Arsenal-Cardiff City Preview
Arsenal finally have their first victory under new manager Unai Emery.
Newly promoted Cardiff City, meanwhile, are still looking for their first goal on the Premier League season.
The two sides will meet Sunday in Wales, where the Gunners could have one of their top players back on the pitch.
Emery's introduction to the Premier League with Arsenal (1-0-2) wasn't expected to be easy with defending champions Manchester City and Chelsea right out of the gate. City pretty much controlled the opener while handing the Gunners a 2-0 defeat and they were more spirited against the Blues in rallying to make a game of it before falling 3-2.
Last weekend, however, Arsenal were able to prevail despite falling behind to West Ham at the Emirates. Nacho Monreal continued his strong start with the equaliser on 30 minutes and the Gunners benefited from a Hammers' own goal deep into the second half before Danny Welbeck provided some insurance in stoppage time to claim a 3-1 win.
"I am very, very happy, firstly, with the three points, but then also how the team worked to win." Emery told Arsenal's official website. "I want to continue that in the next match (against Cardiff), a different game, but just to continue our momentum."
In a move to help the cause and keep his players more fit, Emery has banned the team from drinking fruit juices with high sugar content.
"I like fruit a lot and I like fruit juice," he said. "But with a lot of sugar? Not very well."
It's uncertain if Arsenal star Mesut Ozil is drinking fruit juice to boost his recovery for an illness that kept him out of the West Ham contest, but he seems to be making progress and could feature Sunday.
"He's training normally with the group, in every session this week," Emery said. "He's OK."
Arsenal and Cardiff last met in the Premier League on New Year's Day 2014. The Gunners won 2-0 in that meeting to extend their series winning streak to three matches. They've also kept Cardiff off the scoresheet the last four times they met.
That scoreless stretch could continue for the Bluebirds (0-2-1), who have yielded just two goals in their three top-flight games, but have yet to find the back of the net themselves - the lone Premier League club yet to score in 2018-19. Coming off a pair of scoreless draws with Newcastle and Huddersfield Town, Cardiff did manage a goal in their League Cup matchup Tuesday with Norwich City, but lost 3-1.
Veteran manager Neil Warnock seems poised to take it upon himself to make sure the Bluebirds increase their non-existent production.
"I think the lads have given everything they can and I've been quite pleased with the performances," Warnock told Cardiff's official website. "But if you go higher, you've got to take your chances. It's down to me more than them - I know what my lads can do and I've got to come up with a solution. You've got change all the time as a manager.
"I want to enjoy the games against the big boys, if that's possible. My tactics have got to reflect that, and that's by giving us a chance to score goals."
Updated August 31, 2018