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Preview: Arsenal vs. Cardiff City - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Arsenal vs. Cardiff City - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole provides the team news, predicted lineups and a full preview of Arsenal's home Premier League match with Cardiff City.
By , European Football Editor | 7mo

Arsenal will be looking to bounce back from their defeat to Manchester United in the fourth round of the FA Cup when they welcome Cardiff City to the Emirates Stadium in the Premier League on Tuesday night.

The Gunners bowed out of the FA Cup with a 3-1 home loss to United, but still sit above the Red Devils in the Premier League table on goal difference and are just three points off fourth-placed Chelsea entering Week 24 in England's top flight.


Arsenal


It is difficult to judge what type of season Arsenal are having under Unai Emery. There have been plenty of positive signs for the Gunners, but a number of their issues were on display against United in the FA Cup.

Indeed, the Red Devils exploited Arsenal's defensive concerns at the Emirates Stadium and the defeat means that the capital outfit are now only realistically fighting for one trophy - the Europa League - this season.

Emery's team are very much in the mix for the top four in the Premier League at this stage, however, with a total of 44 points from 23 matches leaving them in fifth, just three points off fourth-placed Chelsea.

United in sixth are level on points with Arsenal, though, and a poor result on Tuesday could see the Gunners drop down to sixth and potentially leave them six points off the Champions League spots, which would be more of a concern.

Arsenal's home form in the Premier League has been strong this season, however, winning nine of their 12 matches and losing just once. They were impressive in their 2-0 success over Chelsea on January 19 and are the overwhelming favourites to overcome Cardiff at the Emirates Stadium this week.

Emery's side will then travel to Manchester City and Huddersfield Town in their next two Premier League matches, before visiting BATE for the first leg of their Europa League knockout-round match on February 14.

Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have both been impressive for the Gunners this season and there is no question that their attack is one of the best in the Premier League.

There have once again been issues defensively, however, and Emery is currently finding it difficult to pick a first-choice back four due to a number of injuries.

Recent form: WDLWLW
Recent form (all competitions): LWWLWL


Cardiff


Cardiff players will honour their missing striker Emiliano Sala by placing yellow daffodils on the pitch prior to the fixture. The official search for Sala and the pilot David Ibbotson was called off on Thursday, but a private search for the missing pair has continued with almost £300,000 raised.

Sala was on a flight which disappeared over the English Channel on Monday night. Cardiff had signed the 28-year-old from French club Nantes in a record deal and he was due to make his debut against Arsenal.

The build-up to this match has been overshadowed by the tragic turn of events, but Cardiff will be keen to put on a positive performance at the Emirates Stadium.

Neil Warnock's side have only won one of their last seven in the Premier League, however, and the 3-0 defeat at Newcastle United on January 19 left them in 18th position in the table.

The Bluebirds are just two points off 17th-placed Newcastle, however, and have a huge game at home to Bournemouth this weekend, before facing a trip to fellow strugglers Southampton on February 9.

The omens are not great for Cardiff when considering that they have only won one of their 11 away Premier League matches this season, scoring just six times in the process.

Only Fulham have a worse away record in the Premier League this term and it is difficult to imagine Cardiff preventing Arsenal from returning to winning ways in this match.

Warnock's team were excellent in their 1-0 victory away to Leicester City last month, however, and are certainly capable of causing the Gunners a lot of problems on Tuesday night.

Recent form: LDWLDL
Recent form (all competitions): DWLLDL


Team News


Arsenal's injury crisis deepened on Friday as Laurent Koscielny and Sokratis Papastathopoulos were both forced off against United.

Rob Holding and Hector Bellerin were already on the sidelines with long-term knee injuries and both Koscielny and Sokratis will definitely miss the clash with Cardiff.

Koscielny suffered a suspected broken jaw against United, while Sokratis's issue involved his ankle.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan is expected to return to the Arsenal squad following a foot injury, but Danny Welbeck is also a long-term absentee with a broken ankle.

Mesut Ozil came off the bench in the FA Cup on Friday, but Aaron Ramsey is expected to continue in midfield.

As for Cardiff, club captain Sean Morrison remains on the sidelines as he recovers from an appendix operation.

Recent arrival from Everton Oumar Niasse is expected to continue at the tip of the attack, with David Hoilett and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing providing the support from a wide position.

On-loan Real Betis midfielder Victor Camarasa will also start for the Welsh outfit.

Arsenal possible starting lineup:
Leno; Xhaka, Mustafi, Monreal; Maitland-Niles, Guendouzi, Torreira, Iwobi; Ramsey; Lacazette, Aubameyang

Cardiff possible starting lineup:
Etheridge; Peltier, Bamba, Manga, Bennett; Mendez-Laing, Arter, Camarasa, Ralls, Hoilett; Niasse


Head To Head

Tuesday will be the 46th time that Arsenal and Cardiff have locked horns in all competitions.

Arsenal lead the head-to-head 21 wins to Cardiff's 10, while Cardiff have not overcome the Gunners since 1961.

Indeed, Arsenal have won all three of their Premier League meetings, including a 2-0 victory when they last met at the Emirates Stadium in January 2014.

The pair played out a five-goal thriller at the Cardiff City Stadium earlier this season, meanwhile, with Arsenal just coming out on top.



We say: Arsenal 3-0 Cardiff

Arsenal have been impressive on home soil in the Premier League this season and we fancy the Gunners to put another three points on the board.


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