Match Focus: Cardiff City

Saturday 31st August, 3pm @ Cardiff City Stadium

Two of last seasons Premier League dropouts go head to head at The Cardiff City Stadium tonight, both looking to bounce back from defeats in the Carabao Cup earlier in the week. Although it’s early days, with both sides losing ground on the top two already, this is the type of game that neither can afford to lose. 

Head-To-Head Stats

  • There have been 64 meetings in all competitions. Fulham have won 27, lost 25 and drawn 12.
  • Fulham have won 4 of the last 8 meetings, losing just once.
  • That defeat came in our most recent visit to Cardiff last season where we lost 4-2 and Ryan Sessegnon became the club’s youngest Premier League goalscorer at 18 years, 155 days old.
  • Sessegnon also became the club’s all-time youngest goalscorer against Cardiff in 2016 when he was 16 years old.
  • Fulham’s last win in Cardiff was the 2-4 win on Boxing Day 2017. Match 2 of our 23-game unbeaten run.

Players In Common

Jeff Eckhardt

Jeff was the ultimate 100% man. He gave his all -blood, sweat and tears playing in almost every position for the Whites, and doing a decent job in all of them. Ray Lewington signed him from Sheff United in 1987 and he went onto become a cult hero, spending 7 seasons in SW6. A good, hard-working centre back, they just don’t build them like him anymore.

His tenure at Fulham oversaw the darkest era in the club’s history, arriving in the midst of a battle to keep the club at Craven Cottage and from going bust, followed by parting company off the back of relegation to the bottom tier for the first time in the club’s history. But don’t let that fool you, it was a case of a good player being at a club at the wrong time and Jeff’s never-say-die attitude even through the bleakest of spells, won the hearts of the Fulham faithful.

Fulham: Appearances – 270, Goals – 25.

After 2 seasons at Stockport County, Jeff joined Cardiff City for £30,000. In five years with the Bluebirds, Eckhardt and Cardiff experienced a yo-yo effect with no two seasons being consistent. Finishing 7th, 21st then being promoted to the Old Division Two, relegated the following season and then promoted again in 2nd place. He was a regular in all but his final season with the club and failed to make an appearance from December onwards in that final year.

Cardiff City: Appearances – 164, Goals – 17.

Plus – Bobby Brown, Richard Carpenter, Kagisho Dikgacoi, Jeff Eckhardt, Neil Etheridge, Kerim Frei, Julian Gray, Heidar Helguson, Mark Hudson, Junichi Inamoto, Eddie Johnson, Peter Kitchen, Joe Lewis, Scott Malone, Ross McCormack, Brian McDermott, Chris Pike, Jazz Richards, Kieran Richardson, David Roberts, Wayne Routledge, Mark Walton, Tony Warner & Paul Went.

Last 8 Meetings

  • 27/04/19 – Fulham 1-0 Cardiff
  • 20/10/18 – Cardiff 4-2 Fulham
  • 26/12/17 – Cardiff 2-4 Fulham
  • 09/09/17 – Fulham 1-1 Cardiff
  • 25/02/17 – Cardiff 2-2 Cardiff
  • 08/01/17 – Cardiff 1-2 Fulham (FA Cup)
  • 20/08/16 – Fulham 2-2 Cardiff
  • 09-04/16 – Fulham 2-1 Cardiff

Cardiff Stats From 2018/19

  • Relegated along with us and Huddersfield but to their credit were the only team who put up a fight
  • They won 32% of their home games in the Premier League last year.
  • 21 of their 34 goals scored last year came at home.
  • However, they also conceded more goals at home last season, with 38 of the 69 goals against them being at home
  • That’s almost double the number of goals conceded at home to those scored.
  • They only went in leading at half time at home twice all of last season.
  • Despite conceding 69 goals, they managed to keep an impressive 10 Clean sheets, 5 of those were at home.
  • In all competitions, Cardiff only scored the first goal at home on 4 occasions.

Player Info

Key Players Last Season.

  • Neil Etheridge – our former keeper played all 38 games last year, keeping 10 clean sheets and averaged 3.6 saves per game.
  • Sean Morrison – Centre Back and Captain. Played 34 out of 38 games in the Premier League making 5.9 clearances and 1.5 interceptions per game.
  • Bobby Reid – Joint Top Scorer with 5 goals. Averaged 0.6 Key Passes and 0.6 dribbles per game. Has since left Cardiff…

New Signings

  • Aden Flint – Centre Back signed from Middlesbrough to replace the outgoing Ecule Manga. He averages 1.3 interceptions and 6.9 clearances per game in the Championship.
  • Marlon Pack – Box to Box midfielder from Bristol City. Has 8 goals and 12 assists in 4 seasons with the Robins.
  • Issac Vassell – Striker from Birmingham City. Has scored 1 goals so far for Cardiff and averages 0.5 shots per game.
  • Robert Glatzel – Striker from German side FC Heidenheim. Scored 13 goals in 23 games in 2.Bundesliga.

Battle to Watch

Aden Flint vs Aleksander Mitrovic: It may have taken a bit of time, but Aden Flint has been forming a strong partnership with Sean Morrison. It will be Flint’s job to body up on Mitro, and frustrate the Fulham striker. Mitro has been challenged in scoring by teammate Ivan Cavaleiro, but remains ahead with 4 total on the season, just one in front of the left-winger. If Mitro can continue to serve as a forward outlet, we will be able to build our attacks into the defensive third, and maintain the width we need to penetrate the Cardiff City box. Crosses against Flint may be difficult, so look for more low crosses to find Mitro’s feet, much like his goal against Forest last weekend. 

Opposition View (@VFTNinian)

How are things with the owner? Now that he’s shown a willingness to back Neil Warnock, is the relationship mended?

It’s largely mended, yeah. The rebrand will always be a stain on Tan’s ownership of the club, but since reverting back to blue it’s hard to fault his ownership. We don’t hear from him too often – Mehmet Dahlman & Ken Choo are the main guys on the board in Cardiff and they both do a fantastic job.

Tan, Choo and Dahlman have all backed Neil Warnock financially and have done some real good for the club and it’s infrastructure.

What did you make of the sale of Bobby Reid? Is he missed?

Torn, really. On one hand, it was really disappointing because a lot of Cardiff fans saw Reid as the main man this season. That said, he’d never really produced much in a Cardiff shirt and all of our hope was based off that brilliant season he had with Bristol City.

What has angered a lot of fans is that Reid engineered the move so late on. It didn’t give Cardiff enough time to properly replace him. His comments and attitude once joining Fulham was poor, I think it showed disrespect to a lot of Cardiff fans who have backed him for the past 12 months.

What are your expectations for the season?

To go back up, for sure. It hasn’t been the best start to the season, but I think those expectations remain. I’ve got every faith in Warnock to turn it around and get us up the table.

Top 6 / Bottom 3 predictions?

At the start of the season, I predicted top six: Fulham, Cardiff, Leeds, Brentford, Huddersfield, West Brom. Relegated: Charlton, Barnsley, Wigan.

I’ll adjust that slightly now! I think top six will be Leeds, Fulham, West Brom, Forest, Cardiff and Brentford.  I think Stoke, Wigan and Barnsley will go down.

How do you see the game panning out?

Fulham will dominate possession and Cardiff will camp deep and look to hit on the break. If Fulham score early, I can see them really gaining momentum and taking control but if Cardiff can frustrate them I think we can catch them on the break.

Cardiff 1-1 Fulham.

Predicted Lineup

(4-2-3-1) Smithies; Peltier, Flint, Morrison, Bennett; Bacuna, Ralls; Murphy, Tomlin, Hoilett; Glatzel.

Thanks to Scott Salter from Cardiff City Supporters Podcast ‘View From the Ninian’ for answering our questions.

Matt’s View

We are looking to regain momentum, while Warnock’s side are looking to grasp hold of it – at our expense. A familiar foe that just does not play nice, Cardiff City have had a difficult start to the campaign, with recently losing 3-0 to Luton in the Carabao Cup this week. Despite their struggles, it will not be a surprise to see the Bluebirds pressure us high up the pitch and force a nervy performance, especially as we like to move the ball around the back.   

I expect the match to be an intense affair, as it always is. I believe we have more talent in the attacking third, and if we can continue to harness Parker’s possession based tactics, we will be the favorites to come away with the victory. Warnock’s teams are always most resilient though and they are capable of standing firm to block our attempts at regaining momentum towards the top of the table. Considering there are no injuries for us, I would say we are at full strength and hopefully firing on all cylinders to secure a much needed victory away from home as we head into the international break. 

Cardiff 1-2 Fulham.

Predicted Lineup

(4-3-3) Betts; Sessegnon, Mawson, Ream, Bryan; Arter, Johansen, Cairney; Knockaert, Cavaleiro, Mitrovic.