- Well drilled side with good defensive shape, make the pitch small and stop you playing through the middle. Utilising the flanks and expanding the pitch will be crucial
- Weak at creating chances particularly from open play with just 5.5 per game average so far. Just one shot on target v west ham
- Highest % of long balls (20%) so far in the league and scored the most headers in the champ (23) last season so expect a direct style
- Although defensive they don’t press much – fewest fouls and one of the lowest figures for tackles / interceptions so expect few cards
- Deliveries from set plays predominantly whipped in swingers from Whittingham or Bellamy. Turner often the decoy at back post. In terms of defending dead balls will always bring 11 men back for corners.
- Form wise they are fairly ruthless at home with 51 points accrued last season and just 1 defeat in last 13.
- Injury wise, new signing Cornelius is ruled out with a knock from the midweek Capital One tie, however none of the 11 that featured vs Man City appeared in this game so all will be suitably rested for this fixture.
GK – David Marshall ex Celtic keeper is a good shot stopper and ok coming for crosses. Kicking is iffy and will predominately look for quick long punts to Campbell who received more passes from the keeper last week than any of the outfield players.
DR – Matthew Connelly ex QPR defender is a decent out ball on the right and will look to play infield to Kim. Good height for a full back and will look to tuck inside and rarely cross the half way line.
DC – Ben Turner – Subservient ogre from below stairs who will look to keep things simple. Formerly of Coventry this left sided centre half provides good aerial coverage and is a danger in both boxes.
Poor distributor and susceptible to quick movement. Doesn’t like being taken out of his central zone. Ideal opponent for Kone.
DC – Stephen Caulker – Ex Spurs right footed centre half who has been capped at full international level for England. Suspect in the air and culpable during our comeback against Spurs last season at Goodison. A more aesthetically pleasing Carlton Fairweather.
DL Andrew Taylor – Hartlepool born left back who boasts a tad more creativity than Connelly on the opposite flank and chipped in with 5 assists last season. Capped at u21 level by Stuart Pearce. Unlikely to be capped at full international level.
AMC – Kim Bo Kyung technically good with quick feet and rapid bursts from midfield who is more than capable of creating chances. Will support Campbell centrally and look to position himself to stop forward passes from our defence to midfield. Didn’t exactly set the Championship on fire or the J-League before that.
MC – Gary Medel – Nicknamed the pit bull and infamous for his short fuse and suspect temperament with 29 yellow and 5 red in 3 years indicative of a human time bomb. Also destroys garden furniture. Less is talked of his positional play, good passing and excellent technique.
MC – Aron Gunnarsson – Nondescript ex Coventry midfielder who brings little to the table apart from hard graft and a wet shirt. At a push you could say he’s a good tackler but is easily by-passed by pace. Scored 8 goals last season and has already ‘opened his account’ this season.
MR- Craig Bellamy – Vile no necked sub human and boyhood Liverpool fan. Likes aggressiveness and tattoos. The kind of bloke who wears a Ramones T-shirt. His pace may be gone but the old dog can still bite. Has scored 4 in 15 games against the Toffees and nearly joined the club on more than one occasion in the Moyes era.
ML – Peter Whittling ham – Ex Villa wide player with an eye for goal and good delivery from set plays, teeing up two goals last week vs City. Cardiff’s most creative player will predominately be supplied from balls from Gunnarsson. 60 goals and assists in three seasons in the Championship indicates he has plenty to offer.
FC- Frazier Campbell – Right footed Yorkshire born forward who plays on the shoulder and will test our high line, so Distin will need to be on guard. Was superb against Man City given he was predominately feeding on scraps.
Based on last week’s game I’d expect it will be difficult to break Cardiff down in this game. Despite just 8 touches in the Man City penalty box last week the Welsh outfit scored from 3 of them and that will give them great confidence that the same containment game plan can roll over to this week’s fixture. When Man City had possession Cardiff had 10 men in their own box thus it’ll be hard to play through them.
West ham did better in the previous week as they used width more with most of the danger coming from crossing situations. We’ll need to proactively disrupt this rigid shape from width and counter attacks when defenders are up field and out of position. Long range shooting from the likes of Barkley and Deulofeu – if called from the bench – could also be crucial.
With no clean sheets in either game for Cardiff the chances will come for us , but we will need to pull them out of shape a lot better than we did against Stevenage in midweek, and be more ruthless when the opportunities arise.
Verdict: Cardiff 0-2 Everton
Dead Cert: Everton to win second half 9/5 Bet Victor