Chelsea vs Cardiff City
K/O: 15:00 hours
Venue: Stamford Bridge
Referee: Jonathan Moss
Second place Chelsea will look to maintain their unbeaten streak and 100% record at Stamford Bridge against a winless Cardiff City this Saturday.
Chelsea have been in fantastic form this season with Maurizio Sarri leading his side to second in the table behind Liverpool purely on goal difference. With Liverpool playing Spurs this weekend, it could be a good chance for Chelsea to go that one spot further.
Cardiff, on the other hand, are still without a win this season and sit in 16th. Although it’s only early in the season, you get the feeling that every single point will matter for the Blue Birds in the upcoming campaign. Having said that, anything Cardiff get from this game has to be seen as a bonus and could provide a real boost for both Neil Warnock’s players and the Cardiff faithful.
However, last time out against Arsenal, Cardiff looked a lot stronger and they were unlucky not to take a point from that match up. They took the game to Arsenal and the away side looked shaken. While Chelsea have proved themselves to be strong so far this season, Sarri’s men should not take the Welsh visitors lightly as to do so may lead to their downfall.
The West London side have been relatively lucky so far with regard to injuries, as only Cesc Fabregas remains on the sidelines. As a result, Sarri should have a full side from which to choose.
The Pedro or Willian argument may flare its head again but it appears that Sarri is preferring the Brazilian to start with the Spaniard coming on as an impact substitution later in the game when defenders are tiring but we will wait and see.
In the midfield there is also a minor dilemma. Loftus-Cheek had his chance midweek with England to press his case for selection but it’s unlikely to have swayed the manager, and his fellow Englishman Ross Barkley looks like he too may have to wait his turn as Jorginho, Kante, and Kovacic look fairly settled.
The Blue Birds have three potential injury worries. Gunnarsson has been struggling recently but may just about be fit enough for a place on the bench. Junior Hoilett is also not 100% while we will have to wait and see on Josh Murphy who missed the Arsenal game and is unlikely to play at Stamford Bridge this weekend.
During the week Neil Warnock has said that his side will not just sit back and let Chelsea come at them and that will likely lead to a relatively easy day for the Londoners who have scored at least two goals in each game so far this season.
Whether or not Cardiff have the ability to take the game to Chelsea we will have to find out but it appears that the club and the players believe that that is the game plan with the highest chance of success. Still an outside shot but a shot nonetheless.
Predicted Starting XI’s:
Chelsea: Kepa; Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Luiz, Alonso; Jorginho, Kante, Kovacic; Hazard, Morata, Pedro
Cardiff: Etheridge; Ecuele-Manga, Morrison, Sol Bamba, Bennett; Arter, Camarasa, Ralls; Murphy, Ward, Hoilett
Score Prediction: Chelsea 3 – 0 Cardiff
Cardiff looked good last time out against Arsenal but I fear that with their plan to take the game to Chelsea they may be picked off by the home side on the counter. They may threaten early on but eventually Chelsea’s class will see them through.