit them in what is a Cup decider. 

It'll be tense and nervy but I think both teams will score in a 90 minute draw. Swansea have conceded just nine goals on the road in the league so I'd be tempted by a 1-1 scoreline

Extra time can be a lottery but I'll chance a small bet on either side to clinch it with a goal in the extra 30 minutes - Arsenal are 11.010/1 to win in extra time; Swansea are 26.025/1

Recommended Bets

Back the draw @ 4.57/2 
Back Arsenal to win in extra time @ 11.010/1
Back Swansea  to win in extra time @ 26.025/1

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15 January 2013

FA Cup


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