The FourFourTwo Preview: Cardiff vs Everton
High-flying Bluebirds (playing in red) against the new-look Blues (who’ll still be in blue).
We wouldn’t blame Cardiff owner Vincent Tan for donning his bizarre shirt, tie and kit combo all week after last Sunday’s incredible exploits, which saw his newly promoted club stun Premier League heavyweights Manchester City in the Welsh capital.
Rusty on the road in the season opener at West Ham, Cardiff know their home form will be key to their hopes of dodging the drop in their first top-flight campaign since 1961/62.
Malky Mackay's side won their first 10 games on their own patch last term, and while a repeat is surely beyond them at this level, a second victory in six days against one of the Premier League’s most established sides will see their confidence soar higher than Tan’s waistband.
Visitors Everton have played some tidy football under new gaffer Roberto Martinez, but two draws against Norwich and West Brom, followed by an underwhelming Capital One Cup win over Stevenage, hardly represents a sizzling start for the Spaniard.
Nevertheless, with Manchester United yet to up their £28m bid for Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines, and teenage midfielder Ross Barkley enjoying a fine start to the campaign (this week Martinez compared him to a “young Michael Ballack”), the Toffees have reasons to stay positive going into Saturday’s game.
LAST FIVE MEETINGS
- Cardiff 1-0 Everton (League Cup, Sep 79)
- Everton 2-0 Cardiff (League Cup, Aug 79)
- Cardiff 1-2 Everton (FA Cup, Feb 77)
- Everton 8-3 Cardiff (Div 1, Apr 62)
- Cardiff 0-0 Everton (Div 1, Dec 61)
Cardiff striker Andreas Cornelius is a major doubt after hobbling off in the Bluebirds' Capital One Cup win at Accrington Stanley on Wednesday. The giant Dane has struggled with an ankle injury since his £8m summer switch from Copenhagen, although he won’t be missed too much if last weekend’s hero can continue his scoring form…
For Everton, midfielder Darron Gibson could feature for the first time this season having recovered from a knee injury, although centre-back Antolin Alcaraz, a summer arrival from Wigan, is still out following a hernia operation.
Player to watch: Fraizer Campbell (Cardiff City)
Boss Mackay spent £28m over the summer, but it was his £650,000 man who did the damage to Manchester City’s backline, with Joleon Lescott and Javi Garcia unable to handle the two-goal striker.
“He’s worth multi-millions," purred Mackay of the ex-Manchester United striker, who just 18 months ago was lining up for England against Holland. “We got him at a fantastic price from Sunderland and if he keeps playing like that there's a chance he could be considered for international duty again."
It’s the first meeting between the two, although that’s something Mackay will soon get used to as he settles into life alongside English football’s elite. They're both likeable and level-headed, so don’t expect any touchline face-offs or handshake shunning come Saturday afternoon.
Facts and figures
- Cardiff City have the chance to win back-to-back top-flight matches for the first time since April 1962.
- Roberto Martinez has won just one of his last 10 games as a manager in the Premier League (W1 D5 L4).
- This will be the first competitive meeting between the two teams since September 1979, when they met over two legs in the League Cup. Everton advanced by a score line of 2-1 on aggregate, but Cardiff won the home leg 1-0.
- Only Manchester City (66.5%) have averaged more possession in the Premier League so far this season than Everton (64.7%).
- Cardiff won 51 points at home in the Championship last season, losing just two of 23 games (W15 D6).
- No team has used more English players than Cardiff City so far this season in the Premier League (8).
- Former Liverpool forward Craig Bellamy has scored three times in the Premier League against Everton. However, he has failed to net in his last seven appearances against the Toffees in the competition.
- Should he score, Craig Bellamy will become the first player in the history of the Premier League to score for seven different clubs in the competition.
- Frazier Campbell is already halfway towards equalling his best ever goal return from a single Premier League season (four in 2009/10 for Sunderland).
- Only once under David Moyes did Everton fail to win any of their opening three games in a Premier League season (2010/11; D1 L2).
The Toffees to become the latest big-club casualty at the Cardiff City Stadium. 2-1.
Cardiff vs Everton LIVE ANALYSIS using online Stats Zone