Arsenal might be enjoying their best start to a top flight campaign in years, but their supporters will know full well about the dangers of traveling to Wales this Saturday. Their opponents have taken points off some of the divisions best through the opening months of the season and despite only gaining promotion to this level this term, Malky Mackay’s side seem to be a match for anyone.
In fact, at home, the Bluebirds appear to be one of the strongest teams in the division – as strange as it may sound. Any side that collects four points from the two Manchester’s should be applauded and following their last minute draw against United in their last outing, nobody is under any illusions about the threats that Cardiff pose. Understandably, inconsistencies blight their game, but their home form is the reason why things are going so well. The Welsh outfit have won their last two at home, while their earlier victory against Manchester City means that they have one of the most impressive in the division. Whether they can continue such a streak against another big hitter in Arsenal remains to be seen.
The Gunners on the other hand are still in the form that everyone thinks will come to an end. Results last weekend meant that Arsene Wenger’s men went four points clear at the top, while they have all but confirmed their place in the next round of the Champions League following their win over Marseille during the week. There were question marks over the Emirates Stadium outfit after they lost to Manchester United before the international break, particularly as they had to face the in-form Southampton immediately afterwards. A 2-0 win over Saints and that victory over Marseille should have restored full confidence back to the Gunners, who know that this forthcoming festive schedule could define their season.
There is little to report in the way of team news for the home side and bearing this in mind, it should come as no surprise for Malky Mackay to keep changes to a minimum following his side’s recent run. Arsenal on the other hand will welcome back Kieran Gibbs into the fold, after he missed their last game through illness. Theo Walcott also might be involved, as he nears full fitness following his spell on the sidelines.
Cardiff have shown through the season that they are specialists at picking opponents’ weaknesses. That is a testament to Malky Mackay’s management ability and with Arsenal still having several holes in their team, we think they have every chance of getting something out of this encounter as well. The Gunners might dominate possession, but we think the home side have enough about them to net a 1-1 result out of this game.