Arsenal 4 – 0 Cardiff City, Match report
The match saw the extremely welcome return from injury of Eduardo.
Here’s how Arsenal lined up at the start :
Sagna, Toure, Gallas, Gibbs
Nasri, Song, Denilson, Vela
Arsenal started brightly with Bendtner having a chance to head at goal, and Vela having a fierce shot saved by Cardiff keeper Heaton.
Arsenal, perhaps spurred on by the return of Eduardo, displayed the sort of passing and movement that has been missing from their game for quite some time. For the first time in a while it felt good to be a gooner again.
It was to be Eduardo’s night, he was quickly on the pace and showed the sort of piercing attacking threat Arsenal have missed in a lacklustre strike-force. He played with real purpose, and from his form and poise you could be forgiven for thinking he had never been away.
It wasn’t long before Eduardo created an opening, slipping the ball to Vela on the left and continuing in to the box, Vela chipped a cross back in to Eduardo, who met the ball with a powerful and well-placed header past the keeper and the Emirates crowd were rapturous in their praise of the striker.
Arsenal made it 2-0 when Bendtner rose to meet a Nasri corner at the near post, directing a glancing header past Heaton.
Arsenal were camped out in the Cardiff half and were creating plenty of chances on goal, Arsenal could have had a few more goals but for Cardiff keeper Heaton protecting his goal under the storm of shots. This was displayed when Vela brought the ball down excellently in the box, turned and shot, Heaton blocking off his shot. Bendtner met the rebound but shot on the post, met the rebound again off the post, but was denied again from very close range by Heaton.
Eduardo got a second goal when he was bundled over in the box by Gavin Rae for a penalty. Eduardo stepped up, placed the ball on the spot and slotted a side-footed shot in to the right of the keeper, as the keeper dived to his left. Eduardo turned away to the applause of every Arsenal fan on his feet, and went to be congratulated by those instrumental in his recupperation on the Arsenal team bench.
Eduardo was replaced by Van Persie around the 70th minute, and Ramsey also came on to replace Nasri.
Arsenal added a fourth goal at the end when Bendtner set Van Persie free, the Dutchman slotting the ball coolly through the keeper’s legs.
There were excellent performances all over the field from Arsenal; Eduardo, Nasri and Vela in particular having great games. Arsenal were given the sort of time and space on the ball that they will not be afforded by top-class opposition and will have to continue improving as they did last night if they are to grab that Champions League spot.