Going into the New Year, 2014 holds so much hope and promise for the Arsenal. In 2013, we saw the Gunners leapfrog rivals Spurs once more to the top four and Champions League football, whilst this current campaign has gotten off to a cracker that has seen Arsenal travel to the top of the Barclay’s Premier League.
Next up for Arsenal in the league is a visit from Cardiff, who come to the Emirates Stadium today, in hope of finding some light at the end of the tunnel, with their favoured manager no longer at his post. Instead Vincent Tan’s public humiliating will hopefully continue when Arsenal look to run riot against them.
Arsenal on the other hand have boosted their season back in their favour after a highly fought three points came back to London from our visit to Newcastle at the weekend. It meant that Arsenal had secured consecutive wins for the first time since the end of November, and hopefully the Gunners will now transform that into three wins in a row with a win against Cardiff.
Going into the game there is a few concerns on the injury front after a report on Arsenal.com stated that Ramsey and Ozil are definitely out, whilst Giroud, Walcott, Wilshere, Rosicky, Gibbs, Vermaelen and finally Monreal are all doubtful.
It’s a massive worry seeing many of our first team players potentially out of the line-up because although this certainly won’t be our toughest game of the season, (on paper it shouldn’t be at least) it’s still important that we put out a strong side to make sure that we attain all three points.
I am particularly concerned about the defensive position following on from the report, because although many midfielders have been potentially ruled out of action, we have the quality and depth in midfield to still have something special in that area of the pitch. In defence however, it is a little more concerning because with Gibbs out, normally Monreal would fit in and if not then Vermaelen, however both of those respective players have also been listed as doubts for this game.
Therefore we could see a makeshift defence, where Sagna slots in at the left back position and we welcome Carl Jenkinson back to the team. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing however it isn’t the most convincing decision either, but it’s one I think Wenger is likely to make.
As a result I would expect the Gunners to line up as follows:
Jenkinson Mertesacker Koscielny Sagna
Gnabry Cazorla Podolski
It’s not the most convincing of teams in my opinion however it still has the quality to beat a team of Cardiff’s credential. Bendtner will probably get his chance whilst I would hope Podolski also features after surprisingly being left out of the action against Newcastle. We will also see Cazorla get his chance down the middle in a more favourable position and so I hope he manages to shine too, especially knowing we have the added protective partnership of Flamini and Arteta ahead of the defence.
It should be a good game, hopefully full of goals and excitement! I’m expecting a big win from Arsenal tomorrow on New Year’s Day, because although Cardiff are a good side, I think we have far too much quality for them to handle. Saying that, we could be held back slightly because of our first team regulars missing out but I have confidence in the options we have, to successful do the job and attain all three points.