After another odious week in the transfer market, where fans were subjected to the constant questioning of ‘will he, won’t he’, the glimmer of real football over the horizon has me excited again.
At the beginning of the year, I hoped that Wenger would treat the FA Cup as serious as possible this year because I thought that was our best chance of silverware. Now in January, I unfortunately was spot on in my prediction, but Wenger has seen the opportunity we have in the FA Cup and is going to go full force ahead to claim it. Arsenal have started to hit form as of late, and it comes in perfect timing for the FA Cup.
As he does every year, Wenger answered the question of how high of a priority is the FA Cup. ‘I personally think that the question of whether the competition has been devalued has been asked for years and still everybody fights to be at Wembley.
‘It can be that some clubs have different priorities like Tottenham at the moment. They might have different worries but overall the FA Cup is still a glamorous competition.’
Arsene also addressed how he will use Ramsey in his return to his boyhood club. “We go there to qualify,” said the Frenchman. “The most important thing is that the team goes out on Sunday and plays to win the game. I love Aaron Ramsey and I believe he will be a great player for Arsenal Football Club but we don`t go there for a testimonial.
“I must say I am not tempted to play him because of the occasion but I`m not tempted to leave him out either. I will consider the whole week we have to go through and I will play him if it will help us to qualify.”
“I`m very happy with Aaron and I believe he will be a very important player for the Club. He is ahead of schedule and I`m impressed by what he has done by now but he is only 18.”
Cardiff City Team News:
Cardiff winger Peter Whittingham suffered a strained hamstring at Birmingham last week and will miss this game. Though good news for City is that Paul Parry will be available.
Former Arsenal trainee, Jay Bothroyd, also has recovered from a slight strain, and will be looking to play his absolute best against his former club.
Player to watch: Joe Ledley
Ledley will captain Cardiff in this glamorous FA Cup tie, and he is a Premiership quality player. Recently he has been linked with a eight million pound move to West Ham, but it seems like the young Welshman will remain at City, at least till the summer.
Joe is a strong and intelligent player and he will be looking to thrive off the crowd energy at Ninian park to boss the Arsenal midfield. When Arsenal losses it is almost always because the midfield gets dominated by passionate opposing players, and Ledley will be a threat in this department.
Arsenal Team News:
Gael Clichy picked up his fifth yellow card of the season against Hull last Saturday and is thus suspended for this Fourth round tie. Gallas has recovered from his knock, and it will be interesting to see if he starts with Toure or if Djourou rightly keeps his place on the team sheet.
Fabianski has been announced as the starter for this game, and I think Ramsey will also get his chance from the outset.
Possible Starting XI: Fabianski, Sagna, Djourou, Toure, Gibbs, Diaby, Denilson, Ramsey, Nasri, van Persie, Adebayor
Player to watch: Aaron Ramsey
After choosing Arsenal over Manchester United in the summer, Aaron has showed patches of brilliance when he has been on the pitch for Arsenal, but if he gets the start tomorrow this will be his biggest game to date. He will need to overcome all the emotions that will surely be bottled up inside him, and preform like the player we all know he can be.
Match Facts & Stats
Cardiff are 21 places lower than Arsenal in the league standings.
Arsenal have won the last seven games between these two teams
Arsenal lead the FA Cup series between these two clubs 4-2.
Martin Atkinson will be the head official for this match. In the Premier League he has managed 15 matches handing out 48 yellows and no reds, which gives him a 3.2 card per game average. Three years ago Atkinson refereed a 2-1 win at Highbury for Arsenal over Cardiff City.
This one will be a struggle but with Arsenal’s recent form I think we can win it. I will say 3-2 to the Arsenal, with Cardiff scoring a late goal to make the scoreline seem closer than it actually was. van Persie and Adebayor to score for Arsenal.
28/1 (Wed)- Everton (A)- Premier League
31/1 (Sat)- West Ham (H)- Premier League
8/2 (Sun)- Tottenham (A)- Premier League