Vital Football

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Arsenal v. Cardiff City

Arsenal
vs.
Cardiff City

Emirates Stadium

16/2/09

19:45

Arsenal and Cardiff conclude the FA Cup fourth round ties on Monday, even though the fifth round fixtures were played over the weekend. Heavy amounts of snow not only delayed the Arshavin transfer but also the Cardiff replay. The Emirates pitch was indeed playable due to under soil heating technology, but concerns over the safety of traveling supporters for both teams made the FA postpone the match.

Vital Quotes:

Both players and the manager alike have identified the FA Cup as our best chance to end our silverware drought. Arsene had this to say pre-match, 'We want to prepare well because we know it is a very important game for us and we need to focus.'

'We are unbeaten and want to keep that going in every competition - the longer that lasts, the stronger you will be.'

The Arsene added: 'If the three draws put together don't look good, then you must put the whole 11 games together and that looks like we are on a run.'

'We want to transform that bit of disappointment from a draw into a convincing victory, and the team is in a good way.'

Sagna also talked about the competition. 'We can feel it as soon as we run out on the pitch, from the fans, it is the oldest cup competition in the world. In England it is very important for the teams,' said the French full-back.

'I won the French Cup with Auxerre and I know how great an achievement that is. Every game was a fight, a war on the pitch.'

'We have to be focused and try to win because we want to go through,' he said. 'The FA Cup is really important for the fans and for the club and for ourselves. It is one of the competitions we can win, along with the Champions League.'

Robin van Persie commented on the lack of trophies in recent seasons. 'I am like them [the fans]. I feel the same. I want it as badly as them and it can be frustrating when it does not happen,' van Persie told the Sunday Mirror.

'I think positively, though and the fans should do that as well. The club has gone too long without winning anything and we are doing everything we can to change it.'

'If we could achieve it this year it would be an even bigger achievement considering how unlucky we have been with injuries.'

Arsenal Team News:

After Eduardo completed thirty minutes for Croatia midweek, he has declared himself fully fit for this match. Everyone around the country awaits his first team return to Arsenal. Eboue will serve his mandatory one match ban, and Arshavin is not eligible to play in this replay as he was not a Arsenal player at the time of the first game in Wales. Cardiff old boy Aaron Ramsey suffered knee ligament strains playing for Wales, and he will not get another chance to play his boyhood team. Though Gael Clichy has recovered from a cut on his head and a mild concussion; He will most likely play a part in this one. Diaby, Cesc, Walcott, and Rosicky are all still out.

With so many injuries in the midfield, Arsenal fans might see their first glimpse at summer signing Amaury Bischoff. I expect him to get his Arsenal debut.

Possible Starting XI: Fabianski, Sagna, Gallas, Djourou, Clichy, Bischoff, Song, Denilson, Nasri, van Persie, Eduardo

Player to watch: Eduardo da Silva

This time last year, I was unsure if Eduardo would ever play football again, much less in a top flight league. But now just 359 days later, Eduardo will return to the Emirates pitch. I hope he receives the loudest welcoming ever heard at Ashburton Grove.

Cardiff City Team News:

Starting Cardiff goalkeeper Peter Enckelman has sustained a knee injury that will keep him out for two months. New signings Dimi Konstantopolous, Michael Chora, and Quincy Owusu-Abeyie are in the same boat as Arshavin and will not play. Stephen McPhail picked up a knock playing for the Republic of Ireland, but Peter Whittingham and Gabor Gyepes have recovered from their respective injuries.

Player to watch: Jay Bothroyd

Coming to the Emirates, Cardiff will most likely deploy Jay up front on his own in a 4-5-1 formation. He will be looking to use his pace and stamina to catch the Arsenal defense sleeping. He also spoke this weekend of his dream of scoring against his former club.

Match Facts & Stats

The winner of this game will play Burnley at home, and the winner of that game will play either Sheffield United or Hull City at home. Its confusing I know!

Cardiff are 19 places below Arsenal in the league ladder.

Wenger has never been knocked out of the FA Cup by lower league opposition.

Ref Watch:

Mark Halsey will be the match official for this game. In the English Premier League this season, Halsey has the lowest card per game average of any referee. He has managed 15 games handing out two reds and only seventeen yellows. This gives him an astonishingly low 1.26 card per game average. Personally I like the officials to keep the cards in their pocket as long as they can.

Match Prediction:

Even with all of our injuries, I think Arsenal will go on to win this one. I will go with a 3-1 scoreline. Eduardo and van Persie to grab the goals for the Gunners.

Next Fixtures:

21/2 (Sat)- Sunderland (H)- Premier League

24/2 (Tue)- AS Roma (H)- Champions League

28/2 (Sat)- Fulham (H)- Premier League


Writer:Brice Coffer
Date:Sunday February 15 2009
Time: 9:45PM

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Comments

0
Not sure Bischoff will start, I reckon we'll play a kind of 4-2-3-1, with Denilson and Song in front of the defence, then Bendtner from the right, Vela from the left and Nasri centrally sitting behind v.Persie.
Little Dutch
15/02/2009 22:28:00
0
I'd expect a tight match, but our technical quality to come through in the end with a couple of moments of superior quality. 2-0 to us. Nasri & RvP to score.
ArsenalRob
15/02/2009 22:30:00
0
I like Brice's line-up but I can't see Bischoff starting with the FA Cup being a priority, more like a sub for Nasri/Den. Maybe Bendtner in RW instead? Maybe Bendtner-Eduardo up front, Eduardo in LW, Nasri in RW? Our players are so versatile (some truly, some less effectively) that I can roughly work out the XI but not the line-up! I can also see a tight, cautious start to the game, but it could end up quite high-scoring, like 3-1.
GoonerLou
16/02/2009 01:31:00
0
didn't Eduardo get injured the day before his birthday on the 24th Feb?? Looked good for Croatia but it's a step up again to competitive football and he wasn't ready to start in my opinion so I think he'd be a reserve at best.
pompman
16/02/2009 04:45:00
0
It did happen on the 23rd. I think my math is right, and it will be 359 days later but I might be wrong. You all may be right, but I have a hunch he will start. As for Bischoff I don't think its a matter of the FA Cup being a priority, but instead there's not another player who could play there. Maybe Bendtner but I don't think he will be effective out there from the outset.
gunnerkid107
16/02/2009 04:58:00
0
We are three winable home games away from a Wembley Semi. I think us not having to go to Old Trafford, the Bridge or Goodison means we've really got a good chance in this competition, but we need to turn up tonight and (if we get through) to the other games. It'd be nice to get a good atmosphere going tonight, but with the 'company season tickets' for midweek games it might be a pipe dream.
navydave
16/02/2009 08:50:00
0
There are no excuses, we should be getting at least one trip to Wembley, and Eduardo starting? Wouldn't be so sure on that... would be surprised if we see Bischoff as well let alone see him start.
shewore
16/02/2009 10:03:00
0
Fabianski; Sagna Gallas Djourou Clichy; Wilshere/Ramsey Denilson Song Nasri; Bendtner van Persie. Eduardo comes on later in the game.
Tom14
16/02/2009 12:23:00
0
Eduardo-welcome back and good luck tonight..but I think that he comes on later in the game.
andycroat28
16/02/2009 14:57:00
0
Oh gosh I completely forgot to mention Adebayor in the injured party list. Not to worry though, Bendtner deserves to play every minute of every match ;)
gunnerkid107
16/02/2009 15:47:00
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