Cardiff (A): Pre-match thoughts, team news & predicted line-ups

Not only was our opening game of the season a repeat of last year, but our first away trip now has a familiar feel about it too.

Last year’s opening day defeat to Spurs was followed by a newly promoted Huddersfield – and this season is no different, with the Cardiff City Stadium all set to be bouncing tomorrow after their five year wait for Premier League football.

It’s an almost identical start to last season, but let’s hope the points return is better this time around – with us falling to an uninspiring 1-0 defeat to Huddersfield this time last August.

Fortunately, there was plenty positives to take in defeat last weekend. We created chances and deserved a point against one of the league’s top sides. Kenedy looked good, Ritchie was bright and Joselu was much better- but you’d we’ll only get better when Salomon Rondon gets into full swing up top.

On the subject of Rondon, Rafa has a big decision to make. Joselu put in one of his better displays in a black and white shirt against Spurs, but is it realistic to expect more of the same tomorrow from a man who managed just four goals last season? It sounds pessimistic and slightly harsh, but history suggests he’s more likely to frustrate and fail to find the net?



Providing he’s fit enough to start, I’d go with Rondon – but I fear Rafa may stick with Joselu for another week.

Thankfully, Yedlin’s injury isn’t serious, but we’ll have to do without him for this one, meaning Javier Manquillo looks all set to start at right-back – which is a little worrying given their pace out wide and fondness to fling balls into the box.

Preferred XI

Here’s the team I’d like to see, followed by the side I expect Rafa to go with:

Personally, I’d go with Rondon for this one – but I only see Benitez opting for him if he’s fully fit (he looked a little heavy during his 30 minute cameo vs Spurs). Muto could be a handy option to bring on from the bench too, with his movement impressive when he came on last weekend.

Diame was sloppy against Spurs, looking a tad rusty by his high standards set in 2018, but I can’t see Ki coming in for him in a game where we’ll need to match their physicality.

On the subject of combating their physicality, I wouldn’t rule out Federico Fernandez coming in for Clark. It seems unlikely, but his extra height and experience could come in handy.

Last but not least, it’ll be a big game for Manquillo in Yedlin’s absence. He’s yet to impress me defensively and needs to stay switched on – especially when Cardiff will be keen to get the ball out wide and utilise Hoilett and Murphy’s pace.

Predicted NUFC XI – (4-2-3-1) – Dubravka– Manquillo, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett – Diame, Shelvey – Ritchie, Perez, Kenedy –  Joselu

The Opposition

Here’s a few ‘ones to watch’ in the Cardiff squad:

Kenneth Zohore – The big striker will be their focal point and main target in the box. Has over 20 goals for them in the last two seasons. Expect a big physical battle between him and Jamaal Lascelles.

Josh Murphy – The twin brother of Jacob Murphy and their top scorer (and top performer by all accounts) over pre-season with FIVE goals. Could start after coming on away to Bournemouth last weekend.

Bobby Reid – Could well play just off the striker and will be one to watch. Arrived for £10m over the summer, with him coming off the back of an outstanding year in the Championship – bagging 21 goals and 8 assists with Bristol City.

Lee Peltier – Not the quickest right-back and a player Kenedy could get some joy out of if he’s on his game. Could struggle if the Brazilian really goes at him.

Predicted Cardiff XI – (4-2-3-1) – Etheridge – Peltier,  Morrison, Bamba, Bennett – Arter, Ralls – Hoilett, Reid, Murphy – Zohore.

 

Team news

DeAndre Yedlin has been ruled out of this one, with Rafa preferring not to risk him after he landed awkwardly on his knee last Saturday, meaning Manquillo is likely to start.

Salomon Rondon could make his first start, Federico Fernandez is set to be named in the squad but Florian Lejeune is ruled out with an ACL injury.

Cardiff striker Kenneth Zohore faces a late fitness test after missing the opening day, but midfielder Aron Gunnarsson has been ruled out once again.

 Harry Arter looks set to make his debut after being ineligible to play against parent club Bournemouth last Saturday.

 

Match Prediction

They’ll be bang up for this and their place will be rocking, so the key will be withstanding the early pressure and looking to silence the crowd with any chances that pop up on the break.

They’re physical, they’ll pump balls into the box and they’ll get into our faces, so we’ll have to match their work rate and stand strong, but hopefully we can outclass them in the ball and get Kenedy, Shelvey and Ritchie into the game as an attacking force.

Provided we start well, I can see us frustrating them and showing that extra bit of quality in the final third.

A low scoring draw would not surprise me, but I back us to take all three points if we can follow Rafa’s game plan and show that extra bit of cutting edge in the attacking third.

Prediction: Cardiff 0-1 Newcastle 

Howay the lads!

(Fancy writing for us? Send any articles/ideas over to us at [email protected] & we’ll get back to you!)

About Olly Hawkins

Olly has been a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan - he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.

86 thoughts on “Cardiff (A): Pre-match thoughts, team news & predicted line-ups

  1. Sharpy17:
    That penalty summed our performance up really – ****ing ****!!!.

    A lucky draw away to Cardiff – my god that’s horrible.

    Rafa doesn’t get away with it either for me.He knows Manquillo isn’t good enough but put him in.He knows Joselu and Perez aren’t good enough but sticks with them.

    As a team we can play so much better than that, but the players can’t be arsed to motivate themselves.I’m bored with it now like.

    I just don’t enjoy watching us play.Is that the lack of quality, is that the formation, is that Rafas tactics – probably a combination of all those things.

    Sharpy – who should Rafa have played instead of Manquillo? Perez was one of the big improvers last season and Muto looked about as good as a chocolate fire guard mate.

    We’re just not very good. You keep saying Rafa shouldn’t pick him or him but their replacements ain’t any better. I’ve only been saying this for the past few weeks.

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  2. I thought Cardiff were supposed to be the long ball team – too many long balls from Shelvey. Today we saw what a mistake it was letting Mbemba go. He played better at fullback than Manquillo ever will and whereas Clarke defends well his distribution is poor. Do we keep Manquillo and Joselu because they speak Spanish? Although Ritchie didn’t have a good game I think Kennedy should have been the one to make way for Murphy. Surely we can’t play as badly as that again or can we? I hope not.

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  3. Really poor effort today. Zero effort in trying to maintain possession of the ball. To impatient and not switched on. Kennedy.. what can you say about his **** show of a performance. How he got to take that penalty still has me puzzled.
    I wish I didn’t watch that game now.. I feel violated 🤣

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  4. If Ritchie or Jon jo had taken that pen , it’s 3 points nicked.
    Had Rondon been on and taken it it’s 3 points nicked
    Why, KENNEDY ? WHY

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  5. Groucho:
    I thoughtCardiff were supposed to be the long ball team – too many long balls from Shelvey. Today we saw what a mistake it was letting Mbemba go.He played better at fullback than Manquillo ever will and whereas Clarke defends well his distribution is poor. Do we keep Manquillo and Joselu because they speak Spanish? Although Ritchie didn’t have a good game I think Kennedy should have been the one to make way for Murphy.Surely we can’t play as badly as that again or can we? I hope not.

    Chelsea, City and Arsenal next. You sure we can’t play that badly again?

    Had the game handed to us on a plate and didn’t take it.

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  6. Having a bad weekend not helped by that **** show.
    Oh well it’s only Chelsea, City and Palace next 🙄

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  7. Worrying assessment.

    One thing they were regularly praised for last year was togetherness and motivation. If thats gone it’ll be a longer season than many thought. Given they were deemed unluvky against spurs last week Is it early season rustiness or sign of things to be, do you think?

    Coupled with injuries and (prospective) bans that squad depth risk seems to be coming home

    Sharpy17:

    As a team we can play so much better than that, but the players can’t be arsed to motivate themselves.I’m bored with it now like.

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  8. I don’t think the motivation or togetherness has gone but we’re just not very good. We have one or two players who are good but the rest are average or poor.

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