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!

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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. Thanks Olly, I agree with your line up, it seems the most obvious choice.
    I would like to think Rafa can get the better of Warnock tactically but we are away and Cardiff are a really direct team, lots of long throw ins and the like tomorrow. Watch out for Bobby Reid, ex Bristol City player who was great whilst there and the city fans none too pleased he’s gone. Can he make the step up to PL, I guess we’ll see tomorrow.
    Still worry about us defensively with Lejeune and Yeddy missing.
    1.2 to the Toon heart, 1.1 head


  2. I thought we did ok against Spurs last weekend, but last season we always seemed to perform better away from home.
    No offence to Cardiff, but I look at the 2 sides and we should be winning this one comfortable. I’m not suggesting 0-5 or 0-6 – but we should be watching a fairly straight forward 0-1 or 0-2 imo. I expect Cardiff to have the ball and press us – but I expect us to have enough to cope with that and put at least one or two of our chances away.


  3. I like Gayle but his goal record in the PL last season was 6 in 35. Joselu was 4 in 30. So that’s 10 in 65 which is pretty easy maths meaning a goal every 6 and a half games between them. I know it is in favour to be negative but c’mon guys if Muto and Rondon cannot do better than that we deserve to go down. If each get 1 in 3 we are more than doubling our output.

    We obviously also need a few from midfield. Why does Jonjo score so few?


  4. Thinking back to last week, Perez had a very quiet game. You would hope he will pick up today. Also, Atsu was played on the wrong wing which might explain why he looked so out of sorts. If he is dropped totally it might affect his confidence but Rafa has also told Murphy he will get his shot. There’s a difficult decision there.


  5. Eric, depends who’s trained well this week, Rafa seems to set great store on training application. I can only assume Joselu is the worlds greatest trainer 😉


  6. Joking aside, thought Joselu had a good game last week, worked hard and got himself that goal. Has to do it consistently though if he starts ahead of Rondon .


  7. I read what Rafa said in his press conference and he thinks Lejeune is only 4-6 months away. Also, Hayden wants to be nearer his family in Wales. When did they move there, I thought they were from outside London? Must be his girlfriend’s family. Time to suck it up big boy. I am sure everybody on this blog has a friend or relative who moved away from Newcastle for work. And Hayden and Clark were never leaving for Championship clubs so yet another stupid story put to rest.


  8. Chris Waugh also said we turned down an offer of 8 million from Brighton for Hayden. If true, I would have been tempted by that.

    I had a look at Google maps and picked somewhere not so random in Wales, Cardiff because it is the capital and probably the closest big city to the SE. It is 191 miles from Brighton to Cardiff so it would hardly be on his doorstep if he moved. This all sounds a bit fishy. Maybe a club in the Midlands but they are mainly in the Championship now and I doubt if Wolves or Leicester would want him.


  9. Tough game this. First home game for newly promoted teams are always tough and Warnock won’t be wanting to make it easy. My hope is that their lack of quality in the final third makes a difference. If we play like we did last week we should win but that depends on whether we take our chances.

    Will be a close one I think. 1-1 or 2-1 either side.


  10. PremAndUp:
    Joselu in, but hard to drop your goal scorer

    Prem – I think Rafa has made a mistake there. I know Joselu scored last week and Rafa is keeping the faith – and hopefully Joselu repays him for that. But Bamba is a big physical CB for Cardiff and may boss Joselu easier than he would Rondon.


  11. Cardiff have not beaten us in the last 10 meets – we’ve scored a total of 26 goals and they have scored 5.

    We have the better players, a more settled team and a better manager.

    We should be winning this game comfortably.


  12. I forgot Steve Parish. What other team do media people get a soapbox to back the owner and complain about the Manager?

    Martin Samuel
    Dave Kidd (The Sun)

    So that pretty much covers the lot: print journalists, ex-players, TV, radio even Chairmen of other clubs who have no business commenting on NUFC business.


  13. Rafa will have told the players that Cardiff are a dead ball team. That’s their threat and then Lascelles makes a stupid tackle like that. He still has so much to learn.


  14. How on earth can a Ref give Ritchie a yellow for that? It’s just ridiculous – so early in the game too but not even a foul!


  15. Diame looks like the Diame from the start of last season and unfortunately we look like the team from the first half of last season too. Suppose it’s probably because it mostly is…


  16. Joselu is poor. I agree with a Sharpy – Rondon should have played. If only because he can’t be as bad as Joselu.


  17. Manquillo is ****ing ****e. He’s so far out his depth in the PL.

    Joselu and Perez are too light weight, nowt sticking up top – we simply aren’t a threat with those 2 up front. Defensive work rate is one thing but you want your forwards to have the offensive threat.


  18. Sharpy17:
    Manquillo is ****ing ****e.He’s so far out his depth in the PL.

    Joselu and Perez are too light weight, nowt sticking up top – we simply aren’t a threat with those 2 up front.Defensive work rate is one thing but you want your forwards to have the offensive threat.

    You need to spend money for that


  19. Manquillo has looked poor so far.
    He has to put Rondon on, give their back line something to worry about.


  20. Manquillo needs to come off at HT as they will be throwing everything at Murphy in the second half for him to run at Manquillo.

    Joselu too. Get Rondon on. See if we really do have a better squad than last season.


  21. Call me cynical, but does anyone else think Manq is feigning this coz he doesn’t fancy continuing this game?


  22. Well tha5 was a really ****e first half. Mind the ref is giving us nothing at all. That was never a yellow for Ritchie, in fact he was the victim… cannot believe that Kenedy kicked out…

    And to make matters worse Allardyce and Dennis Wise are the pundits in Bein sports. We keep on giving them ammunition to beat us with.

    Bad feeling with this game. We should win, we won’t.


  23. Rafa let Anita go on a free to spend £5m on Manquillo – is he really a better full back than a player we already had and could have offered a new contract to.
    Rafa spent £5m on Joselu when we already had Mitrovic – does Joselu really offer more than Mitrovic. Apparently Mitro couldn’t perform the role Rafa wanted him to – what role is Joselu performing here?!.


  24. Fans singing their heads off & the team are giving them nowt here.

    This is one of the worst performances I’ve seen under Rafa


  25. Sharpy17:
    Fans singing their heads off & the team are giving them nowt here.

    This is one of the worst performances I’ve seen under Rafa

    This is what happens when you don’t move the club forward, Sharpy. Apathy. Who knew!


  26. Good stuff. Hayden red after 20 minutes on the pitch. Nice.
    We are ****e. Never been so disinterested in football in general. A club that is not run with the fans in mind and a game that is overrun by diving, playacting and a corrupt governing body that gives the world.cup to Qatar ffs!


  27. Shamrock:
    Good stuff. Hayden red after 20 minutes on the pitch. Nice.
    We are ****e. Never been so disinterested in football in general. A club that is not run with the fans in mind and a game that is overrun by diving, playacting and a corrupt governing body that gives the world.cup to Qatar ffs!

    spot on, losing the will to live following this club last couple of years. Why should we bother supporting a club that gets no support from it’s owner.


  28. Stuart79:
    That is just a joke! Dear God! That was intentional and dangerous – exactly like Kenedy!

    Stu – he booked him so there will be no retrospective review but your dead right. As bad as Kennedy’s and Hayden’s that.


  29. we are ****,but i hope we dont get this ref ever again hes never a PL ref,plus hes given Cardiff everything imo


  30. His performance today is one of the exact reasons why having him for the full season does not improve us. He’s so inconsistent that’s why he’s here and not at Chelsea.

    We were ****! When will people realise we haven’t got any better!!!


  31. get out of jail card right there
    and we **** it up.
    Why was Kennedy taking that ffs.

    Oh and Kennedy and Shelvey were arguing with each other about 5 mins before that. Something really wrong with that team today.
    And why the hell is Rondon not starting.


  32. Why did they let a player who was having a nightmare take a good free kick position and then a crucial penalty. Utter madness! 😡


  33. If Kennedy is gonna get to take free kicks and pens that others are better suited to then we are ****ed.
    C’mon Rafa get this sorted man


  34. 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.


  35. Kenedy has been total ****e today… that was a horrible penalty and we were as bad as I’ve ever seen. I cannot express how angry and pissed off I am after watching that.

    To be given a pen (finally! ) to win the game and then do that … my piss is boiling! ?????


  36. What does it say about our squad when we had two strikers on the pitch and yet the penalty was still taken by the worst player on the pitch?


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