Cardiff City are Arsenal’s Fourth Round opponents but the high flying Championship will be no pushovers. The Gunners will be hoping they look can build on the current promising form and are not taking anything for granted.
Venue: Ninian Park Date: Sunday, 25 January Kick-off: 1330 GMT
If there were ever two examples of how to run a football club, you’re unlikely to get much better than these two. With more and more clubs living on their tomorrows that will never come, Cardiff and Arsenal have been building for the future.
It’s now the turn of the Welsh club to move to a new stadium, just as the Gunners did a few seasons ago and inferably have to be sensible with their money. Their team list boasts youngsters, journey men, workmen-like players and exciting new signings showing how pragmatic they have been in their push for the Premier League which has been disrupted by having to sell their best players.
Their most prize asset has to be winger Joe Ledley. Scouted by several Premier League clubs it is unlikely he will be at the club much longer. Boasting great technique, the youth product is more a Beckham than a Giggs and maybe a reason why clubs haven’t yet taken a gamble on him. Centre back Roger Johnson is casting admirers also, Peter Whittingham is another of great technique while new signing Burke is the quality that will take them forward. Striker Ross McCormack, signed for 110k is the key player having scored 13 goals already even though he has missed a month through injury.
Arsene Wenger has sights on winning the FA Cup after the competition admittedly dropped down the list of his priorities in recent seasons.
“That is why this game for me is not only a cup game but it is an alignment with a very important quality for us; showing that we put it in, in every single game we play. I ignore that it is a cup game. I just want to see another game where we come out and do the job.”
Team News: Against Arsenal it is likely that Cardiff will look to stifle the Gunners by denying space rather than play a physical game. The Bluebirds like to pass the ball which may play into Arsenal’s hand who in the end should have too much quality for Cardiff. Gibbs is likely to start in place of the suspended Clichy and on that side, the hard working Parry should provide him with a tough battle. Arsene Wenger has hinted he may rest a few players with Van Persie and Nasri obvious candidates while Ramsey could be in contention to start against his former club.
Arsenal Likely Line Up (4-4-2)
Sagna – Toure (c) – Djourou – Gibbs
Eboue – Diaby – Denilson – Nasri
Adebayor – Bendtner
Subs from: Mannone, Gallas, Ramsey, Song, Vela, Van Persie
Cardiff City Likely Line Up (4-4-1-1)
McNaughton – Gyepes – R. Johnson – Kennedy
Parry – Rae – McPhail – Ledley(c)
Subs from: Heaton, Blake, Capaldi, Scimeca, McPhail, Burke, Eddie Johnson
Prediction: Cardiff City 0-2 Arsenal