Two first round losers, in the likes of Cardiff and Newcastle, will meet on Cardiff City Stadium in the opening match of the second round of 2018/19 English Premier League season.
Cardiff will be stronger
Besides the advantage of playing at home, Neil Warnock’s men will benefit from the availability of their well-built striker, Zohore. He managed to score 9 goals and give 5 assists in Championship’s last season.
Cardiff’s midfield clearly lacked consistency in their 2-0 loss at Bournemouth. Paterson and Ralls were not really up to the task. Good news for the Bluebirds as former Cherries midfielder, Arter, and new signing Camarasa will both be available to help the midfield line.
Head to Head Dominance for Magpies
Rafael Benitez’s side holds a pretty solid record in the departures to Cardiff. Newcastle managed to win all the 3 official matches played as visitors against The Bluebirds. The meetings took place in 2009, 2013 and 2017.
Moreover, Newcastle managed to win the last 3 matches against The Bluebirds(0-2, 2-1, 3-0). Also, if we look closer, the Magpies won both of the Premier League encounters between them with 1-2 and 3-0 in the 2013/2014 season.
The Bluebirds are “doomed”
This term, “doomed”, was used by Chris Sutton(former England striker and current sports commentator) to predict Cardiff’s destiny this season. His argument is Bluebirds’ weak transfer campaign in comparison with the other promoted teams “When you look at the other sides who have come up, Wolves have spent big money, Fulham have spent big money.”
Well, I do not think Sutton has enough facts to sustain his affirmation(that is why he has been called ‘lazy’), but after the first round, he is not far from the truth.
Will Benitez keep his outstanding record?
Rafael Benitez can be proud of winning all his 3 matches against Cardiff in his coaching career. This should give him confidence ahead of Saturday’s clash. On the other side, Neil Warnock could be pretty intimidated by the fact that Benitez won 4 times and drew once in the head to head matches between the two managers.
Magpies will probably miss Yedlin
Newcastle’s main right-back, DeAndre Yedlin, is set to miss weekend action due to a knee injury he had picked up in the 1-2 defeat against Tottenham. This is a problem for Benitez as he has few options available at full-back considering Newcastle’s lack of squad depth.
The solution? Javier Manquillo, who was Yedlin’s substitute in the weekend and the usual first bench option at full back in the last season. Manquillo can play on both flanks, but he is right-footed so he should be more valuable on the right-back position.
Newcastle, a dangerous side
The Black and Whites were everything but a dormant side in the last weekend. They looked like they could have won against Spurs. Magpies had 2 woodwork hits alongside a good amount of goal occasions against a strong Spurs side. Benitez’s side proved strong mentality after scoring just 3 minutes after Vertonghen’s opener even if they were surprised (just 7 minutes later) by Alli’s header. The game ended 1-2 for Tottenham, with both teams finishing with 15 goal occasions.
Cardiff will be more dangerous with the new additions while Newcastle’s lack of luck against Tottenham should transform into a good karma on Saturday afternoon. However, head to head history, coaches direct meetings and Magpies’ more valuable squad show that Newcastle got the first chance despite missing their right-back.
Over 1.5 goals at 1.45 odds
Newcastle to win at 2.55 odds