Cardiff City: Rudy Gestede - Out
Arsenal: Alex Oxlade Chainberlain, Abou Diaby, Ryo Miyaichi, Lukas Podolski & Yaya Sanogo - Out; Kieron Gibbs - Doubtful
Cardiff City: None
Cardiff City: LDWLD
Off the back of an excellent draw with Man Utd, Cardiff will again entertain another of the big boys, this time in the form of Arsenal. Against United, Cardiff were helped by slack defending from United (in particular Rio Ferdinand), but also a ponderous midfield duo (Cleverley and Fellaini) who were slow in the tackle and gave away many fouls.
Against Arsenal, Cardiff will find a team that is 100% in tune with one another; if Cardiff are to gain anything from this fixture it will have to come off their own backs, they are unlikely to receive any freebies from Arsenal.
A few months ago I would have been laughed out the building for suggesting Arsenal would be able to keep it tight, truth be told I was among this crowd a few weeks ago. However, with each passing fixture it is becoming clear frugality is quickly becoming a by-word for Arsenal.
Since their 2-1 defeat to Borussia Dortmund, Arsenal have kept 5 clean sheets in 7 games. This run has largely coincided with the return of Mikel Arteta. He has effectively replaced Mathieu Flamini during this run and has struck a good partnership with Aaron Ramsey. Although they have both been dribbled by players far more than Flamini, Arteta and Ramsey have successfully attempted more tackles, interceptions and average far more passes per game than Flamini.
As it is probable Gibbs will not play, Cardiff could target Arsenal's left hand side. Often in matches Cardiff do attack through the right side (Arsenal's left), though considering how strong Arsenal are at dealing with ground based attacks and how poor Cardiff are at attacking on the ground, Cardiff's best chance of a goal is likely to come from a set piece.
Unfortunately, despite their strengths Arsenal are quite efficient in their tackling, do not make many fouls and because of the amount of possession I expect the Gunners to have, I do not see Cardiff having many opportunities to make the most of their main strength. As if Arsenal fans needed a reason to swell up even more with pride, I suspect this match will show Arsenal's superiority to Man Utd.
Cardiff 0-3 Arsenal