Sunday 2 September
13:30 Cardiff City v Arsenal
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Assistants: Gary Beswick, Adam Nunn
Fourth official: David Coote
Arsenal travel to Cardiff as very hot favourites to beat the newly-promoted side, but I don’t think we can brush the Bluebirds off quite as easily as that. The Welsh side may not have scored even one goal in their three games so far but they have had two 0-0 draws to show for it, and would you believe that, including their Championship games last season, they have lost just one of their last ten home League games.
Arsenal, on the other hand, have probably the worst recent away form of any team in the country! Here is their last ten away League results…..
That is very grim reading and we can only hope that the players have forgotten about our abysmal end to last season and are keen to get the new era started off on the right foot. I certainly hope so. On a much brighter note, we haven’t lost to Cardiff in a competitive match for over 50 Years and they haven’t scored in the last four.
So, on to the team news. All of Arsenal’s current injury problems are to defenders, with the big worries being Sead Kolasinac and Ainsley Maitland-Niles as they are only alternatives to Nacho Monreal at left-back. We can forget about seeing our nominal captain Laurent Koscielny for a few months, and I’m sure we’ve all forgotten Carl Jenkinson who has only played one game for us in the last two seasons.
We are all begging for Lucas Torreira to be in the starting line-up to give Mustafi and Sokratis some help in defence when Monreal and Bellerin go flying forward, as they seem to do all the time.
Cech will continue in goal behind our usual four defenders, and I would like to see Guendouzi and Xhaka on either side of Torreira although I think Emery will bring Ramsey back into the equation.
There will still be no room for Lacazette as Aubameyang will continue as centre-forward, but after Emery’s comments this week I think we will see Mesut Ozil back in the line-up but pushed out to the right-wing? I also believe Nkhitaryan will continue on the other side.
So here is my predicted line-up….
Bellerin – Mustafi – Sokratis – Monreal
Ramsey – Torreira – Xhaka
Ozil – Aubameyang – Mkhitaryan
History is on Arsenal’s side, and with Cardiff yet to score goal this season, and Arsenal have yet to keep a clean sheet, then something has to give, so I am going for our lax defence to give the Bluebirds their first goal, but we get three in return.
3-1 to Arsenal.