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Wednesday, 21 November, 2018

Cardiff need a massive improvement against Newcastle

Magpies could pick up first win

Cardiff manager Neil Warnock
1 of 1

Premier League
Sky Sports Premier League, 12.30pm Saturday

Cardiff City's Premier League return couldn’t have been any flatter and while it’s too early to press the panic button, Bluebirds fans need to see a serious improvement against Newcastle.

They’d also like to see their team win, although on the evidence of their no-show at Bournemouth last weekend that’s harder to predict.

They surrendered possession too cheaply against the Cherries, missed too many tackles, committed too many fouls, passed abysmally and duly lost 2-0. The scoreline should have been far more emphatic.

Newcastle represent a similar style of opponent to Bournemouth and while home advantage ought to give Cardiff some sort of an edge, Neil Warnock knows he needs to adapt his no-nonsense style if his side are to avoid getting picked off by the Magpies.

With little confidence that they can do that, Newcastle look a good bet to triumph in south Wales.

The Toon were far from disgraced in their opening 2-1 home defeat by Tottenham. They were lively and pacy, carried a threat going forward, and should be well suited to games on the road.

Last season they picked up only 16 points away from home but once you remove six losses at the top six their record doesn’t look too dismal.

The pace of Kenedy and Matt Ritchie should scare Cardiff to death and offers the visitors a genuine avenue of joy out wide.


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Bournemouth’s midfield pairing of Dan Gosling and Andrew Surman ran the show against Cardiff last week and Jonjo Shelvey and Mo Diame could do the same. That duo are a cut above the Cherries’ pairing and even though Warnock can now introduce Harry Arter into midfield and send Sol Bamba back into the defence where he belongs, Newcastle will not be over-run.

Not that Warnock likes midfield battles anyway. Critics of his style note the lack of possession, the lack of passing accuracy and the desire to fire the ball upfield as quickly as possible. New signing Bobby Reid offered little in the way of an outlet at Dean Court but Kenneth Zohore is better equipped for that role.

However, apart from a couple of errors, Newcastle’s defence gradually got to grips with Spurs' attacking stars and Jamaal Lascelles isn’t going to mind going toe to toe with Zohore. 

Nathan Blake, a sage judge of all things Cardiff, accused Warnock of “not having a proper plan” at Bournemouth and it certainly looked that way. Warnock knows better than anyone that you can’t just wing it in the Premier League but a week to rectify some glaring deficiencies might not be long enough.

Recommendation
Newcastle
1pt 31-20 Betfred 


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Team news
Cardiff
New loan signing Harry Arter, unavailable at Bournemouth, can make his debut. Aron Gunnarsson is injured though Kenneth Zohore can return from a groin problem.

Newcastle
DeAndre Yedlin has joined Florian Lejeune on the sidelines.

Key stat
Almost 27 per cent of Cardiff’s passes in their 2-0 defeat at Bournemouth were classified as 'long’ by Opta, the highest figure in the division.


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They surrendered possession too cheaply against the Cherries, missed too many tackles, committed too many fouls, passed abysmally and duly lost 2-0
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