Preview: Cardiff v Arsenal – fitness boost, Leno & Laca to start please + prediction

By on September 2, 2018

Arsenal will look to head in to the international break off the back of another win when we take on Cardiff in Wales this afternoon.

After tasting defeat to Manchester City and Chelsea during our opening two Premier League games of the new season, Unai Emery finally got his first win with a 3-1 comeback victory over West Ham last weekend.

It was far from vintage Arsenal and the defence was still woeful – especially in the first half – but it was a vital three points to get on the board and hopefully we can start to build some momentum over the coming weeks.

Cardiff have taken two points from their opening three games and are yet to score a goal since being promoted to the top flight so we should be confident of getting a positive result today before the international break.

We then face Newcastle, Everton, Watford, Fulham, Leicester and Crystal Palace during September and October so Arsenal have a great opportunity to put a run together over the next two months.

Team news

Arsenal are set to welcome Mesut Ozil back in to the squad after he missed the West Ham game through illness and Emery has no fresh injury worries to contend with.

Laurent Koscielny is back in light training but is still well short of fitness as he continues to recover from a ruptured Achilles while Sead Kolasinac, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Carl Jenkinson all remain on the sidelines.

As for Cardiff, Junior Hoilett is expected to pass a late fitness test following a groin injury but Nathaniel Mendez-Laing and Aron Gunnarsson are out.

Preferred line-up

I think it’s time we stop messing about and give Bernd Leno his chance. I don’t understand why we spent £22m on a new goalkeeper only to leave him on the bench in favour of Petr Cech – who’s well past his best.

I also hope we see Lucas Torreira as he’s the defensive midfielder we’ve been crying out for in recent years and he’s no good to us sitting on the bench. Aaron Ramsey started in the No.10 role last week but with the return of Ozil I’d like to see Ramsey alongside Torreira in midfield.

The final big change should see Alexandre Lacazette start up front with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang moved to the wing. Lacazette has impressed off the bench and deserves to start.

This would be my line-up:

In reality, I think Emery might go with Cech; Bellerin, Mustafi, Sokratis, Monreal; Xhaka, Torreira, Ozil; Ramsey, Iwobi, Aubameyang.


Arsenal have a solid record against Cardiff as we’ve not lost in our last 13 games against them and this is the sort of match we have to win if we’re going to compete for the top four. This should be a tough test for Emery as it’s his first game up against a newly-promoted team who he won’t know much about, but I think we’ll do the business today. I’m going for 2-0. Cardiff 0-2 Arsenal


Betting on Arsenal can be tricky right now as it’s difficult to know what we’ll get from this team so it could be useful to follow one of the leading tipsters. There are plenty out there so it’s wise to check out some football tipster reviews before deciding which to follow but if you like my prediction of 2-0, it’s available at odds of 5.0. That sounds like great value to me but if you want a lower risk bet, I’d back under 2.5 match goals at 2.25.

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