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Arsenal v Cardiff as it happened

RESULT
Arsenal 4-0 Cardiff

GOALFLASHES AND MAJOR INCIDENTS (all times GMT)

606: DEBATE
To get involved use 606 or text us your views & comments on 81111. (Not all contributions can be used)

By Caroline Cheese

2147: A million thanks for all your contributions tonight. Are Arsenal back in the groove? We may get a better idea when they face Sunderland in the Premier League on Saturday before the first leg of their Champions League tie against Roma. Still, good to see Eduardo back among the goals. For Cardiff, it's back to the promotion push, starting with a crucial game at Wolves on Sunday.

2143: Cripes. Eduardo's two-goal salvo on his first Arsenal start for a year earns him a phenomenal 9.41 on Player Rater. He's a country mile ahead of his nearest challenger, Cardiff stopper Tom Heaton (7.87), without whom the Bluebirds might have been looking at a far more embarrassing scoreline.
Arsenal v Cardiff Player Rater

2141: A comprehensive win for Arsenal against a disappointing Cardiff side. The Gunners will host Burnley on 7 or 8 March, hoping to avenge their defeat in the Carling Cup earlier this season.

2139: FULL-TIME Arsenal 4-0 Cardiff

2139: Nicklas Bendtner stands a lovely ball up at the far post for Robin van Persie but the unmarked Dutchman heads against the post. Arsene Wenger can afford to laugh.

2138: Encouraging performance by Arsenal tonight and encouraging news earlier, with skipper Cesc Fabregas revealing he'll be training with a ball in 10 days' time.

2137: We'll have two minutes of injury time.

2135: GOAL Arsenal 4-0 Cardiff
Cardiff lose the ball carelessly in midfield and quick as a flash, Nicklas Bendtner slides the pass through for substitute Robin van Persie to slot in a fourth for Arsenal. It's probably a fair scoreline too.

2132: Robin van Persie controls on the edge on the box, turns, and plays in Nicklas Bendtner. Ugly collision as Bendtner goes feet first for the ball and catches the oncoming Tom Heaton - but the keeper gets to his feet quite quickly.

2130: If Cardiff are going to launch a miraculous recovery, they'll have to do in seven minutes. I'm not confident.

2127: Amaury Bischoff makes himself a bit of space on the left of the box and arrows a shot across goal, but it misses the far post by a matter of millimetres.

2125: Few missiles being thrown onto the pitch. A mobile phone a couple of minutes ago, and now a shoe. What sort of person has a spare shoe and/or mobile phone they feel they can chuck onto a football pitch? Ridiculous.

2124: "Been very impressed with Vela tonight. As I have been every time he's played. He deserves more chances for sure."
JackGooner87 on 606
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2120: One last change by Arsene Wenger as the impressive Carlos Vela is replaced by Amaury Bischoff. And anything Arsenal can do... Cardiff also make their third substitution with Riccardo Scimeca on for Gavin Rae.

2118: Eduardo looked like he might have picked up a little injury. He seemed to be limping as he came off and headed straight down the tunnel.

2115: Cardiff make a double change too. Paul Parry and Darren Purse are off. Peter Whittingham and Darcy Blake come on.

2114: A standing ovation from the Arsenal fans as Eduardo comes off to be replaced by Robin van Persie. Aaron Ramsay replaces Samir Nasri.

2113: Chance for Eduardo... he takes one touch but his shot is blocked by Tom Heaton.

2111: Cardiff win a free-kick in a promising position. Ross McCormack's curling effort flicks off the wall and goes behind.

2108: Eduardo celebrates by blowing kisses to the Arsenal fans as he jogs to the Gunners' bench where fitness coach Tony Colbert receives a grateful hug from the Croat - who is now on a hat-trick.

2107: GOAL Arsenal 3-0 Cardiff
Arsenal have a half-shout for a penalty before Tom Heaton keeps out Nicklas Bendtner's fierce shot with his leg. The ball comes back in though and Eduardo is bundled over by Gavin Rae, the Croat stepping up to slot in the spot-kick.

2106: PENALTY TO ARSENAL

2103: Alex Song gives the ball away in midfield, allowing Jay Bothroyd to pick it up and drive towards goal - but his low shot is comfortable for Lukasz Fabianski.

2102: Mexican wonderkid Carlos Vela goes on a scintillating run, jinking into the box with the ball apparently stuck to his left foot. His shot comes off the defender though and bobbles to safety.

2100: Signs that Cardiff are intent on closing down their opponents a bit more quickly.

2057: The first booking of the evening goes to... Bad Boy Billy Gallas, the Gunners defender catching Jay Bothroyd a touch late.

2052: A young Gunners fan is caught munching greedily on a pie by the cameras. Look alive young man, we're off again.

2049: "Nice to see Arsenal playing with some midfield balance. I can see a couple more goals in this one."
Jamie at the Emirates via text on 81111

2048: If Arsenal do go on to win the match, they will play their fifth-round tie against Burnley on 7 or 8 March - that's quarter-final weekend to you and me. If Cardiff launch a remarkable recovery, they'll host Burnley on 24 or 25 February.

2044: Just as well for Arsenal that they were leading 2-0 at the time because that is a terrible miss by Nicklas Bendtner amid that goalmouth scramble. He's about three yards out as the ball comes to him, and with the keeper still recovering from making the save, the Dane manages only to hit the post.

2039: Do you think Arsenal fans are pleased to see Eduardo back and scoring? The Croatia striker is running away with it over on Player Rater with a nine-busting 9.25. On-loan Manchester United keeper Tom Heaton is deservedly leading the way for Cardiff on 7.25.
Arsenal v Cardiff Player Rater

2035: HALF-TIME Arsenal 2-0 Cardiff

2033: Oh my word. Arsenal nearly score three more (sort of). Carlos Vela brings the ball down and turns in the box but his well-struck shot is magnificently saved by Tom Heaton. Nicklas Bendtner hammers the rebound onto the foot of the post but it comes straight back to him. The Gunners fans cannot believe it when Heaton somehow keeps out that one as well.

2030: Arsenal break dangerously. Carlos Vela picks up the ball on the right but his first touch is far too heavy and Kevin McNaughton recovers to boot the ball into touch.

2030: Chris Burke manages to muscle his way into the penalty area on the right but he is eventually stopped in his tracks.

2028: "Tom Heaton was in my year at school. Something told me he was in for a busy evening!"
Sean, Chester, via text on 81111

2026: "Dave Jones will want half-time to come as quickly as possible so he can get stuck into his players."
Lee Dixon on BBC 5 Live

2021: GOAL Arsenal 2-0 Cardiff
Samir Nasri takes the corner from the left and Nicklas Bendtner runs to the near post before glancing a lovely header inside the far stick. Big task facing Cardiff now, but Arsenal are good value for their lead.

2019: "I feel Cardiff are giving Arsenal too much respect. We know Arsenal can pass you to death, but you have to get close to them, put pressure on and not let them pass like they want to."
Lee Dixon on BBC 5 Live

2018: "This is the best Arsenal have played in a LONG time. More chances and action than the last three home matches combined. Brilliant that Eduardo scored!"
Marc, East Lower, via text on 81111

2016: Nervous moments for Cardiff fans as Samir Nasri lets fly from just outside the box and Tom Heaton fumbles the ball, which spins dangerously close to the goal-line before going behind.

2015: "That brought a tear to my eye and a lump in my throat. Great to have you back Eduardo!"
Anon via text on 81111

2013: William Gallas began that move for the goal by winning a defensive header, leaping over the Cardiff forward and landing awkwardly on his head. The Arsenal defender was still down and waiting for attention when Eduardo scored.

2011: That is Eduardo's first Arsenal goal since 2 February 2008 against Manchester City.

2008: GOAL Arsenal 1-0 Cardiff
Eduardo plays the ball to Carlos Vela on the left and then chases into the box to meet the cross with a firm header. A deafening roar erupts at the Emirates as the striker celebrates by sliding on his knees and punching his fist before he is joined by most of his team-mates.

2007: Lovely skill from Kolo Toure, turning Cardiff skipper Joe Ledley in the box, but his shot is too close to Tom Heaton.

2006: Nicklas Bendtner tries to turn in the box and get his shot away but Darren Purse does well to get the block in. Cardiff just can't get into the game at the moment.

2004: Eduardo plays a lovely give and go with Carlos Vela and tries to cut the ball back for Nicklas Bendtner but Cardiff scramble it away.

2002: And now Eduardo picks up the ball in the centre circle, has a look up and tries to lob the keeper. Five yards wide though.

2001: Nicklas Bendtner does well to twist his body and fizz in a cross for Eduardo, who heads wide.

2000: "In Beirut of all places following this match on the text service. Come on the Bluebirds. You can do it boys."
Anon via text on 81111

1959: Massive roar greeted Eduardo's name when it was read out before kick-off. His every touch is cheered to the rafters. I think the whole of north London are going to hear about it if the Croat striker scores.

1957: "Re 1949: Because Djourou was ruled out ill just prior to kick off, Gallas was drafted into the starting line-up. The team sheet was already submitted, so Arsenal could not name a replacement on the bench although the change does not count as a substitution."
Nick the Gooner in Watford, via text on 81111

1955: And now Heaton keeps out William Gallas's far-post header. Only seven minutes gone.

1954: Cardiff living very dangerously. Carlos Vela goes on a driving run through midfield before unleashing a low shot from distance. Tom Heaton punches it into Nicklas Bendtner's path but the Cardiff keeper bounces back to his feet to push the rebound behind.

1953: Bacary Sagna provides the overlap on the right for Samir Nasri and the right-back's cross is for Nicklas Bendtner, who leaps well for the header but sees it go just beyond the far post.

1952: "This game seems pretty pointless. Whoever gets through is going out in the next round to the cup kings!"
Simon, a completely not bothered Burnley fan, via text on 81111

1950: Arsene Wenger is already fuming about something, giving his assistant Pat Rice a right old earful as he returns to his seat. Rice merely nods in agreement.

1949: "Anyone explain why the Gunners only have six subs? Surely worth chucking a youth player on for experience, Merida for example?"
Anon via text on 81111

1948: Cardiff, wearing their all-yellow away kit, get the game under way.

1945: "I can see Cardiff doing it tonight. The only thing is that we have not played in two weeks, but Ledley to out shine his Arsenal midfield opponents."
Nye in Millfield, via text on 81111

1943: Elvis Presley's The Wonder of You receives a tumultuous reception from the fans inside the Emirates, shortly before the players make their entrance.

1941: Andrey Arshavin is at the Emirates Stadium tonight, wearing a very nice stripey beanie hat.

1937: TEAM NEWS
Eduardo makes his long-awaited return to the Arsenal starting XI after making his international return after a year out in midweek. Nicklas Bendtner partners him up front, with Robin van Persie on the bench. Cardiff include former Arsenal trainee Jay Bothroyd in attack. On-loan Manchester United goalkeeper Tom Heaton replaces the injured Peter Enckelman, while Darren Purse comes into the defence in place of Gabor Gyepes.

1932: My favourite football quote is anything by the incomparable Diego Maradona. Current number one is: "Who is Butcher? Who is Butcher?"
Who is Butcher? asks Maradona

1928: Arsenal could do with a goal or two from Nicklas Bendtner tonight. The Gunners have managed only one goal in four games - and they are up against a side who are undefeated in 13 games.

1924: Talking of Arshavin, the lead-up to this game featured one of my all-time favourite football quotes. Well, it's in the top 20 anyway. It comes from Danish striker Nicklas Bendtner. "It does not really matter to me who is fit and available," says Nicklas. "I should start every game, I should be playing every minute of every match and always be in the team." And there's more. "I've never seen Arshavin. I did not watch Euro 2008. I've no idea what sort of player he is."

1923: A few of you wondering where on earth Andrey Arshavin is. The Russian playmaker is ineligible as he was signed after the original tie.

1921: "Never mind Eduardo. McCormack to score two. One each half."
Dean, Cardiff, via text on 81111

1917: "Hooray! Good to see Eduardo back starting for Arsenal. Hopefully it'll be a big boost. Also looks like Wenger might try a 4-3-3, very positive."
Simon, Dorset, via text on 81111

1916: TEAMS Arsenal v Cardiff
Arsenal: Fabianski, Sagna, Toure, Gallas, Gibbs, Nasri, Song, Denilson, Vela, Eduardo, Bendtner. Subs: Almunia, Van Persie, Ramsey, Wilshere, Clichy, Bischoff.
Cardiff: Heaton, McNaughton, Rae, Purse, Johnson, Parry, Ledley, Kennedy, Burke, Bothroyd, McCormack. Subs: Sak, Capaldi, Whittingham, Eddie Johnson, Comminges, Scimeca, Blake.

1912: Eduardo returns to the Arsenal starting line-up for the first time since breaking his leg a year ago. More team news to follow.

1910: After giving Arsenal a scare at Ninian Park last month, the Cardiff fans definitely fancy their team for a Cupset tonight and they are descending on the Emirates Stadium in their thousands.

1906: "I find it quite interesting that Arsenal are in the QF draw but still are not past the fourth round yet and have only won one game. This is indeed a strange season."
stonecoldsober on 606
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1905: "I think Cardiff have a shout tonight."
BAZ920 on 606
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1900: Hello. Arsenal meet Cardiff tonight for the right to play Burnley for the right to play Sheffield United or Hull. Something like that. Anyway, it's football and it's coming right up, that's all you need to worry about.

see also
Arsenal 4-0 Cardiff
16 Feb 09 |  FA Cup
Swansea may face Man Utd in Cup
15 Feb 09 |  FA Cup


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