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Cardiff - Match Preview


The Skipper
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Venue:

Chelsea face Malky Mackay's Cardiff City FC on Saturday, October 19th, 15:00, at Stamford Bridge.

The Match:

This game (round 8) comes two weeks after another international break. Cardiff come to The Bridge with 1 win in their last 5 PL games, whilst Chelsea are looking to secure their 4th home win of the season. Chelsea are currently 3rd in the league, scoring 10 whilst conceding 4. Even though Cardiff have won only once in their last 5 games, they have had a decent start to the season in general, beating the likes of Manchester City and Fulham, scoring 7 and conceding 9 in total, which puts them in the 14th spot in the Premier League table. In the past, Chelsea have faced Cardiff City a total number of 41 times, winning 16 times, drawing 10, and losing 15[1] - so if anything, history suggests that this will be a pretty tough game.

Opposition Analysis

Newly promoted Cardiff City, champions of the Championship, have had a pretty up and down season so far. Whilst their surprise win at home against Manchester City sent shock-waves through the league, Cardiff have failed to live up to performance they showed at the Cardiff City Stadium on that day. Much has been made about Cardiff City's shenanigans off the pitch; Alisher Apsalyamov is a name that many would have seen around during the last few days. Former head of recruitment, Iain Moody, Malky's trusted right hand man, has mysteriously been removed from his role to the dismay of Cardiff City fans.

With the club in disarray at the moment, an away trip to Stamford would be the least thing the Bluebirds would fancy - but one shouldn't underestimate the manager City have. As Craig Bellamy recently said[2], "As a manager Malky is the best young British manager out there and what he's done for this club in a short space of time is nothing short of remarkable. We've got a group of players and fans who are united - and he's done all that. He's responsible for the connection between the fans and the players." which brings me unto my next point;

Malky's tactics:

Mackay has set up Cardiff with a basic, counter attacking 4-5-1/4-2-3-1 tactical formation. When City lose the ball, their rigid formation allows them to pack 9/10 men behind the ball, and when they regain it, the ball is usually sprayed out wide at pace, wit one of their central midfield three pushing up (Usually Kim or Jordan Mutch) as a number 10 behind the striker. Cardiff City like to press in phases; they are comfortable not having the ball - which is why at home they have averaged 40% possession - but when they do get the ball, the transition into attack is quick and a number of players move forward quickly. Strangely - Cardiff have averaged 54% away (against Hull, Fulham & West Ham, all teams notoriously not known to be good at the possession game) from home this season, which might gives the impression that Malky likes to tweak his tactics away from home to surprise their opponents. I highly doubt that will be the case when City do face Chelsea as the quality in effectively keeping the ball is not there against a top side.

Players To Watch (Cardiff):

Craig Bellamy:

The veteran winger has been around and has played for some top teams. His experience will be vital if City are looking to snatch some points on Saturday. His work rate, acceleration, and his knack of getting into good positions could potentially hurt Chelsea. Bellamy also has a habit of showing great form against Chelsea.

Peter Odemwingie:

The Nigerian has shown before during his West Brom days that when on form, he's dangerous. Another player with great acceleration and pace, a fresh move to Cardiff could be just the thing Odemwingie needs. Another threat on the counter attack from City.

Gary Medel & Aron Gunnarsson:

The tough dynamic midfield duo are considered as the engine room for City. Whilst Medel tends to sit and break up play and connect the defence to the midfield, Gunnarsson is a B2B player that likes to get into the box and chip in with a goal here and there. This midfield duo can on their day be very, very good.

Jordon Mutch:

Cardiff's supersub. The 21 year old has come off the bench for Cardiff on numerous occasions, and usually ends up influencing the game. I'll just leave you with this brilliant winner he scored for Cardiff against Fulham in stoppage time a few weeks ago:

CARDIFF-GOLAZO.gif

Team News[3]:

Cardiff’s only injury worry seems to be surrounding the fitness of Andreas Cornelius who is a doubt for Saturday’s encounter at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea have a few more worries. Jose Mourinho hinted before the international break that Fernando Torres could return to the side for this game, but it may be too early for him as he continues to recover from a knee injury – whilst there has yet to be any timescale put on the rib injury of Ashley Cole’s who missed England’s World Cup qualifiers a result.

Possible starting line ups:

As Ashley Cole is more than likely going to be out, expect a start for Bertrand. Torres might also not be fully fit, so expect to see Ba or Eto'o ahead of him.

Potential Chelsea XI:

Cech

Ivanovic Luiz Terry Bertrand

Ramires Lampard

Mata Oscar Hazard

Ba

Only one injury problem for Cardiff in Cornelius. Expect a similar line up as the team put out against Newcastle

Potential Cardiff XI:

Marshall

Theophile Turner Caulker Taylor

Medel Gunnarsson

Odemwingie Kim Bellamy

Campbell

Match Facts[4]:

  • Chelsea have won 10 and drawn one of their last 11 Barclays Premier League games at Stamford Bridge.
  • Cardiff have kept a clean sheet in just one of their seven Barclays Premier League games so far.
  • Chelsea have scored exactly two goals in each of their last eight home games in the Barclays Premier League.
  • Cardiff glovesman David Marshall has made more saves than any other Premier League goalkeeper this season (31).
  • Only four games have seen a side attempt 10 or more shots on target this season in the Premier League, two of which have been against Cardiff City (versus Spurs and Newcastle).
  • Cardiff have averaged 54% possession away from home in the Premier League this season; well above their home possession rate (40%).
  • Petr Cech will make his 300th Premier League appearance in this match if selected, becoming the third player to reach this landmark for the club (after Lampard and Terry).
  • Eden Hazard has played more successful passes in the final third of the pitch than any other Premier League player in 2013-14 so far (135).
  • Cardiff City have conceded four goals from outside the penalty area this season; a league-high.
  • Chelsea are one of only two Premier League sides (along with Stoke City) for whom a striker has not scored a league goal this season.

Betting Odds:

Chelsea WIN 1/4

Draw 5/1

Cardiff WIN 10/1

Click on english football fixtures today to find out more betting odds on WilliamHill.

TV

Depending on where you are from, you can watch the match in the following channels:

United Kingdom: Absolute Radio

United States: DirecTV, NBC Sports Live Extra, Premier League Extra Time, TalkSport Radio

Middle East: Al Jazeera Sports

Brazil: ESPN

India: ESPN HD India

If your country is not listed above, then you can check out the TV Schedule for the match here.

There should also be many match streams that can be found online if your local sports channels are not broadcasting the game or if you happen to be busy and cannot catch the game live, follow TalkChelsea on Twitter as it would provide live match commentary on the action.

[1] http://www.thechels.co.uk/opposition-rank/

[2] http://www1.skysports.com/football/news/11704/8970445/premier-league-cardiff-city-striker-craig-bellamy-believes-malky-mackay-is-one-of-the-best

[3] http://hereisthecity.com/2013/10/17/chelsea-v-cardiff-city-match-preview-stats-team-news/

[4] http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/news/premier-league-match-facts-chelsea-v-cardiff-city-005515609--sow.html

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Excellent article!

I find it very interesting that many coaches are playing on a counter-attacking 4-2-3-1/4-5-1, it is like the new 4-4-2 of the last two decades....

But...but...No Chelsea News? :cry:

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