Cardiff V Arsenal At Cardiff City Stadium : LIVE

30 November 2013 08:52
Cardiff V Arsenal - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Mackay hails "main man" Ramsey

Cardiff boss Malky Mackay has asked Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey to take it easy on his side in Saturday's Barclays Premier League meeting.

Former Bluebird Ramsey returns to Cardiff City Stadium with the Gunners enjoying the best form of his career.

The 22-year-old has scored 13 goals for club and country so far this term, marking himself out as a dominant figure in an Arsenal midfield including players of the calibre of Jack Wilshere and Mesut Ozil and putting the London club four points clear at the top of the table

Mackay is not alone in being a keen admirer of Ramsey's talents, but made a request in jest that the playmaker give the club who started his career some respite.

Mackay said: "I hope he gets a great reception here and I am pretty sure he will.

"He is a fine young man, I met him a couple of weeks ago when the Welsh squad were here. He popped in and at that point I said to him to make sure that in a couple of weeks' time he goes easy with us.

"It's good to see a young British player grasping the nettle at Premier League level and actually being one of the main men at Arsenal.

"Sometimes maturity and experience comes at different parts of your career, but the biggest factor as far as he is concerned is the number of games he is getting on a consistent basis and he is beginning to show for club and country what a top young talent he is.

"We will deal with him as we deal with most teams and players, we have just got to concentrate on the strengths and weaknesses of the opposition."

Mackay also outlined his respect for Arsene Wenger and the way the Frenchman remained calm amid talk of a crisis following their opening day defeat to Aston Villa, although the Scot will hope to wipe the smile from his face.

"I think that it was funny when you looked at it after the first week - after the Aston Villa game - people were calling for Arsene Wenger's head, saying there was a crisis at Arsenal," said Mackay.

"I think since that point he has just sat there with a big smile on his face, because I think he knows his squad and I think he knew what he was doing. He certainly did when he brought Mesut Ozil in.

"So I think going forward from there they have got a lot of quality players. He also has got players who have really stepped up to the plate. Look at Ramsey who has really come to the fore this season. It has probably surprised some people, even inside Arsenal, in terms of the way he has grasped the game. That's probably one of the bonuses for Arsenal.

"Overall a man that is experienced as him (Wenger) sits and smiles and keeps his own counsel when people want to get hysterical about the job he has done."

Wenger has challenged his Arsenal team to learn from the mistakes of Premier League title rivals Manchester United and Manchester City.

The Gunners could move seven points clear at the top of the table if they leave south Wales with a victory - something which United failed to do last weekend when Kim Bo-Kyung struck a deserved stoppage-time equaliser while City were beaten 3-2 at the Cardiff City Stadium in August.

Wenger, though, knows it will take a focused collective effort to get a positive result against Makay's well-organised side.

"They beat City at home and they played a very good game against Manchester United where possession was 50-50, so that is the challenge for us - to do better than these teams," said Wenger.

"We have the warning of their performances against the big teams, so we are in a position where we have a difficult challenge, but also a very exciting challenge because we can do better."

Wenger continued: "Cardiff look to have good solidarity, good togetherness and fantastic support as well.

"They are all on the same wavelength in the team and are very efficient at home on set-pieces.

"Even on Sunday when they were 2-1 down against Man United, many teams could have thought 'okay, it is Man United, we will not come back', but you always had the feeling that they don't give up.

"You could feel that they would come back. They have that special attitude and belief in the side - and that makes them dangerous."

Wenger will have England full-back Kieran Gibbs available again after illness ruled him out of the midweek Champions League win over Marseille, which all but secured safe passage through to the knockout stages.

Source: DSG