Today's media round-up
13th March 2013
Today's media round-up looks at Saturday's opponents Arsenal as Arsene Wenger prepares his team for tonight's Champions League clash with Bayern Munich.
Meanwhile, Ashley Williams hails Michael Laudrup's decision to sign a new contract at the Liberty and young Ben Davies focuses on going up against the Gunners' firepower.
Wenger faces Arsenal fans wrath as he rests Mertesacker, Walcott and Cazorla
Arsene Wenger made the right noises to reassure fans that the 'Mission to Munich' is not impossible. He recalled past triumphs on Italian and Spanish soil. But it was tub-thumping of the muted kind.
It is on Welsh turf on Saturday that Wenger wants to deliver. Defeat by Tottenham in the north London derby raised serious questions as to whether the Gunners' 15-year run in the Champions League would end there. He desperately wants that not to be the case, starting with victory at Swansea.
With key midfielder Jack Wilshere sidelined by a bruised bone in his foot and Bacary Sagna (knee) and Lukas Podolski (ankle) also not travelling.
Arsenal's side would be weakened anyway but Wenger is planning on resting even more key players despite a 10-day break since their previous game. Santi Cazorla, Theo Walcott and one of his central defenders, Per Mertesacker or Thomas Vermaelen, are also expected to be kept fresh for Swansea. Abou Diaby, fragile at the best of times, is also not likely to be risked at the Allianz Arena.
"Swansea is a huge game as well," said Wenger yesterday. "Qualifying for the Champions League is massive for us. We want to be in there - and I don't envisage anything else.
"That's why it was so difficult for us to lose at Tottenham. Of course it's Tottenham, which means more, but it was more the impact in the league which was a worry for me."
Michael Laudrup deal gives Swans stability - Ashley Williams
Ashley Williams has hailed Michael Laudrup's new contract as the stability Swansea City need to stay a Premier League force.
And, speaking at a time where speculation has surrounded his own future, the Wales defender has called for the club to make sure the good times keep coming by keeping more key men.
Williams has been linked with big money moves to Liverpool and Swansea's weekend opponents Arsenal after an excellent second season in the big time.
It has not been unusual for Swansea to face such uncertainty over staff and squad with players such as Joe Allen and Scott Sinclair lured away by bigger clubs last summer while the past three Liberty bosses have all been poached after success in South Wales.
Yet Swansea moved to ease such fears of Laudrup following the likes of Brendan Rodgers when he put a stop to murmurs of interest from Real Madrid and Chelsea by signing up to fresh two-year terms last week.
"We're all obviously really pleased he's signed the new contract because we've enjoyed the season working with him," said Williams. "He's been linked to other teams but that just shows he's doing his job properly. That's normal.
"None of us really knew he was going to sign the new contract so it was a nice surprise and great that he has and hopefully now we can keep the squad together.
"We all get on as a squad and enjoying playing together and it would be great if we can keep that.
"I can't speak for other people or for the future, because we know what football is like - we all know the gaffer could get an offer he feels he wants and the club want to take it, you never know what could happen.
"But it's important we all try hard to stick together because I think that's the stability we need.
"When we first got promoted, we just wanted to survive. Then there was second season syndrome where you just want to survive.
"Now we're going to try and establish ourselves as a Premier League club and we have a good manager and a good club and the infrastructure's looking sound so hopefully we can push on."
South Wales Evening Post
Swans' Ben Davies looking forward to latest meeting with Arsenal ace Theo Walcott
Ben Davies insists he is relishing the prospect of another duel with Arsenal flyer Theo Walcott this weekend.
Swansea City's promising young left-back is set to go head to head with Walcott, one of the Premier League's star wingers this season for the third time in his brief senior career when Arsene Wenger's side visit the Liberty.
Davies faced the England wideman when Swansea claimed that memorable 2-0 league win at the Emirates, and they squared up again in January's 2-2 FA Cup draw with the Gunners in Landore.
And he is looking forward to measuring himself up against a player who has scored 18 goals in 34 appearances for his club this term when Arsenal come to Wales in the return league fixture.
"It's a big test for everyone, but I think I've shown I'm capable of playing against him. I've come up against him twice already this season," said Davies.
"There's no reason why I shouldn't look forward to it again. He's a top player. He wouldn't have been offered a new contract with Arsenal if that wasn't the case.
"Sometimes you get those players against you, you just have to do your best.
"You come up against different players every week, you have to try to keep them on the back foot.
"Theo Walcott is one of the best players I've come up against, he's got a terrific amount of pace and is difficult to deal with.
"But at the end of the day you have to do your best and see what happens.
"There's no fear at all. We're quite happy with whoever we come up against."