Monday, December 9, 2019

Prediction: Cardiff vs Arsenal

Verdict: Arsenal to Win to Nil

Best Odds: 8/5

Bookmaker: bet365

Arsenal will be looking to maintain the momentum after securing their first points of the Premier League season last weekend as they prepare to visit newly-promoted Cardiff on Sunday.

Cardiff

Cardiff did well to secure automatic Premier League promotion with Wolves last season with Neil Warnock’s side emerging as one of the most exciting sides in the Championship during the 2017/18 campaign.

The Bluebirds have gone through a difficult summer in terms of transfer activity and the likes of Josh Murphy, Bobby Reid, Alex Smithies, Greg Cunningham, Victor Camarasa and Harry Arter are deemed insufficient to help Cardiff maintain their status in the elite tier of English football. Cardiff attempted to extend a loan deal for Liverpool midfielder Marko Grujic but ended up missing out on the Serbian as well as on several other transfer targets. Three games into the new season, the Bluebirds remain the only side in the league still to score a goal having opened the campaign with a 2-0 loss at Bournemouth and drawn back-to-back blanks against Newcastle and at Huddersfield. Their midweek Carabao Cup clash against Norwich on Tuesday has been just an untimely distraction. The Bluebirds crashed out of the competition on the back of a 3-1 defeat and will be forced to dig deep in order to find the strength for the upcoming clash against Arsenal.

Team News

Neil Warnock is without injured Nathaniel Mendez-Laing and Aron Gunnarsson who is recovering from his knee injury.

Junior Hoilett is still struggling with a groin problem and is not expected to play a part in the forthcoming clash.

Arsenal

Things have not been running smoothly for Arsenal new boss Unai Emery who was forced to deal with early pressure after replacing legendary Arsene Wenger at the helm.

Having won just a single Premier League game away from home in 2018, the Gunners opened the new season with back-to-back defeats at the hands of Manchester City and Chelsea before finally grabbing first points of the new season in a 3-1 win over West Ham last weekend. Emery’s men were forced to work hard in order to beat the Hammers after going down by one after 25 minutes. Marko Arnautovic fired the Irons forward but Arsenal drew level five minutes later before hitting the top gear in the second half and scoring two more to wrap things up. It helped soothe a rocky start to the season and give Emery better footing heading into the final game before the international break. The former Sevilla boss will be keen on grabbing another three points and is expected to field his strongest line-up under the unfavourable squad circumstances. All eyes will be on Mesut Ozil who, according to Emery, missed the last match due to illness and not because of a rift with the manager. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will also be under scrutiny given his three-match goal drought.

Team News

Sead Kolasinac is not expected back in the squad until October due to his knee injury, whereas Ainsley Maitland-Niles is nursing a small fracture on his left fibula.

Laurent Koscielny remains a long-term absentee for the Gunners.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Arsenal have recorded a single away win in 2018
  • Cardiff have yet to score a goal in the new season
  • The Bluebirds scored only one goal in last 5 Arsenal meetings, conceding 11
  • Arsenal failed to keep a clean sheet in all of their matches this season
  • Cardiff won only one of their last six home matches

Conclusion

Arsenal are flying high on confidence following a morale-boosting 3-1 win over West Ham and will certainly hope to keep the momentum going ahead of the trip to Cardiff. The Bluebirds are suffering from a goal shortage and will be looking to keep it tight in the back and hope for the best.

Verdict: Arsenal to Win to Nil

Best Odds: 8/5

Bookmaker: bet365

 

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