I am getting used to seeing Arsenal right on top of that Premier League table. You have to if we’ve been there for what, two months now? We are topping what has been a ridiculous season all around and the only teams providing some sort of normalcy to proceedings are Arsenal and Liverpool.
But I am not complaining if I get to see Tottenham Hotspur thrashed like that every other week! I mean, it is acceptable if you have a bad day but that performance was shocking at best. Given the kind of depth and talent AVB has got, he really seems to have no idea what he’s doing. A loss to Manchester United and I expect the vultures will start circling over Andre Villas-Boas.
And speaking of United, they drew away at Cardiff City last weekend and we’ll be the next visitors to Wales to take on a strong home outfit. They’ve clearly been the most impressive of the three promoted sides and have produced some stunning results against Manchester City, United and Swansea City. Also worth noting is that they’ve lost at home to Spurs and Newcastle and in both those matches, they were up against fluid attacking sides.
Thus the key would lie in keeping their defence under pressure while making sure we remain alert defending set pieces. Wojciech Szczesny, Per Mertesacker, Olivier Giroud and Laurent Koscielny can be expected to do their job but the most important is for the others to cover the small gaps Cardiff’s players like getting into. If that is done, I don’t see them posing too much of a threat in open play and we’ve got enough to breakdown their defensive setup.
I talked to Michael Littlewood, a season ticket holder at Cardiff City and he gave his opinion on their controversial owner, the impressive Malky Mackay and Arsenal’s own Welsh superstar, Aaron Ramsey.
1. First things first. Tell me about yourself and your association with Cardiff City.
My name is Michael Littlewood; I am 21 years old and a Cardiff City season ticket holder in the Canton End of the Cardiff City Stadium. I have been supporting Cardiff for seven years and have already experienced lots of highs and lows.
2. Mackay appears to have become some sort of cult hero for the Bluebirds. What’s the opinion on his performance so far this season?
Mackay is idolised by the fans for many reasons. The success he has helped the club achieve is a huge factor but that’s not the only reason. Every game Mackay shows so much passion and is constantly shouting out to help his players and as a fan this is great to see and is a breath of fresh air after having laid back Dave Jones in charge for the previous six years.
Mackay’s performance this season has yet again been outstanding; we have managed some great home results with the 3-2 win against Manchester City, the 1-0 win against fierce rivals Swansea City and the recent 2-2 draw with Manchester United.
There have been some complaints over the style of football he has got the team playing as at times it can be quite boring with very little attacking threat. Overall though Malky Mackay is a firm fan favourite and has all fans full support.
3. Rumours are around that Vincent Tan is not popular among the fans. IS it solely the situation with Mackay or do the fans want him out?
This is a tricky area to comment on as I can’t speak for the whole fan base. If Vincent Tan was to sack Mackay then I believe every fan would be very annoyed with him. Some fans including myself are already annoyed with him as he totally disrespected our history and traditions when he changed the club from blue to red.
Overall I would say that every fan has some reason to dislike Vincent Tan but if he sacked Malky Mackay then that would be everyone’s breaking point.
4. How has the experience been coming back into the Premier League? From what I’ve seen, the fans are creating a wonderful atmosphere at every home game.
It all feels like a dream at the moment. After all the missed promotion opportunities of the past few seasons it was a feeling of relief that we eventually managed to do it. Every game is huge and feels like a cup final.
Cardiff have always had excellent fans for creating an atmosphere but this season the atmosphere is even better because of the sell-out crowds and the fact every game is a big one.
5. Did you expect Cardiff to do so well against the big teams? What has been the game plan?
I didn’t know what to expect as I have found over the years Cardiff seem to perform better against the bigger teams. The game plan has been to keep the games tight and to try and score from set pieces or any chances we get. We are a defensive minded team and Mackay has made us hard working and we always give our hundred percent.
6. Players who have impressed you.
Gary Medel has been excellent in midfield and helps keep us tight and calms things down. Steven Caulker has transformed our defence and given us the pace it was lacking in previous seasons. Also our goalkeeper David Marshall has been outstanding all season and on times has kept us in games.
7. Things will again be hard work this week with the visit of Arsenal. What are the expectations around the game down there?
After last weekend’s draw with Manchester United the feeling surrounding Cardiff is very positive and the general feeling is that this game could be another upset.
8. Your take on Arsenal as a club.
Arsenal are admired by lots of football fans for their style of football and the way the club is run. I also admire Arsenal for these reasons and I think it would be nice to see them as Premier league Champions this season.
9. Arsenal are top of the league and their Champions League Group of Death going into December. Was it something you saw happening after our opening day defeat?
The opening day defeat just shows how unpredictable this league is. As I am not an Arsenal supporter I didn’t give it much thought but it is a surprise. Arsenal has always been a quality club and I think this year Arsene Wenger has found the missing piece with Mesut Özil.
10. Which Arsenal players have impressed you?
The whole Arsenal team has been impressive but the standout players for me has been Aaron Ramsey, Mathieu Flamini and Olivier Giroud. The signing of Özil was a great move by Wenger and has raised everyone’s performance levels. I chose Ramsey for his goals he has scored, Flamini for the defensive work he does in midfield and Giroud because he has started to score and given Arsenal that goal threat once again.
11. One Arsenal player you’d choose to play for your team.
It would have to be a return to Cardiff for Aaron Ramsey. He is a local boy who loves Cardiff City and was very impressive when playing for us. He is also the type of player I think we need to help us getting forward more.
12. Do you think Arsenal can be in the title race going into April? And what are the targets for Cardiff over the season?
I think Arsenal are genuine title contenders and could even go on to win it. On the other hand, Cardiff’s main target is to avoid relegation and doing that would be deemed a successful season. It would also be nice to finish above Swansea City.
13. How do you see the game panning out? Predictions?
I think it will be a close game and I am predicting a 0-0 draw.
Thanks for reading,
I am a 20 year old Engineering student from India. I’ve been an Arsenal fan for six years now, pretty much since the time I’ve known football. From being a active cricketer, I’ve changed into a football fanatic. I’ve tried playing the game but come to the conclusion that my football life will be more about watching and writing than playing.
My love for Arsenal and writing have found a nice place in the Arsenal world where I’ve enjoyed writing and analyzing the game. Despite a year long hiatus from blogging, Dave readily agreed to let me write for Gunners Town again for which I am extremely grateful. ‘The Opposing View’ will be a pre match feature where I’ll be talking to opposition fans on their views and opinion. Hope all of you enjoy hearing what the other side has to say!