CARDIFF welcome Arsenal to the Cardiff City Stadium on Sunday. Football expert Ben Levene (@benlevene96) analyses the Super Sunday clash.
Cardiff v Arsenal | Sunday 2nd September 2018, 13:30 | Sky Sports
Newly-promoted Cardiff will feel they missed a trick after failing to finish off ten-man Huddersfield last Saturday. The Bluebirds are yet to score this season but have kept back-to-back clean sheets. Midfield duo Harry Arter and Victor Camarasa were brought in this summer and have added more quality in possession.
Neil Warnock’s outfit actually rank pretty well in terms of the shot-data however finding the target has been an issue.
Arsenal are in town this Sunday and on paper pose Cardiff their biggest challenge thus far.
Having said that, it’s difficult to be convinced by Unai Emery’s side. Their 3-1 victory against West Ham probably flattered the Gunners who were carved open on numerous occasions.
Arsenal have lost eight of nine away games in 2018 and given the opposing styles of the two sides, it’s possible Cardiff can cause some problems, too. The match-prices seem pretty accurate, so I’m going to search elsewhere for value.
After Saturday’s win against West Ham, Aaron Ramsey put emphasis on pressing high, but Cardiff will likely turn from back to front quickly.
Here’s where it gets interesting. Cardiff rank 1st for aerial duels so far this season, whilst Arsenal rank last. No team has had more headers at goal than Cardiff this season and last term the Bluebirds scored more frequently from set-pieces than any other side. I think it’ll be a clear mismatch aerially this Sunday and so that’s an angle I’m happy to take.
Sean Morrison scored seven times last season and has already had two clear cut chances this season. The 6”4 centre-back ranks inside the top-20 for headers at goal this season and the top-six for aerial duels won.
In the Championship last season, Morrison had the divisions 2nd most headers at goal. There’s enough reason for us to get behind him in the anytime goalscorer market at 15/1 (Unibet). The Bluebirds possess a long-throw which means he gets more opportunities than the average defender.
Cards offer value
I was tempted by the 11/2 about David Hoilett in the cards market but he’s an injury concern. As a result, I’ve turned my attention the next best thing, Harry Arter, at 5/2 (Betfred).
The Republic of Ireland international is tenacious in style and plays with a real intensity. Arter ranks in the top-three for Cardiff squad’s attempted tackles, interceptions and fouls this campaign. He’s been booked 24 times in 71 Premier League appearances, which is around one every three.
Given Anthony Taylor has shown at least three cards in 65% of Premier League games since the start of last season, I’m going to chance Arter.