Newcastle travel to Cardiff on Saturday afternoon looking to avoid a third straight league defeat on the bounce.
Cardiff may be Premier League new boys but it will be no east task to pull off a victory down in South Wales. Only Tottenham have managed to win at the Cardiff City Stadium so far this season, and they had to struggle to do so which gives an indication of what we are up against.
Go back a bit further and we have a recent competitive trip to Cardiff to ponder – not the friendly match last pre-season! I was there that day and we won the three points back in our Championship season courtesy of a rare Fabricio Coloccini goal, but Cardiff proved to be stern opposition and their fans tried to create an atmosphere in an attempt intimidate us. I expect more of the same tomorrow.
Malky Mackay has a near fully fit squad to choose from, with the exception being striker Andreas Cornelius who continues to be troubled with an ankle injury. That’s why it’s near fully fit and not just fully fit…
United also have injury concerns that can be put behind them as Steven Taylor, Shola Ameobi and Jonas Gutierrez are available for selection.
Yohan Cabaye has managed to win himself a recall to the France squad and going by his second half performance against Everton on Monday evening I’d say he will also be recalled to the starting XI for Newcastle after having to settle with a place on the bench against the Toffees.
Up front we have another question to answer. Will Papiss Cisse be drafted back into the side or will Loic Remy continue up front? On current form the former Marseille man looks favourite, but then again I didn’t expect Cisse to be dropped after his goal against Leeds so that is maybe one to watch.
Technically our last visit to Cardiff ended in a 4-1 defeat during pre-season at the start of last season, but as this is a competitive fixture lets look at competitive matches only.
Generally this fixture is a home banker. There have been 24 meetings between both sides at Cardiff with the Welsh side winning on 12 occasions compared to just three wins for United.
However at St James’ Park it’s Newcastle who have enjoyed the bulk of the success with 18 victories and three defeats from the 24 games played on Tyneside.
That means that overall there have been 48 games played, United winning 21, Cardiff winning 15 and the other 12 ending in a draw.
Newcastle have won their last six meetings with Cardiff in all competitions.
The two sides last met in the top flight in the 1960-61 season with results following historical form. Cardiff won 3-2 at home but were thrashed 5-0 at St James’ Park.
Craig Bellamy will become the first player to score for seven different Premier League clubs if/when he finds the net for Cardiff.
Cardiff have scored three goals from corners so far this term – the highest in the division – whilst United have conceded the most headed goals in the competition.
Newcastle’s last 10 goals have all been scored by French players.
I just don’t know what to think any more really. I never know which United side will turn up (it’s usually the crap one!) but there is also a chance that the one that recorded back-to-back wins against Fulham and Aston Villa and put up an impressive fight in the second half on Monday might just show up.
Whatever side does decide to show up they will need to defend a hell of a lot better than they have been doing. It says a lot when “Iron” Mike Williamson comes on and makes your defence look a hell of a lot more solid! Schoolboys errors need cutting out and it’s back to basics for all the back four which means that the full-backs can’t always bomb up field. If we do that then we might get a result as I do fancy for us for a goal.
Howay the lads!
Date: Saturday, 5th October, 2013
Venue: The Cardiff City Stadium