29th of January 2019 Author: Johnny Karp
Arsenal are looking to return to winning ways when they host Cardiff at the Emirates Stadium tonight. The reverse fixture, played in September, was a tricky one for the Gunners, even though they scored three goals. Cardiff fought back from 1-0 and 2-1 down but Arsenal eventually won the game with a late goal from striker Alexandre Lacazette. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Shkodran Mustafi also scored for Arsenal in that match, while Cardiff got goals from Victor Camarasa and Danny Ward. It was the fourth consecutive win for Arsenal over Cardiff in all competitions and the fifth in the last six direct matches. Cardiff have not won a match against Arsenal since 1961.
Arsenal have rarely produced good performances in consecutive matches lately, they always seemed to follow up a good match with a poor one. That was the case in the past couple of weeks, when they followed up the solid 2-0 Premier League victory over Chelsea with a comprehensive 3-1 defeat at the hands of Manchester United in the FA Cup last week. Moreover, they lost central defender Sokratis Papasthatopoulos to injury during that match, and that triggers a bit of a crisis as Laurent Koscielny and Rob Holding are out of contention as well. Greek youngster Konstantinos Mavropanos might be forced to play, despite having only just recovered from an injury.
Cardiff are still waiting for their first victory in 2019, they lost three of their four matches this year and their only somewhat positive result was the goalless draw against fellow relegation contenders Huddersfield. Their latest Premier League match was a 3-0 defeat at Newcastle, but they had all last week to prepare for the Arsenal match because they had already been knocked out of the FA Cup by League One side Gillingham. Harry Arter, Jazz Richards, Kenneth Zohore and Kadeem Harris are injury doubts for Cardiff, while Sean Morrison is set to miss out through injury.
Arsenal: Leno - Licthsteiner, Mustafi, Monreal, Kolasinac - Torreira, Xhaka, Guendouzi - Ramsey - Lacazette, Aubameyang
Cardiff: Etheridge - Peltier, Manga, Bamba, Bennett - Camarasa, Gunnarsson, Ralls, Hoilett - Paterson - Niasse
My prediction: Arsenal to win 2-0, Cardiff don't seem capable of causing any concerns at the moment.
Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:
Arsenal win - 1.28
Draw - 6.00
Cardiff win - 13.00
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Despite of the expectations maybe that wasn't a straight forward win for the Gunners.
The goals have come pretty deep in the second half and they had to wait till the 83min before assuring themselves a two goal cushion.
Credit to the Cardiff side who've made a brave performance and probably if they've been a bit more lucky could snatch at least a point from this one.
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