Does Wenger play safe or go on the attack against Cardiff?

By Avenell Dave

When putting the team together for today's preview, I couldn't help but think how well we have done this season so far.

To be without Walcott, Cazorla, Podolski and Oxlade-Chamberlain for long periods and still find ourselves ahead in the title race is something that the club should be very proud of.

No one is suggesting that things are perfect - I don't think they ever are unless you're an Invincible - but the way we have mixed flair with pragmatism is dogged professionalism is a credit to Arsene Wenger and everyone at the club.

There are still those who doubt Wenger's talent, who think his ideas are outdated or that he has too much power.

Maybe he does have too much control and maybe he could do with a trusted sidekick who is prepared to challenge him.

But make no mistake, very very few managers could have operated in the financial constraints he has found himself working in and secured us Champions League football year after year.

Some say that our group is the toughest in the Champions League - I would argue that having AC Milan and Barcelona is equally challenging to Dortmund and Napoli - but to be leading it going into the final round of matches is something we should celebrate.

It's hard to believe that it is 51 years since we last played Cardiff in the league - yes that long folks, it's almost as long as Tottenham have had to wait to win the title (52 years for anyone who has somehow forgotten).

Aaron Ramsey will be going back to the club that gave him his introduction to first team football and we will be facing a club buoyed from that late draw against Manchester United.

That result may have shown as much about United's shortcomings as Cardiff's virtues but it's still a result to ensure we don't take it lightly.

Thankfully we have a goalkeeper in superb form and with five clean sheets in his last six matches, someone who Wenger rightly says can become an Arsenal great. Some of his saves against Marseille were superb.

The only decisions Wenger will probably make depend on whether he starts Walcott or Santi Cazorla in attack and whether Mikel Arteta or Jack Wilshere play in midfield.

I'm going for Theo but it may well be that Cazorla plays because he works a bit harder defensively and Theo can come on when defenders are tiring.

I certainly feel we're a more balanced team when only one of our defensive midfielders and Jack is in fine form now so the only reason I suspect he will be rested is if his ankles are playing up.

We have an embarrassment of riches in midfield and in terms of flair players but I do wish Serge Gnabry would get more playing time. He has done magnificently when he starts games and did so well at Swansea a few weeks ago.

We showed there how we have learnt to win at grounds where the crowd are vociferous and the opposition don't simply play to defend.

Let's hope for more of the same on Saturday.



Sagna Mertesacker Koscielny Monreal

Flamini Ramsey Wilshere

Walcott Giroud Ozil