Arsenal can steal a march on their title rivals this weekend by opening up a seven-point gap at the top of the Premier League.
Four points clear at the top, Arsenal take on Cardiff in Wales on Saturday knowing that the next five sides in the standings are not in action until 24 hours later.
With a crucial Champions League game to come next month, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger knows he will have to rotate his squad over the coming games.
But the Frenchman will know better than to underestimate Cardiff, who held champions Manchester United to a 2-2 draw last weekend.
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And so Arsenal will field a strong side, with Theo Walcott ready to start after playing in the last two games since returning from two months out with injury.
Mikel Arteta could return to midfield while Mathieu Flamini may be rested but one man who can’t wait to play is in-form midfielder Aaron Ramsey.
“We’ve created a fantastic opportunity for ourselves in the early part of this season and hopefully we can continue that,” said Ramsey, who began his career with Cardiff.
“We know our form after Christmas has been second to none in the last few seasons.
“So we are totally focused on putting ourselves in a position where we are there or thereabouts, because we are confident we can kick on in the New Year.
“We are hungry to win trophies and win games. That is no different this season to any other, but in the past we’ve got off to bad starts and had to play catch up.”
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