A huge game for both these sides. The Bluebirds could move out of the relegation zone with a win, alternatively, a win for Chelsea could see them move in to the top four.
Big misses for the hosts
After losing Sol Bamba to injury for the rest of the season, Neil Warnock’s side were dealt another huge blow in their bid for survival as Callum Paterson was ruled out for the rest of the season. Not only do the pair provide real stature on the pitch and in the dressing room they are two of the clubs top scorers with four goals each. They have been instrumental in Cardiff’s threat from set pieces which has been a key factor in earning them points this season. Cardiff will need the likes of Bobby Reid and Junior Hoilett to be at the top of their games if they’re to hold any hope of beating Chelsea on Sunday. Reid is the shortest odds for a Cardiff goal scorer, he’s at 4.5 anytime and 11.0 to open the scoring.
The Bluebirds are long favourites for this game at 8.0, with Chelsea at 1.4. But there is some hope; of their eight wins this season, six of them have come in front of their own fans and they’ll be hoping for a raucous atmosphere to help drive them to victory. In addition to this, Chelsea have not had it all their own way on the road. They’ve been beaten just once at Stamford Bridge this season, however on their travels it’s been a different story. They’ve suffered six defeats in their 15 games and have conceded two more than they’ve scored, a far cry from their +19 home goal difference. The main contributor to those stats is some of the heavy defeats Sarri’s men have taken, most notably the 6-0 drubbing from Manchester City and the shock 4-0 defeat to Bournemouth.
Cardiff will have fresher legs
The Bluebirds haven’t played since the beginning of March and have had much fewer players away on International duty. Several of Chelsea’s starting 11 played important roles for their countries over in European Qualifiers, particularly the likes of Eden Hazard, N’Golo Kante and Ross Barkley. This could play in to Cardiff’s hands, they may be able to take advantage early on as some of the players take a bit longer to get going. Cardiff to take the lead but fail to win is priced at 5.5 and looks like a very intriguing selection.
The question is though, as it has been throughout the season; do Cardiff have enough quality to compete? The fact that Patterson and Bamba are their joint top goal scorers along with a couple of others with just four goals speaks volumes about their struggles since promotion. If you look at other sides down the bottom end of the table, they still have reliable goalscorers. The likes of Mitrovic, Vokes, Murray and Rondon all spring to mind. The tragedy of Emiliano Sala may have had more than just an emotional affect on the club. He very well could’ve been the answer to a lot of the issues.
Go for goals
Both of these sides see an average of above 2.5 goals per game, with Chelsea at 2.77 and Cardiff slightly higher at 2.8 this game should promise some entertainment. There has been over 2.5 goals in the last four meetings between the sides, all of which have been won by Chelsea. Over 2.5 goals is priced at 1.73. A Chelsea win with over 2.5 goals has real value at 2.1. I expect the game to open up as both sides need to get on the front foot and chase a result. Both teams to score at 1.9 could be a solid selection too.
Over 2.5 goals @ 1.73
Chelsea to win @ 1.4
Eden Hazard to score anytime @ 2.1
Both teams to score @ 1.9