Cardiff Preview

TGIF is normally associated with two days ago but in blogging terms, it’s Thank God It’s Football that is being talked about today. The FA Cup is rapidly losing it’s lustre, especially when those hopeless inadequates from up the road are talking about putting out their Under-12’s to face Manchester United.

Anyway, the trip to Cardiff presents an opportunity to progress, likewise the same chance to slide into the Hall of Shame that is reputedly the source of the competitions romance, accompanying the Class of ’92 when Arsenal last visited the home of a Welsh club in the competition.

It strikes me that this tie is comparable to the visit to Burnley in the Carling Cup; one where Arsenal should dominate but must take their chances whilst being wary of the threat posed by a decent Championship side. Changes will be afoot, perhaps more than Arsene would normally choose with the visit to Everton coming on Wednesday. Gael Clichy is suspended so it seems likely that young Gibbs will get the opportunity at left back.

With Fabianski replacing Almunia, the scope for change in the back five is still limited, too many will rock the boat. Despite William Gallas‘ return to fitness, I suspect he is going to be held back until Everton, perhaps then only getting a place on the bench as Arsene seeks to ease him back in to what is a busy period of time as far as fixtures are concerned.

Arsene has preferred to use a stronger line-up in midfield for the FA Cup so perhaps little change there. Nasri might be the most obvious candidate for a rest, Vela dropping into that slot or maybe even Ramsey, despite it being the ‘wrong side’ of the quartet and Arsene’s reluctance to pick a player on sentimental grounds. Alex Song is available and will probably get a game ahead of Diaby, saving the latter for midweek.

Up front, Bendtner’s multi-coloured boots have found the back of the net in the last couple of games so that should fill him with more confidence in front of goal than he showed on the visit to Turf Moor. It might have been temptin for Wenger to recall Eduardo, especially as the player is chomping at the bit to get back into first team action and an appearance this weekend should not be ruled out, especially since Arsene changed his mind in the space of two sentences:

I believe he needs three to four games, at least three. But what he did on Wednesday was encouraging. Gradually he gets more free in his decision-making. He showed he was physically ready and, of course, intelligent, but he needs one or two more games.

So, 1,2,3, or 4 then Boss? Arsene was obviously having a Feist-y moment by the looks of things. I suspect the team will be not much different from:

Fabianski; Sagna, Toure, Djourou, Gibbs; Eboue, Denilson, Song, Vela; van Persie, Bendtner

Cardiff should not be taken lightly. They have only lost to Birmingham, Plymouth and Wolves at home in all competitions this season which should be respected. That said, it indicates that when they are faced with ‘quality’ opposition, they are there for the taking.

Arsene commented that the fixture list favoured the defending Champions:

You can say that Manchester United have been extremely advantaged, unexplainably advantaged. But that is what we have to cope with. It is difficult to explain why one team plays on Tuesday and the others are all on Wednesday. It is unfair competition. Next week the fixtures are advantaged for Manchester United, who before had a point against Liverpool – I supported them when they had a case. But this week, I think Benitez has a case.

Pretty obvious that a replay would be a bad result from that viewpoint. More than anything else though, you get the feeling that Wenger is missing his old adversary, Darth Ferguson. Having been a bit too pally with him in recent times, perhaps the Frenchman is just looking to wind him up a bit, a sort of “coo-ee, I’m still here“. No doubt Ol’ Red Nose will have something to say, perhaps leading to a spat questioning who has the prettiest wife? I miss the old days…

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it. ’til Tomorrow.

168 thoughts on “Cardiff Preview

  1. Sue me for what G4E? Speaking the truth?

    With better finishing Cardiff should have buried us in the first half. We then dominate possession and achieve nothing.

    £80k a week Adepaymore virtually missing the ball with the goal in front of him.

    We now have a game that we could have done without.

    You lot need to wake up and admit that today was a crap result. Do you really want Arsenal to win anything as you seem to be easily satisfied with the mediocre.

  2. G4E,

    STOP SCREWING WITH MY HEAD AND FEELINGS. I am a lonely guy who has nothing going on in his life. And the only chance of me having a smile this year is if Arsenal wins something. Anything. And I don’t care how!! I don’t care if wenger has to go, or we have to sell our young lads to get Ashravin. I JUST WANT US TO WIN!! I don’t smile when we win, because I see so many faults that our player makes, and it makes me realize that we are not on the level of the other big 3. Fine chelsea might only be just 3 points, and liverpool just 6 ahead of us. But I don’t like comparing. I want us to be perfect. Every night that I think of the defeats at Fulham and Hull, it brings tears to my eyes. Why is wenger playing with my mind? Why don’t he just go and buy the players that I can so easily identify with just searching them on at google. WHY WHY!!???

    SNIFF SNIFF!! A sad day for us. Draw with CARDIFF!! IM going to be angry and sad the next few days, and the ocassional tears in the eyes.

  3. AIC sue you for associating something so beautiful, tasty and sometimes comforting like Ice Cream with yourself.

    You’re the complete opposite of Ice Cream, at least your comments are.

    Can you tell me why we didn’t see any comments from you after our 3-1 win away to Hull? You were away on a business trip I’m sure.

  4. So what if Adebayor missed a sitter? RVP missed chances, and Nasri missed as well in the same game. It doesn’t mean they are crap, it doesn’t mean we are doomed, and it’s certainly not the end of the world.

    At least not mine, maybe your world is?

  5. G4E!!

    Are you nuts? The Hull game was a disgrace, even though we won. We should count ourselves lucky, that their strikers couldn’t convert the chances that their midfield never made. I

    f only their midfield could get hold of of the ball, and had delivered it to the wingers, and if they had just crossed it for the strikers, who with their sharp instincts would have scored, WE WOULD HAVE LOST!!!

    ARE YOU BLIND??!!? ARE YOU ALL BLIND?!??! CAN’T YOU SEE WHAT I SEE?!?!

  6. Ade does miss too many sitters……but he has a great touch and is excellent in the air and plays the team in.

  7. Re: Howard’s post at 7.18pm. Is he being sarcastic? His comments just seem to be trying to wind people up or take the piss out of the doom mongers. Either way I can’t be bothered with it.

  8. Right Ateeb, we escaped this one buddy. We are just a lucky bunch.

    Exactly AIC with 12 goals and 7 assists so far, with most of our creative players missing…It’s a disgrace for Ade.

    You should set a place for us all to mourn and cry….and maybe wail too. You can call it “AIC & The Wailers Place”.

  9. AIC AND THE WAILERS. On Top of the Pops tonite. Ateeb, have to agree with Aic and howard. We need Top Class british beef. Sack wenger and bring on Tony Pulis or Mark Hughes. Now those two will win us everything mate. Prime cut british beef.

  10. “A replay the last thing we need…”

    I don’t think that’s strictly true.

    If we’re going to win anything this season we will probably need to call on younger players like Gibbs, Ramsey, Wilshere and Bendtner at some point.

    What’s wrong with them getting a game sooner rather than later? It means they’ll be ready should we suffer yet more first team injuries later in the season.

    I think our League Cup team could easily beat Cardiff at home. Even so, the side for the replay will probably be a mixture of first-teamers and squad players instead of a complete second team.

    Provided no first team players get injured (and we win!), it could be a very useful experience for some of our players.

    Meanwhile, any opportunity to see our great young guns is fine by me!

  11. Yep…I agree with Big Al. Kieran, Aaaron, Jack and one or two others will gain some valuable experience in the replay.

  12. That would be great, Frank. I’ve read that it could be quiet at the Emirates – maybe a few more might show if Eduardo makes a return.

    The Online Gooner is the pits isn’t it?

    Anyway.
    Cardiff at home is nothing like what Liverpool have to cope with. And Man U may eventually suffer for their pre-Xmas jet-setting.

    This latest result also continues our steady progress.

  13. …I will be going to the game, Big Al…really looking forward to it….if it is part of the season ticket deal then the danger is that large swathes of fat, wealthy tw*ts won’t bother….bit like AIC…..they will just waddle along to the pub to watch….or probably waddle along to the pub and not watch the game…..just have ‘reasoned’ debate…..HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    Arsenal, Arsenal, Arsenal…..Arsenal, Arsenal, Arsenaaa all….Arsenal, Arsenal, Arsenal….Arsenal…ARSENAL

  14. I think “continues our steady progress” is a bit generous Big Al.

    At best, we can say no harm done and Song had a good game.

    Beyond that, it’s a game we could do without but might be a good way for Eddie to make his comeback in.

  15. Its just another opportunity to see the Arsenal at home, so i’m as happy as Larry… its getting to that point in the season when in yester-year the season ticket booklet would start to thin… i thought we got lucky in the draw, if we can beat Cardiff next wk we’ll have an exciting run in what with the CL & it being so tight in the prem…

    Talking of this season being tight… i friend of mine mentioned that the following question caused quite alot of uproar on his blog… and it was:

    “Would you sacrifice winning the Champions League if it meant Spurs were relegated?”

    Now, I personally don’t hate Spurs, I don’t really hate any team, and if i’m honest i think the above question is a little sad to say the least, however, i was suprised to hear that a huge number of fans actually said ‘yes’, they would… i’m interested in what you guys think – i see the games against Spurs / Man UTD / Chelsea / Liverpool as the highlights of the season, so seeing any one of them relegated would just spoil the season for me (that said, seeing Spurs say at rock bottom of the table last week did bring a wry smile to my face)…

  16. With the D&G brigade it’s probably more ‘debatable reason’ than ‘reasoned debate’.

    Lots of games to look forward to – and that has to be a good thing.

  17. Well, I don’t know about you QoS but I relish any opportunity to go to watch this side…so I am looking forward to getting to the game next week…I think Big Al is right we are making steady progress….Aaron Ramsey and Kieran Gibbs got some valuable experience and may do again next week…Alex Song is looking sharp…and Abou Diaby looked much better…..Cardiff City was a potential banana skin…and we didn’t slip on it…we are inching forward..AND no new injuries for the Everton game….

  18. Sorry, QoS,

    By “steady progress”, I mean that we’re looking rugged, playing a bit more as a team and, best of all, not losing games at the moment.

    That has to be a good thing right now. As long as we can keep it up, I think it’s possible that things will click as the weeks go by. What better time for a team to peak than in March, April and May!

    The younger players are steadily growing in confidence; Denilson’s improvement and Song’s performance yesterday attest to that. At the same time, nobody’s really gushing about them. So there’s no danger that any of our young guys will think they’ve made it just yet.

    For me it’s steady, if not spectacular progress. And I prefer that to the boom and bust (haha!) of the first few months of the season.

  19. You lot make me laugh, you really do.

    Keep up the denial; its the only thing that keeps you going.

    Arsenal were rubbish yesterday against a team that are top 6 in the championship.

    Instead of admitting the reality that this was yet another substandard performance against a second rate team you deny the reality and blame me for having the temerity to tell it like it is.

    If you want to accept low standards for Arsenal football club then go ahead.

    The performance yesterday was unacceptable unless you lower the standards expected of Arsenal.

    Ade is rubbish. Look at his performances and not just his stats. Ian Wright now would have scored yesterday but Ade couldn’t. Why should he care anyway; its 80k a week win lose or draw. He plays like he does not give a **** about Arsenal and you guys defend him. He is taking the **** out of us.

  20. Time for a grabber?!?!?

    Fair enough Al – of course I love the opportunity to watch the team but taken to its logical conclusion that’s like saying you’d like us to draw in every round of the cup just so we get replays. At the end of the day, we should be beating the Cardiff’s of this world quite easily.

    I’m surprised that people are suggesting Diaby has stepped up though…I’ve not rated his performances at all during this run in the side…at this point, I think he’d be the first for a spell of extended bench warming if we bay in this window.

  21. AIC,

    I thought it was an average performance, and despite that we were IMO, very comfortably on top apart for a period from the 5th to the 25th minute.

    Cardiff had two clear chances, while we missed at least 4 sitters.

    I simply wasn’t as disappointed as I was in say, the Portsmouth game which we won.

    It’s the cup. We have an injury-ridden team with 5 other starters rotated.

    Yet we dominated and should have won the game.

    I simply don’t see anything to make me tear my hair in that.

  22. Ole,

    We should have smashed a team like Cardiff but made them look good and we now have an extra game that we don’t need.

    I am not tearing out any hair though. This is just the latest in along-line of rubbish results against poor teams this season which shows how far standards have been allowed to slip.

    I will never be happy with this. The Emirates move was supposed to make us more competitive but the opposite has occurred.

    It was another ordinary performance against ordinary opposition.

    I hope the performances improve for the CL otherwise we will be KO’ed pretty quickly.

  23. AIC,

    You’re profoundly wrong. If you think this game at Cardiff says anything about say the CL then……

    I don’t know where you get these ideas from really! Didn’t Man Yoo lose to Derby a couple of weeks ago? How come they didn’t “smash them”.

    What’s the matter with you?

  24. Ole,

    I never said this has anything to do with the CL. I was referring to performances generally. We have been better in the CL so here’s hoping.

    ManU, you mean the team that won nearly everything last year? Their bad performances are the exception whereas our happen with alarming regularity.

    Please don’t compare us to ManU. Look at what they have done on the pitch since we mugged them in the Cup in 05 and look at us.

  25. AIC’s views aren’t that extreme really, i suprised he’s getting a hard time.

    We were below par yesterday against a very ordinairy side.

    If we are to win something this season, our performance need to improve.

    Is it fair to say that? I think so?
    Do I think we have the ability to improve? I think so.

  26. Queen,

    It depends on which Ade you mean. If it was the one from last season who was hungry, focused, hard-working and scored a lot of goals then I would want him to stay.

    If it is this year’s version then we would be lucky to give him away.

    Was he paying for a payrise last year? Like his idol Kanu he had a great season got a rise and was then toilet from then on.

    He looks like he can’t be bothered, so on current form if he wanted to go I would “drive him to airport myself”.

    If he sorts out his attitude I would have a different opinion.

  27. AIC,

    If you won “everything” last year, you can’t play badly. Makes sense, except that it does not.

    Nonsense. Your expectations are just that, really. If we don’t go to Cardiff and smash Cardiff, then we’re poor. Makes no sense. Perspective.

    But it’s your life. Believe what you will…

  28. …’extreme’ is not really a problem…it is the slow miserable, whinging, whining drip…game in game out….for many, many, many ,many interminable months…I dream of extreme from AIC..I might respect the f***er more….

  29. Queen,

    I do believe I have found someone on this blog who has the guts to see the reality of the situation.

    The others are living in denial. It was p*** poor yesterday.

  30. QoS,

    I think if that game yesterday says anything about our ability to win anything it says only positive things.

    We might not have won, but we were much better than Cardiff and missed at least 4 sitters.

    Ok, if we missed 4 sitters in every game we’ll win nothing. But really, I don’t see the need for weeping and gnashing of teeth.

  31. Ole,

    Fulham, Hull, Sperz, S’land, Cardiff, Boro, Stoke, Man Citeh, Wigan as well as being p***ed on at home by Villa.

    Of course even great teams play badly but not that often. We are not a great team however.

  32. “But it’s your life. Believe what you will…”

    A comment like that is lost on Mr Objectivity.

    I admit that I’m a bit slow, but I’m pretty sure it’s the height of arrogance to claim to be “telling it like it is”.

  33. Eboue will be missing from the replay he has to go to the Ivory Coast for their Diving championships to defend his title

  34. so what, we drew a game. We’ll win the replay. Could have done without it but not the end of the world.

    If that one performance makes us shit, then by the same logic villa are also turd.

  35. I despair of you AIC. There was a time when you had a point to make, albeit that you made a meal of it but now?

    I am fed up with the continuing moaning and negativity. Don’t you see that you acheive nothing by continually slating our team and our manager? Comfort to the enemy they call it in time of conflict.

    Make no mistake, in the little world of football, not to be confused with that bigger, badder world where conflict means a bit more that a replay at home, we are in a battle.

    A battle with other teams, other standards of behaviour, other principles and, write it large, the media and all it’s grubby little agendas.

    You are with us or against us in this battle. We want to win. Anybody who does not put his shoulder to the wheel and push for that as hard as they can, in whatever way they can, is not an Arsenal supporter even though they might wear the colours.

    UP THE ARSENAL!

  36. AIC,
    I continue to think you’re whining. Just as you were at the start of the season.

    Just as you were last season.

  37. I think it’s as bad to only see “all positives” as it is to only see “all negatives”.

    Yesterday was a mixed bag. There is stuff to build on for sure and we avoided a potenital banana skin.

    But, whilst we avoided it, we didn’t exactly execute the avoidance with style and grace either.

    For what its worth, its becoming clear to me, that without our injured players, Cesc, Rosicky, Eddie, we have a second tier coming through that can look exceptional on occasion but are not quite ready to look exceptional consistently.

  38. Not funny PSB. I am not his biggest fan but he really worked hard. The man wants to succeed so much.

    I don’t think that Eboue did dive. He was caught and went down like players do every week. A Cardiff player was far more blatant later without getting a card. I saw Riera dive in the ‘pool match. The referee did not blink. Used to it at anfield I suppose.

  39. We are ahead of you in this debate QoS. It has been going on for months. Many here know that we are not worldbeaters at the moment and that performances are patchy. We know that the team is young and that we have many senior players injured.

    We just want to support the team we have. To encourage the young players and back the best manager we are ever likely to have.

    We are not doing too bad are we?

  40. Consols,

    I don’t think tbat Eboue dived. He is still not good enough to be a starter for Arsenal and is only a squad player as we have noone else.

    He wants to succeed? So what, he’s not good enough and never will be.

  41. Part of to support is not to be uncritical though surely CB?

    I have as much problem with the notion that you are not a true Arsenal fan unless you’re ignoring any weaknesses as I do with the notion that everything is terrible and Wenger needs to go.

  42. In some ways it is his own fault Romford Pele because if he hadn’t tried to con refs in the past, he would get the benefit of the doubt more often.

    An individual decision does not happen in a vacumn.

    The game happens so fast that refs are bound to be unsure and even get it wrong on occasion. All you can hope is that in those 50-50 calls half of them go your way.

    By gaining a rep as a diver, all you do is shift those odds against you.

  43. Queen,

    Its not all bad -I have given “positive” posts and though that we would beat Manu for example. I have never said AW out either.

    However, I am not convinced about the direction of the club – on or off the field and this worries me.

    Some of the players will be ready to challenge buit not this season. We urgently need new players and have done since Flam, Hleb, Diarra left.

  44. Refs should take decisions based on what they see. What you say QoS may be true in the sense that it happens, but that doesn’t make it right or something we should just accept.

    The flip side of your argument is that a ‘fair’ player will win pens by diving occasionally or get away with a sneaky foul because they have ‘earned’ the benefit of the doubt.

  45. QoS,

    There is nobody here who doesn’t see negatives. Look, that’s in a way not even the point.

    It’s about perspective. Of course we didn’t play a perfect game. On the other hand we certainly weren’t poor.

    And it wasn’t a disaster.

  46. In the scario you outline Romford, it’s clear to me that its better to be on the “flip Side” of the situation as you describe it. You are likely to be “over-rewarded” for honest play.

    The ideal solution is that refs get everything right. But i don’t see that ever happening. Even if you add technology into the mix, there will be contentious decisions.

    We don’t currently have any choice other than to just accept it, and hope that our players are smart enough to realise that in the long term, getting a rep as a diver is detremental to the team.

    Unless of course, you are Steven Gerrard who repeatedly puts Greg Luganis to shame and gets away with it because “he’s Stevie G”.

  47. The Gerrard point rather defeats your argument about reputations doesn’t it QoS?

    On another point, that is two dodgy goals that The Big Diver has scored against Howard in a week.

    If I were at all suspicious of these things I might be checking with the Gambling Commission. He was 11/2 to score the first goal.

  48. I’d say yesterday, we were erring more towards poor than perfect though given the quality of the opposition Ole.

    Not dramatically so, and given the injuries, pitch, noisy home crowd, and Cardiff fancying themselves as a cup team…it was probably unrealistic to expect free flowing Wengerball.

    Like I say, a banana skin avoided. I certainly have higher expectations for the replay though.

  49. I consider “The Scouse Twunt” as the exception that proves my rule Consolsbob!

    I’d still maintain its better to seek a good reputation than a bad one reputation and i’d be shocked if anyone was really trying to debate that point with me!

  50. Don’t get touchy QoS.

    I completely agree on your point re. reputations. I think our players are generally pretty fair but it doesn’t do them much good with Referees though does it? Or with opposing fans.

  51. This we did not rplace players lark is past a joke at this stage of the season.

    For the record, we did replace Hleb. As for Diarra it’s incredible how a player like him gets mentioned. The man hardly played for us or the Chavs, showed no bottle for a fight and got shown the door PDQ.

    Does anybody still believe that Denilson has not effectively replaced Flamini, that great Arsenal loyalist?

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