Chelsea Preview vs Cardiff City

This weekend domestic football returns as Chelsea welcome Cardiff City to Stamford Bridge at 3pm on Saturday.

The Blues still have a 100% record intact and will be confident of securing all three points against the promoted side who so far have looked somewhat out of their depth in the Premier League.

Despite this, Cardiff have been defensively solid having kept two clean sheets so far this season; the same number as their opponents this weekend.

The other good news for Neil Warnock’s side is that they scored their first goals of the campaign in their last fixture, narrowly losing 3-2 to Arsenal.

Maurizio Sarri’s side therefore will have to be wary and are in danger of underestimating the Bluebirds, however their unbeaten record so far and quality on the pitch sees the Blues comfortably 1/5 favourites with Sky Bet.

A Cardiff victory is priced at 12/1 and a draw is 11/2.

The last time the sides met was in 2014 in the league, where Chelsea ran out 2-1 victors in Wales.

The other times the sides have clashed this century, were both at Stamford Bridge and both finished 4-1 to the home side.

The odds are heavily in the Blues’ favour, and I expect the starting 11 as follows.

CHELSEA, 4-3-3

Arrizabalaga

Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Rudiger, Marcos Alonso

Kovacic, Kante, Jorginho

Hazard, Pedro, Morata.

As always, Sarri has the potential to switch up the starting line-up due to the strength in-depth, but arguably Pedro was Chelsea’s most in-form player before the International break and as such would expect him to start ahead of Willian.

Cesc Fabregas is still doubtful following a knee injury and I would like to see more of loan signing Kovacic while we still can.

As for Cardiff, Nathaniel Mendez-Laing is ruled out with a ligament tear and they have two players doubtful. Josh Murphy and Aron Gunnarsson will be touch and go until kick-off.

I would expect them to line up in a similar manner to their last game, the home defeat to Arsenal.

CARDIFF, 4-4-2

Etheridge

Ecuele Manga, Morrison, Bamba, Bennett

Camarasa, Arter, Ralls, Hoilett

Reid, Ward.

The Bluebird’s ‘keeper Neil Etheridge has accumulated the most fantasy points in-goal so far this season and will be hoping to continue his fine form.

Danny Ward scored his first Premier League goal last time out and Cardiff will need a reliable striker if they are to stay in the division.

The forward will have to team up well with summer signing Bobby Reid if the season is to be fruitful for Cardiff, many people’s favourite candidate for relegation this season.

Personally I would be in that category and think they have nowhere near enough quality amongst their ranks and I expect Chelsea to put them in their place come Saturday afternoon, 3-0 is my prediction.

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