Arsenal will host Cardiff City at the Emirates as both the teams are clashing heads in a time of crisis. Manchester United beat the Gunners in the FA Cup and what piled more misery on Unai Emery was the fact that Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Laurent Koscielny both went off with injuries. On the other hand, the Bluebirds are reeling from the loss of Emiliano Sala who was set to join the club from Nantes but has now gone missing for close to a week after the aircraft carrying him went off the radar.
Both the teams are in a patchy run of form right now and are in desperate need of three points. With United’s resurgence under Ole Gunnar Solskjær, both the teams are level on points, and the race for top four has a new contender. Therefore, Arsenal cannot afford to drop any points against a side which is fighting relegation.
Laurent Koscielny is out for a considerable amount of time. Unai Emery indicated that Sokratis’ injury isn’t too serious and he could be fit in time for this game. Hector Bellerin is out for the rest of the season.
Arsenal predicted lineup vs Cardiff City
Bernd Leno is expected to start in goal ahead of veteran goalkeeper Petr Cech. Shkodran Mustafi should be fit to start at the back in this home game. Papastathopoulos is likely to be assessed much closer to the match day, and it could go either way with him. If he isn’t fit, then Granit Xhaka could play in the central defence.
Ainsley Maitland Niles is expected to keep his place in the right back position. Sead Kolasinac should start as the left back.
Lucas Torreira is expected to start in a deeper role in midfield, and his job would be to stop the opposition’s attack from developing. He is likely to be partnered by Matteo Guendouzi who has slowly emerged as an essential player in Emery’s set up.
Mesut Ozil has been overlooked in the past few games, but this is a match where he should start as Arsenal could see a lot of possession in this game. The German should play in an advanced role in midfield. On the left, Alex Iwobi is expected to keep his place. Pierre Emerick Aubameyang should start down the right. The Gabonese is expected to often drift inside and occupy the central areas.
Alexandre Lacazette has produced some absolute gems this season, and Emery would hope that he can be clinical in front of goal against a side expected to defend in numbers.
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