Ben: This is our toughest test
28th September 2013
Ben Davies insists the Swans are in for their toughest test of the season so far when Arsenal visit the Liberty Stadium.
Michael Laudrup's side have climbed into the top half of the table in recent weeks after wins over West Brom, Crystal Palace and an entertaining draw with Liverpool.
But they face a stern test this afternoon when Arsene Wenger brings his in-form side to south west Wales.
The Gunners are chasing their eleventh successive away win - a run stretching back to last March.
Not only that, but the north London club are the current Premier League leaders and have won their last four games after suffering an opening-day defeat to Aston Villa.
And Davies is adamant that today's opponents will pose a strong test for his team-mates.
"We know it's going to be a tough," he said. "They are top of the table at the moment, on a great run and on that basis I think it will be our toughest test so far.
"They are playing good football, they work well together and they have also brought in some top quality players.
"But we are confident going into the game, particularly being at home and hopefully we can get something out of it.
"We are on a good run ourselves and it should be a great game. There will be a lot of quality on show and hopefully we can produce another good performance and get the right result."
The run of form that Davies alludes to started four weeks ago with a 2-0 victory against West Brom.
That win handed the Swans their first points of the season - and it was followed up with fine performances against Liverpool and, most recently, Crystal Palace.
"I think we can be happy with the start we've made," said Ben. "We knew that it would be a difficult start with the two games against Manchester United and Spurs, but it's nice to have picked up some points in recent weeks because that was our aim.
"We've tried to take advantage of the fixtures in the last few games and it's been pleasing to see us climb up the table."
And today's game against Arsenal is sure to be another entertaining encounter between the two sides.
The Swans have beaten the Gunners twice in the Premier League in recent seasons, but were on the end of a 2-0 defeat at the Liberty back in March.
But following a positive start from Arsene Wenger's men both at home and in Europe. Davies believes that can be challenging at the top end of the table come May.
"I think they can be right up there this season," he said. "As long as they keep up the good results that they have had so far, they certainly have the quality within the team to challenge.
"If you look at the league last season, Arsenal have arguably got one of the best squads this year in terms of quality.
"They have had a great start and I'm sure they will be looking to keep it up."
Key to Arsenal's good start has been the form of Davies's international team-mate, Aaron Ramsey.
The midfielder tops the club's scoring charts so far this term, netting seven goals in eight games.
"He got a bit of stick last season, and he's now proving his critics wrong," said Davies.
"I think he's definitely showing his potential now, coming out of his shell perhaps and demonstrating his quality on the pitch.
"He is also chipping in with a lot of goals at the moment and I hope that he can continue that - after Saturday of course!"
Another vital component to Arsenal's upturn in fortunes has been the arrival of Mesut Ozil.
The Germany international was signed at the end of the transfer window from Real Madrid, with Arsene Wenger smashing the club's transfer record in the process.
A reported £42.5 million was used to lure Ozil to the Emirates, and he has repaid his new manager's faith by producing four assists in his first two games.
And Davies says the Swans will have to be wary of his talents if they are to secure another positive result this afternoon.
"It wasn't a bad signing was it," he said. "He's a quality player and he proved that during his time in Spain.
"Not only that, but he already has four assists so we'll need to be at our best to cut the supply to him and prevent him from creating as many chances as he does.
"But it's great to come up against those types of players - and it's also good for the Premier League as well. As a player you want to test yourself against the best, and he certainly fits that bill."
Today's game comes on the back of what has been a memorable month for Swansea City.
Perhaps the highlight was that terrific 3-0 win over Valencia in Spain - a result that announced Laudrup's side to Europe.
Of course, the Swans have won their fair share of admirers since arriving in the Premier League two years ago, but Davies believes it is now time for them to progress even further.
"To win so convincingly at the Mestalla, after drawing with Liverpool, and then beat Crystal Palace a couple of days later, shows just how strong a squad we have this year," he said.
"It wasn't so long ago that we were a million miles away from clubs like Valencia. But I think we need to be confident enough going into games that we can get the results we want.
"Not only that, but we want to dominate on the pitch and show that presence against whoever the opposition is.
"The manager made five changes to the team last Sunday, but we have a good squad of players and everything is put in place for us to recover from those games and be ready for the next challenge."
As well as the players around him, Davies has enjoyed another fine start to the season.
The Wales international has been ever-present for club and country, and opened his account with a fine strike against West Brom at the Hawthorns.
"It's always nice to get a goal," he said. "The most important thing is getting three points, but if I can help out with a goal or two every now and again then that's great.
"I just try and concentrate on putting in good performances first and foremost - anything else is just a bonus."