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The midfield dilemma facing Neil Warnock this weekend: Does Aron Gunnarson start for Cardiff City at Chelsea?

Neil Warnock has a big decision to make in his midfield this weekend.

Aron Gunnarsson is expected to make his long-awaited return to action this weekend when Cardiff City travel to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea.

Neil Warnock will be delighted to have his only natural holding midfield back and available for selection for the first time since arriving in the Premier League.

However, Gunnarsson’s return means Neil Warnock has a real selection dilemma for the trip to Stamford Bridge.

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In the Icelandic midfielder’s absence, Warnock seems to have settled on a combination featuring his two newest midfielders, Harry Arter and Victor Camarasa.

Currently, the two summer signings are occupying the midfield roles in front of Joe Ralls, who has been sitting in a deep role for the most part.

It’s something Ralls has done surprisingly well, managing to create six chances despite appearing a little quieter than he is in a more advanced position.

His chance creation is up there with the best in the league, topped only by Newcastle United’s Jonjo Shelvey.

And that’s helped by the rotation aspect of this midfield combination. With the more aggressive Harry Arter, there’s a chance for Ralls to get forward and for Arter to drop into the deep role and so on.

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That’s something you lose with Aron Gunnarsson who is very much a deep midfielder, but he does offer far more protection to the back four.

The Iceland captain has mastered the defensive midfield role and he has proven that he can display his talent in that role at any level.

Neil Warnock certainly has a decision to make with the current combination pleasing supporters in the opening weeks.

However, defensively, the Bluebirds left a lot to be desired in their 3-2 defeat to Arsenal before the international beak.

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On too many occasions, Arsenal’s talented Alexandre Lacazette was allowed to get in behind the midfield and face the defence.

The back-line was left hung out to dry on a few occasions with the necessary protection not offered in front of them.

And in an even tougher test at Chelsea, that may sway Neil Warnock’s decision to start Aron Gunnarsson.

The Bluebirds boss has already said he wants to attack Chelsea this weekend. He told BBC Sport: “If you shut shop at Stamford Bridge you’re going to get picked off and lose by two or three anyway.”

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“So you may as well have a go, you just have to hope you don’t leave yourself wide open to a pasting.

“We are looking forward to the test and with Manchester City to follow it doesn’t get much tougher than that.”

If Warnock does intent to have a go, then he will need protection at the back and on the face of it, Aron Gunnarsson must start.

Whether he is match fit is another question, but if he can give Cardiff City 60 minutes at Stamford Bridge then he’s likely to get the nod this weekend.