FT: Arsenal 2 Cardiff 0

ALL OVER HERE: Arsenal made hard work of that but came through to clinch a vital three points. Stick with us for report and reaction from the Emirates shortly.

Great save by Szczesny to deny Caulker. He had to be really alert there.

GOAL ARSENAL: Walcott runs free to clip the ball over the advancing Marshall to make sure of the three points. Great little flick by Wilshere to put his fellow England man through on goal.

Bendtner was injured in scoring the goal and limps off to be replaced by Vermaelen

GOAL ARSENAL: Bendtner hammers the ball in from close range after Marshall produces an amazing save from Sagna's header. What relief for the Gunners - and agony for Cardiff.

Wild effort from Walcott who sends his effort well over the bar.

Marshall denies Rosicky moments after substitute Bendtner is denied.

Caulker heads away from under his own bar after a looping effort by Sagna.

Cardiff corner after great work by Noone which Whittingham takes but Arsenal are able to scramble away.

Rare chance for Kim who is given plenty of space but he fires his shot well over the bar.

Maynard comes on for a disgruntled Campbell

Walcott screams for a penalty but referee Moss says no.

Free-kick from Walcott but his right-footed effort lands on top of the net rather than in it.

Cazorla has a go from just outside the box but Marshall is able to save with relative ease.

Opening for Wilshere but he drags his effort wide from 22 yards.

Another golden chance for Mertesacker who again gets free but he plants his header just wide, his effort flicking off the post.

Another change for the visitors as Cowie comes on for the injured Mutch.

Great chance for Mertesacker. Free header from Walcott's cross but the German can't hit the target from just six yards out.

Double change for Arsenal as Podolski and Flamini make way for Bendtner and Rosicky.

Great run and strike from Wilshere but his left-footed strike comes back off the post. Superb effort.

Walcott centres but finds no one. Far too often Arsenal have missed a targetman.

Movement on the Arsenal bench. It could be Bendtner time.

Chance for Arsenal to break quickly but Podolski's ball is poor.

Medel makes way for Gunnarsson

Keeper Marshall carded for taking too long over his goalkicks.

Arsenal trying to walk the ball into the net. You've got to buy a ticket to win the raffle lads - and other football cliches!

Good work from Wilshere forces another corner which beats everyone and goes out for a goalkick.

Another Arsenal corner but again Cardiff are able to clear their lines.

Yellow card for Turner for a challenge on Walcott. Looked a bit harsh on the Cardiff man as he appeared to get the ball.

Appeal for a Cardiff penalty as the ball appears to strike Monreal's arm but again referee Moss says no.

Another half opening for Podolski but it's deflected for a corner.

Podolski gets the balll across the six-yard box and Mutch is forced to concede a corner which finds Mertesacker but his near-post header drops wide.

Monreal's cross ricochets to Sagna but his left-footer is well wide.

Wilshere looks to slip in Walcott but Turner is able to intercept.

Kim and Campbell combine to set up Mutch but his shot is charged down.

Arsenal get us under way. Three seasons since they failed to score in consecutive home games. Let's see how they get on here.

The teams are back out. Let's hope for a bit more inspiration to start the new year.

HALF-TIME: Uninspiring stuff from Arsenal who have found their Welsh visitors tough to break down. Cuppa for me then back for what I hope will prove a more exciting second period.

Corner in stoppage time for the Gunners. Walcott takes it but he fails to beat the first man, Kim, who nods away.

Chance for Podolski but he can't turn onto Walcott's ball and the opportunity goes begging.

Solsjkaer has seen enough for the first half and heads out of the stands. Is he going into the Cardiff dressing room?

Great run by Wilshere who tries to pick out Podolski. The ball deflects into the path of Cazorla but he can't find a way to goal.

Wilshere centres but there is no Arsenal target available. The Gunners really missing Giroud as Podolski has been anonymous.

More passing on the edge of the Cardiff box comes to nothing for Arsenal. The sense of frustration around the Emirates is obvious.

Cazorla looks to play in Walcott but his pass is just behind the England man.

Good defending by Koscielny as Campbell looks to get in behind the Gunners' rearguard.

Good interchange between Sagna and Wilshere - but the England man's shot is blocked by the massed ranks of the Cardiff defence.

Mertesacker booked for an earlier challenge on Campbell

Great play by Cazorla who pulls the ball back to the waiting Walcott who elects to take a touch but his left-footed effort is into the side netting. Let off for the visitors.

Mutch gets on the end of Noone's centre and gets his header across goal but Mertesacker clears the danger.

Great solo run by Mutch who gets a shot away through Koscielny's legs but Szczesny is able to save with his legs. Best opening so far for the visitors.

Space for Walcott but he elects to cut inside onto his left foot and spoons the ball over.

Wishere goes down in the box under challenge from Medel. There was some contact but referee Moss does not point to the spot.

Sagna charges forward looking to get on the end of Wilshere's pass but John is able to shepherd the ball out.

Arsenal having to be patient here; Cardiff are proving very disciplined and are denying the Gunners precious space.

Wilshere sets up Cazorla but his left-footed strike is about a metre wide of the post. The Spaniard will be disappointed not to do better there.

Monreal moves forward and plays a dangerous ball across but Arsenal fail to get on the end of it.

Flamini blocked by Medel on the edge of the box. Dangerous position this. Sagna takes the free-kick but he tamely fires it into the wall.

Cazorla looks for Walcott but he can't get on the end of the ball.

Neat build-up play by Arsenal but Whittingham is able to break it up and comes away with the ball. The Bluebirds have opened brightly here.

Mutch wins a free-kick in a central position but Turner is caught offside as the ball is floated in.

The playing surface is absolutely sodden and passing is proving a little tricky. Will that disrupt the home side?

Last prediction from Chris who says: "I expect Cardiff to come here and put in a fighting display, but I can't see them getting anything from today's fixture. Arsenal to win 3-0, with Walcott bagging a hat-trick."

Wilshere looks to play in Walcott but the striker mistimes his run and is flagged offside. Tight call though.

Caulker climbs well to win a header in the Gunners' box but Szczesny gathers easily.

Solsjkaer looks deep in thought with arms folded as Wilshere gets Arsenal moving forward but Podolski's cross-field pass slides out of play.

Referee John Moss blows and Cardiff kick off.

It's a weakened Arsenal minus Ozil, Gibbs, Giroud and Ramsey who are looking to get back to the top of the Premier League and can Cardiff put on a good show to impress boss-in-waiting Solsjkaer? Answers shortly as we get ready to kick off.

The teams are in the tunnel as kick-off approaches.

Solsjkaer has taken his seat alongside Vincent Tan in the stands at the Emirates. Will he be impressed by what Cardiff have to offer?

Just ten minutes to kick off - and Kevin McNaughton gets a rousing reception from the travelling Cardiff fans as his name is read out at the Emirates.

Another one going for a Podolski double is David who says: "Nice to see Podolski getting a chance as the front man, I think he will flourish this afternoon...Predicting 3-0 to Arsenal, with a brace for Podolski and one for Walcott!" Let's hope he's right. I've had a little Sky Bet wager on the German international.

Some Twitter predictions. @Glennmacintoch says: "Looking for a 3-0 win for the Gunners today! Podolski double and Walcott goal late on!" while @emilyyjane95 is another tipping the German to score and adds: "I think Arsenal will win 3-1, Podolski will score 2!"

First word from Solsjkaer on his arrival in London. When asked about the appointment, he told Sky Sports: "I have nothing to say at this point. I just want to enjoy the game first."

Tom has been in touch and says: "As an Everton fan I'm hoping for a 3-0 Cardiff win, but coming back to reality, Arsenal should pick up three points here."

News ahead of kick off and Ole Gunnar Solsjkaer is at the Emirates with Cardiff owner Vincent Tan. Is he poised to take over as manager?

Still time to get your predictions in. Get in touch with me via Twitter - @skysportswebed - or you can email me - chris.harvey@bskyb.com

Sky Bet make Arsenal strong favourites to beat the Welsh side today. They are priced at 4/1 while the Bluebirds are 12/1 to come away with all three points. You can get 5/1 on the draw.

@carlyfletch has been in touch via Twitter and says: "fancy a strong, convincing Arsenal win, perhaps 3-0. Walcott to continue his strong run of form."

Thanks to Dan for his prediction. He says: "Arsenal are in solid form and I can see a repeat of our last game against Cardiff, 3-0."

And here's the Cardiff starting line-up: Marshall; McNaughton, Caulker (C), Turner, John; Whittingham, Medel, Kim, Noone, Mutch; Campbell.

Here's the Arsenal starting XI. Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Arteta, Flamini, Wilshere, Walcott, Cazorla, Podolski

Another Twitter prediction from @shuaroberts who says: "I'm going for a 3-0 Arsenal win with Walcott bagging a brace."

First prediction in from Cian (thanks for the HNY wish) who says: "No doubt, Arsenal to win 4-0."

Latest we're hearing is that Solsjkaer is on his way to the UK amid reports in Norway he has agreed to become the next Cardiff boss.

If you've any thoughts on the Cardiff manager situation or want to make a pre-match prediction, get in touch with me via Twitter - @skysportswebed - or you can email me - chris.harvey@bskyb.com

Welcome to our minute-by-minute commentary of Arsenal's Premier League clash against Cardiff City from the Emirates Stadium. A few questions to answer this afternoon - among them whether Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will become the Bluebirds' next manager.

Kick-off is at 1500 GMT.

Premier League Fixtures

There are no fixtures at present.

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