Monday, December 2, 2013

PSG underline Ligue 1 dominance with superb Lyon win

1:58 AM Posted by Miyamoto Musashi 1 comment
Olympique Lyonnais used to be a team that riled Paris Saint-Germain. During the early part of the millennium, the side from the Rhone Valley goaded their capital rivals that they were a bigger club. On Sunday night, PSG emphatically proved that they are once again the benchmark for Ligue 1 sides.

Laurent Blanc’s men, who remain unbeaten in all competitions this season, cruised to a 4-0 victory over the side who used to monopolise the Championnat crown. PSG toyed with their opponents, encouraging the crowd to loudly chant ‘Ole!’ each time they completed a successful pass with only an hour played.

Such is the strength of this PSG vintage, Blanc did not even feel the need to risk Blaise Matuidi, the side’s engine, from the outset of the game. Instead, the more graceful Javier Pastore was deployed from the outset, indicative of the home side’s need for creativity to break down opponents who arrived at Parc des Princes with the intention of spending long periods on the back foot.

Forget that Lyon were hampered by the loss of Bafetimbi Gomis just before kick off because of injury; his presence would have been little more to a discomfort for the dominant home team. Aside from a moment when Alexandre Lacazette brilliantly turned Thiago Silva then beat Gregory van der Wiel before smashing a shot against the bar, the fallen champions were mute as an offensive threat.

After starting the match at a subdued pace, PSG’s performance built like a crescendo towards the interval, by which time they had established a decisive 2-0 lead. Lucas Moura’s corner was steered home deftly at the near post by Edinson Cavani, who would win the penalty that Zlatan Ibrahimovic nonchalantly chipped into the top corner of the net – the ultimate show of confidence from a man whose assurance presently encapsulates this PSG side.



Mirroring Ibrahimovic is Yoann Gourcuff, whose collapse in form encapsulates that of his Lyon side. Sure, he is capable of moments of brilliance, but too often his performances are mundane and he was replaced after 70 minutes of this encounter, in which he had been swamped by PSG’s dominant midfield. Gourcuff, it seems, is a symbol of greatness past – apt for a club who are struggling to compete at the top level amidst the expenditure being invested to build their new stadium.

Indeed, the second half was little more than a training exercise for PSG. Ahead of a midweek trip to Evian, Blanc’s men allowed their tempo to drop once more yet still added a third when Thiago Silva thumped home following another corner kick. Even at this pace, though, the home side were still thoroughly dominant.

Ibrahimovic juggled the ball cheekily in the centre of the field during a period of open play and, though Bakary Kone would soon forcefully come through the back of him to remind the Swede of the competitive nature of the game, it simply served to underline how relaxed the Parisian side could afford to be. With 10 minutes remaining he won and converted another penalty as the hosts seemingly scored at will.

Four points clear at the top of the Ligue 1 table, PSG are increasingly hot favourites to become the first team to reclaim the French title since an invincible Lyon won the last of their seven successive titles in 2008.

Terry nets on milestone in rousing Chelsea win

1:48 AM Posted by Miyamoto Musashi No comments

Premier League, Stamford Bridge - Chelsea 3 (Cahill 52, Terry 62, Ba 89) Southampton 1 (Rodriguez 1).


Chelsea conceded the fastest goal in the Premier League this season but mounted a rousing recovery in the second half with captain John Terry netting on his 400th Premier League appearance in an excellent 3-1 win over Southampton at Stamford Bridge.
A slipshod pass by Michael Essien enabled Jay Rodriguez to slide a shot beyond Petr Cech after only 12 seconds as the visiting side looked comfortable enough holding a 1-0 lead at half-time.
The mood of the match began to change when home coach Jose Mourinho threw on Demba Ba for Essien at the break as Chelseapaired Ba with Fernando Torres up front.
With Frank Lampard impressing after replacing the injured Oscar alongside Ramires in midfield, Chelsea suddenly began to find gaps in the previously unshakable visiting defence and equalised when Gary Cahill forced the ball over the line after Ba had hit the post from aBranislav Ivanovic header.
Southampton goalkeeper Artur Boruc departed due to a hand injury before Chelsea moved 2-1 clear courtesy of John Terry who sent a header looping over substitute keeper Paulo Gazzaniga.
Ba finished matters off with one minute remaining of normal time as he slid the ball beyond Gazzaniga from a superb Ramires cross.
Chelsea move up to second spot in the table, and are back to four points behind leaders Arsenal, who completed a 3-0 win at Cardiff on Saturday.
KEY MOMENTS
1' - RODRIGUEZ POUNCES: Mistake by Essien and Rodriguez bounds into the heart of the Chelsea box before sliding the ball beyond Cech in the home goal. Awful start by Chelsea. Saints lead 1-0.
41' - BORUC STOP: Brilliant diving save by Boruc to claw out the header from Torres. Super cross from Mata to pick out his fellow Spaniard.
55' - CAHILL EQUALISES: Ba hits the post from the Ivanovic header, but Cahill follows into net on the rebound. Chelsea quickest to react. They are level at 1-1.
62' - TERRY POWERS HOME HEADER: Terry comes up with a brilliant header. No chance for the goalkeeper from the Mata cross. A superb goal. Chelsea lead 2-1.
70' - BA SHOT MISSES TARGET: Chance for Ba to finish Saints off, but he slides the shot narrowly wide of goal. A third goal for the home side would surely be enough.
89' - BA COMPLETES THE WIN: Ba slides home the Ramires cross with an expert finish. Brilliant stuff from Chelsea. They lead 3-1.
KEY STATS
Jay Rodriguez (12 secs) equals Southampton's quickest Premier League goal, which was scored by James Beattie in this exact fixture in August 2004. Chelsea came back to win that match 2-1.
Chelsea beat Southampton in the Premier League for the 16th time. Southampton have only lost more PL matches against Man United (21) and Arsenal (17).
Chelsea stretch their unbeaten PL home run to 16 matches, their longest since December 2008-February 2010 (24 matches).
Chelsea remain unbeaten in all 67 PL home matches under Jose Mourinho (W52-D15).
Demba Ba ends a run of 11 PL matches without a goal, since he scored in the 1-0 home win against West Brom in March. His other two PL goals for Chelsea have been scored against Southampton.
TALKING POINT
How important was Jose Mourinho's influence on the match? Very important. Southampton were comfortable in the first half, but the introduction of Demba Ba suddenly unsettled the visiting side, whose defence has been a real strength this season. The manager deserves credit for reading the game, and making the changes that were needed to complete the recovery.
MAN OF THE MATCH
John Terry (Chelsea) - Led by example with a fine goal. And managed to snuff out the Southampton attack alongside Gary Cahill after an unsteady start.
PLAYER RATINGS
Chelsea: Cech 6; Ivanovic 7, Cahill 8, Terry 8, Azpilicueta 7; Essien 5, Ramires 8; Mata 8, Oscar 5, Hazard 7; Torres 6..subs: Mikel 6, Lampard 8, Ba 8
Southampton: Boruc 7, Clyne 6, Fonte 6, Lovren 6, Shaw 6, Wanyama 7, Schneiderlin 6, Ward-Prowse 6, Lallana 6, Rodriguez 7, Osvaldo 6..subs: Gazzaniga 6, Lambert, 6, S. Davis 6

Rooney double earns United draw at Spurs

1:46 AM Posted by Miyamoto Musashi No comments
Premier League, White Hart Lane - Spurs 2 (Walker 18, Sandro 54) Manchester United 2 (Rooney 32, 57 pen).


Wayne Rooney struck either side of half-time as Manchester Unitedtwice came from behind to earn a 2-2 draw with Spurs at White Hart Lane.
The home side made the perfect start to the afternoon in their bid to ease the strain on coach Andre Villas-Boas after last week's 6-0 mauling by Manchester City when Kyle Walker drove a free-kick at goal from 22 yards. He could not believe his luck as the wall jumped before seeing the ball evade David De Gea in the visiting goal.
United drew level when Rooney pounced on an error by Walker on 32 minutes as he slammed a loose ball into the net from seven yards after the defender's heavy first touch from a Phil Jones cross had broken into his England team-mate's path.
Sandro restored the home side's lead with a quite stunning effort from 30 yards on 54 minutes that was beyond De Gea before he even noticed it. The lead lasted only three minutes when Rooney drove a penalty down the centre of the goal after Hugo Lloris brought down Danny Welbeck before the French goalkeeper was booked.
Both teams huffed and puffed in their bid to grasp maximum points from the afternoon, but the draw was probably the right outcome from a typically frantic meeting between these two old combatants.
United are nine points adrift of leaders Arsenal with Spurs a point worse off after 13 league outings.
KEY MOMENTS
18' - WALKER OPENER: Walker drives the ball through the wall and Spurs have the lead. Ball deceived De Gea. Not sure what the wall was doing. It jumped and the ball went right under them.
26' - SOLDADO MISS: Game flowing from end to end. Glorious chance for Soldado from the Paulinho pass, but he drives the ball well over the bar from 12 yards.
29' - DE GEA STOP: Chance for Lennon from Soldado's pass, but the shot is saved by De Gea. Another chance for Spurs to move two goals ahead.
32' - ROONEY REPLY: United draw level. Brilliant play by Jones to win the ball from Dembele. Cross comes in and an awful error by Walker as the ball breaks off him for Rooney to convert from seven yards.
54' - SANDRO STUNNER: Sandro sends a shot crashing high into the net from 30 yards out. Brilliant stike from Sandro. Amazing stuff. Spurs lead 2-1.
57' - ROONEY TO THE RESCUE: Lloris deemed to have brought down Welbeck. And a booking for the keeper too. Rooney drives the ball down the middle as Lloris flew to his left. United are level again at 2-2. Game well and truly on.
KEY STATS
United are now unbeaten in 13 Premier League matches at White Hart Lane (W8-D5) stretching back to May 2001.
Spurs are now unbeaten in three PL matches against United, their longest unbeaten top flight run against them since November 1985 to May 1987 (four matches).
United (22 points) have their worst PL record after 13 matches since 2004/05 (21 points). They went on to finish that season third.
Wayne Rooney scores his 15th PL penalty for United, moving him outright second in the club's PL penalties scored list. He was previously joint-second with Eric Cantona (14). Only Ruud van Nistelrooy has scored more penalties in the PL for the club (18).
TALKING POINT
How did Andre Villas-Boas stand up to his big day? Was under pressure before this match, but will be quietly content with his side's performance. Spurs fans booed his decision to hook Aaron Lennon in the second period while Roberto Soldado again came up short, but Spurs were impressive overall. And certainly did not deserve to lose it.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Wayne Rooney (Manchester United) - His energy and appetite are something to be admired. Also helped out his defence with some timely clearances. Leading by example as he matures into a senior figure at the club.
PLAYER RATINGS
Tottenham HotspurLloris 6, Walker 6, Chiriches 7, Dawson 6, Vertonghen 6, Paulinho 7, Sandro 8, Lennon 6, Dembele 6, Chadli 5, Soldado 5. Subs: Sigurdsson 6, Townsend 6, Defoe 6.
Manchester United: De Gea 7, Smalling 6, Vidic 6, Evans 6, Evra 6, Valencia 7, Cleverley 6, Jones 7, Kagawa 7, Welbeck 6, Rooney 8. Subs: Nani 6, Young 6, Hernandez 6.

Nasri scores double as Man City beat Swansea

1:42 AM Posted by Miyamoto Musashi No comments

Premier League, Etihad Stadium - Manchester City 1 (Negredo 8’ Nasri 57’ 77’) Swansea City 0.



Manchester City moved into third with a 3-0 victory over Swansea City at the Etihad Stadium.

The first goal came after just eight minutes, when Alvaro Negredo curled in a fine free kick from the right hand side of the box, 25 yards from goal.

Swansea then started to dominate possession, and Jonjo Shelveywent close with a couple of long-range shots.

On the half hour, City almost doubled their lead when Martin Demichelis headed over the bar. The Argentine defender was at fault just before half-time, nutmegged by Jonathan de Guzman, and was relieved to see the Swansea forward fire over.

On 58 minutes, Samir Nasri collected a through ball from Yaya Toure and fired the second past Tremmel, and with a quarter of an hour left he doubled his tally after coolly slotting home Pablo Zabaleta’s cross to complete an easy victory.

KEY MOMENTS

8’ - NEGREDO GOAL - Negredo curls in a lovely free kick from the right hand side of the penalty area, with Gerhard Tremmel static.

29’ - AGUERO CHANCE - Sergio Aguero come close when his shot from close range is palmed behind by Tremmel.

30’ - CITY HIT THE BAR - From the corner, Demichelis glances a fierce header against the woodwork.

45’ - DE GUZMAN MISS - Through on goal after nutmegging Demichelis, De Guzman shoots over when it was easier to score.

58’ - NASRI GOAL - Taking two touches after a Toure pass, Nasri gets to the middle of the box and drives the ball past Tremmel.

77’ - NASRI’S SECOND - Meeting Pablo Zabaleta’s cross without breaking his stride, Nasri finds the corner for his second goal and Manchester City’s third.



KEY STATS

Alvaro Negredo has scored in five consecutive league home appearances for Manchester City.

Manchester City scored for the 58th consecutive league home match.

Man City have conceded fewer goals in the first half of matches than any other team in the top flight this season (3).


TALKING POINT: If Aguero leaves, is Negredo good enough to replace him? With his goalscoring form impressing, Manchester City might not have to panic if Real Madrid manage to prise away the even better Sergio Aguero.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Samir Nasri (Manchester City): The midfielder demonstrated that his risible form of the previous season is now just a memory, with two goals and midfield creativity threatening Swansea City throughout.

PLAYER RATINGS

Manchester City: Pantilimon 6, Zabaleta 7, Lescott 6, Demichelis 5, Clichy 6, Fernandinho 6, Yaya Toure 6, Navas 6, Nasri 8, Negredo 7, Aguero 7. Subs: Kolarov 6, Milner 6, Dzeko 6.

Swansea City: Tremmel 6, Tiendalli 6, Chico Flores 6, Williams 6, Davies 6, Canas 6, de Guzman 6, Shelvey 6, Pozuelo 6, Hernandez 6, Vazquez 5. Subs: Routledge 6, Dyer 6.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Monaco 2-0 Stade Rennais: Rodriguez show brushes aside visitors

1:09 AM Posted by Miyamoto Musashi No comments
The winger inspired the Ligue 1 powerhouses to a routine victory despite the absence of attacking star Radamel Falcao.

Monaco have kept up their Ligue 1 title push with a 2-0 win against Stade Rennais on Saturday.

James Rodriguez and Anthony Martial netted a goal apiece, their first for les Rouge et Blanc, to fire Claudio Ranieri's men within two points of champions Paris Saint-Germain at the summit of the table.

Concerns arose over how the side would cope without star striker Radamel Falcao, with the Colombian ruled out with a thigh problem, but compatriot Rodriguez rifled home from a free kick in the 19th minute to allay any fears over the hosts' attacking prowess.

The winger was in full flow and nearly racked up an assist minutes later when he released Joao Moutinho to fire wide of Benoit Costil's goal.

Rennes' custodian then produced a reflex save to thwart Rodriguez, when the 22-year-old thumped a fierce volley on target after Jeremy Toulalan put him through.

Despite the home side's domination, the clincher only came before the stroke of half-time. Rodriguez slipped in Martial - Falcao's replacement on the night - allowing the starlet to register his first goal since moving to Stade Louis II with a deflected attempt.

Rodriguez was unlucky when a goalline clearance prevented him from adding to his tally, while an inspired Costil was key to preventing Monaco from running riot with stunning stops from both Lucas Ocampos and Emmanuel Riviere in the second period.

Ultimately, the Frenchman's efforts were in vain, and the victory ensures Monaco stay within touching distance of PSG, who host Olympique Lyonnais on Sunday. European hopefuls Rennes, meanwhile, sit 11th.

Bale bags hat-trick as Real Madrid close gap at the summit

1:04 AM Posted by Miyamoto Musashi No comments
La Liga, Santiago Bernabeu Stadium – Real Madrid (Bale 33, 63, 89 Benzema 36) Valladolid 0.


Gareth Bale hit a hat-trick in Cristiano Ronaldo’s absence as Real Madrid closed the gap on Barcelona and Atletico Madrid at the top of La Liga with a commanding 4-0 win over Real Valladolid.

Angel di Maria’s dipping half-volley crashed against the underside of the bar early on before Sergio Ramos squandered a host of chances, inexplicably heading off target when well placed on three occasions.

But their profligacy was of little matter as Madrid grabbed a deserved lead through Bale who nodded past Diego Marino before the Welshman turned provider as his whipped cross was headed home byKarim Benzema.

Bale slotted in his second after Marcelo’s cross was diverted into his path before sweeping home his first Madrid hat-trick from close range late on to wrap up a comfortable victory.

The win moved Madrid three points off pacesetters Barcelona who travel to Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.

Madrid came into the match in the knowledge that victory would half the deficit at the top of La Liga and set about unsettling their opponents, pressuring them into mistakes and creating a flurry of early openings.

First Di Maria lashed against the underside of the bar after Valladolid had initially clearly a dangerous free-kick before Ramos somehow headed over from a corner with the goal agape.

The Spanish defender then spurned another opening following good link-up between Isco and Xabi Alonso down the left as Madrid began to open up their opponents at will.

Benzema was next to go close as his effort flashed wide before Ramos headed wide again, but Madrid finally made the breakthrough when Marcelo’s powerful effort from a tight angle was palmed by Marino into the path of Bale who headed in the opener.

And it was two moments later. Bale’s whipped cross from the right invited Benzema to rise highest in the opposition penalty area and double Madrid’s lead.

Valladolid were more adventurous after the restart but, despite short spells of possession, struggled to carve out any clear openings with Zakarya Bergdich blowing their best chance when he slipped inside the area.

Benzema had a strike chalked off for offside on the hour mark but Madrid did not have to wait long for their third as Marcelo’s cross squirmed off an outstretched Valladolid leg into the path of Bale who passed into the bottom corner.

It looked as though Bale had blown his chance of walking away with the match ball when he blazed over with the clock ticking down but he seized his next chance and turned home Marcelo's cut-back to notch his first Madrid hat-trick.

Managers: 'I wouldn't sell Ramsey for £50m'

12:57 AM Posted by Miyamoto Musashi , No comments

Arsene Wenger's lavish praise of Aaron Ramsey headlines our round-up of managerial reaction from the Premier League.

Arsenal 3-0 Cardiff City

Arsene Wenger: (Asked if he would sell Aaron Ramsey for £50 million) : "No. We don't want to sell anybody, we want to keep the team together. I've suffered enough for years for having to sell the players. Now we are in a stronger position financially. He keeps surprising me. He has matured as a player and a person as well. We came here in the FA Cup a few years ago and he had a very difficult game. Now he shows how much he has developed as a person.”

Malky Mackay: "The score is not a fair reflection of the game, but I am not going to apologise for having a go. That's what we did, and we certainly gave them some problems in the second half. The calmness on the ball in the second half makes me very proud of the players. We were playing against a team who have had a manager in situ for 17 years. Over that time he has had a lot of money to build a recruitment process to bring in top players like we have seen here.”

West Ham United 3-0 Fulham

Sam Allardyce: "The only disappointing thing was that we didn't score more goals before the subs came on. That was something I was getting pretty nervous about at 1-0, knowing Fulham could capitalise on a mistake and perhaps get something they didn't deserve. We had many chances to go 2-0 up before the subs came on, but when they came on and finished it off it is just great for you as a manager.”


Martin Jol: (On his future) "It is not in my hands. If I have to worry, I was probably worried a couple of months ago because it is not one day and then the other. It is probably the last two months we have been inconsistent. I think it has worked out for me (at Fulham). We had over 100 points, probably more than West Ham, over the last couple of years - more than any other team in the bottom half of the table.But over the last couple of months I think sometimes we are not strong enough."

Newcastle United 2-1 West Bromwich Albion

Alan Pardew: "The second goal was an absolute cracker and at the end in which Shearer smashed so many in. It's great to see a new name do that and Moussa (Sissoko)'s work rate and commitment was just as good as the goal. He's had a few chances and he waited for the ball to come down and he's hit it true. It brought the house down. It's important in the Premier League to have momentum. It's an amazing armoury and if we keep that glow and feeling then we'll keep plugging away."

Steve Clarke: "We were a little bit passive in the game. We didn't press the ball as well as we normally do, we didn't create enough. We had one or two half chances as Newcastle did. The reaction second half was good. We god about them and played with more intensity. But a wonder strike has denied us any points."

Everton 4-0 Stoke City

Roberto Martinez: "Gerard Deulofeu made a big impact and allowed the performance to create a scoreline which suggests it was easier than it probably was. I think he was really disappointed with last week. From my point of view I told him I thought he was outstanding against Liverpool but he had two good chances and he felt he should have taken them. During the week he was left with a negative feeling that he didn't deserve, that is why I felt it was right for him to start and flush that feeling away and he was desperate to do that.”

Mark Hughes: (On Deulofeu) “"We were aware of him, we knew he was a talent and he is obviously a talent. We made an enquiry ourselves but unfortunately he came here and not to Stoke. He is a very talented boy and I am sure it will only be a loan deal, I am sure Barcelona will keep hold of that asset. We were poor on the day but credit to Everton, I thought they were very good and made it difficult for us.”

Norwich City 1-0 Crystal Palace

Chris Hughton: "It feels like a big win for us. We played very well in the first half and scored a good goal, but we knew they would come back. It is never comfortable viewing when you look at the league table and you are in a position you do not want to be in, so whatever places we have jumped tonight is a nice feeling."

Tony Pulis: "You have to take your chances. We did not have the breaks today. How the hell (Sebastien) Bassong gets that (clearance) over the crossbar from there, it was unbelievable, and then the kid who stops Barry's shot from going in with his header, Cameron (Jerome) had a really good chance, so we have had the opportunities. But I can't fault their work-rate, they gave it everything, but you need a break and we did not get that."

Aston Villa 0-0 Sunderland

Paul Lambert: (On Prince William, who attended the game) "I don't think he'll watch Match of the Day. It's great, it's the first time since I've been manager here that he's been here, which is a great thing. But it probably wasn't an ideal game for him to come and watch. I don't think we deserved to win the game, I don't think we deserved to lose it."

Gus Poyet: (On Emanuele Giaccherini’s bad miss) "He's so sad. He doesn't stop thinking about it and saying sorry but that's football and things happen for a reason sometimes. For us it was our best performance away from home because we made it difficult for them. We were brave on the ball, we created two or three very good chances so for a team down at the bottom playing away from home I don't think it's too bad.”

Ramsey and Ozil shine as slick Arsenal move seven points clear

12:53 AM Posted by Miyamoto Musashi No comments
Premier League, Cardiff City Stadium - Cardiff City 0 Arsenal 3 (Ramsey 29, 90+2, Flamini 86).


Aaron Ramsey returned to haunt old club Cardiff by netting twice in a 3-0 win that saw Premier League leaders Arsenal move seven points clear at the top.

The Wales midfielder continued his blistering run of form when he was alert to guide Mesut Ozil's cross over home goalkeeper David Marshall with a looping header on 29 minutes.

Substitute Mathieu Flamini put a gloss on the scoreline when he bounded onto another Ozil pass to thump the ball beyond Marshall on 86 minutes from 14 yards.

Ramsey contributed his second goal of the day two minutes into injury time and his 13th goal for his club in all competitions this season when he walloped into the net from substitute Theo Walcott's pass with Cardiff caught on the break. Ramsey refused to celebrate his goals, but must derive enormous satisfaction from such an afternoon.

Ozil has now unearthed more assists than any other Premier League player this season since his £42 million summer move from Real Madrid, a price tag that is beginning to look like a huge bargain.

The winning margin was little more than Arsenal deserved for a largely dominant performance that should have earned them more goals, especially in the first half when Cardiff could hardly gain any meaningful period of pressure.

The home side's best attempt of the match came in the 52nd minute when Wojciech Szczesny was forced to claw out Fraizer Campbell's header, but Arsenal were a class apart in the key areas against a collection of honest triers.

KEY MOMENTS

2' - WILSHERE WALLOPS BAR: Jack Wilshere sees a shot come back off the bar from distance. What an effort that is. So unfortunate from 20 yards out.

15'- GIROUD SPURNS OPPORTUNITY: Glorious chance for Giroud. Through on goal from the Ozil flick, but no flag came and Giroud stopped enabling Cardiff to clear the danger with a Caulker block. Astonishing passage of play.

29' - RAMSEY STRIKE: Ramsey heads into the corner of the net from the Ozil cross. Brilliant finish from the former Cardiff player. 14 yards or so out. What a technique that is.

48' - MORE RAMSEY MAGIC: Fine run and cross by Ramsey. Comes up with the cutback for Giroud, whose shot is cleared off the line by Turner with Marshall beaten.

53' - SUPERB SZCZESNY STOP: Szczesny with a brilliant diving save low to his right to make the stop from the Campbell header. Lovely flick on by Kim. Gibbs well beaten in the air by Campbell.

86' - FLAMINI STRIKE: Flamini thumps into the net. Brilliant finish from the Ozil pass. 12 yards out on the run. An outstanding team goal.

90+2' - RAMSEY ADDS A THIRD: Ramsey slams home his side's third of the day as he buries the ball in the net from the Walcott pass. Brilliant break and finish from the visitors. 3-0 now. Superb stuff.

KEY STATS

Aaron Ramsey has scored 14 Premier League goals for Arsenal; he has equalled John Hartson’s record for most Premier League goals for the club from a Welsh player. Hartson scored 14 between 1995 and 1997.

Arsenal have recorded their biggest Premier League away win for nearly a year – since their 5-2 victory at Reading on December 17th 2012.

This was Cardiff’s worst top-flight home defeat since a 4-0 loss to Leicester in April 1962.

Infostrada



TALKING POINT

Olivier Giroud waiting for an offside flag that never came - The one man that should be happier than most with this result is the French striker. Giroud inexplicably stopped playing on 15 minutes after Jack Wilshere had picked him out with a lovely pass. Replays showed Mesut Ozil did not touch the ball when he was played in. Giroud was onside and only had Marshall to beat, but his hesitancy enabled Steven Caulker to clear. Moral to the story? Always play to the whistle. Or always play when there is no whistle.

MATCHCAST: FULL COMMENTARY AND DETAILS

MAN OF THE MATCH

Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal): Who do you give it to? Ramsey or Ozil? We'll give it to Ramsey after the toss of a coin. Just so much class throughout this Arsenal side. They were a joy to watch at times. The bandwagon rolls on. At this rate, it will take some derailing.

PLAYER RATINGS

Cardiff: Marshall 6, Taylor 5, Caulker 6, Turner 7, Whittingham 5, Medel 5, Campbell 6, Kim 5, Mutch 6, Cowie 6, Theophile-Catherine 5. Subs: Cornelius 6, Odemwingie 5, Noone 6.

Arsenal: Szczesny 7, Sagna 7, Mertesacker 7, Koscielny 7, Gibbs 7, Arteta 7, Wilshere 7, Ramsey 9, Ozil 9, Cazorla 7, Giroud 6. Subs: Monreal 6, Flamini 7, Walcott 7.