Arsenal v Swansea City: Arsene Wenger seeking some home comfort
ARSENE Wenger is pinning his hopes on Arsenal's home form as he looks to silence groans in the stands at the Emirates.
Wenger has long since secured legendary status in North London, where they have erected a statue in his honour.
But the man credited with transforming Arsenal's style has had to cope with some criticism in recent times having failed to win a trophy since 2005.
Wenger's Arsenal are almost always at the right end of the Premier League.
And their recent win over Montpellier means they have reached the knockout stages of the Champions League for the 13th year in succession.
That is a quite remarkable achievement, but Arsenal's fans want to see silverware on the mantelpiece and hence Wenger, for all his successes, has come in for flak.
Wenger was subjected to 'You don't know what you're doing' chants at Aston Villa last weekend — and got a little upset when he was asked about them afterwards.
He later admitted to not knowing whether the Gunners' many thousands of fans are all still with him.
It seems safe to assume that if Swansea City are not dispatched tomorrow, there will be dissent in the home crowd.
Arsenal, after all, are only a point better off than Swansea as it is.
They begin the weekend seventh in the table, five points adrift of West Brom in the final Champions League qualification place.
For Wenger fourth place is the minimum requirement.
The Frenchman will hope to start closing the gap with a victory tomorrow, for Arsenal have won just one of their last five in the league.
They have only lost one in six, but draws are not enough when you want a place in the top four.
It finished goalless at Villa Park last Saturday, then 1-1 at Everton in midweek.
Now Wenger is seeking home comforts.
"If you look at the Premier League at the moment, we have played 14 games, eight away, and now we have played at the two Liverpool clubs and the two Manchester clubs," he said.
"If we play well at home and get the results at home, we have a chance to come back. That is our job now."
Wenger argues he has "rebuilt a new team" this season, with the likes of Santi Cazorla (right), Olivier Giroud and fit-again Jack Wilshere now part of a side which has lost talisman Robin van Persie.
And as disgruntled as some Arsenal fans may be, they do not often see their club lose on home soil.
Only Chelsea have won there in the league so far this season, hence the Gunners begin as odds-on favourites to see off Swansea.
Wenger must hope the bookies have got it right.