Cardiff City Hold Arsenal With Skill & Committment
Cardiff City held their more illustrious visitors Arsenal to a goalless draw in a decent match at Ninian Park.
The Bluebirds handed a home debut to Chris Burke and the former Rangers man was involved early on, testing young Arsenal full-back Kieron Gibbs. Burke was always willing to receive the ball but there was little end product. Burke did get a decent chance to shoot on goal but turned inside twice and his shot was blocked by Toure.
Cardiff were the better side in the first half but failed to make their chances pay. Parry cut inside , found space on his right but fired wastefully over with City's best chance. McCormack twice fired narrowly wide, Bothroyd over with a fierce drive before a reasonable shout for handball was turned down.
Arsenal had plenty of possession, Aaron Ramsey playing very deep and whilst the Gunners looked dangerous - they created little inside the area until a counter attack found Samir Nasri in acres of space in the area but he dallied and eventually shot straight at Enckleman with the best chance of the half.
In the one other talking point, Emmanuel Eboue was booked for an outrageous dive in front of his own fans - few of whom even appealed - while others looked embarrassed!
After the break, Arsenal stepped up a gear and were rarely caught in possession, showing some deft touches to excape Cardiff pressure. The monstrous Abou Diaby ran the show in midfield and we were hanging on somewhat. Burke and Parry were fringe players and Bothroyd had to drop very deep for possession.
Arsenal were not creating all that many chances themselves but City were visibly tiring and the introduction of Adebayor almost brought immediate dividends for the Gunners as a superb flick-on found Van Persie but his shot was blocked. Enckleman saved twice from the same player as the pressure built up.
Mark Kennedy's slip nearly wrong-footed Encks but the Finn recovered before a looping cross found Adebayor but the Togan fluffed his shot with the goal at his mercy.
Cardiff City were consolidating for the draw and sitting deep. Johnson and Gyepes were collossal at the back while McNaughton was everywhere and gave a great performance let down only by some wayward distribution. Cardiff City nearly stole it at the end when a 30 yard free-kick by McCormack was superbly struck but clipped the bar with Fabianski beaten.
A good result for the Bluebirds who kept pace with a team aupposedly amongst the best in Europe. The Gunners fielded a strong team but we were the better side in the first half - a shame we couldn't take our chances. Nevertheless - for a team accustomed to leaking late goals - to keep out Arsenal over 90 minutes is no mean feat. To the Emirates Stadium now for the replay....