Cardiff vs Arsenal 15:00
Kim Bo-Kyung came off the bench to score a last gasp equaliser and grab a point for Cardiff as they drew 2-2 with Manchester Utd last weekend at Cardiff City Stadium. Controversy was abound after Wayne Rooney lashed out at Jordan Mutch before scoring the game’s opening goal, but goals from former Utd man Fraizer Campbell and substitute Kim saw Malkay Mackay’s side record a brave draw.
Cardiff’s Ben Turner will most likely be integral to Cardiff’s defensive efforts against Arsenal this weekend. He currently ranks second on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for clearances with 125.
David Marshall will no doubt find his goal under attack a few times this weekend against a highly creative Arsenal outfit, but the Cardiff stopper has proved himself more than up to the challenge of the Premier League so far this season. He’s made more saves than any other ‘keeper in the league with 54.
Kevin Theophile will need to mind his tackling technique this weekend against an Arsenal side which will likely dominate possession for large periods of the game. He gave away more fouls than any other player in the last round of fixtures with 6.
Despite being known more for his abilities in front of goal, Frazier Campbell has been showcasing some impressive technique when recovering possession for his team. The hard-working striker has been successful with a superb 82.4% of his 17 attempted challenges this season.
Two goals from Olivier Giroud saw Arsenal cement their place at the summit of the Premier League with a 2-0 win over an impressive Southampton side at the Emirates. Southampton ‘keeper Artur Boruc’s over-complication of what should have a been a simple clearance saw Giroud pounce for his first goal, and a late penalty from the Frenchman secured the win for the Gunners.
By his own lofty standards, most would agree that Mesut Ozil has not been quite at his best in recent weeks. It is perhaps therefore even more worrying for the Gunners’ rivals than in spite of this, the German maestro has still completed a pass in the opponent’s half on average once every 1.87 minutes he’s been on the pitch this season. A return to his devastating best is surely not far away, a prospect that no Arsenal opponent will be looking forward to.
The desire of the Arsenal fans for their club to retain the services of Bacary Sagna is well-founded according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. He’s won an excellent 85.7% of his 14 attempted challenges this season, as well as completing 237 passes in the opponent’s half during his marauding raids down the right flank.
Reports this week suggested that fan favourite Per Mertesacker is on the verge of signing a new deal with the Gunners, have established himself as part of a consistent back four. The giant German has played with composure and intelligence this season, as evidenced by the fact that he has given away just 3 fouls this season, a lower total than any of his regular colleagues at the back in Gibbs, Koscielny and Sagna.
Mathieu Flamini generated some controversy in midweek after he went against club tradition and wore short sleeves against Marseille in the Champions League. Observation of tradition aside, you can’t argue with his impact on this Arsenal midfield, his ability to organise and communicate providing the platform for some of his more attacking-minded colleagues. Flamini has the best tackle success rate of any Arsenal midfielder so far this season, successfully completing 78.6% of his 14 attempted challenges.