Cardiff City 0 – 0 Arsenal, Match report
Arsenal were unable to find a way through at Ninian Park as they were held to a scoreless draw by hosts Cardiff City.
Here’s how Arsenal lined up :
Sagna, Toure, Djourou, Gibbs
Nasri, Ramsey, Song, Eboue
Van Persie, Bendtner
Arsenal started the first half weakly and were lucky to get through the first 20 minutes without going behind, as Cardiff City wasted a myriad of chances on the Arsenal goal.
The Arsenal midfield were constantly second best in the centre of the park, winning few challenges and not putting enough pressure on the opposition, allowing Cardiff to have most of the ball. The Arsenal back four was constantly under pressure due to this, and Cardiff looked more likely to score.
Towards the end of the first half Arsenal started to get back into the game a little more and had their own chances to waste.
In a chance reminiscent of Nasri’s goal last week, Van Persie received the ball with his back to goal on the edge of the box and set Nasri free on the left. Nasri took the ball onto his right foot but hit his shot straight at the keeper.
Arsenal had another good chance on the break, as Van Persie surged into the Cardiff half, releasing Bendtner on the left, but Bendtner also ultimately failed to test the keeper.
0-0 at half time and Arsenal were fortunate not to have conceded early on but were starting to get more of a grip on the game.
After the break Arsenal began to dominate the game more and spent much of the time in the Cardiff half, with Cardiff digging in and unable to muster many chances of their own.
On 53 minutes, Alexandre Song was fouled by Parry giving Arsenal a free kick in a great position for the left foot of Robin Van Persie. Van Persie’s free kick was curled over the wall and skipped inches past the post, with the keeper rooted to the spot.
Arsenal had another chance on 57 minutes when Gibbs lofted a cross in to the back post from the left. Eboue was at the back post but he was drifting aimlessly and did little to challenge the defender. The defender however, slipped and almost knocked the ball past his own flailing keeper.
Shortly after Diaby was brought on for Ramsey who had been ineffectual in the middle of the park against his old team, perhaps letting the occasion get the better of him. Diaby was immediately caught in possession on his first touch, but settled down and showed some good battling qualities later on.
In a rare second half chance for Cardiff, McCormack had a long shot turned wide by Fabianski.
As Arsenal’s possession and attacking threat increased Adebayor was brought on for Eboue around the 65th minute. Adebayor’s first touch was a flick on to Van Persie from a long ball, who was closed out by Cardiff defenders and had little space for a shot, his weak effort going straight to the keeper’s stomach from close range.
Adebayor himself had an excellent chance on 74 minutes, receiving a bouncing cross in plenty of space at the back post, but his shot was scuffed and easily collected by the keeper.
It was all Arsenal possession but the Gunners lacked a final quality ball into the area and did not create any clear cut chances as Cardiff defended solidly. Cardiff’s only other real chance of the second half came on 86 minutes when they won a free kick in a central position outside the Arsenal penalty box. McCormack unleashed a dipping shot which ricocheted behind off the top of the bar, Fabianski looking to have had it covered.
Wilshere came on to replace Bendtner moments later and showed some good touches but was unable to insert extra impetus into a game now destined to be resolved in a replay at the Emirates.
That’s all for now, I’ll be back tomorrow with some analysis of the game and thoughts on the draw for the 5th round.