Without a win in five, it’s crunch time for Cardiff City and Neil Warnock as they host a Bournemouth side who are buoyant off the back off an incredible 4-0 hammering of Chelsea.
An exhausting time for The Bluebirds
Cardiff’s attentions have been away from the pitch since the disappearance of their £18 million signing Emiliano Sala. The players, staff and fans have endured a torrid time in the wake of such a tragedy and they can be forgiven for losing their focus on their Premier League relegation battle.
They rallied well for their game against Arsenal, and despite only managing 29% possession they will feel hard done by to have left The Emirates with nothing after having 19 shots on goal, albeit just two on target. This represents a problem that Cardiff have faced all season, they don’t have an out and out goal scorer. Sadly, Emiliano Sala really could have been the ideal fit, strong, powerful and capable of leading a line; his loss will be felt not only emotionally by Cardiff but physically with the miss of an excellent signing to help them on the pitch.
Central midfielder Callum Paterson leads the goal scoring charts at the club, with just four goals this campaign. Their highest scoring forward is Josh Murphy, with a measly three goals. Their main outlet has been set plays, Sol Bamba has chipped in with two goals this campaign and the towering Ivorian is a threat to any defence given the right supply.
Struggles on the road for Bournemouth
Bournemouth have been scintillating at times this season in front of their own fans, the victory against Chelsea is indicative of the free flowing attacking play that has seen them take 24 of their 33 points this season at Dean Court.
On their travels however, it has been a completely different story. In 11 games Eddie Howe’s side have managed just nine points, and have been a far cry from free scoring, registering just 12 goals. They have also managed to concede 25 times in those games. They haven’t won away in the Premier League since the 27th of November when they ran out 3-0 winners at Fulham. Another poor away showing from Bournemouth could be on the cards, you can back the Cardiff win at 3.2. Bournemouth are the favourites at 2.37. The draw is 3.4, Bournemouth are yet to draw a game away from home this season (3W 8L).
Bournemouth’s attacking players have been exceptional as a combination this season. Josh King bagged two against Chelsea taking his tally to eight for the season, three behind Callum Wilson on 11, Ryan Fraser has added a further six as well as an impressive 10 assists. It doesn’t stop there either, throw in promising youngster David Brooks in to that mix; the Welshman has 10 goal contributions to his name (6G 4A). Not content with that, The Cherries added Dominic Solanke to their armoury. The £19 million man is yet to make an appearance, which goes to show the quality in the starting 11.
A big opportunity for The Bluebirds
Bournemouth’s impressive midweek win will have been duly noted by Cardiff, but their poor away record will give them real hope of getting three points in the late kick off on Saturday. Cardiff’s home form isn’t impressive, but of their five wins this season, they have managed four of those at home. They have managed just 13 goals at home however, an issue that Neil Warnock predicted very early in the campaign. However Bournemouth’s leaky defence on the road will give them confidence that they can score at least once at The Cardiff City Stadium.
Bournemouth also have the second smallest team on average in the Premier League. Although the average is only marginally less than Cardiff’s, the likes of Bamba and Patterson could see some success against smaller players such as Nathan Ake at centre half, who at 5”11 is on the small side for a central defender.
Patterson is available at 9.0 to score first and 3.6 anytime, Sol Bamba can be found out at 26.0 first and 8.0 anytime.
Under 2.5 goals @ 1.86
Callum Paterson to score anytime @ 3.6
Josh King to score first @ 8.0