Belfast Telegraph

Paul Clement hopes to benefit from Arsenal scouting trip

Swansea boss Paul Clement hopes his Champions League scouting mission at Arsenal will pay off in a fashion he could never have imagined.

Clement was at the Emirates Stadium on Boxing Day as Arsenal beat West Brom 1-0 in the Premier League.

The then-Bayern Munich number two formed part of a Bavarian spying trip ahead of next month's Champions League last-16 clash with Arsenal, before being given the job of trying to keep Swansea in the Premier League after the sacking of Bob Bradley.

"I saw them play West Brom so I have got my notes," said Clement, Carlo Ancelotti's former assistant, ahead of Arsenal's visit to the Liberty Stadium on Saturday.

"It's just I'll be using them for Swansea instead of Bayern now.

"The notes are the same, just looking at what they do and hopefully take advantage .....I'll send Carlo a photocopy!"

Clement's first game as a Premier League boss comes against the division's most experienced manager.

Arsene Wenger - who is now into his 21st year in north London - w ill be in charge of Arsenal for the 1,151st time at Swansea.

The pair have crossed swords before when Clement worked as an assistant to first Guus Hiddink, and then Ancelotti, during his time at Chelsea.

But Clement admits it is special coming up against Wenger as he starts out on trying to steer relegation-threatened Swansea to safety.

"It's exciting to be going up against a coach of that calibre and experience, it's brilliant," Clement said.

"He's been at Arsenal more than 20 years and I didn't know anything about football then.

"I was a secondary school teacher working part-time in Chelsea's centre of excellence. But Chelsea against Arsenal were always good games, always competitive."

Swansea are one point from safety after winning their last league game, 2-1 at Crystal Palace on January 3.

Clement came down from the stands into the technical area at Selhurst Park on a night when Alan Curtis was in caretaker command.

And he has revealed he has not over- complicated matters as he has got to know his players on the training ground.

"I am their third coach of the season and they have come off some really tough results, so confidence is low and we need to get that back up," Clement said.

"The best way to do that is to be well prepared. I will go into a game satisfied if I know I have done everything I can to prepare the team.

"That is my objective, to get to 3pm on Saturday knowing I have done everything I can.

"That might mean not giving the players too much information, just the right amount.

"You know Arsenal have got good footballers - and top-class players like (Alexis) Sanchez and (Mesut) Ozil, who have been doing particularly well this year.

"So we have to be well organised defensively, with everyone knowing their roles and their positions.

"The focus has been on that all week, then it is about the application of the players to deliver the plan."


From Belfast Telegraph