Arsenal Attempt To Rouse Themselves Again

Preview of this evening’s Premier League match at the Emirates v Cardiff City

Responsive image

There were five goals when the teams met in Wales earlier this season

The usual five talking points ahead of today’s Premier League match at home to Cardiff.

Putting Football Into Perspective
This will be Cardiff’s first match since the tragic loss of their new signing, Argentinian striker Emiliano Sala, in the air accident near the Channel Islands. Doubtless there will be a minute’s silence before the game kicks off and Arsenal have informed us that Cardiff fans will be handing out daffodil badges to the home fans as a mark of respect for Sala, and ask them to accept them in the right spirit. Who knows whether or not the recent events will have any influence on Neil Warnock’s players. Sala met with the squad when he was at the training ground for their medical, but obviously they did not have the opportunity to get to know him properly.

Why Cardiff needed Sala
The Bluebirds sit in the relegation places, having scored 19 goals in 23 Premier League matches. On the road, they have scored just six of those, winning once and drawing twice in 11 trips. Not only are they having trouble scoring, their defensive record is the second worst in the division. 44 goals conceded puts the Gunners’ defensive record (32 against) into some perspective.

Arsenal’s defensive options
The fit defenders Unai Emery has to choose from are Mustafi, Mavropanos, Monreal, Kolasinac, Maitland-Niles, Lichtsteiner and Jenkinson. In theory, he can play a back four or a back five from the pool without playing anyone out of position (if one accepts that Monreal has played as one of a three in the centre on several occasions). It will unquestionably be an unfamiliar combination though. Given the quality of the opposition front line, the real question about the defence is whether or not Sokratis will be fit to travel to Manchester City on Sunday. One imagines the broken jaw of Koscielny will delay his own return for longer.

Is it already curtains for Mesut?
Mesut Ozil got (injury time included) half an hour to influence the game against Manchester United. He was heavily involved, but unable to make the difference required against a resolute United defence. Cardiff at home should be the kind of match that suits the German, and there is an argument to play him purely on grounds of rotation. If he is on the bench once more, frankly, it is difficult to see him start again in anything but low priority cup matches under Unai Emery. The reality is that Ozil is the kind of player you build a team around, and the head coach is not going down that road. Systems are more important to him. However, should the number 10 be given a start, we could see another performance like the one against Leicester.

Arsenal’s Top Four Chances
The defeat by United was a setback psychologically after the boon of the victory over Chelsea. But looking at the table, all is not lost. Arsenal are three points behind Chelsea, and seven points behind Spurs. Spurs could well suffer from the loss of Harry Kane and Dele Alli. Granted, a resurgent Manchester United are level on points with the Gunners, but there are 15 fixtures left for all sides. A lot can happen. Arsenal need to put a run together, no question about that, and in fairness probably have to accept a reverse this coming weekend at Manchester City. After that, the remaining 13 matches feature a trip, almost certainly to Wembley, to face Spurs and another visit of Man United to the Emirates. The other 11 matches are against non top-six sides. Assuming Arsenal can take three points against Cardiff this evening, gaining 33 points out of 39 from the post Manchester City matches will give them a season end total of 80 points. That would allow for six points dropped, although if the dropped points were not against Spurs and United it would help their cause even more. Last season, 75 point secured 4th place. There is still plenty to play for, but Arsenal need to start chalking up wins both home and away against the lesser lights. Draws are probably not going to be enough.

If Arsenal, even with a makeshift defence, cannot beat Cardiff, then I think it’s fair to say their focus needs to shift to the Europa League. However, they should take the three points this evening, regardless of the emotions surrounding the fixture for the opposition. The bookmakers, unsurprisingly have Arsenal as heavy favourites to win, on which note, don’t miss these free bet offers for UK customers if you fancy a punt on the match. My advice would be to back both teams to score, as I do believe Cardiff will breach the Gunners’ defence. But Arsenal will win, and I have this one down at a 3-1 home win. Here’s hoping…

The (now annual) campaign to save The Gooner so that we can continue publishing beyond the current season is underway. We need 1000 subscribers signed up for the 2019/20 campaign by March 23rd. £30 for six issues (UK), £42 if you are abroad. All the details can be found on this interactive downloadable form.

Article Rating

Leave a comment

Sign-in with your Online Gooner forum login to add your comment. If you do not have a login register here.


  1. mbg

    Jan 29, 2019, 20:00 #113033

    it'sRonagain2, good post, your right it's just that they know no better. Sad.

  2. mbg

    Jan 29, 2019, 19:54 #113032

    Very sad indeed about Sala especially if the stories about him not being happy with the plane are true, yes a must with game tonight no other way about it, and Ozil captain ? Unai must be really stuck.

  3. markymark

    Jan 29, 2019, 19:06 #113031

    I reckon it will take 3 manager failings effectively no European money over a further 5 seasons plus an extensional threat maybe to Walmart to shift him. If we are in the mire and he gets an offer of 2bn it’ll be hard to decline. As soon as you see Kroenke say Arsenal are never for sale get your money on us being sold.

  4. Radfordkennedy

    Jan 29, 2019, 18:15 #113030

    Bard....a good sensible post as ever mate...I don't know your opinion on this, but I have a nagging feeling that when the inevitable protests start against SK, that instead of selling up he may well deflect all the attention onto UE, and sack him especially if more funds are asked for, I don't think SK will be bothered in the slightest by protests, and if it all starts to go wrong cash flow wise the cutbacks won't start with him that's for sure.I think AW was being paid a great deal of money to take all the blame, I'm not sure that's the case with UE so my biggest fear is that Unai could end up being the patsy for SK

  5. markymark

    Jan 29, 2019, 18:03 #113029

    Led* - lead

  6. markymark

    Jan 29, 2019, 18:02 #113028

    It was interesting to see how the Liverpool tonking played out across social media - led balloon Id say with Wenger fan boys complaining across Le grove and other sites conveniently forgetting the continual Wenger humiliations . But in a way it’s good. The capacity to endure batterings is in short supply . Unai needs to hold out to a reasonable loss to keep people on board. An absolute whacking and I think pressure mounts. Hopefully Unai can ride this out And succeed. The caveat from me ( arrogant though this may sound ) is success is taking Arsenal forward. Now in May if we are 6th , didn’t reach the Europa final and appear to have no defined style I think it could be hard work for him to see out his contract . Anyway let’s hope he can get things moving

  7. John F

    Jan 29, 2019, 17:39 #113027

    True Ron,I think Emery knows him from his Seville days .It is only what I read as I have never seen him play but his stats are not that impressive but it is only a loan with a view to buy deal so Dick can send him back.With a bit of luck they might send the other Suarez if we add a £1.

  8. itsRonagain2

    Jan 29, 2019, 17:13 #113026

    worrying John. ' Confidence player' - another way of saying lightweight and flaky and 1 good game in 8? We ve had a few of them since 2005 haven't we .

  9. John F

    Jan 29, 2019, 16:26 #113025

    If the Saurez deal is as reported going through it does address the lack of width on either side as he can play in all the midfield positions, although from what I have read about him he is a confidence player.Dick is slowly addressing the team's short comings with the signings that have been made.Most of us could see we needed a goalkeeper,old school centre half,Dm,players who could play wide and a right and left back.His team have addressed half the problem s with the squad on a limited budget and we have some very promising young players coming through.Next season is the time to see if Dic k is any good after all GG went 10 games without winning in his first season.

  10. Bard

    Jan 29, 2019, 14:31 #113024

    Hi Ron good to have you on board again. The site is much better place these days now the numbskulls have gone. Your comment asking are we the new West Ham strikes a cord. There is a lot of good will towards Dick at present because we all recognise that the club was left in a terrible state on and off the pitch. Whether Dick can move us along is a debatable point. It's been such a long time since I have seen an Arsenal team getting stuck in I am happy to overlook the rubbish defending. The problems off the field remain, a disinterested owner and no money. My view is that a tonking from Citeh will potentially sow the seeds for another bout of protests. Im not sure the fans will stomach another bout of mediocrity. Swiss Ramble made clear how important revenues from sale of tickets are to our finances. Empty seats will seriously damage the brand. So yes I agree another West Ham isnt too far off but for how long ?

  11. Radfordkennedy

    Jan 29, 2019, 13:33 #113023

    Hello Ron..agree with you there about the city game yet another hiding coming up for sure.On the question of Ozil he simply has to play, it's his sort of flat track bully game, we all know that MO is to all intents obtaining money by deception from AFC, but lets hope Unai doesn't cut his nose off etc and use what little creative spark he can provide cos it sure aint coming from Iwobi ,as much as Unai obviously don't fancy him he has to use what he's got until lhe can get who he really wants., and thats going to take at least 2 years

  12. itsRonagain2

    Jan 29, 2019, 12:44 #113022

    The match v Manch City seems a terrifying prospect doesn't it. 'Reverse' is being kind unfortunately. It might well be another massacre as it was a few years back. Was it 6-2? Such is the climate in modern footie now, we are at the stage even as Arsenal fans that we can pass of the periodic massacres as being 'expected'. Its the strangest mindset for most fans, yet the younger fans seem to live with it fairly comfortably. Are we West Ham now in large part? It feels as if we are doesn't it. I think the acceptance of heavy losses really started when Spurs cleaned us out in the league cup 5-1 and was really cemented into the fans psych at OT for the 8-2. That afternoon really conditioned us didn't it.