Sitting five points back of first as the Premier League term enters the final stages, Arsenal are seeking redemption and new life in their title pursuit when they face Swansea City on Wednesday at Emirates Stadium.
Gunners manager Arsene Wenger responded to all of the heavy vitriol and criticism his side has endured since losing to Manchester United 3-2 on Sunday in Old Trafford. In particular, the Frenchman once again faced myriad questions about his lineups and the squad succumbing to pressure at the wrong moments.
Seeking the Premier League title for the first time since 2004, Wenger, however, hopes to turn the criticism into fuel for Arsenal.
''That's what we want to do,'' Wenger told reporters Tuesday. ''We want to transform the negatives into positives around us and create even more solidarity. Let's not go overboard, we do not play to be relegated.
"We are playing to fight for the title. That's why we have to put criticism in the right place."
The matchup with 16th-place Swansea, who are coming off a difficult 2-1 loss to second-place Tottenham, comes at crucial time, with 11 matches remaining on the schedule and a date with Spurs at White Hart Lane looming on Saturday.
Wenger let it be know that midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could miss six-to-eight weeks after injuring his knee against Barcelona in Champions League last week. The 22-year-old doesn’t require surgery, but his absence leaves the Gunners thin during the final push.
The Swans, however, are simply trying to stay out of relegation after letting up 34 shots to Tottenham. With 27 points off only six victories this term, Francesco Guidolin’s side are three points away from relegation.
"The way we look at it, we are under pressure, we have lost our last two and I think it is imperative we do not lose a third,” first team coach Alan Curtis said after Guidolin was unable to attend Tuesday’s conference due to a chest infection. "We need to perform so we can get up the table a little bit."
Making the trip to Emirates may just help Swansea wipe away their four-match winless streak. The Swans haven't tasted defeat on Arsenal’s grounds in their last three trips, claiming two victories and a draw.
Kickoff: Wednesday, 2:45 p.m. ET
TV Channel: Premier League Extra Time
Live Stream: NBC Sports Live Extra