Cardiff vs Bristol City | Friday 6th November 2020, 18:00 | Sky Sports
Cardiff v Bristol City | Friday 6th November 2020, 18:00 | Sky Sports
Note the 6pm early evening kick-off on Friday when Cardiff welcomes Bristol City to the Welsh capital for the latest episode of the Severnside Derby.
This has become a regular fixture once again since 2015, and it is the Bluebirds who have held the edge since then by winning five of those eight. Bristol City did however emerge victorious on their last visit to the Cardiff City Stadium almost exactly a year ago.
One positive for both Neil Harris and Dean Holden is that both teams won their last respective fixture which brought to an end a run of games without success.
Cardiff were winless in four, and whilst that did include three draws, they’ll be especially pleased to get the job done at home to Barnsley in midweek, and convincingly 3-0. The Robins produced a late show when coming from behind at Huddersfield Town after a poor run of five without success. They’ve been a streaky team for a few years now, so will now be eager to record another run of three-point hauls starting this weekend.
Harris himself recently admitted they’ve not began the season as well as he’d have hoped, and one possible reason for that is the frequent injury status of playmaker Lee Tomlin. He has only featured in half of their Championship encounters this season, and has only played a total of 23 minutes across their last six matches.
Tomlin remains out of action, but the loan acquisition of Harry Wilson from Liverpool have helped fill that void. He already has two goals for his new club, including a fine long range strike in midweek at home to Barnsley. Harris fielded a 4-4-2 system in that encounter, with Robert Glatzel partnering Kieffer Moore. Expect a return to a 4-2-3-1 shape for this derby clash, as that will match up better with City’s 3-5-2 figuration.
Holden was something of a surprise appointment at Ashton Gate in the off-season to replace Lee Johnson, but already we are starting to see a team play in his way. Injuries have certainly played a part in their drop in form of late, and missing the likes of Andreas Weimann, Alfie Mawson, Joe Williams, Liam Walsh, Nathan Baker and Steven Sessegnon would be a huge loss for any Championship club.
On the plus side, Jamie Paterson will start having been rested to the bench in midweek, and I’d be shocked if young Antoine Semenyo doesn’t start too having changed the game as a sub to transform his side’s fortunes against the Terriers. Taylor Moore should bolster the backline as well, so we’re likely to see a more energetic away team here given they’ve been rotating to a greater degree.
It is worth noting that the last three head-to-head encounters have been settled by a single goal in the match, whilst the previous six saw the victorious side also win by a single goal.
Cardiff have been installed as 5/4 favourites for this game, and whilst they did well against Barnsley they’re not so certain to back that up. Since the restart, Cardiff once won three in succession and another occasion saw them go back-to-back, so they’re not the most consistent. Furthermore, the Barnsley triumph was their first home win of the season, and have won only four of 11 at home since the restart, too.
Compare that with Bristol City on the road, and they’ve been more than competitive under Holden on their travels. He can already claim victories at Middlesbrough, Stoke, Nottingham Forest and lastly Huddersfield, whilst they only narrowly went down at fancied duo Bournemouth and Stoke.
I think playing on the road suits them quite nicely, especially as they’re three without a win at Ashton Gate. They actually average fewer shots on goal on the road, but you naturally have to be more disciplined playing away.
Cardiff will look to be positive being the home team, so the Robins will get their chances on the break and via set pieces. That being said, Cardiff are ranked joint-first in the league for set piece goals, so Bristol City will have to be wary of such situations.
That being said, I’m not overly keen on backing Cardiff at the prices. I certainly picture quite a tight 90 minutes. Both are seeing an average of over two goals per league game this season in their matches so we can’t confidently rule out goals, either.
I can just picture Bristol City pinching this one, which is why I’m prepared to back Bristol City Draw No Bet at 27/20 (888Sport).
Furthermore, I really like the look of Antoine Semenyo Anytime Goalscorer at 4/1 (Bet365). I really do fancy him to start this one, and even if he doesn’t he always looks lively off the bench and will have the pace edge on the Cardiff back four. The price will of course drop if he does start, too, and at Bet365 you can select the ‘void if player does not start’ box to offer a bit of insurance, should you wish.
Finally, I’m always keen to look towards the card markets for derby games especially, and I can see the referee dishing out a couple of cards at least in this one. Over recent years, this game has been good for three bookings minimum, so it gives us a little chance to maybe be successful in this sphere.
At the time of writing, Tomlin is favourite to receive a yellow on Bet365, and he isn’t going to play, so the odds will change in our favour if you get on early enough. Liam Walsh is another short price, and he too won’t play. Sol Bamba, Joel Bagan and Nathan Baker are other fairly short prices and none of them will likely feature.
There are plenty of attractive prices for players who will likely start, but aren’t necessarily regular in the notebook of officials. Players like Taylor Moore, Jay Dasilva and Tomas Kalas for the away team are all 7/1, and it is noticeably the Bristol City players have the bigger prices, suggesting the bookies think Cardiff are the ‘dirtier’ of the two.
It is fair, as Bristol City are ranked bottom for bookings, so the home team is probably the way to go. I’ll plump for Joe Bennett To Be Booked at 9/2 (Bet365). This is his fourth game in about ten days since returning from injury, so he could get a bit rusty. He also loves a tackle!