After defeat to Leicester City last time out, Cardiff will be looking to respond
By George Willoughby
Game-week 12 is here, and this weekend Cardiff will host Chris Hughton’s Brighton and Hove Albion at the Cardiff City Stadium. With just one win over fellow strugglers Fulham, the Bluebirds are finding it difficult in their return to the summit of England’s top-flight.
Finding the back of the net has been hard to come by for Neil Warnock’s side with just nine goals being scored so far this season. Conversely, keeping the goals out has also been an equally pressing concern. Cardiff rank third worst in the Premier League in terms of goals conceded (24).
Cardiff City FC
After recording their first win of the season in an impressive victory of Fulham, Cardiff have failed to replicate that winning formula. A heavy defeat to Liverpool, and an emotional 1-0 loss to Leicester City leaves the Bluebirds in a worrying 19th place.
There was temporary rest bite for Warnock’s men who moved out of the drop zone with the win two games ago. However, the same problems that have hindered Cardiff this season came to the forefront once again. The lack of goals being scored is preventing Cardiff from picking up any points, which is important in a relegation battle as every point is valuable. With such fine margins at stake, Warnock’s side have to start getting results in whatever way necessary.
At home, Cardiff should look to take the initiative. Bobby Reid has looked lively over the past few games, and his partnership with the versatile Callum Paterson has been promising. Warnock seems to have settled on his starting-eleven, so it will be interesting to see if he makes any alterations come 12:30pm on Saturday.
Brighton and Hove Albion are the next team to visit the Cardiff City Stadium, and they will be fond of the venue given the lengthy period of time these sides spent together in the Championship.
In the 2016/17 Championship season, it was Brighton who had the advantage picking up a total of four points across the two league encounters. Only one goal was scored in both the home and away matches which could suggest that Saturday’s game is set for another cagey affair.
Brighton currently sit 12th and are enjoying a comfortable eight-point gap between themselves and the relegation zone. There is no doubting Chris Hughtons’s ability at the helm, and after eleven games into the new season he is showing once again his progression into a competent Premier League manager.
The Seagulls have what all sides strive for, a guaranteed goal-scorer. Glenn Murray has been fantastic this season. His six league goals are one less than joint leaders Eden Hazard, Sergio Agüero and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Not bad company to be in for the 35-year old.
Murray will undoubtedly pose the most threat and Neil Warnock will surely have a plan to nullify the forwards impact on the game.
Over 67 meetings, which date back to 1921, Cardiff have prevailed on 22 occasions. On the other hand, Brighton have been victorious in just the one extra game getting the better of Cardiff 23 times. There have also been 22 draws which signifies that splitting the two has been a difficult task for nearly a centuries worth of football.
Saturday is an important match for Cardiff and Brighton for different reasons. The away side want to maintain their reasonable distance from the drop zone, and another three points could see that differential increase to double-digits. For Cardiff, taking advantage of being at home is something they have yet to achieve. If they can match the performance levels of the Fulham game, then there is no reason as to why they can’t come away winners.