Preview: Cardiff City v Arsenal

Arsenal Mesut Ozil

Arsenal will be looking to build on their first win of the season when they make the long trip west to Premier League newcomers Cardiff City on Sunday.

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Premier League
2 September 2018
Gameweek 4
Kick-off: 14:30 (GMT+2)
Venue: Cardiff City Stadium

Referee: A. Taylor
Assistants: G. Beswick, A. Nunn
Fourth official: D. Coote

Head-to-head summary:

TEAM MATCHES WIN DRAW LOSS

Cardiff 44 10 14 20
Arsenal 44 20 14 10

Previous encounter:

Arsenal 2-0 Cardiff (Premier League) 01/01/2014

Arsenal goalscorers: N. Bendtner (88′), T. Walcott (90′)

Players to watch:

The Welsh club will be looking to the experience of Harry Arter to help them against the north London giants. The Irish midfielder has started the last two matches since making the switch from league rivals Bournemouth earlier this month and his influence is only expected to grow as he gets used to his new surroundings.

This will be a big game for Aaron Ramsey, who returns to the ground where it all began for him. The Welsh midfielder, who left for the Emirates Stadium in 2008, has featured in two of the Gunners’ three opening fixtures, missing the loss to London neighbours Chelsea.

Team form and manager quotes:

The Bluebirds have yet to register a win in the three games since they returned to the top flight, although they picked up a valuable point in each of their last two outings.

Neil Warnock’s side lost their opener 2-0 at Bournemouth, before claiming successive goalless draws against Newcastle and Huddersfield.

Two clean sheets will their boost morale, but Warnock says it’s important for the team to put away the chances that come their way this term.

“I think the lads have given everything they can and I’ve been quite pleased with the performances. That includes against Bournemouth – and I think in every game, we could have got something,” he told the press.

“If [Sean] Morrison’s chance went in on the hour, the last 30 minutes would have been different at Bournemouth, and in the other two, I think we should have won both games.

“I’ve been pleased with that, but if you go higher, you’ve got to take your chances.”

The Gunners bounced back from a testing start to the campaign by beating West Ham 3-1 last weekend to put their first points on the board.

Unai Emery’s tenure began with back-to-back defeats against Manchester City (2-0) and Chelsea (3-2), but he believes progress is being made after his team came from behind to finish strongly against the Irons.

“We want to do the high pressing against the opposition. Then after this game I analysed it with the players,” the Spaniard was quoted as saying on the club’s official website.

“We started the match well but then we lost the control for moments in the game. Then we finished the last 20 minutes really well.

“I am very, very happy firstly with the three points but then also how the team worked to win this match and how we finished the last few minutes.

“I want to continue that in the next match this Sunday against Cardiff, a different game, but just to continue our momentum.”

Team news:

The hosts were dealt a blow this week with the news that Nathaniel Mendez-Laing will be ruled out for three months after suffering a knee ligament injury against the Terriers last time out.

Junior Hoilett faces a late fitness test on a groin problem, while Aron Gunnarsson is rated doubtful with a knee injury.

Mesut Ozil is expected to return for the visitors after missing the clash at the London Stadium through illness.

However, Laurent Koscielny (Achilles), Sead Kolasinac (knee) and Ainsley Maitland-Niles (broken leg) remain some way off making their respective comebacks.

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