Match Preview

PMB: Cardiff v Chelsea - matchday

The final part of the Pre-Match Briefing gets you ready for today's game...


• Eden Hazard, who scored on his 100th appearance for Belgium during the internationals, has hit the Cardiff net five times in the Premier League – no player has managed more against the Bluebirds. All those strikes have come at Stamford Bridge, however, and the Belgian has yet to score away from home in the Premier League in 2019. Strikers Olivier Giroud and Gonzalo Higuain, the latter of whom was not on international duty and has already scored against the two teams below the Welshmen in the table, are competing for a start.


• Ross Barkley’s dead-ball skills have been in evidence again for England, and he and his team-mates may fancy their chances against a team that has conceded 11 times to shots from outside the box (only Burnley have a worse record).

• At 18 years and 135 days, Callum Hudson-Odoi became the youngest player to make his England debut in a competitive match, beating by 40 days the record set 64 years ago by Manchester United icon Duncan Edwards (aged 18 years 175 days). The prodigious teenager has now been involved in 10 goals in 20 matches for club and country this season (five goals and five assists).
 


THREE IN ONE QUIZ


• Neil Warnock’s team have amassed more than 70 per cent of their points total in home matches. No team has conceded more goals in the opening quarter-hour of matches on home soil than Cardiff, with six. Should Chelsea capitalise on that vulnerability it would be a first this season: the Blues are yet to score in the opening 15 minutes on the road, but have let in four. City have not been in action since 9 March.

• Cardiff line up in a 4-2-3-1 with hard-working Oumar Niasse upfront, Victor Camarasa scheming, and heavily-used wingers Junior Hoilett and Josh Murphy. The directness of their approach shows in the lowest pass-completion rate in the top flight (64.4 per cent) and they have the lowest percentage of shots on target (39 per cent).

• ‘I only want people in the trenches that I can trust,’ Warnock said of his squad options recently, lamenting the loss of commanding centre-back and joint leading scorer Bamba to cruciate ligament injury. Aerially strong Callum Paterson, also responsible for four goals in his 27 league appearances, damaged an ankle playing for Scotland and is out until pre-season – ‘a big blow’ according to Warnock.

 


Maurizio Sarri's pre-match quotes


‘We are working well in training, but the reaction in the match is the only important thing. It will be very difficult because Cardiff are physical, dangerous in the opposition box and from set-pieces, so we have to defend very high, otherwise it will be a problem for us.

‘The last period of the Premier League will be very hard for every team. I think we can reach the top four even if we are not able to win eight matches in a row. We need to think match by match. The best way is to be focused on the next match.’

Cardiff boss Neil Warnock's pre-match quotes

‘Chelsea are sixth in the table and not guaranteed a Champions League position. They are under enormous pressure as well. After the Everton game - where they could have been 4-0 up and ended up losing 2-0 - I would imagine they will be looking at this fixture and thinking they can get back on the road.

‘That's understandable when they look at our results against the other top sides and, if everything goes to plan on a good day for them, they will beat us. But if we get ourselves up for it, we can give these teams a good game - especially at home.’

 

Squad news

Chelsea
Doubt
Jorginho

Suspended
None


Cardiff
Injured
Sol Bamba
Callum Paterson
Matt Connolly

Suspended
None
 

Matchday weather outlook

A grey day in the Welsh capital, and a bit breezy too.


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