By Bulldog Drummond
So what of today?
We obviously don’t have Sokratis for several games, and although Koscielny seems just to have bruised his jaw rather than had it broken, I suspect he won’t be risked even if he feels fit.
Meanwhile it may be just me but I am finding one or two of Mr Emery’s communications a little confusing of late. I don’t mean to criticise him – he’s been brilliant at embracing English, even when still coming to terms with it, but saying, “Our focus now is very clear: the Premier League. We’re also going to play the Europa League with big motivation. It’s one way to the Champions League. We need to be concentrated for the three points like we were against Chelsea,” then I’m not quite sure I have learned too much I didn’t know.
Of course we are aware that we have the third best home record in the PL this season – continuing the trend we had last season. Nine wins, two draws, one defeat at home. 26 goals for and 10 against. And we have won the last five home games in the PL.
Given that Cardiff have won one, drawn two and lost eight away (scoring six goals en route while conceding 21) we shouldn’t be too hard pushed. But… interestingly one of the few teams who have conceded more away from home than Cardiff is … Arsenal.
The last time they beat us was in February 1961, at Highbury. Tottenham won the league, we came 11th, and we lost more games than we won. Hardly bears thinking about. There were 33,754 in the crowd, and Herd got both our goals.
|11 Feb 1961||Arsenal v Cardiff City||L||2-3||Division One|
|28 Oct 1961||Cardiff City v Arsenal||D||1-1||Division One|
|17 Mar 1962||Arsenal v Cardiff City||D||1-1||Division One|
|04 Jan 1969||Cardiff City v Arsenal||D||0-0||FA Cup|
|07 Jan 1969||Arsenal v Cardiff City||W||2-0||FA Cup|
|05 Jan 1980||Cardiff City v Arsenal||D||0-0||FA Cup|
|08 Jan 1980||Arsenal v Cardiff City||W||2-1||FA Cup|
|05 Oct 1982||Arsenal v Cardiff City||W||2-1||League Cup|
|26 Oct 1982||Cardiff City v Arsenal||W||1-3||League Cup|
|07 Jan 2006||Arsenal v Cardiff City||W||2-1||FA Cup|
|25 Jan 2009||Cardiff City v Arsenal||D||0-0||FA Cup|
|16 Feb 2009||Arsenal v Cardiff City||W||4-0||FA Cup|
|30 Nov 2013||Cardiff City v Arsenal||W||0-3||Premier League|
|01 Jan 2014||Arsenal v Cardiff City||W||2-0||Premier League|
|02 Sep 2018||Cardiff City v Arsenal||W||2-3||Premier League|
But since then it has all been rather jolly. Four straight wins in the last four games scoring 12 goals conceding two. One draw in the last nine games. So that all looks fairly secure – and of course we can throw in the fact that they have never beaten us in the Premier League.
However there is that defensive issue. If we actually keep them out it will be only the second time this season we have not let in a goal across consecutive league games.
And here’s another: if Ramsey really is about to go to Juventus now, then this could be his last game for us – and it will be against Cardiff, the team he started with and from whom Mr Wenger bought him as a youngster. He also went back there on loan.
Meanwhile although our defence is not looking so good, this shouldn’t worry us too much as Cardiff have failed to score in 11 of their 23 league matches, an honour they share with Huddersfield. They are also the only PL club that has never once been ahead at half time this season.
And one more… Neil Warnock has brought three top flight teams to Arsenal, and always lost. There was the October 1991 game with Notts County, the September 2006 with Sheffield United, and finally the December 2011 with QPR.
So to the team. I’m really not sure how Mr Emery is seeing this but without bringing in any youngsters to sit on the beach we have got 18 players who appear to be fit – which is the total number needed these days…. So I thought if I was the manager I might try and sneak the lot of them onto the pitch.
Jenkinson, Lichtsteiner, Mustafi, Mavropanos, Kolasinac, Monreal
Maitland-Niles, Xhaka, Elneny, Torreira, Guendouzi, Ramsey
Attacking: Iwobi, Ozil, Lacazette, Aubameyang.
I don’t think I’ve got a single selection right this season, and as a result I guess I may as well leave it at that. Maybe you’d like to have a go at a selection. Or perhaps come up with the name of a kiddie who might get onto the beach and pop on to surprise us, as Arsenal hit their fifth with 15 minutes still remaining.
Well, you never know.
- Arsenal v Tottenham update, team news and appalling, flagrant media bias
- Arsenal have benefitted by the world cup break: allegedly.
- Arsenal and Tottenham: which has had the easier ride so far this season?
- Arsenal v Tottenham: not exactly a battle of equals.
- Death by 300,000 passes: how the Arsenal transformation started 2 seasons ago.