After the hugely exciting finish to the Wolves game on Friday evening, Cardiff fans were left feeling massively disappointed after failing to convert two injury time penalties leaving them nine points off Wolves at the top and will want to get back on track to secure their place in the top two with a trip to Villa Park. The weekend also left Aston Villa fans dissatisfied with their team’s performance as the Villains slumped to a 3-1 defeat at Carrow Road so Aston Villa will be looking to solidify their place in the top six on Tuesday evening.
Cardiff has been a constant in the top six with their lowest league position of the season being fourth. Neil Warnock has been rewarded for this achievement by being named EFL Championship Manager of the Season ahead of Wolves manager Nuno Espírito Santo for his ability to get Cardiff to this position on the league with very limited resources and a squad that was expected to finish not too far away from their 12th place finish last year. T
his season, Warnock has had Cardiff playing in a multitude of formations with 4-3-3 being his preferred choice but also swapping between a 4-2-3-1 and a 5-3-2 which he switches to a 3-5-2 in attack. Cardiff has been defensively solid this season conceding the fewest goals in the league (34) meaning the likes of Jack Grealish will have to be in top form to unlock the watertight Cardiff defence.
Steve Bruce set to be without Alan Hutton and Andre Green again who are still targeting a late April comeback to the first team which is not ideal due to Albert Adomah being out of form lately and Neil Taylor putting in less than impressive performances.
Jed Steer and Chris Samba also remain out injured. Bruce may also make a couple of performance-based changes after Saturday’s poor performance.
Cardiff will come to Villa park missing important midfielder Joe Ralls who currently sit on 7 goals and 2 assists as well as defender Jazz Richards.
THE BIG MATCH
A win for Villa should book us a place in the playoffs, whilst a win for Cardiff would all but guarantee them second place. Cardiff hasn’t struggled with scoring goals so far this season. They’ve put the ball in the back of the net 62 times just 3 goals behind ourselves. They, similar to ourselves haven’t had one goal scorer who has been able to get into the twenties but instead has shared the goals around the team.
Their top goalscorer this season is Callum Peterson on 9 with Kenneth Zohore and Junior Hoilett both sitting on 8. This will make it difficult for our defence as they won’t have one single man to mark instead they’ll have to keep an eye on the entire Bluebirds frontline.
Previously mentioned Hoilett tops the assist charts for Cardiff with 11 so if there is a man to watch he is the likely candidate. In attack, we will have to be at our best due to Cardiff’s sublime defensive record.
A goal from Grealish against Norwich will hopefully give him a boost in confidence heading into this game as for me his intricate passing and purposeful carrying of the ball will be key to our success.
Upfront I would opt for the hard working Scott Hogan again as I feel there is no point trying to beat Cardiff’s imposing centre-back partnership of Sol Bamba and Sean Morrison in the air and Hogan’s pace and runs off the shoulder of the centre back could create a fair few chances for us.
In the holding midfield role, I would stick with the ever dependable Birkir Bjarnason who is playing brilliantly as of late. The reasoning behind this is that Cardiff will most likely play with 3 in midfield and Mile Jedinak or Glenn Whelan may not be able to keep up with the traffic in the centre of the park. Also, with the likes of Hoilett and Mendez-Laing drifting inside picking up a central position at times, their sheer pace may be too much for the two mid thirty-year-olds.
There are still tickets available with around 31,000 expected at Villa Park this evening. Cardiff has sold out their full allocation of tickets that they have taken. It is unclear on their initial allocation though.
Adults tickets are available from £20, Under 16’s from £5. Purchase tickets here.
LIVE MATCH CHAT
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