Arsenal will be looking to end their abysmal record away from home when they travel to newly-promoted Cardiff on Sunday. Should Lucas Torreira start for the Gunners?
Torreira time yet? Cardiff vs Arsenal
Arsenal have won just a single Premier League game away from the Emirates in 2018. They have lost their opening two matches of the season – albeit to Chelsea and Manchester City – before winning their first three points under Unai Emery against West Ham last weekend.
Meanwhile, Cardiff are yet to score a goal this season in the Premier League having drawn a blank against Bournemouth, Newcastle, and Huddersfield.
Three Key Men
Hector Bellerin – Arsenal
The Arsenal right-back has received some flak recently due to his dip in form. However, he managed to rack up two assists in his last game versus West Ham which was instrumental to handing Unai Emery his first 3 points the season. Most of the Arsenal attacks come through his right side, thus Hector being on form will be essential to Arsenal dominating the game. He will have to be alert to Cardiff’s counter-attacking wingers.
Joe Ralls – Cardiff
The midfield ace well and truly come of age last season, becoming the midfield heartbeat of the Bluebirds. He’s the main man in the middle for Cardiff making everyone tick. He will be key to any kind of possession Cardiff will hold onto as they try to take advantage of Arsenal leaky defense. He has a few goals in him too, scoring 7 league goals last season in the Championship.
Lucas Torreira – Arsenal
Arsenal’s World Cup star has certainly earned a start following impressive performances off the bench in his last three matches. Lucas will be necessary to prevent any Cardiff counter-attacks as Arsenal will try to push forward heavily. Torreira’s interceptions, tackles, and build up play from the back will therefore unlock doors for the likes of Aaron Ramsey to attack.
Arsenal will try to play a high line and dominate the game through Lucas Torreira and Xhaka as they look to assert their authority on the newly promoted team. They will keep possession and try to attack from the wings pushing their fullbacks forward to take advantage of the aging Cardiff defense. Cardiff will likely sit back and play deep putting as many numbers as they can behind the ball.
However, Cardiff will try to hit Arsenal’s leaky defense on the break with their pacy winger J. Murphy. They will look to take advantage of any mistake in the Arsenal midfield and capitalize on it. The Gunners will rely on the pace of their defenders for recovery and quick decision making.
Predictions and Team News
Cardiff are clearly aiming on keeping all of their matches tight, going for a clean sheet and snatching a goal from a counter attack or set piece. They’re without a goal in their first three Premiership encounters and it’s unlikely they’ll hold out this Arsenal team for 90 minutes.
Predicted line-up (4-3-3): Etheridge, Ecuele Manga, Morrison, Bamba, Bennett, Arter, Victor Camarasa, Ralls, Paterson, Zohore, Murphy
Unavailable: Gunnarsson (Injured), Mendez-Laing (Injured)
Doubtful: Hoilett (Injured)
Predicted line-up (4-2-3-1): Cech, Bellerin, Mustafi, Sokratis, Monreal, Torreira, Xhaka, Mkhitaryan, Ramsey, Lacazette, Aubameyang
Unavailable: Koscielny (Injured), Kolasinac (Injured), Maitland-Niles (Injured), Jenkinson (Injured)
Doubtful: Ozil (Illness)