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Cardiff City vs. Arsenal

Ninian Park

25/1/09

13:30

Cardiff City v. Arsenal

After another odious week in the transfer market, where fans were subjected to the constant questioning of 'will he, won't he', the glimmer of real football over the horizon has me excited again.

At the beginning of the year, I hoped that Wenger would treat the FA Cup as serious as possible this year because I thought that was our best chance of silverware. Now in January, I unfortunately was spot on in my prediction, but Wenger has seen the opportunity we have in the FA Cup and is going to go full force ahead to claim it. Arsenal have started to hit form as of late, and it comes in perfect timing for the FA Cup.

Vital Quotes:

As he does every year, Wenger answered the question of how high of a priority is the FA Cup. 'I personally think that the question of whether the competition has been devalued has been asked for years and still everybody fights to be at Wembley.

'It can be that some clubs have different priorities like Tottenham at the moment. They might have different worries but overall the FA Cup is still a glamorous competition.'

Arsene also addressed how he will use Ramsey in his return to his boyhood club. "We go there to qualify," said the Frenchman. "The most important thing is that the team goes out on Sunday and plays to win the game. I love Aaron Ramsey and I believe he will be a great player for Arsenal Football Club but we don`t go there for a testimonial.

"I must say I am not tempted to play him because of the occasion but I`m not tempted to leave him out either. I will consider the whole week we have to go through and I will play him if it will help us to qualify."

"I`m very happy with Aaron and I believe he will be a very important player for the Club. He is ahead of schedule and I`m impressed by what he has done by now but he is only 18."

Cardiff City Team News:

Cardiff winger Peter Whittingham suffered a strained hamstring at Birmingham last week and will miss this game. Though good news for City is that Paul Parry will be available.

Former Arsenal trainee, Jay Bothroyd, also has recovered from a slight strain, and will be looking to play his absolute best against his former club.

Player to watch: Joe Ledley

Ledley will captain Cardiff in this glamorous FA Cup tie, and he is a Premiership quality player. Recently he has been linked with a eight million pound move to West Ham, but it seems like the young Welshman will remain at City, at least till the summer.

Joe is a strong and intelligent player and he will be looking to thrive off the crowd energy at Ninian park to boss the Arsenal midfield. When Arsenal losses it is almost always because the midfield gets dominated by passionate opposing players, and Ledley will be a threat in this department.

Arsenal Team News:

Gael Clichy picked up his fifth yellow card of the season against Hull last Saturday and is thus suspended for this Fourth round tie. Gallas has recovered from his knock, and it will be interesting to see if he starts with Toure or if Djourou rightly keeps his place on the team sheet.

Fabianski has been announced as the starter for this game, and I think Ramsey will also get his chance from the outset.

Possible Starting XI: Fabianski, Sagna, Djourou, Toure, Gibbs, Diaby, Denilson, Ramsey, Nasri, van Persie, Adebayor

Player to watch: Aaron Ramsey

After choosing Arsenal over Manchester United in the summer, Aaron has showed patches of brilliance when he has been on the pitch for Arsenal, but if he gets the start tomorrow this will be his biggest game to date. He will need to overcome all the emotions that will surely be bottled up inside him, and preform like the player we all know he can be.

Match Facts & Stats

Cardiff are 21 places lower than Arsenal in the league standings.

Arsenal have won the last seven games between these two teams

Arsenal lead the FA Cup series between these two clubs 4-2.

Ref Watch:

Martin Atkinson will be the head official for this match. In the Premier League he has managed 15 matches handing out 48 yellows and no reds, which gives him a 3.2 card per game average. Three years ago Atkinson refereed a 2-1 win at Highbury for Arsenal over Cardiff City.

Match Prediction:

This one will be a struggle but with Arsenal's recent form I think we can win it. I will say 3-2 to the Arsenal, with Cardiff scoring a late goal to make the scoreline seem closer than it actually was. van Persie and Adebayor to score for Arsenal.

Next Fixtures:

28/1 (Wed)- Everton (A)- Premier League

31/1 (Sat)- West Ham (H)- Premier League

8/2 (Sun)- Tottenham (A)- Premier League




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The Journalist

Writer: Brice Coffer Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday January 24 2009

Time: 7:12PM

Your Comments

Really looking forward to this match. I'm going for 2-1 to us, Van Persie and Nasri to score.
ArsenalRob
written in the stars - Ramsey to score the winner!
merlin
Well that was a ***** first half. You know I don't remember the last time I watched an Arsenal match and thought "That was a great display" :(
Rocky7
I'm *****ed off. Not only have I only just got a stream working then the whistle goes for half time, and listening to it on the radio is just excrutiating. But can Wenger please take Eboue off. From the sound of it he has done bugger all offensively and defensively. Every time the commentator has said 'Eboue now' it has nearly always been followed by an ironic cheer from the Cardiff fans. Can anyone who has seen it agree with me?
itsup4grabsnow
Yes Eboue has been ***** poor. He had a glorious opportunity as the ball kindly bounced to him by the penalty spot with nobody around him and he couldn't even trap it.
gunnerkid107
Eboue is not a great player. He is playing crap. I respect the defensive aspect of his game in terms of his place in the team, but we all iknow that he would not play if we had a class attacking option. Arshavin is needed!
Tom14
IU4GN - Eboue is wearing 9-irons on his feet, everytime he goes to control the ball it shoots about 12 foot up in the air .... it's quite something!!
Rocky7
I also agree with Rocky, there has not been many recent gasmes where you say "We are playing great today" only parts of matches. I think the need for a winger is greater than ever. Toure has not played great either, just to point out.
Tom14
Gibbs looks promising. He took a few minutes to settle in, but now nothing comes down that side.
gunnerkid107
Tom, you don't need to point that out ... infact, I'll speak to the site technician and see if I get it added automatically to the end of your posts .... lol
Rocky7
You're right GK, I was thinking at the start that Gibbs looked like he was going to have a shocker, but he's come into the game nicely. Possibly our best player (but that's not saying anything).
Rocky7
Like the Wingston thing? >>Arsene Knows<< or whatever? But what if Toure plays a good game? HAHAHAHA! ;-)
Tom14
Adebayor coming on for Eboue! Yey!
itsup4grabsnow
Useless f******!!!!!!
Rocky7
Eboue would have scored that .... lol
Rocky7
The last thing we need is a replay :(
Rocky7
lol Rocky. Playing so much better now Eboue has come off! But I never thought I'd hear the words 'Song' and 'Dictating the midfield' in the same sentance. He's been really good I think in the second half.
itsup4grabsnow
what a boring match. can't see a goal coming even if we played another hour.
Gael-Force
Yeah in fairness to the boys they've been a lot better this second half, dominated the play .... just lacking that creative edge.
Rocky7
R7, we have been privileged to watch the Henry-Pires-Freddie-Bergkamp-Vieira show for a few years and they've delighted us with somptuous play. It's been too good and gooners have been spoilt. What we are seeing now is what the rest of the league (except ManU) are used to. Think of spurs, they'd be delighted to have our current team.
Gael-Force
So, What would we rather have? a replay or a loss? so as to concentrate on regaining the 4th spot?
PTGunner
nice to see Wilshere on finally. he's been on bench so much i forgot about him. shame he only gets 5 minutes or so. where's vela?
Gael-Force
I'd take the replay over the loss anyday, but it's not ideal. However it's better that we have the replay at home, had the matches been reversed that would be a nightmare.
Rocky7
P1ss flaps!!
Rocky7
I agree with you, replay any day. Just talking out of frustration....
PTGunner
GF - Vela was pulled out just before kick off because of illness.
Rocky7
Oh well, at least there is that little bit more revenue that may help us buy someone...
PTGunner
every game i see adebayor play i cant help but call him a w&n ker because he always messes up simple chances....i want to support him but we will never win a league with him leading the line
fran merida
The need for Arshavin grows with the gradual decline of Eboue from good/decent player to hopeless pile of garbage that does not even justify the "defensive balance" argument.
Tom14
That's a quick switch Tom14!!!! Only a couple of days ago on the Eboue contract article below this one you were saying that Eboue is a very good player - better than Ray Parlour I believe you claim. This 'gradual' decline you talk of has been over the space of about 48 hours I think.
Amos.
I said I have never watched Parlour play so I wanted somebody to say if he was better than Eboue, just an enquiry. As for Eboue, we have all accepted that he was a poor player for a long time, I was just sticking up for him in terms of him being a very good back up player. I have said for a long time that he should not play for our first team week in week out. He is nowhere near good enough. But it is not his fault, just the lack of spending on a replacement. You have it wrong if you think that I think he is a good first team player for us.
Tom14
The question is, do you still think he is good enough for our first team? And that includes the "defensive balance" argument. I personally would like to see Arshavin - Song - Denilson - Nasri in the midfield because those two central players would allow nasri and Arshavin to go forward and do whatever they wanted.
Tom14
That's the point I made. A couple of days ago you were saying he was a good squad player. I quote "I know you may find it hard to accept that Eboue is a good player, better than most, but he really is." Now a short time later and you claim that he is a "hopeless pile of garbage" You're entitled to change your opinion of course but how can that be a 'gradual' decline?
Amos.
"Good" player. Good is hardly a superlative. I said better than most, which is true. Most players are *****. I was reacting to statements that he was one of the worst players out there, which he is not. The "gradual decline" part of my comment was a slight joke but also partly true. Last season we had a better midfield so Eboue did not have his faults highlighted as much, but this season he is just hopeless at times. I follow the argument that he helps out the defence but rarely have I seen a player offer so little going forward. Lets be honest Amos, the jokes about Eboue being a legend are over. We have to be a serious football club now. Eboue is a very good backup player, but he is playing week in week out. You yourself are the first to point out the lack of balance in the wide areas. But then try and pass yourself off as an Eboue fan. If you rated Eboue that highly there would be no need for a winger.
Tom14
I think you are protesting too much. I support Eboue on the basis that he is a good member of the squad -I still do. I haven't changed my opinion diametrically in the course of one game. He wasn't at his best today but he wasn't the worst midfielder either. He might have his inconsistencies but then so do you. :-)
Amos.
I have not changed my opinion either. He is still the same decent player with the same faults. I just find it hard to justify his name on the teamsheet. I could do so when Walcott was playing because he was just as average without any defensive ability, but when he is playing merely through lack of spending and quality within a squad you start to get a bit peed off with him being included in every single outing we have. My inconsistencies do not exist, some people just do not follow my reasoning. I think you will find that we agree on pretty much every issue surrounding Arsenal Football Club.
Tom14
Fran, I can understand in part why there is so much criticism for Adebayor after his behaviour in the summer. But the fact is, with twelve goals and eight assists this season so far, he is still producing immeasurably for the team and bar the United game, we just don't look the same without him. The only sitter I really remember him missing this season was on the first day against WBA, he had a chance v Pompey he may have done better with but that was at an acute angle. His finishing this season has been excellent, to get an understanding of the chance he missed yesterday, you really have to have seen the pitch close up. It's no coincidence that Nasri, Bendtner and Eboue all missed chances inside the area because they couldn't sort their feet out and it was the same with Ade's chance. Over the last 2 years, there are very, very few strikers who can claim to have produced what Adebayor has for us, I'd say he's one of the few players in our team who looks like a title winning striker. If United and us did a swap, Adebayor for Berbatov, I reckon United would have walked the league already.
Little Dutch
Ade's still a w**nker. Eboue's still ****. Positive from yesterday was Fabianski, Gibbs looked half decent but seemed to tire towards the end. Didn't think the 'cauldron' was as intimidating as it's made out to be. Thought Song looked okay as well and we can't really blame the pitch for Nick's headed miss now can we? Also, when will that berk clap the away support ffs.
shewore
http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/sport/football/article2170171.ece?OTC-RSS&ATTR=Football - WE DONT WATCH ARSENAL MATCHES, WE JUST SHAPE PUBLIC OPINION! The comments prove that with the great surprise that bendtner was a 7 (which was a great surprise for me, surely they would give him a 4?)
Tom14
LD....the thing about adebayor is that he doesnt play how i expect someone of his statue to play..he is a big lad but why does he have to be so static in the box,he should set his body up to anticipate the ball coming to him, when the ball comes into the area instead getting in front of the defender, attacking it and beating the defender to the header,or cross like shearer or smudger or dunken disorderly..he just waits for it to come to him...but it never does coz the defender clears it,and when it does occasionally come he usually has his body shape all wrong so he messes it up....he is a good link up man,with good technique,but he is not a natural goal scorer,he is too slow to react and not aggressive enough,for me i can tell who is quality,and to sum it up easily when ade scores i am always surprised ,but i am never surprised when he misses...when Wright,Henry or even Eduardo was in from of the goal i would always expect them to score and i am bemused when they miss...thats the difference
fran merida
You're right to say Ade is not a natural goalscorer, I don't think he ever will be. But that's largely not his game, his game should be compared more to the likes of Berbatov, Drogba or Keane, link players who are there to score goals, but their main function is to make their team play and I think Ade does that. His improvement has been immense from the gnagly and entirely unpredictable, hit and miss, lanky hit man we signed, he has improved his game in every area every season. I agree his anticipation needs to improve, I think that's true of the whole team. It's the part of Diaby's game that infuriates me most, that he is always rocking back on his heels when a ball becomes loose in midfield. Ade is kind of the same, he doesn't gamble in the box, but that's part of not being a natural goalscorer and something I'm sure the coaching staff will work with him on and improve on, as he has improved on so many of the deficiencies he had when he arrived.
Little Dutch
 

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