Swansea v Cardiff | Sunday 27th October 2019, 12:00 | Sky Sports
This game has been the topic of discussion in Swansea and Cardiff for quite a while now, with local journalists even speaking more about this one compared to their respective midweek league games.
With them out of the way, it is now all systems for the South Wales Derby, and there is no love lost between these two!
Swansea have stumbled of late and the 3-0 home loss to Brentford was a bit of a reality check for the Liberty Stadium club. It is now just one win in eight for Steve Cooper’s men in all competitions.
Cardiff aren’t exactly fairing much better considering they have just the two wins in previous ten in league and cup. Form does generally do out of the window approaching derbies, and both Cooper and Neil Warnock will be glad about that.
Swans must do more in attack
An area that Cooper will perhaps look to address is the fact that Swansea haven’t been testing the opposing goalkeeper enough in recent times. They set themselves a very, very high standard earlier in the season when romping to six straight wins, where they scored 3+ goals in five of those. They’ve gone backwards since that period.
You only have to look at most of their recent games to determine a bit of a problem area for the Swansea. Versus Brentford, 17 shots on goal but just the five on target. The home loss to Stoke, 22 shots on goal but just the six on target.
Even when winning away at Charlton, they had the four shots on target and two went in, this from 13 attempts. The home draw to Reading, 17 shots and four on target. Drawing away at Bristol City saw two efforts on target from 15 and the home setback to Nottingham Forest was one shot on target from nine shots. Notice the problem?
They ultimately need to be doing much, much more in and around the final third. Whilst it might be a greater concern if they weren’t having so many shots on goal all-round, you only win games when hitting the target and Cooper has been shifting his forward line of late to try and correct that. Bersant Celina was dropped to the bench against Brentford, whilst Borja Baston was taken out the game before.
Cardiff lacking 90 minutes on the road
Warnock has heavily critical of his players following their midweek draw to Millwall, a game in which they squandered the lead on two occasions in the 2-2 draw. He stated it was the ‘most frustrated’ he has been this season. He felt his side were comfortable in the game but gifted the London club two goals, with Sean Morrison not doing himself justice in the second of those.
Cardiff clearly are having some problems playing away from home. They haven’t won on the road since defeating Manchester United in their final Premier League game of last season. In their defence, they have drew four of their last five away, and away draws at the likes of Millwall, Hull, Derby and Blackburn can hardly be described as bad results.
Ultimately they need to produce a bit of an away day special to get that elusive first win. They’ve conceded at least twice in their last three away, something that Warnock will be keen to address heading into the derby.
Although Leandro Bacuna was axed early into the Sheffield Wednesday game and then entirely for the Millwall game after reacting badly to being subbed, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him recalled to try and beef up the midfield. A draw wouldn’t be a bad outcome in this one, but Cardiff do always contain a goal threat and they average 13.9 shots on goal; the joint-fifth highest in the Championship.
The betting angle
This is a game which generally hasn’t produced many goals in more recent times as three of the last four head-to-head renewals ended 1-0 either way. This will be the first meeting since 2014 however, and that fact alone leads me to think this could be a bit of a nervy affair considering both aren’t in the best of form, either.
I’m therefore happy to jump onto the Under 2.5 Goals bandwagon at 49/50 (Marathon). Swansea should see most of the ball but their target-finding problems could hurt them at times, whilst Cardiff are likely to be fairly stubborn without the ball and get bodies into their own half.
A final play is on Joe Ralls To Be Booked, which is priced at 3/1 (Bet365). I do like it when Bet365 produce player specific card markets for games like this. Ralls is the man I have plumped for as the central midfielder is one prone to making a tactical foul from time-to-time.
He has three bookings this season, the joint-most in the team along with Aden Flint and Joe Bennett. It was Bennett I was tempted with initially but his price is only 7/4 for a booking. Ralls has made the joint-most fouls in the team along with Robert Glatzel, who is again likely to be a sub and Danny Ward again preferred.