Cardiff v Bristol City: Bluebirds to enjoy Severnside showdown

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CHAMPIONSHIP specialist James O'Rourke (@JamesOR1) shares his thoughts on Sunday's Severnside derby match-up between Cardiff and Bristol City.

Cardiff v Bristol City | Sunday 10th November 2019, 12:00 | Sky Sports

I highly recommend a Sunday showing of Championship football this weekend and Cardiff versus Bristol City promises not to disappoint. Goals have generally been the name of the game for these two sides in more recent times, and whilst there is a gap between the two in terms of league placings, there is only a four point difference.

Neil Warnock came under some stick a few weeks ago in the South Wales Derby when going down at Swansea City. He fielded a 4-4-2 formation, and whilst the aim was for them to look a greater attacking threat, it did lead to them being overran in the midfield. To his credit, he said that playing their usual 4-2-3-1 shape and sitting back wasn’t how he wanted to play, insisting a more positive mind-set was the aim.

He has another derby game this weekend to put that right, and whilst they’ve since defeated Birmingham City 4-2 at home, this weekend really is an important game for the Bluebirds.

Funnily enough, this derby isn’t ‘the derby’ for both Cardiff and Bristol City, who view Swansea and Bristol Rovers as their number one rival. With that being the case, it means this shouldn’t necessarily be a cagey game where there is any fear of losing.

Three of the last four head-to-head encounters featured over 2.5 goals, which proves that both have generally had a go when this fixture has come around.

Focusing more on present day, Bristol City have seen their last four games contain a minimum of three goals, including last time out when leading 2-0 away at Barnsley with few minutes remaining, and still finishing 2-2. Now Bristol City only have the one away loss all season, and two overall including at home, but they are winless in their last four away, conceding nine in total.

Entering this weekend’s games, no team has more draws than Bristol City’s seven. Cardiff are only just behind on six, so clearly both of these teams can be stubborn in different ways. For Sunday’s away team, the worry is that whilst they’ve scored 24; one of the highest in the division, but they’ve got the worst defensive record in the top-eight, whilst seven of the bottom half clubs have either conceded more or the same as that amount.

Cardiff have 14 home goals and Bristol City’s away league games average around the 3.40 mark, which is the highest in the league entering this round of fixtures this weekend. When question marks are aimed at Warnock, he generally comes out fighting and he’ll really fire up his team to have a go in this televised encounter.

Cardiff have won three in 12, but they do normally reserve their stronger showings for at home. Also, Sol Bamba returned to make the bench last weekend after many months out with injury and you just wonder if Warnock is saving him for this game. Cardiff are certainly much better defensively when he is on the pitch.

We will call upon the bet builder to get us going for this Sunday lunchtime encounter. Specifically, we’ll look towards Cardiff Double Chance and Over 2 Goals at 11/8 (Bet365). For all the doubts surrounding Cardiff, they remain unbeaten at home in the league this season.

My concern with Bristol City is that they are heavily over-achieving this season based on their Expected Goals (xG) figures and you do just wonder when that’ll eventually catch up with them. They’ll get their chances in this game, but so will Cardiff and Warnock knows how to avoid defeat at home, whilst having a go at the same time.

The Barnsley game showcased a degree of vulnerability on the road for Lee Johnson’s team, and they haven’t kept an away clean sheet since April.

Best Bets

Cardiff v Bristol City – Cardiff double chance and Over 2 Goals (11/8 Bet365)

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