Opposition Focus: Cardiff City


06/10/18 – Tottenham 1-0 Cardiff (PL)
30/09/18 – Cardiff 1-2 Burnley (PL)
22/09/18 – Cardiff 0-5 Man City (PL)
15/09/18 – Chelsea 4-1 Cardiff (PL)
02/09/18 – Cardiff 2-3 Arsenal (PL)


Cardiff City play in a 4-1-4-1 formation and have an emphasis to drop into a 4-5-1 defensively. They will attack through the air, and send them primarily to the big man Callum Paterson. Paterson will play that traditional role, and hold up the ball waiting for support from the midfielders, or go on his own, trying to draw contact to win set pieces for the side. With a team that does not have the highest amounts of pace, the thinking would be they are more possession based. However, this isn’t the case with the side, as their main way to attack is long balls to Paterson or the occasional long shots from distance. Defensively, they are organized, but not high in aggression, a bit similar to how Fulham are in that sense.

Battle to Watch

Josh Murphy vs Cyrus Christie: He’s the popular target right now, so it’s no surprise I’ve paired up Cyrus Christie to battle with Josh Murphy. Christie said he was following the manager’s instructions in the 5-1 loss to Arsenal, which was to stay higher up the pitch when Fulham were in the 3-4-3 formation. Depending on what Slavisa chooses for the formation this time, all eyes will be on Christie and whether or not he tracks back like pundits think he should, or if he is being instructed to stay higher for counter attacks. Murphy likes to take on players and cut inside as much as possible, so Christie could find himself having to drop back regardless if the central midfielders are not able to cover quick enough.

Danger Man

It has to be with the big man Callum Paterson. While not in any kind of goal scoring form, he has won plenty of aerial battles and set up his teammates. Against Fulham, and our tendency to be weaker in the air, it could create multiple chances for Cardiff to attack or take advantage of our lack of composure at times.

Last 5 Meetings

26/12/17 – Cardiff City 2-4 Fulham (C’ship)
09/09/17 – Fulham 1-1 Cardiff City (C’ship)
25/02/17 – Cardiff City 2-2 Fulham (C’ship)
08/01/17 – Cardiff City 1-2 Fulham (FA Cup)
20/08/16 – Fulham 2-2 Cardiff (C’ship)


Fulham wins 26
Draws 12
Cardiff wins 24

Stats & Facts

  • The clubs have met on 58 occasions in league competition – Fulham have won 23, Cardiff have won 23 and there have been 12 draws.
  • Fulham are unbeaten in the last 7 meetings with Cardiff in all competitions, winning 3 and drawing 4.
  • However, Cardiff won the only two Premier League meetings between the sides, completing a league double over Fulham during the 2013/14 campaign. Both clubs would end the season relegated.
  • Both sides have scored in each of the last 7 meetings in all competitions, a total of 24 goals (Fulham 14, Cardiff 10).
  • Fulham have only lost 3 of their last 14 away trips to Cardiff in all competitions since Dec 1979, winning 8 and drawing 3 in the process.
  • Fulham scored a total of 8 goals during their 3 trips to the Cardiff City Stadium in 2017. The only venue at which they scored more in the calendar year was Craven Cottage.
  • Ryan Sessegnon has scored in all 4 of his career appearances versus Cardiff – his most goals against any single club (4).

Players in Common

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

Magic Moment

The 4-2 victory over Cardiff in December of last year sticks out to me. Mainly because I remember the snow had caused alarm into the match possibly being called off. It went on, and we played brilliantly. Stefan Johansen was my MOTM as he showcased what a brilliant box-to-box midfielder he is. What made it more special was his sublime chip over Neil Etheridge that secured the victory for us.

Opposition View (@VFTNinian)

From an outsiders perspective, it felt like you were planning for relegation from the off, signing players from the Championship. With hindsight, how do you feel about your summer transfer window? 

I think the worry about our signings came mainly from outside Cardiff rather than within it. With a budget our size (I think it stands as a quarter the size of Huddersfield, the second lowest in the division) it was always going to be difficult to attract any big names.

I’m relatively pleased with the guys we did bring in – although that would’ve been different if we hadn’t squeezed Harry Arter and Victor Camarasa over the line on deadline day.

Warnock was perhaps a little naive in waiting for certain players (see Marko Grujic and Tammy Abraham) but he also probably found out early on that we wouldn’t be able to compete with other clubs in our league and therefore had to pluck the championship’s top talent.

The big concern everyone had was up top and it’s frustrating we didn’t address that. We played a player (Callum Paterson) that we signed as a right back up top in our last game, which tells you all about our troubles.

Even though we are only 8 games in, have the slow starts for both clubs ensured that it’s become a season-defining “six-pointer” and a must-win for both clubs?

Listen, you’ve always got to beat the teams around you to stay up, so in that sense, it is a six-pointer. Will a loss on Saturday define either side’s season? Probably not. A win could though, with the ability to really kick-start both side’s seasons.

When the fixtures were released in June, did you expect to be winless at this stage of the season and has the step up to the Premier League proved tougher than you expected?

Definitely not! We knew it was going to be hard, especially with the horrid run of games in the last month or so. I had expected us to pick up a win in one of our opening three games. I thought our physical style and tenacious attitude could rattle one of Bournemouth, Newcastle or Huddersfield but it was not to be. We’ve not seen that mentality that was so important last season, which has perhaps disappointed me the most.

How do you see the game going and what’s your predicted line up/score predictions?

I’d expect us to stay the same as against Spurs, but of course, we’ll be missing Joe Ralls after his red card. I expect Aaron Gunnarsson, the Icelandic captain, to come in for his first appearance of the season after an injury he picked up at the summer tournament.

Predicted Line-up: 433

Neil Etheridge; Bruno Manga, Sean Morrison, Sol Bamba, Joe Bennett; Harry Arter, Aron Gunnarsson, Victor Camarasa; Junior Hoilett, Callum Paterson, Josh Murphy.

It’ll be a tight game with both sides fully aware of the other’s ability after last season. You definitely have the ability to hurt us, particularly with the likes of Mitrovic, Schurrle and Sessengon. I’ll go for a 1-1 draw.

Thanks to www.viewfromtheninian.com for answering our questions.

Match Prediction

It’s a proving ground now. After two losses, of pretty significant goal differences, there is much less of a cushion to fall onto if Fulham should lose to Cardiff City. Should we lose, more validation of the big signings will go by the wayside, and talks of signing more in January will dominate the conversation, followed by #SlavOut campaigns. This is the nature of the beast. Everyone is a pundit these days, and only a very select few are ever in the ballpark of being right. With that tone set, here’s my prediction.

Fulham will come out with the exciting 3-4-3 formation. The changes will be in the defence where either Ream or Odoi will make way for Mawson. I believe LeMarchand has been one of our best defenders and should stay in his spot, but I will not be surprised if he is replaced. In all honesty, any of the 3 back defenders are up for replacing – and that’s not because I think less of their quality, it’s mainly because I have no idea where Slav’s head is at regarding his backline. In the midfield, we’ll stay with the same Anguissa and Seri, with Christie and Sessegnon. All eyes are on Christie, maybe a bit with Anguissa as well, but mainly Christie, as his position on the team is continuously in question. I have concerns with Anguissa because he is too relaxed on the ball, to the point where he loses focus – and loses the ball. This happened too often against Arsenal’s high pressure, but it does not mean he will be in a position to continue that approach against Cardiff.

Overall, the match will be a tough one at Cardiff City Stadium. We will be second-best in the air, so it will be important for our midfielders to be switched on, and not try to complicate too much, but also not be afraid to send the ball into space for Schurrle or Vietto to run onto. If we can try to avoid giving up too many set pieces, we will have a strong chance of dominating possession and using our aggressive shape to put pressure on the home side. I feel it’s time to let the floodgates open, but the execution is all that matters, so my prediction is a 2-0 victory for Fulham. Mitrovic continues his tremendous form, while Christie shushes the doubters to seal the victory in the 82nd minute. COYW!!

Predicted Line-up