With Junior Hoilett and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing likely to miss next weekend’s home clash with Arsenal, it means that Josh Murphy is the only first choice winger available. Cardiff still haven’t scored a goal in 270 minutes of football this season – a slight worry that the squad will be mulling over. However, Arsenal’s defence can be vulnerable (as was witnessed v Chelsea) and this could be the best opportunity in September to win 3 points.
Option 1: the same 4-3-3 system
- Gives Kadeem Harris his first chance at making a mark this season and provides a great opportunity for him to take the place of NML/Hoilett.
- Cardiff have kept two clean sheets in the first three Premier League games with this formation.
- The back four will remain unchanged.
- Gives the players another go at playing the same way against an Arsenal defence that has conceded six goals already this campaign.
Option 2: 3-4-3 system with wing-backs and two no.10’s
- Shifts Manga from right back into his natural central position and Jazz Richards comes in to play the right wing-back role, in which he has excelled in for Wales. Bennett switches to a more attacking full back on the left.
- Gives Richards to get his long-awaited chance to play in the Premier League. As well as the job of marking Iwobi, he will be looking to burst forward to attack Monreal, who has looked exposed in games this year.
- Harry Arter would play as a deep-lying midfielder and Joe Ralls would occupy more of a box-to-box role.
- Gives a chance for Reid to play in his natural no.10 position, along side Josh Murphy, who would have the freedom to switch between playing centrally and drifting out wide on either flank in counter attacks.
Option 3: a flat 4-4-1-1 formation, safe system to nullify Arsenal
- Switches Murphy from the left to the right, to make room for Joe Bennett to play on the left wing and Greg Cunningham to make his Cardiff debut at left back.
- Could also play this system with Harris on the right and Murphy keeping his place on the left.
- Has Reid in a no.10 position behind Zohore. Danny Ward or Gary Madine could also play in place of the striker.
- Could be very difficult for Arsenal to break down, with 9-10 players behind the ball every time Arsenal are in possession.
Regardless of the formation Warnock decides to opt for, it is highly important that Cardiff do not lose this home game going into the international break. This is probably the best time to play Arsenal; Emery is still getting to know his squad and Ozil is currently being left out of the team because of an alleged “training ground row”. Aubameyang hasn’t hit form and Ramsey hasn’t got to his usual level either, only playing one game this season for 90 minutes. They have conceded six goals in two games, a weakness that Cardiff desperately need to exploit.
With an apparent upset Arsenal dressing room that is massively lacking togetherness, this is a golden opportunity to beat The Gunners at home and win the first 3 points of the season.