PREVIEW: CITY v ARSENAL
The Bluebirds travel to the Emirates to face the GunnersArsenal v Cardiff City
Venue: The Emirates Stadium
Date: Wednesday, 1st January, KO 3pm
Nav it: N5 1BU (For away supporters guide click here.)
Match-tag:#ARSCAR (Live tweets on @CardiffCityFC)
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The Bluebirds travel to the Emirates Stadium to take on Premier League leaders Arsenal in their first game of 2014.
- Peter Whittingham has had more shots than any other City player in the Premier League this season, with 34.
- The Bluebirds have not scored in their last three competitive outings against the Gunners.
- Of all sides in the top four tiers of English football, Arsenal had the best points per game record of anyone in 2013 with 2.6 pts per game.
- The Gunners have failed to score in the first-half in four of their last five Premier League games.
- Whoever has finished the year on top of the Premier League for the last four seasons has gone on to win the title. Arsenal were top following the final game of 2013.
- City will make their first trip to the Emirates Stadium in almost five years on Wednesday, their first since an FA Cup replay in February 2009.
KEY PLAYER: Per Mertesacker/ Laurent Koscielny
It’s an incredible stat, but the Gunners have not lost a league game that Mertesacker and Koscielny have started and completed the full 90 minutes since January 2012. Widely regarded as the best central defensive pairing in the Premier League at this moment in time, City will hope to have more success against their stringent defence than others in the Premier League this season.
IN-FORM PLAYER: Theo Walcott
Since returning from a lengthy injury, the England winger has been on top form scoring four goals in eight starts for the Gunners in recent weeks. His electric pace has terrorised Premier League defences for years and City will have to extinguish his undoubted talent on the flanks.
RECENT FORM (ALL COMPETITIONS):
Cardiff City: DLWLLD
Last time out: Cardiff City 2-2 Sunderland – Saturday, 28th December, Barclays Premier League.
Goals from Jordon Mutch and Fraizer Campbell put the Bluebirds into a commanding lead heading into the final stages, before a goal from Sunderland substitute Steven Fletcher set up Jack Colback to claim a dramatic equaliser in the final seconds at Cardiff City Stadium.
Team - Cardiff City: Marshall, Caulker (C), Turner, Whittingham, Medel, Campbell (Cornelius 82), Kim (Gunnarsson 79), Noone (Cowie 72), Mutch, Théophile-Catherine, John. Subs not used: Lewis, Hudson, Odemwingie, Maynard.
Last time out: Newcastle United 0-1 Arsenal – Sunday, 29th December, Barclays Premier League.
An Olivier Giroud strike just after the hour mark proved the only difference at St James’ Park as the Gunners claimed three vital points to move them back to the top of the Premier League table.
Team – Arsenal: Szczesny, Mertesacker, Sagna, Gibbs (Arteta, 70), Koscielny, Flamini, Cazorla, Walcott (Jenkinson, 80), Wilshere, Rosicky, Giroud (Bendtner, 86). Subs not used: Fabianski, Miyaichi, Podolski, Gnabry.
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Cardiff City: 14/1
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LAST COMPETITIVE MEETING:
2013/14: Saturday, 30th November 2013, Premier League - Cardiff City 0-3 Arsenal
A brace from former Bluebird Aaron Ramsey and a Mathieu Flamini strike saw the Bluebirds succumb to a 3-0 defeat despite matching the Gunners for much of the game.
Team - Cardiff City: Marshall, Taylor (Cornelius 87), Turner, Caulker ©, Théophile-Catherine, Whittingham, Medel, Cowie, Mutch, Kim (Noone, 75), Campbell (Odemwingie 65). Subs not used: Lewis, Hudson Gunnarsson, Bellamy.
REFEREE: Jon Moss
Jon Moss qualified as a referee in 1988 and made his first big strides as an official 11 years later, working his way up the Football League pyramid to the Select Group of referees in 2011.
He was a regular official from then on and was appointed for his first Premier League match in December 2010. The clash between Wigan Athletic and Aston Villa was postponed, but he did make his top flight debut in January 2011, when he oversaw Birmingham City’s 2-1 victory over Blackpool.
Moss last took charge of an encounter involving the Bluebirds in September 2011 as City claimed a 1-1 draw with Blackpool at Bloomfield Road.